"Whitewater Classics" on the Middle Kings
Here is what a new guidebook “Whitewater Classics”, by Tyler Williams, had to say about the Middle Kings River.
Note: this book has some badass rivers in it. I had not seen it till over at the Burge’s, great read, I highly recommend it.
“Running the Middle Fork of the Kings is the ultimate whitewater adventure in the Sierra Nevadas. A trip down the Middle Kings crosses the breadth of the mountain range, and finishes in the foothills 50 miles downstream. En route, the river drops nearly 8,000 feet in elevation. The journey requires one to two days of hiking to reach the put-in, followed by five to seven days of paddling. There are class V rapids every day of the trip, and a handful of class VI drops. One could hardly create a more perfect setting for cutting-edge wilderness whitewater than the Middle Fork of the Kings.
The first exploration of the river was just one piece of an audacious plan to run all three rivers that bisect the southern Sierra Nevada. The rivers are the San Joaquin, the Kern, and the Kings. The adventures who made it their mission to descend all three in kayaks were Reg Lake, Royal Robbins, and Doug Tompkins……
They systematically ran the three major trans-sierra rivers in consecutive seasons, starting with the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin in 1980. This descent is considered the most impressive of the three, as the group had to employ a great deal of problem solving technique gained through their climbing experience to portage their way through the San Joaquin’s sheer-walled gorges. It was the Middle Fork of the Kings, however that Royal Robbins remembers as the “toughest of the three”.
“Whitewater Classics, Fifty North American Rivers Picked by the Continent’s Leading Paddlers” , Tyler Williams, Funhog Press, Flagstaff, AZ, 2004.
** Hats off to Robbins, Lake and Thomkins for their bold plan and attainment of the goal. Cheers to Scott, the Kerns, Buffy, The Knapps, Mark Hayden and BJ for sticking the modern day descent.
****There is lots more to the Middle Kings story in the book, check it out. There are also great stories about the Fantasy Falls Run and northern classics, the Homathko and the Stikine.
For the FUNHOG PRESS website
Here is a link to purchase the title from REI
Also in the book is a great bio on Buffy. and I quote
"The Middle Fork of the Kings remains her most memorable Sierra Nevada descent. Thus far, she is only one of three females to have made the grueling wilderness trip."
Well, lets see, two of those girls are Buffy and Nikki, sooo, they have both paddled the river twice now, seconded only by Tommy Hilleke, John Grace, Scott Lindgren (3 peater, the man) and thats it. Fellas looks like you're a bit behind.