Meet Whitewater Kayaker Chris Korbulic, King of First Descents

Chris Korbulic is a world-renowned expedition whitewater kayaker

When the pandemic gutted final yr’s international expedition plans, I regarded to my Pacific Northwest yard for inspiration. In Washington’s wild North Cascade Range I wished to discover a part of river that had by no means been paddled. Analyzing maps and satellite tv for pc imagery I seen myriad trails crisscrossing the vary, opening entry to numerous not often accessed stretches of river.

Twice I hiked with my kayak to scout a collection of promising falls at a spot known as Agnes Creek simply off the Pacific Crest Trail. However water ranges have been by no means proper. On the third attempt every little thing lastly got here collectively. From the banks of an unnamed 45-foot waterfall, I spent three hours learning the drop, reviewing every little thing I’d discovered from greater than 100 first descents of falls world wide. By the point I decide to a fall like this I need to really feel as if I’ve already accomplished it, as a result of I’ve visualized each element. My girlfriend, who was there watching that day, says I obsess over preparation. She’s proper.

Portrait of Chris Korbulic, one of the world’s most renowned expedition whitewater kayakers.
Korbulic is without doubt one of the world’s most famed expedition whitewater kayakers and takes an obsessive strategy to planning. Chris Korbulic

Making my strategy I grew to become enveloped in sunlit mist rising earlier than a moss-covered headwall. On the lip I felt the acceleration of gravity pulling me into a quick arc, then stunning free fall. As a result of the water under was so aerated, the touchdown was really fairly delicate. My kayak submerged possibly 10 toes. In seconds I used to be upright on the base of the falls. My ideas all through have been nearly following the steps of my visualization course of.