I wanted to check in from the Whistler, BC library about some recent adventures that I have been having out here.
Tommy Hilleke once said that "everything else is just training for kayaking in BC." I've been thinking about that statement over the past few weeks of exploring this area of the world. It is absolutely true. The rivers here are remote, difficult to get into, sometimes impossible to get out of, and any scouting or portaging comes only with great effort. With that being said, these rivers are absolutely incredible! They simply feel more primal than what I have done in other parts of the world. Just yesterday I got out of my boat to scout a rapid and came face to face with a good sized black bear as I crashed through the brush. I think we were equally as scared of the other, but it was a crazy experience for sure.
I recently met up with Whistler local Ric Moxon for a sick trip down into the Paradise Valley area that is home to the Elaho and Ashlu Rivers. By far the highlight of that trip was the Fear Canyon of the Elaho. A lot of people have told me that this is the best training out there for people who have their sights set on the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. I have been deliberating about whether I have what it takes to complete the Stikine, so I was stoked to get into Fear Canyon and see if I could hang.
Is this heaven?
An appropriately named gorge for sure!
We spent two days paddling in there, and were joined on the first day by our friends Middy Tilghman, Louis Geltman, and Ash Bullivant. All of these boys are strong, talented, and level-headed boaters, and it was great to be with them as we dropped into a very intimidating river.
Charging into the first walled in ledge...
The group had a swim just above the crux of the canyon, but fortunately were able to get everyone to the side and safe before things went richter around the corner. We climbed high on the right to get a good look at the multi-tiered monster.
After a great deal of deliberation about the line, myself and two other boys dropped in. Here I am rounding the first huge pourover. From here on out everything just goes ballistic.
You're definitely stoked when you come safely out of that thing!
The Pinch is the last rapid on the run, and lives up to its name with a burly lead-in drop and then 6,000+ cfs of river going though a very narrow slot.
All in all, Fear Canyon is one of the coolest runs I have done in quite a while. It is a humbling and powerful place that gives me even more respect for its bigger, meaner brother up north... the Stikine. I'll keep training hard and try to prepare myself for the mysteries that lie within that canyon.
Video coming soon.