The Grand Canyon of the Stikine, a 60-mile stretch of the Stikine River in northern British Columbia, is one of the deepest gorges in Canada, with nearly 40 Class V-plus rapids. The K2 of rivers, the Grand Canyon of the Stikine sees waves as high as 20 feet, as well as boils, seams, and rollicking rapids, all locked in an inaccessible thousand-foot gorge. “It’s so gnarly,” says kayaker Erik Boomer. “It’s my favorite river to run in the world.”
Since his first run in 2005, Boomer has returned seven times, likely logging more descents of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine than anyone else on the planet. He typically spends three days on the water but has also been known to do one-day blitzes of seven to ten hours straight.
The river is located in a subalpine basin known as the Sacred Headwaters—the source of three wild-salmon rivers (the Stikine, the Nass, and the Skeena). Boomer says he sees mostly mountain goats while running the Stikine, but the watershed is also home to significant populations of grizzly bears, caribou, and wolves. “It’s big water, and big wilderness,” he says.
Erik Boomer kayaks the world’s wildest white water and was nominated for Paddler of the Year in 2012. He’s best known for completing the first circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island, Canada, with explorer Jon Turk in 2011, a 1,485-mile journey that took them 104 days on foot, skis, and in kayaks. Read his Adventurers of the Year profile.
Erik Boomer's Gear Pick: Rain Tarp
“I always take a good rain tarp. NRS makes one with sleeves that you can slide your paddles into to create poles—you don’t even need to bring poles.”