Wednesday standing in the crowded lobby at the Columbia center for the arts, many of the Wet Planet team and probably the entire boating community said their hellos while we slowly made our way into the theater. The theater was completely full and things got underway quickly. First things first, Charlie jumped right into his expedition photography with his own journey to kayak the Triple Crown: the Susitna in Alaska, the Alsek in the Yukon and the Stikine in Alaska. Covering his journey but also the history of these rivers and the people who have embarked on this journey really brought to life what it means to take on an expedition like this one. With photos and stories we all could see and feel the severity of these rivers while some of us squirmed in excitement I’m sure some also squirmed in apprehension of rivers so formidable, either way the beauty in the photographs were undeniable.
In Charlie’s words “On a lighter note” next was a collection of photos around the gorge and the world. Showing photographs capturing the beauty of our amazing gorge waterfalls as well as beyond to the beauty in other parts of the world. Then we moved on to the legendary Tsangpo River and their first descent expedition.
The Tsangpo River Gorge, located in Tibet is considered to be the Everest of Kayaking. The slideshow explored the region not just in terms of its rivers, but its people, the history as well as the culture. The presentation took all of us out of the theater and into the true wilderness that is the Tsangpo Gorge. Huge volumes of water run through these hidden gorges and it is no wonder that for hundreds of years this treacherous and mysterious land has been left mostly unexplored. Each photograph of enormous whitewater hardly showed the tiny kayakers that were in the heart of this colossal water. Looking at shots of high rock walls, minute kayakers and endless massive holes, one could see the enormity of this first descent and that’s not even mentioning the fact that they are literally in the heart of Tibetan wilderness. With stories of whitewater and lessons in cultural differences, the story was told to all of us who gathered that evening.
The Wet Planet team are all extremely impressed and inspired by the show, and wanted to send out our appreciation and support. A local paddler and photographer for the Gorge, we want to say “Amazing job Charlie!”