Leo Dickinson is one of the outstanding action sports filmmakers in the field today. He has made over 50 films of his own and helped on many others. Here he shares some memories of the first canoe descent of Dudh Kosi – Relentless River of Everest.
At the foot of the highest mountain on earth, a team of British canoeists put their kayaks into the freezing waters of the Dudh Kosi River that springs from the Khumbu Icefall to canoe the 90 miles of fast-flowing rapids to the Sun Kosi.
With the river running unusually high and at over 30 miles an hour in places, the canoeists battle with waterfalls, whirlpools and giant waves where the slightest mistake could be fatal.
After three weeks paddling, a canoe becomes jammed under a huge stopper and the legendary Mick Hopkinson of whitewater kayaking, is swept into the freezing waters. Expedition leader Dr Mike Jones gives chase – Leo watches helplessly through his camera lens as the drama unfolds and Mick is sucked beneath stopper after stopper. As he disappears around a bend, Leo worries about the outcome.
Dr Jones was trying to steer his boat so as to give Mick something to grab, but the rocks on the river bottom caused the waves to dissipate in a haphazard manner. There was nothing to grab and Leo remembers starting to feel distinctly uneasy at this point. It dawned on him that there was nothing anyone could do…
This chronicle was regarded by kayakers the world over as the best film ever made about their sport and deservedly won 25 International Awards. Since its airing, the film has been remastered from the original film to HD and the result is a new, crisp, clean improved version over the original which attracted 15 million viewers on its Boxing Day premiere.
Duration of the main film is 45 minutes but bonus tracks include ‘Breath of White Water’ another of Leo’s canoe films as well as the 8mm story of the teams drive through Afghanistan to Nepal with new narration by the surviving team members. To end there are the hilarious 2nd and 3rd International Cardboard Kayak Championships.
“That is the best adventure film I have ever seen.”
Doug Scott – First British mountaineer to climb Everest
By Leo Dickinson