Action, adventure and a close-up experience of nature – that’s what rafting is all about. I tried out this white-water sport with friends on the Isar River in front of the wildly romantic panorama of the Alps. Why you should not miss this splashy fun in any case, you will learn in my experience report about’s Isar rafting.
Unbridled action, pure adrenaline, the ultimate kick – leisure activities that are so advertised are usually not my world. But sometimes you have to be forced to your happiness first! I had my first experience with rafting on the occasion of the bachelor party of a good friend. As an unusual surprise, we had planned a special experience gift: Whitewater Rafting.
Nine of us plunged into the pleasure of Isar rafting in Bad Tölz, Upper Bavaria, without having the faintest idea what we were getting ourselves into. Because none of us had ever been “right” rafting before. However, that was no reason to worry, because the rafting route on the Isar between Lenggries and Bad Tölz in front of the beautiful panorama of the Bavarian Alps is for rafting newcomers as made: there are hardly any really dangerous places and the Isar is largely very flat at this point.
In addition, there is a trained Isar rafting guide on every inflatable boat. That’s why it’s not surprising that the Isar rafting tours here are offered for ages 9 and up. But as we all know, grown men can sometimes be bigger shits than elementary school kids – I’m not talking about me here, of course!
We had just had a real Bavarian breakfast, with pretzels and white sausages, when we also had to squeeze ourselves into sausage skins. The starting point of our rafting adventure was the Outdoor Center in Bad Tölz (also the end point of the tour), where you get the appropriate equipment and a first briefing.
Even you should bring a swim trunks or shorts that can get wet and who has solid shoes that may quietly in the water, they can also wear. Sunscreen is an absolute must on hot days!
Over the swim trunks (and if you want a T-shirt) you then pull the Weißwurstpelle alias Neoprene suit and over it a life jacket. The head you protect with a helmet and then you should grab the best also a paddle – without this is the navigation in rafting namely difficult… 😉
I didn’t have any waterproof shoes with me, which turned out to be an advantage in retrospect. You can also rent neoprene shoes from the rafting provider (3 €), which keep the feet much warmer than other shoes. Even on such a sunny and hot summer day (about 30° C), some of my friends got pretty cold on their feet in the river water. So said neoprene shoes are definitely recommended!
After everyone was suitably equipped and dressed, we were taken by bus to the start of the tour near Lenggries – 3 boat crews in total. A maximum of 11 people fit in a boat – we were 10 people in the boat together with our guide.
The boat driver was a funny older Bavarian who explained everything important to us during the “safety talk”. This “safety talk” also includes “dry runs” where the rafting dinghy is still on the gravel bed. Here you first learn to follow the commands – or more kindly put: urgent recommendations – of the guide. You also practice paddling in unison, which is not so easy! and pulling your friends out of the water into the boat by their wetsuits (very fun to practice this on land) and turning the boat around (which is mainly done theoretically during the rehearsal on a gravel bed). Finally we were ready and launched the boat!
We paddled a short stretch to get used to the white water. At first we glided over rather gentle to medium speed waves and currents. That was good, because first we had to practice keeping the boat on course. Strangely enough, the left side with 4 men paddled stronger than the right side with 5 men (the 10th man, our boat driver, sat in the back in the middle). Who was getting lazy there?
After a short time we reached the first highlight of the Isar rafting tour, the so-called small Isar cataract. We rafted this multi-level rapid twice!
First on the right, more harmless side, then the boatman navigated us to the bank and we carried our raft back a bit to enjoy the fun again. This time we steered the boat to the middle, where there are more rocks and the descent gets a bit bumpier. And all the more fun, of course!
Always be considerate of the other rafters! Don’t fool around and certainly don’t push people into the water! – Who counted on such rules in rafting, was very wrong in this rafting tour. 🙂
True to the motto: ”A bissl Gaudi derf scho sei!”, our boat guide even encouraged us to ram the other two boats, to board, pull people out and over to us, splash wet or even throw them into the water. The perfect opportunity for friendly scuffles – just the right thing for a bachelor party… 😉
If you’ve always wanted to play ship’s mast after watching Quentin Tarantino’s movie Death Proof, rafting gives you the opportunity. What otherwise only stuntmen should try in road traffic, you can try in rafting in a much less dangerous way.
At calm places of the Isar we played ship mast. One of us climbed onto the front of the boat and held on to the rope attached there, which is otherwise used to pull out and tie down the boat. The others paddled in circles at full speed, that is: right forward and left backward or vice versa. However, none of them could hold on for long as a ship’s mast, but plopped into the cold water of the Isar.
At several points, we were able to relax in the water in our life jackets and let ourselves be carried along by the current while looking up at the blue sky. Other highlights of our rafting tour were a monkey swing, the more or less involuntary “driving over” of a tree stump (”Des hält des Boot scho aus“) and the jump from a barrage at a deep point of the Isar.
When we came back to beautiful Bad Tölz, we were close to our destination. There, tourists and local walkers watched us rafting with interest from the shore. It was clear that a mishap happened in front of the audience of all people: we offered up all our powers of clumsiness and set the boat against the bank wall in a sweeping curve. ”I moch des scho droißig Joahr, aba ihr seids die erstn die des g’schofft ham!“, commented our boatman shaking his head.
Bottom line, the Isar-rafting tour one of the most amazing outdoor recreational activities I’ve tried so far and I can fully recommend the adventure to anyone who doesn’t have a “water allergy”! And the best: the tour can take place in any weather – you get wet anyway 🙂
Do you want to go rafting? The whitewater tour on the Isar, which we did, can be booked between May and October for 43,-€ by the way.
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