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A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

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A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by inbetweenswims on Sat 20 Nov 2010, 9:35 pm

I'm looking for questions for Doug Ammons....

Whitewater explorer and author, Doug Ammons, has agreed to sit down for an interview for the 'In Between Swims' podcast in the next few weeks. (He'll be coming through DC in early December.) While there's plenty I can talk with him about, I want to solicit questions and conversation items from the larger boating community. I did this last year with EJ and got several great suggestions that were used on the show.

This time, it's Doug Ammons turn. Have a question about running the Stikine solo? The Amazon? Maybe an item from 'Whitewater Philosophy' or "The Laugh of the Water Nymph?" Or his views on current paddling culture? This is a great opportunity to get feedback from one of the definitive paddlers in our sport.

Drop me a note at inbetweenswims@yahoo or post here - and let me know what you'd like to hear Ammons speak about.....

Thanks for listening....

~jeffmc
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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by Compton Boater on Sun 21 Nov 2010, 12:01 am

Thanks Jeff, what a great way to do it. I have always respected Doug. In light of the extensive conversations online and in AW surrounding Doug's somewhat dismissive prose of today's generation of paddlers, I would like to ask this question:


"Doug,

You have been fairly outspoken on your thoughts on today's top paddlers. Several times you have dismissed or "put down" the latest generation of paddlers and the art of waterfall running in general. Do you believe that yourself and the paddler's in the early 90's accomplishments are superior to today's top paddler's accomplishments? Do you think that your solo Stikine run is still significant in the face of today's multiple 1 day Stikine runs, North Fork at 8,000 cfs and the unbelievably big slide/waterfall drops and first descents that are being run?"


Last edited by Compton Boater on Sun 21 Nov 2010, 7:34 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : better prose)

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by Alphawave on Mon 22 Nov 2010, 12:45 pm

Ask him how he thinks modern boat design and construction has changed what people are doing. Which things (if any) would he have wanted to have most when he was making first descents?

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by brianteats on Mon 22 Nov 2010, 6:25 pm

inbetweenswims wrote:I'm looking for questions for Doug Ammons....

Whitewater explorer and author, Doug Ammons, has agreed to sit down for an interview for the 'In Between Swims' podcast in the next few weeks. (He'll be coming through DC in early December.) While there's plenty I can talk with him about, I want to solicit questions and conversation items from the larger boating community. I did this last year with EJ and got several great suggestions that were used on the show.

This time, it's Doug Ammons turn. Have a question about running the Stikine solo? The Amazon? Maybe an item from 'Whitewater Philosophy' or "The Laugh of the Water Nymph?" Or his views on current paddling culture? This is a great opportunity to get feedback from one of the definitive paddlers in our sport.

Drop me a note at inbetweenswims@yahoo or post here - and let me know what you'd like to hear Ammons speak about.....

Thanks for listening....

~jeffmc

In my recent online exploits, I can't find any information about him running the Amazon. Something about running the whole length(headwater to ocean?) Did he do this? If so, I'd love to hear more about that. I see 'the world's longest river' mentioned...as in the Nile? I'm confused.
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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by PeruH2o on Wed 24 Nov 2010, 3:21 am

Compton Boater wrote:

"Doug,

You have been fairly outspoken on your thoughts on today's top paddlers. Several times you have dismissed or "put down" the latest generation of paddlers and the art of waterfall running in general. Do you believe that yourself and the paddler's in the early 90's accomplishments are superior to today's top paddler's accomplishments? Do you think that your solo Stikine run is still significant in the face of today's multiple 1 day Stikine runs, North Fork at 8,000 cfs and the unbelievably big slide/waterfall drops and first descents that are being run?"


Compton, I don't think Doug ever said he or that the paddlers of his time were superior to today's paddlers. I know he understands how amazingly good today's boaters are. His view of whitewater, however, does go beyond running the gnar just to show others he can run the biggest water and this drives him to express his opinion against that. This opinion is not against the boaters or their kayaking abilities, but against the reasons some of them have to run rivers. I am glad you mentioned the 8k cfs NF run because most of the people that ran that river did it because of their love for whitewater. Most of them, including the two full top to bottoms, are pretty much local paddlers who are not sponsored and are just cool humble boaters. Doug has deep respect for those guys.
http://www.mikeleedsphotography.com/Kayaking/Kayaking-relatedlifestyle/5823646_76DSH/2/912145290_RHfWz#912145290_RHfWz
http://www.paddlinglife.net/article.php?id=562

