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The birth of the Himalayan Canyon Team

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Photo by Sam Bié

From remote actions to clear objectives

As a group of passionate friends exploring canyons in Nepal, we launched in 2003, the first exploration in order to start the actions there. Our work came to an end in 2012.

Strictly speaking, developing canyoning in Nepal was not really a project as no clear objectives were defined prior to our first experience there. Our main motivation then was just exploring canyons for the sake of exploration in the world’s biggest mountain range. But we soon realized that there was a huge potential for development and growth of the activity in the area. We were not remotely close to imagining where and how far that idea would drive us.

Right from the very first expedition, each step mechanically called for other ones and opened up new perspectives. With each new step, we needed to adapt and review the next expedition’s goals based on the outcomes of the previous. Without even having enough time to step back and realize, the team got caught up in a whirlpool, transforming what started as a passion project into a concrete project with real engagement. Himalayan Canyon Team was de facto born from this need for structure so that, out of a team of canyoning enthusiasts, we could create an entity our partners (and sponsors) would identify and communicate more easily with.

Ten years later, looking in hindsight, we can now state what this team was doing into a clear objective: Introduce canyoning in Nepal and support its long-term development.

Photo by Sam Bié

Himalayan Canyon Team (HCT)

Himalayan Canyon Team is a nonprofit organization from France, created in May 2009 and headquartered in Tarascon-sur-Ariège, France. Founding members are the nine State-certified canyoning professional instructors who have participated in all eight expeditions in Nepal between 2003 and 2012. The current administrators are Mr Rodolphe Sturm, president, and Mr Lionel Rias, secretary and Yann Ozoux, treasurer.

Progressively, our actions in Nepal (which we simply labeled Canyoning in Nepal) gained ground, attracting a growing number of serious partners and developing new contacts with actors in the Indian Himalayas. Canyoning in Nepal scaled up to preparing the most ambitious canyoning expedition ever (Chamje Khola 2011), and staging 2011's international canyoning meeting (RIC 2011) in the Marshyangdi valley, around the Annapurna massif.

HCT’s mission reads: “Promote canyoning in the Himalayas. Internationally collect and spread various information concerning the exploration of Himalayan canyons and the resulting activity (topographies, photographs, geolocation, etc.) Organize expeditions or trips in Asia, focused on discovering the activity of canyoning, mountains and high mountains in all seasons, and in any form whatsoever. Support and maintain links between the French federal authorities—such as the French Federation of Caving, the French Canyoning School and the Spéléo Secours Français, and their Asian counterparts (Nepal Canyoning Association, etc.) Prepare and oversee trainings and technical demonstrations of canyoning and rope rescue in these countries.”

Photos by Sam Bié

Track Record

  • 2003: Preparations

- Lionel Rias and Rodolphe Sturm collect information on canyons of the Marshyangdi valley, by the Annapurna massif.

  • 2004: 1st expedition

- Opening of seven canyons in that valley.

  • 2005: 2nd expedition

- Rigging the canyons opened the previous year, respecting French standards.

- Opening of two big canyons in the upper valley, plus three others in that of Sun Khosi.

  • 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008: Rajesh and Kabindra stay in France

- Supported by the expeditions’ members, French association Himal Pyramis (Carbonne, Haute-Garonne) allows Rajesh and Kabindra to visit France several times, so they can transform their experience acquired locally into professional certifications—Monitorat Fédéral—validated by the French canyoning school (EFC).

  • 2007: 3rd expedition

- Rigging of a training area (with the opening of five canyons) and a training course for Rajesh and Kabindra.

- Creation of the Nepal Canyoning Association (NCA).

  • 2008: 4th expedition

- First training course organized in Nepal with a legal framework (NCA), supported by the EFC.

  • 2009: 5th expedition

- Second training course by the NCA.

- Scouting expedition to find an access point to upper Chamje Khola (failure).

- Envisioning of an international canyoning meeting in Nepal.

- Creation of the Himalayan Canyon Team.

- Expedition in Indian Himalaya, that resulted in opening five canyons.

  • 2010: 6th expedition

- Second scouting expedition for upper Chamje Khola’s entry points (success).

- Opening of three canyons around the mountain of Manaslu.

  • 2011: 7th expedition

- Chamje Khola expedition and RIC 2011.

  • 2012: 8th expedition

- Opening of three canyons in the Dhaulagiri massif, Indian Himalaya


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