25.04.2019

IN SHALA - OVER THE MOUNTAIN TO THE RIVER (ALBANIA)

Enjoy a story telling video, an interactive tour map, some gear talk and a full cost break down. Albania unfolded.
from Sven Schellin I Anfibio Packrafting
Trip character

Shala is a remote class IV river in northern Albania. The alternate approach on foot requires some off trail hiking, 1500 m elevation gain and a final, long flatware section. Summing up to roughly 60km, doable in 3-4 days.


The ferry to Koman from Fierze or vice versa leaves daily 9:00 / 13.00, but stops only occasionally. 

The hiking traverse to the Shala valley near abandoned village of Brashte is only 15km, but partly offtrail with steep ascent, difficult navigation in the forest part and a likewise decent, which takes about 8-10h.

Shala river runs for 15 km with challenging white water (III-IV), has a final 6 km flat water section and further 10 km to next ferry port. Large parts are in a canyon in very isolated location (no escape), but impressive landscape. 

Follow the map with ground truth GPS record and getagged pictures as well as additional information:


Participant skills

We were a company of experienced, mindful and well known partners, but far from being all experts in every field. Whitewater skills varied. Navigation responsibility was held in the wholes team.

Gear talk

Every trip is unique, everyone is different. We don't believe in standards or worse dogmas. So be it for performance, safety or comfort. This is what WE User on THIS trip. Not been said, this can’t apply to other ventures.

What worked and what didn’t? We were generally pleased with our choice, but have a few things to change.

Packrafts: We used a MRS Alligator 2S, an Alpacka Yukon Yak (thighstraps installed) and a MRS Alligator 2S Pro. All performed well, no complains. 

Paddles: The Anfibio Ultimate held up, but felt too light, we would not it take again! An Aqua Bound Manta Ray Fibre was ok, but not stiff enough. There are better choices such as the Aqua Bound Splat or even better the Anfibio Smash.

Drysuits: The Anfibio Packsuit was very good, especially for its weight. The Anfibio Splitsuit, despite the higher weight, was more convenient on a long river day.

Helmet: Hiko Bukaroo half cut and full cut seemed adequate at 340/430g.

PFDs: For packability we decidied all for Anfibio Buoy Boy in sizes S/M-L/XL. Knowing the limits (no rescue belt), we felt comfortable nevertheless. Buoyancy proofed adequate in one swim. Pull strength was not needed, but we have trust in. For lacking full impact protection (as with foam PFDs) I would include that in the conclusion of going "a tad too light".

Throw rope: Anfibio LifeLine was good, the Anfibio RescueLine is better.  

Salomon XA Pro Trailrunner as a one for all shoe was ok, but too slippery in the river. A dedicated river shoe seems necessary on scouting rich trips.

Pack: The Sixmoon Fusion 65 and HMG Windrider 4400 performed equally well.

Sleeping: Jack R Better Quilt and Thermarests NeoAir were both very good.

Tent: Bear Paw Luna 4 - very good, but could be lighter

Cooking: Homemad alcohole can stove - good as always.

Accessories: Anfibio DeckPack (Prototype) - indispensible 

Our full pack weight including consumables (food for 4 days) was 18kg, which is very good considering the full whitewater setup.

Cost break down

This was a self supported trip with its effect on sharing, but needs organization. Costs derive from 3 people sharing over the course of 7 days (includes a prior trip to Tara canyon for 2 days).

Bus to airport: 24€, airplane (Berlin-Podgorica): 143€, ferry: 5€, car rental (7 days): 50€, comsumables (food, gaz): 70€, hotel: 15€, maps: 10€. Sum per person: 317€

Donation

The same amount spent goes to the campaign "Save the blue heart of Europe". Happy for all who contribue too!

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