Triumph and Tragedy

It will change how you view yourself, the world and everyone in it.

Not since 1981, when a team of expedition paddlers first attempted the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, has North America’s benchmark whitewater river seen such triumph or such tragedy. The Stikine drains some 20,000 square miles of British Columbia wilderness through a narrow crack in the Coastal Range. This 45-mile cataract is the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, a series of massive Class V-VI rapids surrounded by inescapable, 1,000-foot vertical walls.

The stretch, typically run as a three-day, alpine-style self-support, has become a rite of passage for the world’s best expedition paddlers. Their names are legend: Lesser, Holbeck, Ammons, Lindgren, DeLaVergne. In 31 years, none of them attempted Site Zed, an extraordinarily long and complex rapid with three distinct river-wide holes.

Read: Triumph and Tragedy | Canoe & Kayak