Kayakers in the Seattle area can stop dropping their jaws now. A kayaker did not, in fact, drop 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls.
But it certainly seemed that way June 25 when the latest issue of trendy lifestyle publication Seattle Metropolitan hit the stands, showing a photo of a kayakers going off the lip of the 268-foot, kiss-your-spine-goodbye falls. The cover photo was meant to go along with a story by reporter Courtney Nash on “35 Northwest Playgrounds,” depicting top summer adventures for readers to purse in the Northwest “in the water, on the ground, and high in the sky.”
It’s the first and third of those that the kayaker would have experienced—as well as a fourth, “in the hospital” had he or she actually run the falls.
“I’ve scouted Snoqualmie falls a couple of times,” says former world Waterfall record holder Tao Berman. “I think at really high water it would be possible to do without killing yourself. But the only way I would attempt it is if I found out I had terminal cancer.”
Instead of shattering the dubious world waterfall record set by Berman on Alberta, Canada’s Johnston Falls in 1999 (matched by Canada’s Logan Grayling in 2007), and subsequently broken by Tyler Bradt (and a swimming Rush Sturgess) on 108-foot Alexandra Falls in 2007, the photoshopped cover prompted a flood of emails that promptly clogged up local chatrooms and message boards.
“Everyone should have known it was a hoax,” says one local paddler, duped by the photo to chat about it on various message boards. “That’s a pretty big drop to run without getting killed.”
So the record, spine-tingling as it is, remains safe, if not the paddlers attempting to break it.