Curtailed by a lack of international travel last year, Redbull kayaker Ed Muggridge came up with the idea to tackle something closer to home, the 60 kilometers down Filer Creek with two of his mentors,Sandy Macewan and Benny Marr in September 2020. Now, the 20-minute documentary tells the story of that expedition among rock-strewn rapids, occasionally un-runnable water and the local grizzly bears.
The trio assessed the landscape via satellite imagery and spent months over their travel logistics, including flying their kayaks to the launch point. But they still got more than they bargained for. Landslides had created unrunnable rapids, forcing the paddlers to bushwhack to find the next stretch of runnable water. But such efforts were rewarded with descents down untouched gorges, slot canyons with the backdrop of visually stunning rugged mountains and, of course, the area’s grizzly bears.
“There were some really solid sections but the high exposure and riskiness, as well as the remoteness, removed the option of pushing any boundaries,” Muggridge said. “The whole feel and character of the river put me on edge.”
“True backcountry is extremely gnarly, and you can never be too prepared. Going into future expeditions, I’d like to put more focus on getting comfortable in wild settings and ensuring I’m physically and mentally at my best and ready to take on the challenge. Your life is in your own hands. It was a very humbling experience and I’m looking forward to continuing my learning process over the course of my career.”
Watch Film Here:
Some Q&As with Muggridge:
So the helicopter just dropped you at the headwaters of Filer Creek, what’s going through your head?
At that point, there was only one way out, which was down the 50km river. We’d spent months talking and planning, but the feeling of actually being there, watching the helicopter fly away, was one of the wildest, more exposed feelings I’ve felt in my life.
How about the whitewater itself? Is Filer Creek the next best rapid?
It was a classic BC Coast Mountain rapid. There was a lot of fresh rock – moved there by recent landslides – which made the whitewater choppy, unfriendly and definitely not clean. It was scary, powerful whitewater and had nasty features throughout There were some really solid sections, but its high-exposure and riskiness, as well as its remoteness, removed the option of pushing any boundaries. The whole feel and character of the river put me on edge. With less water, I think I would have run more. But, all in all, the gorges and scenery throughout were beautiful.
The trip seemed like a 30/70 split between kayaking and good old fashioned bushwalking. What are your thoughts on type-two fun?
For me, I’ve never been an avid supporter of type-two fun. I’m all about running big drops with immediate satisfaction and I’ve never been on any type of gruelling expedition like this before. Some days we’d spend six to eight hours dragging our heavy kayaks through the thickest BC bush I’ve ever seen – pushing through our blood, sweat, and tears. While other days we’d spend hours descending untouched gorges and canyons, surrounded by beautiful Coast Mountain scenery. It’s not my first choice, completing the seven-day trip and wrapping up the mission was insanely rewarding… And kind of addicting, in the weirdest of ways.
What was your favorite moment from the trip?
There was a section of whitewater after Question Mark Canyon that I’ll remember forever. We paddled through a granite gorge, with dozens of waterfalls flowing down over both the sides. It’s not often that someone can say they did a first descent down a crazy granite box canyon in BC.
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