Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Trip of a Lifetime

Well, after 19 days and 226 miles, we survived the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon! That may be a little dramatic, but the trip was not without serious adventure. The whitewater on the Colorado River is big, fast, and cold. All of these rapids went smoothly with one exception: Horn Creek. 

For some reason, this rapid had our number. 3 of our 5 rafts had swimmers on this rapid, and I managed to flip my boat! Whitewater rafting is a lot like climbing. The big rapids have a very specific sequence in order to make it through safely. If you get off line (mess up the sequence), you're in trouble. Entering Horn Creek Rapid, I felt that my position and angles were correct. Unfortunately I was wrong. Very wrong. Instead of pulling wide of a huge hole in river center, we hit it square. I lost my grip on the right oar, which prevented me from correcting our drift toward a huge boulder. I screamed "high side!" as soon as I saw what was going to happen, but it was no use. Over we went into the cold, loud, viscous river. The boat before us had the oarsman fall out and the boat after us had their passenger fall out! We all escaped with some bumps and bruises, but no major damage. Whew!

As a climber, I was particularly interested in the geology at the bottom of the canyon. Depending on where you are, the quality and type of the rock varies dramatically. My favorite features were the Muav Limestone in Marble Canyon, the Redwall Cavern, and the Vishnu Shist. These all provided unique and fun bouldering opportunities, including a little "deep water soloing" right out of the raft! 

I'm now back in Yosemite for my fourth season on the Dawn Wall Project with Tommy Caldwell and new team member Jonathan Siegrist! I'll post an update about this shortly. Until then, enjoy the following photos from the Grand Canyon! 


1 comment:

  1. Kevin,

    Outstanding post! During your video I love watching your Dad, oblivious to the video being taken, in the background.

    Been watching your progress on the wall. Be safe and hope to see you in Idaho soon!