Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River

Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River

by Peter Heller

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From the bestselling author of The Dog Stars, the true story of an elite kayaking team's heroic conquest of the world’s last great adventure prize: Tibet's Tsangpo River.

The Tsangpo Gorge in southeastern Tibet has lured explorers and adventurers since its discovery. Sacred to the Buddhists, the inspiration for Shangri La, the Gorge is as steeped in legend and mystery as any spot on earth. As a river-running challenge, the remote Tsangpo is relentlessly unforgiving, more difficult than any stretch of river ever attempted. Its mysteries have withstood a century's worth of determined efforts to explore it's length. The finest expedition paddlers on earth have tried. Several have died. All have failed. Until now.

In the heart of the Himalayan winter, a team of seven kayakers launched a meticulously planned assault of the Gorge. The paddlers were river cowboys, superstars in the universe of extreme kayaking. Accompanying them was author Peter Heller, a world-class kayaker in his own right. Filled with history, white-knuckle drama, and mutiny in one of the world's most storied-and remote-locations, Hell or High Water is the riveting story of this adventure.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101872048
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Series: Vintage Departures
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 497,855
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Peter Heller is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor toBloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook, The Whale Warriors, andHell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

Table of Contents

1The Assignment5
2Lhasa to Pe27
3The River53
4Tripe to Selung Creek67
5Kintup the Tailor91
6Gyala to Doug's Ledges101
7Doug's Ledges to the Spur127
9The Kondrasong La to Kondrasong La Falls165
10Northeast Straits to Pine Camp181
11The Grand Portage207
13The Lower Gorge253

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Heller nimbly blends the history of the region into his gripping modern trek.... The kayaking equivalent of Into Thin Air." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the adventure!
Pete_C More than 1 year ago
Hell or High Water by Peter Heller First of all I would have to say that I would recommend this book to any reader that is interested in adventure, as well as drama. The book revolves mainly around Scott Lindgren, a highly regarded adventure filmmaker, and Peter Heller, a journalist as well as the author. Lindgren's next adventure is set to be in the Tibet's Tsangpao River. Peter Heller is assigned to cover the expedition for the magazine, Outside. The story covers the groups trek from the head of the river, all the way through the river, and finishing off at the mouth of the river. Up until Lindgren's journey, all previous had failed. However nothing came easy to the group, especially Peter. He was constantly ridiculed and picked on by other people in the expedition. This is due to the fact that they thought he was just using this journey to make money. However they did not know that he was a high-class kayaker and had many river hours. The 80 plus people that came along with the journey, and the 25,000 pounds of provisions they brought didn't help much either. The book revolves around the fact, that no matter how beautiful something is, every rose has its thorns. Also it warns what we might destroy if we expand into nature even further than we already have. This correlates directly to the Tsangpao River. The Tsangpao River was almost untouched by the modernized world, but still had raging currents, large boulders, and steep cliffs, which claimed the lives of many. As the story progresses many of the trekkers begin to question if it is right for Scott Lindgren to lead them down the lethal Tsangpao. This causes a fear of mutiny among the group; this often leads to arguments and fights among them. I can't say there was much I didn't like in this book. This being one of my very first non-fiction books set my expectations very high. So, I guess you could say that's a negative. Other than that, there were very few mistakes in the writing. Some parts made me a little confused, which was due mainly to the fact of the wording. All in all I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading another of Heller's books. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Heller is an adventure writer in the old style: thoroughly conversant when it comes to the main event, but careful also to place that central project in full context. For me, this was the great joy of reading 'Hell or High Water.' The kayaking trip down the Tsangpo is so vividly, ingeniously described that at several points my toes curled at the risk, and it's a great, solid tale that sits properly at the center of this book. But the story of seven brave kayakers is offset by Heller's unique curiosity and humanity: along the route we get bits of Tibetan mythology and history, narratives of earlier conquest, a tutorial on river movement, a little Buddhism and natural-history arcana, plus a whole boatload of engaging stories. Heller is a generous writer who takes excellent command of his book's ambitious scope, and the result for readers is a chance to join a knowledgeable, companionable guide on a truly remarkable expedition.