Hell or High Water by Peter Heller

Tsangpo Gorge in Tibet is likely the deepest canyon in the world. And at 504.6 kilometres (313.5 mi) is slightly longer than the Grand Canyon.

In 2002 a group of the best kayakers in the world led by Scott Lindgren set out to “paddle” the gorge.

That’s nearly impossible. But they did accomplish some first descents. And surprisingly none of the party died.

It was the most dangerous water they’d ever tried.

This is one intense book.

Peter Heller was assigned to cover the expedition for Outside and, despite having completely worn out the cartilage in one hip, he decided to go for it.

… Heller is unflinchingly honest about the hostility he faced from Lindgren and his companions, who openly attack the journalist for “getting rich” from their story, as well as the resentment that begins to well inside him at their condescension.

Meanwhile, the locals hired to carry the equipment realize they have the upper hand and start extorting more money for their services.

The drama on shore, however, is easily matched—sometimes surpassed—by the action on the river, which includes a few chilling brushes with death.

Heller nimbly blends the history of the region into his gripping modern trek, as the crew lives up to the legacy of the great explorers before them. …


China plans to build the world’s largest hydroelectric project there.

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