Numedalslågen (Zambezi and Airport Sections)
|Stretch:||Ossjøen to route 40 near Dagali.|
|Difficulty:||Class V (Big water class V to V+ at 250 cms) – Zambezi
Class III- – Airport
|Distance:||6.5 miles – Zambezi
2.6 miles – Airport
|Flows:||30 to 300 cms|
|Gradient:||65 fpm average (how it is so low is beyond me) – Zambezi
48 fpm average – Airport
|Put-in:||Lake Ossjøen. – Zambezi
At the Rt 40 bridge – Airport
|Take-out:||At the Rt 40 bridge. – Zambezi
At the closed down Airport – Airport
|Shuttle:||6.5 miles (15 minutes one-way) – Zambezi
3 miles (10 minutes one-way) – Airport
|Season:||May to August|
|Featured in A Wet State #101|
Norway 2015 – Day 4
So, I normally don’t do two write ups in one post… but we didn’t end up doing the Zambezi but did a pretty thorough scout and I wanted to relay the information. But at the same time, I didn’t want my “write-up count” to be thrown off by a run I didn’t do so I am combining it with the easy downstream section we did end up doing.
So, while driving from Telemark to Voss, you are going to drive by this river, and because of that it saw a lot of attention this year as lots of folks were on the Telemark plan due to the high water. Arriving at the Zambezi section take-out (put-in for the Airport section) we immediately noticed the water was high. Looking at the bridge gauge we read 0.9 which we think meant it was somewhere around 200-250 cms. Less than the print guidebook has for a maximum, but well above the pdf guidebook’s max. Driving up the river we saw several very large rapids, huge class V. Driving up further we get to a set of huge rapids that were completely linked and had holes to put the fear of God in you. It wasn’t long before I decided I was no interested in this type of fun for the day. Big water makes me nervous. And without anyone who actually knew the run, and in between that was out of site from the road we would have to scout most of the 6 miles to have a shot at safely making it down. I just wasn’t interested. A short distance up the road the rest of the group came to the same conclusion.
During this scouting we met a group of Italians with whom we shared mutual friends. We both sat on the shore and watched the Lammlers and their friends boat through some of the worst of it, surprisingly on the lap we watched they snuck a set that we had feared without effort. Perhaps with that knowledge of the ease of getting to the sneak perhaps we may have tried it. Apparently on their first lap they surfed the wave directly above the holes we were scared of. Next level stuff. But for us, we had made plans to put in below with the Italians and boat a section of class III downstream.
The Downstream section was fun and mellow. I would say at this high flow it was class III- with some nice big waves to throw downriver freestyle off of in our creekboats. The rapids quickly petered out though and we were at take-out. At take-out the Italians got word from their friend in Voss that everything was really high, too high for their group according to their contact. As we sit on the airport tarmac sharing beers they had with them we begin having doubts in how good the trip will turn out. I certainly feared the worst and was sure I wouldn’t get the runs I had hoped so badly to get in Norway.
While the Italians had some options, Harry and his family hadn’t boated with us this day and had instead taken a family day and started their drive to Voss earlier. That tied our hands, we would head towards Voss and make the best of it. As it turned out, everything ended up just fine in Voss. Certainly some things were too high, but other things were perfect and a great time was had! Also, the drive was spectacular... Driving along the Bjoreio river and stopping at the Hardangervidda National Park and the Vøringfossen waterfall was really spectacular! I would highly recommend planning on spending at least an hour or two in this area.
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- First Rapid (V). You can catch a glimpse of the first rapid from the road. The right side is huge. Stay far left.
- Second Rapid (V). We actually never saw this one from the road, but on google earth and in the guidebook it is discussed.
- Third Rapid (V). As the river comes back next to the river it enters the crux section. On the left hand bend stay inside left. The runout goes directly into the next move several hundred yards downstream.
Waves and Holes (V). There was a thin line directly in the middle, through a huge crashing wave and then blindly dropping in a very narrow line between two very large holes. Or sneak it far left the whole way. Like FAR left.
- Wave (IV). The runout of that rapid closes into the next rapid mere seconds later (this crux section is really just one big rapid). This one though was straight forward and just a wave train. However… it would be hard after hitting the meat of the wave to then drive to the FAR right or FAR left for the next rapid.
Hole (V). What a big hole. Holy cow. There was a sneak FAR right but I think the more likely line was to boof the far left, just off the shore. It still had a big hole though, but it was a rescue distance from shore if you didn’t make it.
- Boogie (IV). Below here things mellowed out and were mostly read and run boogie. We almost put in here, but didn’t.
- Biggest Hole Ever (V+). So this rapid is huge. Huge! One of the Lammlers tried to boof the middle hole and got destroyed. On their next lap they ran laps on it running far right down the ramp and squeaking around the hole on the right. Down the middle on this one as well as down the left is a no go.
We put in just below… for a nice mellow float.
- Bridge (IV-). Just downstream of the last rapid you approach the bridge and there is a fun wave train of big waves that goes under the bridge. It wasn’t mindless enough to be class III… but not really class IV either. Anyways, the Zambezi take-out is on the left just below.
- Class III (III). There was one section of rapid in particular, where a small channel broke off to the right on an ever so slight left bend. This rapid had some sneaky holes… but also some nice surfing. Downstream it got easy quickly.
Airport Take-out: Assuming if you are doing this run you are coming from the Telemark area and are traveling on 40. As you get close to the town of Dagali you will cross the river, continue for another 900 m before turning right on Bygdevegen. Follow this road for 3.5 km before turning right into the airport parking lot.
Zambezi Take-out / Airport Put-in: Go back to the bridge over the river. There is parking just on river left before the bridge. This is great access. There is also smaller access just below the last big rapid a few hundred meters up the road on river left.
Zambezi Put-in: From 40, take the dirt road that goes up river left of the Numedalslågen. Follow it up for 11.0 km to the lake and a parking area right on the water near the mouth of the lake. I would scout on the way up if water is high.
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