Middle Fork of the Kings River, California

Now we were not exactly planning this mission or training day after day for this particular run, but with two days notice Keel Brightman and I found ourselves on a trip with Ethan Smith and Rob Bart after the rest of the crew had gone in a few days before. Rob was at the take out so Keel, Ethan, and I set out on Phase one – Drive all day long to Kings Canyon (our take out).

Soon we were in Phase twoDrive our 7.5 hour shuttle to the trail head at Bishop Pass and start the hike. As we soon found out, you do not want to hike in with all your gear and no overnight permits. Team Raw Dawg had some trouble with the permit system and had to walk all the way back down from the top of the pass. It was late in the day so this also meant that we had to wait until the next day to get permits and hike in.

Phase 3 proved to be the toughest as we had to hike 12 miles in, over Bishop Pass, and descend into the Middle Fork of the Kings River. A couple recommendations for Phase 3 – *Take bug spray, trust me! I hate the stuff, but not as bad as I hate being swollen for 3 days due to the attack efforts of the little flying demon skeet’s, they’re not too bad below 7,000ft. *Test your back pack system way in advance, the longer you have to deal with it there, the longer you have to look up at Bishop Pass. also, make sure the plastic buckles on your carrying system can hold up to 80+lbs. without breaking. *Train for the hike.

Phase 4 – Take the river one day at a time and one rapid at a time. 43 miles of non stop whitewater dropping over 7,000 vertical feet after you hike over 12,000 ft. Bishop Pass to access the river.

Ethan Smith on the decent into Leconte Canyon
Approaching Bishop Pass
Made it...
Made it…halfway. Bishop Pass

This was my first High Sierra run and words can’t fully describe the trip or the place. We were on the river for 5 long days before we made it to the bottom of Kings Canyon and it was the toughest experience in my life in many ways. No carnage to speak of, but plenty challenging and intense moments for everyone. Thanks to Todd Anderson of Team Pyranha for the use of the Everest, it turned out to be a great expedition boat! There is no way I can accurately tell a play by play of each day so I’ll let the pics tell the story from here on out, enjoy.

Some fun slides near the put-in
Some fun slides near the put-in
Early in the run

Ethan exiting the waterfall canyon
Tehipite Dome
Early in the bottom 9
Ethan in the bottom 9
Bottom 9 action
Portaging in the bottom 9
The exit gates


5 days later – Stoked!

Photos Courtesy of Keel Brightman Photography, Ethan Smith – and Willy


6 thoughts on “Middle Fork of the Kings River, California”

  1. glad to see some pics up. wish i coulda been with you guys. i love it when good people come together, willy is the man. see you guys soon.- zak in tahoe

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