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Old 03-11-2010   #31
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 700
Remote class V at 10 K

First, it was cool to see some video of some people I I boated with in boats I used to paddle.

I am on record as saying Class V big water scares me. As a result, the Class V big water that I have paddled is roadside and in the west. Remote country and 10K plus is seriously incredible. I do think there are alot of stronger boaters today than there once were, but that is one amazing river. What percentage of boaters are able to pull off first decents in the himalayas and come back alive? Class V big water and class V creeking are two different things.

Putting it a different way, how many people run Gore when it is up at 10 K. It has a railroad track through it. Has anyone put on black canyon above 5k?

Pretty cool stuff. If any of you do it, get it on video because I want to see it!!

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Old 03-11-2010   #32
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,131
Originally Posted by GoodTimes View Post
Reggie Crist (sp?).....Olympic downhill skier....definitely a world-class athlete and probably quite fearless. Probably would progress faster in the sport than most.

But I hear what you're saying....

On the US Ski Team for ten years, very athletic, very focused.
Downhiller is very use to speed, quick reactions and being constantly thrown off balance.
...and as mentioned fearless....and of course the "too new to be scared...

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Old 03-11-2010   #33
phlyingfish's Avatar
Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
On the Reggie Crist point, he's a Sun Valley local, so I'm pretty sure he "came up" on the North Fork Payette paddling with most of the guys who went on that 1999 Stikine trip. That's not your standard three year progression and his high level of athleticism probably gave him an edge that would otherwise require years of experience. As Doug mentioned in his excellent post, a season or two on the North Fork is about the best "training" one can do for the Stikine. I know the Idaho crew who went in there last fall had all logged vertical miles on the North Fork before heading north for their big run. It's no coincidence that more boaters with roots in Banks, Idaho have run the Stikine than any other group.

On the "more people are doing it" point, I think advances in equipment and technique have allowed a lot more people to acquire the requisite skills more quickly than in the past. The fact remains that the Stikine will always be one of the most demanding, difficult, and committing rivers anyone can paddle. At most, maybe three or four successful descents are made in a year, and all of them are still subject to the same fickle water levels that have foiled past attempts. It's a big, cold, powerful river in a big empty place. No advance in technology will ever change, much less diminish, that. To think otherwise is hubris in its purest form. Rivers like the Stikine have no patience for hubris.
"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes writing for the majority in New Jersey v. New York
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Old 03-11-2010   #34
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 15

Running the Stikine makes you an entirely different class of boater. It is not the zam or the Futa, this is entireoly different. I know some people who have run it, one has since passed, however If you are really serious I could probably get you in touch with my friend Matt. He will certainly not do it with you because he does not know you. But he might be willing to chat with you about it.
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Old 03-11-2010   #35
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,095
Don't know anything about the guy with 3 years boating experience, but years don't really mean much. Its all about days on the water, the difficulty you paddle and how you train. Its not uncommon for motivated, athletic, new boaters with a group of solid experienced paddlers to progress extremely quickly. I've been boating 6 years, and paddled with a guy in his early 20's who had paddled just about every day for a little over a year. He was significantly better than me...

Also, you could have farted around with minimal effort on class III for decades and made little progress. Conversely, one season boating every day busting the hardest moves you can find can improve your boating very quickly.

I think that there is also a growing pool of very talented boaters. There are kayak high schools that produce 18 yr old kids with phenomenal boating skills. The things that Hilleke and Grace have done with single day descents are examples of the iron man marathon conditioning approach some paddlers have taken to their training.

I don't know what kind of progression will happen in the future, but I would not be surprised to see boater skill level, physical conditioning, and gear all continue to improve incrementally, which should result in an ever increasing pool of boaters who have the skills to attack something like the stikine.

The green river was one of the most badass creeks when the original guys did the first D. Recently a SE crew did 10 laps in a day with some of the boaters running everything every run. Its amazing how things can change over time...

Another thing is that "running" something has variable meanings. Water levels, portages, and team support can dramatically change the way expeditions are attempted. Helicopter support was used by some of the old school guys in early descents, and it seems like this could help with some of the remote issues. I was also really impressed with the approach the range life crew took to some of their BC missions having a ground support climbing crew ready to rope them out of gorges from the top. Not wanting high water, Lindgren and crew tackled the tsango po in winter at lower water levels. There are differnt ways to approach a river expedition.

Just as I love reading about crazy mountaineering expeditions I will never attempt, I love to read about crazy boating expeditions I will never attempt. Major props to all the boaters who have and will run the stikine!
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Old 03-12-2010   #36
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 47
Reggie Crist (the 3rd year paddler to run the Stikine) ran the n fork about 50 times before going up there. The stikine is not where the " ignorance is bliss rule" aplies. He put the work in and deserved to be there.
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Old 03-12-2010   #37
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 428
How is the play in there for a ducky compared to waterton?
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Old 03-12-2010   #38
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,031
I never intended to start a dog on Reggie Crist session - obviously a sic skier and boater. However, it does capture something interesting. It says he placed 28th at the olympics in men's downhill at age 23 (and he's accomplished much more since then). So that sounds like maybe something roughly equivalent to what my impression of the running the Stikine is. If you're one of the top, what, 30, 40 kayakers in the world you might be qualified to run the Stikine? Is that accurate? I mean it's been described as perhaps the hardest runnable stretch of whitewater in the world (at least until the Tsangpo was run).

When did Crist start skiing? I'm guessing as a little kid. How many of the Olympic skiers he competed with that year had only been skiing for 3 years? Well, I can't prove it, but my guess is zero. I would guess almost all had been skiing since they were very young and training seriously for a number of years.

This is the conflict I'm trying to resolve. Does that reflect the immaturity of the sport of kayaking compared to skiing - that a 3rd year kayaker can accomplish something only the best boaters in the world are capable of, or does it reflect a need to reclassify the difficulty of the Stikine by modern standards.

Again, disclaimer, not trying to insult anyone, just interested in people's opinions. If you've run the Stikine you're a bad ass kayaker in my book.
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Old 03-12-2010   #39
Denver via GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Posts: 333
I only think it implies that its a competitive sport verses a non-competitive sport. The relationship between the two is different. To make the comparison he would need to have kayaked for three years and placed respective to the number of qualifiers at the Olympics in kayaking or the Free Style Worlds. I can ski the same race coarse they are medaling on, just not as fast.
"I plan to leisurely advance through my existence" - Terry Fuhrman 1991
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Old 03-12-2010   #40
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While this information is extremely informative, I was hoping to find out more about such things as camp descriptions, relative/approximate distances to camps, rapid names, the order of the rapids... things more along that order of business.

bzapski- It would be nice to talk to your buddy that has run it.


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