Monday, October 8, 2012

A Grand Adventure

For more than 20 years, my dad has been on the wait list for a private permit to raft down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I grew up rafting. Some of my earliest memories are on the river or next to a river. As far back as I can recall these rafting trips, I also remember hearing how some day, we were going to raft the mighty Colorado River. Well, that day is finally here! This is not a commercial trip. We are guiding ourselves, packing our own stuff, and responsible for our own safety. We wouldn't have it any other way!

Here are a few photos on the road to the Grand Canyon:

This appears to be an early attempt at guiding. My brother is the one with no front teeth.

We are clearly a well coordinated team.....

Matt hams it up for the camera while I scout the next rapid....or the boulders on the shoreline....

Pulling hard away from some rock on the South Fork of the American River

Hit it straight! 

Nearly losing Matt! 
Dad (Eric) and Brother (Matt) on a 5 day trip down the Eel River in Northern California 
The master "River Rat" himself, ninja of reading the rapids, efficient systems, and guide mentor, dad 
After a long day on the river, a cold one and talking smack is in order
Now that the trip is finally here, I've been studying up on the river and its rapids like its the Dawn Wall Project. I'll be rowing one of the five 18' rafts we have for the trip. The of the major rapids have their myth, their story, and their promise to dump you and your gear into the cold dark water if you don't run it right. Here's what it looks like to get a little sideways in the infamous "Lava Falls..."

So, for the next 19 days, starting today, I'll be completely off the radar. I'm can hardly wait to be all rigged and on the river! 

Now, it just so happens that our trip is taking place during the entire month of October, which is prime Dawn Wall season. After months of deliberation over whether to just do the Dawn Wall, just do the Canyon, or to hike out of the Canyon after 7 days, I've obviously decided to do the entire river trip. While both trips are incredibly important to me, this trip down the Colorado with family is truly once in a lifetime. 

After talking with Tommy, we have decided to grow the Dawn Wall team and take more of an expedition approach. With more than two team members, we will have more energy, more back up, more talent, and all around good times on the wall. So, we are super happy to have Jonathan Siegrist joining the team! Jonathan is such an awesome guy, with such great talents, Tommy and I couldn't be happier to have him up on the wall with us. If you're not already following Jonathan, be sure to check out his great site:  For the month of October, Tommy and Jonathan will be battling away on the crux pitches. As soon as I get off the river at the end of October, I'll be driving straight to Yosemite to join them! 

One of the most stunning pitches I've ever climbed on....pitch 16
Well, as soon as I click Publish, I'll be putting the finishing touches on packing and driving to Lee's Ferry with the crew to put in on the river! I'll be exploring the vast amount of rock down there as well, so hopefully when I emerge from the canyon, I'll have some stories and photos to share of not just the rapids and camp life, but of some great climbing as well. 

Cheers everybody. And thank you all for the birthday wishes!