A few facts: this footage is from 2012, which was a big year for the legendary Stikine. Before 2012, Site Zed was considered Class VI (unrunnable) and was always portaged. The first kayaker to run it, Ben Marr, did so in 2012 just a few weeks prior to Cramer & Co. running it in inflatables. Now the rapid has had a handful more runs (in hardshells) so is considered a V+ but is certainly at the upper threshold of that ranking.
I just finished reading Mark Cramers book "Water...the blood of my soul" which was published last year (can't link to the site right now as I'm on a phone but you can order it online which is what I did). The book is very "raw" and told from a story tellers point of view - probably fair to say it is "unplugged." In the book Mark describes his evolution as a rafter in various crafts to the "kickboats" of today (what he calls cataraft tubes with radically kicked tubes like the Legend and Wave Destroyer). He does a good job explaining in the book why "kickboats" perform better than a standard cataraft tube.
In the book he describes his runs of Devils Canyon of the Susitna and Turnback canyon of the Alsek in great detail (2005) which made for some very intense can't put the book down reading. He also talks about his attempted run in 2006 of the Stikine in a cataraft where he had to evacuate out a few Rapids in. He then talks about his evolution of getting into the creature crafts with Darren the designer and co. And training for the Stikine run shown in the video which they ran in 2012. There are 2 things that happened in that 2012 creature craft run of the Stikine not shown in the video that for me made for a slightly emotional and very intense read as he described their run down the Stikine. Some of you may already know them but I don't want to spoil the book for you - just to give a few hints - the first one was something that happened during the run to the boat with the 2 guys in it - the next involved another "first" on the Stikine that also happened in 2012 and it wasn't related to any of the first descents of the Site Zed rapid.
Mark was easily the smoothest run down the Site Zed rapid. Apparently when they ran the creature crafts down the Stikine in 2012 and Mark pointed out where he had to be evacuated out from his 2006 run they couldn't believe he had made it that far in a Cataraft! I hope I get the chance to meet Mark one day. Again highly recommended book!!!!
Yep. I picked it up on Kindle for 3.99 after you mentioned it. Read the intro sections and then skipped to the final Stikine run since its actually a pretty long book and I was curious for the details on that part.
Now I'm finishing up the middle parts and have to say that while it certainly isn't polished writing of any sort, its easy reading and the sections on the triple crown (Susitna, Alsek, Stikine) rivers were really gripping, interesting and couldn't put it down. It is also paints an interesting picture of the evolution of running whitewater in inflatables -- from surplus army pontoons to creature crafts...
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