An expedition, Himalayas-2001, has left Tomsk (west of the Urals) for India. The main idea of this unusual and difficult project, which has been given the name "On the Rafts of Everest," is to conquer the Himalayan summits by original methods. The expedition members plan to travel hundreds of kilometres along mountain rivers on rafts and catamarans, reaching heights of more than 7,000 metres and flying over the main Himalayan range in paragliders. The city administration's sport and tourism department in conjunction with the Association of Tomsk Rafters, which was set up a month ago, is behind the project. Six people are taking part in the expedition, including mountaineers, parachutists, paragliders and water sportsmen.