Eddie Bauer adventure kayakers Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic have run some isolated and burly rivers in their day. But the first sucessful run of the Marble Fork of the Kaweah in Sequoia National Park was another level of commitment entirely. The mission involved an eight-day portage and vertical epic of establishing a sporty big-wall traverse with the assistance of Yosemite-based climbers Forrest Noble and Jared Johnson then a five-hour descent into a never-before-run, two-thousand-foot deep canyon
with no potential for escape.
Located in Stookesberry’s backyard of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Kaweah River flows from greater than 12,000 feet of elevation to near sea level in less than 30 miles. The steep gradient combined with snowpacks that average 30 feet deep, and melt quickly in hot California sun, has carved canyons into 100-million-year-old bedrock that creates an ideal scenario for whitewater kayaking. But the most challenging aspect of slaying the Marble Fork portion of this river was exhibiting the patience to hit it at exactly the right flow—a once-a-decade occurrence—that allowed them to tick off the Impossible Gorge section that was long considered un-runnable by the kayak world.
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