Adrenaline Rush Kayaking

Palouse Falls

 

First descent by Tyler Bradt

The Fall Guy: A record-setting, 186-foot descent

Text by Ryan Bradley at National Geographic

There isn’t a lot that scares Tyler Bradt, so before he steered his kayak off the lip of eastern Washington’s Palouse Falls and dropped 18 stories amid water rushing at 2,000 cubic feet per second, he recalls his mind running gin clear, just like the current. “There was a stillness,” says the 22-year-old extreme kayaker. “Then an acceleration, speed, and impact unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I wasn’t sure if I was hurt or not. My body was just in shock.”

So was everyone else. The previously held record for kayak descents, set only weeks earlier, had been off a 127-foot fall in the Amazon. “The risks on a 180-foot drop are exponentially greater,” says kayaker and filmmaker Trip Jennings. “Your rate of descent is multiplied, so the time you have to react plummets.”

Before the record-setting run, Bradt repeatedly visited Palouse Falls State Park to read the water and scout the descent. “The first time I saw the Palouse, I knew it was runnable,” he says. “There’s a smooth green tongue of water that carries about a third of the way down the falls. That was my route.”

This spring Bradt prepared by effortlessly knocking off a string of 70- to 80-foot waterfalls on Oregon’s Hood River. But that didn’t allay the concerns of his fellow paddlers. “Honestly, I told him I didn’t know if it was the best idea,” says Rush Sturges, who followed Bradt down a 107-foot waterfall in Canada two years ago. For the Palouse run, Sturges and eight others were at the ready should anything (concussion, broken back) befall their friend. “But,” Sturges admits, “if something really bad had happened, like getting pinned behind that curtain of water, he would have been on his own.”

On April 21 Bradt emptied his mind and paddled slowly into the river. He made tiny adjustments during the 3.7-second free fall. “The key to controlling the descent was to stay with the curtain and not get launched into the air,” he says. At impact, Bradt tucked his nose to the kayak, kept his body tense, and directed his boat into the heart of the torrent, where the aerated water cushioned his landing. After six seconds beneath the surface, the kayaker re-emerged with a broken paddle, a sprained wrist, and a record that, considering the risks, is perhaps best left unchallenged. “The motivating factor for all this,” Bradt says, “was just that I thought it was possible. I wanted to do it, I guess, because I can.” http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/kayak-waterfall-record

via Roy Stone

Beautiful Images: Two Views of Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls by Stephen Oachs
Palouse Falls by by Stephen Oachs
 
Palouse
Palouse Falls Sunset by Kevin McNeal
 
Stephen Oachs
This amazing waterfall is extremely remote, located in the middle of Eastern Washington State. This time of year the flow is very strong and with a longer exposure I was able to capture the swirl of the water below.
Equipment: Canon 1D Mark III
Stephen W. Oachs is an award-winning photographer, successful entrepreneur and technology veteran, who began his journey in photography the moment he picked up his first SLR camera. Ever since, his lenses have focused on the inspiring majesty of mother earth and the unflinching beauty of the animal kingdom.
Completely self-taught, Stephen’s unique and distinctive style has earned him recognition as one of today’s finest nature photographers. He was recognized in 2007 as wildlife photographer of the year by the National Wildlife Federation and was awarded best nature photographer in 2008 by National Geographic Magazine for his work photographing the endangered snow leopard.
Stephen has received many other awards and his work has graced the pages of on and offline publications worldwide, such as National Geographic, Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife Magazine and many others.
Whether trekking through the wilds of Alaska, enduring the raw challenges of nature or experiencing the thrill of life on the edge, Stephen captures rare and breathtaking moments of light and time. His exceptional eye is filtered only by his passion for life, deep affinity with nature and love of adventure.
 
 
Kevin McNeal
This was taken near the Palouse. I had been here several times but never got any luck when it came to weather. I have been wanting to combine the longer exposure with the sunset colors. I finally got some luck here.
Equipment: Canon 5D
Kevin McNeal is a Washington St. photographer focusing on grand colorful landscapes that reflect the most unique places on earth. Capturing moments of magic light and transferring this on print, images behold a combination of perseverance, patience, and dedication to capture the images in ways unseen before. The stories of how these images are rendered come across in the feelings the images convey. Traveling all over North America with his wife by his side, shooting diverse landscapes and finding remote places to bring the message to the public that this Earth is worth saving.