Let the Games Begin!

The game we were after was expedition kayaking at its finest.

*Rule one of any game - you can only get better by playing an better opponent.

Our opponent was completing a run down the infamous Middle Fork of the Kings River in California. Now we were not exactly planning this mission or training day after day for this particular run, but with two days notice Keel Brightman and I found ourselves on a trip with Ethan Smith and Rob Bart after the rest of the crew had gone in a few days before. Rob was at the take out so Keel, Ethan, and I set out on Phase one - Drive all day long to Kings Canyon (our take out).

Rob Bart and our fearless shuttle driver, Becca
Soon we were in Phase two - Drive our 7.5 hour shuttle to the trail head at Bishop Pass and start the hike. As we soon found out, you do not want to hike in with all your gear and no overnight permits. Team Raw Dawg had some trouble with the permit system and had to walk all the way back down from the top of the pass. It was late in the day so this also meant that we had to wait until the next day to get permits and hike in. With the opponent throwing sucker punches we set up camp and started our hike at 9am the next morning.

Phase 3 proved to be the toughest as we had to hike 12 miles in, over Bishop Pass, and descend into the Middle Fork of the Kings River. A couple recommendations for Phase 3 - *Take bug spray, trust me! I hate the stuff, but not as bad as I hate being swollen for 3 days due to the attack efforts of the little flying demon skeet's, they're not too bad below 7,000ft. *Test your back pack system way in advance, the longer you have to deal with it there, the longer you have to look up at Bishop Pass. also, make sure the plastic buckles on your carrying system can hold up to 80+lbs. without breaking. *Train for the hike, once again, trust me! I trained for the whitewater and not really the hike, and it was a little worse than I thought.

Phase 4 - Take the river one day at a time and one rapid at a time, but this phase will last for days on end and is not negotiable no matter how much you plead, the river gods can't hear you in this canyon. 43 miles of non stop whitewater dropping over 7,000 vertical feet after you hike over 12,000 ft. Bishop Pass to access the river.

This was my first High Sierra run and words can't fully describe the trip or the place. We were on the river for 5 long days before we made it to the bottom of Kings Canyon and it was the toughest experience in my life in many ways. No carnage to speak of, but plenty challenging and intense moments for everyone. Thanks to Todd Anderson of Team Pyranha for the use of the Everest, sick expedition boat! I'll let the pics tell the story from here on out, enjoy.

Photos Courtesy of Keel Brightman Photography - and Willy


Jay Gifford said...


Great Post! Gotta love a good old fashion High Sierra beatdown!

Talk to you later!

chrsk said...

Sick boys,
still wish I could have been there with you.

Ethan said...

Check out http://picasaweb.google.com/ethan.design/MFKings for more pics from this trip!

Willy Pell said...

Yeah Team Oregon! Pleasure paddling w/ you guys...

zak quick said...

glad to see some pics up. wish i coulda been with you guys. i love it when good people come together, willy is the man. see you guys soon.- zak in tahoe

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