Many of you that joined us in 2012 on the Middle Fork Salmon will remember Ryan Casey. He joined the WRO crew last season and brings unparalleled whitewater experience to the table. Ryan has raft guided in the past but is known for his exceptional kayaking ability! The Stikine River of British Columbia is a classic of North America for Class V+ expedition kayaking. Only a select few kayaking groups venture into the Stikine each year. Thanks to Ryan for sharing some pictures and words from his adventure this fall!
Our trip consisted of four members, Cooper Lambla, Bryan Ward, Ben Hawthorne and myself. It was my fourth time, Ben’s third time, Brian’s second time and Cooper’s first time. We drove there in two days about 36 hours from Stanley. Splitting shifts driving not too hard mentally but physically cramped after being in a little Honda CRV for that long. The hardest part of the drive for me was knowing what lies ahead after we put on. Our group put on with about 14,000 cfs and about a 90% chance of rain. We had a little over an inch of rain throughout the first two days and by evening day 2 we had clear skies. By morning day three the water level had risen to a high level of about 18,000-19,000 cfs. At this point, there is no great egress except by river. The hike out would be insane, roughly 40 miles through coastal British Colombia’s thick forest over rugged terrain and a three thousand foot scramble just to make it up to the top of the canyon rim. Luckily I had seen similar water levels on my previous trips and knew we were still within tolerances for levels. The Stikine is unparalleled in terms of commitment, difficulty, and beauty. Each day holds at least one rapid where the canyon walls make portaging impossible and one is forced to run class V+. At only about 60 miles and three days car to car, it is not the longest, but it sure might be the best river trip I have ever done.
We hope you enjoyed some of the pictures from Ryan as much as we did. We are excited to have Ryan on the WRO team and look forward to getting him back on the river for a full season next year!
The video below is not from Ryan’s trip, but this White Box Magazine video gives you a good idea of the whitewater on a Grand Canyon of the Stikine River expedition!