In a recent expedition, a world-renowned German kayaker, Adrian Mattern, and an expert-level crew headed deep into Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains to paddle a little-known (and extremely remote) river called the Sary-Jaz.

The technical, class V river begins at the Engilcheck glacier at the foot of Khan Tengri in far eastern Kyrgyzstan and flows through the Tian Shan mountain range into China. Once inside the deep gorge, there are limited opportunities to hike out.

Mattern and his team were able to make it down most of their planned route before they ran into serious trouble; their exit point—a low-volume creek that should have been easy to cross—was in flood.

Check out the short documentary to discover the measures they took to finish the expedition.

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