Also you should read this article to see what Ammons thinks about one day Stikine descents and as well as to see the respect and admiration Ammons has for younger boaters like Boomer, Bradt and Grace.
http://www.dougammons.com/FeasibilityStikine.html

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by PeruH2o on Wed 24 Nov 2010, 12:32 pm

About waterfalls and the poetry of rivers.

http://www.dougammons.com/Wildwater.html#excerpts

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by Compton Boater on Wed 24 Nov 2010, 9:16 pm

Peru,

I agree completely that the NF runs and many others are locals just loving what they do and I am sure many have been inspired by Doug as have I. Doug has also heaped lots of praise on many paddlers throughout time and is quite humble when interviewed and in writing often saying other people deserve awards more. It also seems that more than any other paddler in history though, he has been somewhat belittling of paddlers who have come after him like in the American Whitewater magazine "Great Debate" article. Having that status as likely the paddler that has been the most critical of younger paddlers ever is an interesting topic. He has been especially critical of Tyler Bradt and his friends by implying that all they do is run waterfalls. However younger paddlers like Tyler have run more class V rapids in their 25 years than Doug has in his 50. It is just a different era where kids grow up in programs like World Class where they are running Class V 100 days a year starting at 15 years old. By 20 they are running class V 200 days a year. I think Doug is a great and humble guy and I totally respect him as do guys like Tyler. I just think a good question is "How significant does he think the accomplishment of guys in Dancers is compared to what people are doing today". And "Why do those accomplishments need to be defended by implying that it is more significant than what the latest generation is doing". Should'nt it just stand alone? When politicians are interviewed they get asked tough questions and those tough questions make interviews more interesting. When an interviewer can dig into a persons psych and tease out some deep thoughts beyond "what is your favorite river" it makes for interesting listening.

I really do think Doug is especially humble and a great ambassador and probably the only reason it seems like he belittles is just because he has so much writing out there that it easy to draw conclusions. If other paddlers from the past had as much writing out there, I am sure they would seem much more holier than thou than Doug does.

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by PeruH2o on Wed 24 Nov 2010, 11:13 pm

Hi Compton,

I thought your questions were thought provoking and I think they would be good questions for any interview. I wrote my reply based on my own opinion of Ammons and about what I see his relationship with the new school of boaters is.

With that said, I also need to mention that I wasn't aware of the great debate. I just started reading it and I find it fascinating. Thank you for bringing it up. I guess it all started with an argument between Ammons and steep creekers about what the "cutting edge" in kayaking was, and then Doug wrote and article to which Tyler replied afterwards. Then many other personalities gave their opinions in this matter and the outcome was the great debate. The whole thing is in the link below for the rest of the community if they haven't read it yet like me.

http://www.dougammons.com/TheCuttingEdgeOfKayaking.html

I still think Doug didn't belittle Tyler in his essay, but Tyles does write

"The older paddling generation scoffed them privately and publicly. Holding a high standard of humor, this new crowd loved their critics or cared nothing about them"

So there may have been more going on that what I know. Anyway, I personally think Doug is a pretty humble person and pretty supportive to people rising to challanges.

Thanks for sharing about the great debate. I haven't finished reading the whole thing, but it's fascinating so far.

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by PeruH2o on Wed 24 Nov 2010, 11:20 pm

Jeff, sorry to have taken your post a little off topic. Since this is supposed to be about questions, I think I would ask him the following two:

1) what was going through his mind while he was putting his gear on to come out from retirement and run the lower 5 of the NF at record levels?

2) Did he know he was going to do it when he left Montana or did he make the decision after seeing the river?

Thanks!
Christian

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by wasatchbill on Thu 25 Nov 2010, 10:49 pm

So where is that nameless run mentioned in his SteepCreek interview? How about what state? What latitude? Very Happy

http://www.dougammons.com/InterviewWithSteepCreek.html
"One of my all-time favorites will remain nameless. I’ve run it a number of times and to my knowledge nobody else has ever found it. It’s in a deep quartzite gorge, has multiple waterfalls 20 to 35 feet, long cascades, an interesting roped portage around a cascading sieve, and a mile of biggish water class V at the end."

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by Compton Boater on Fri 26 Nov 2010, 1:46 am

The "nameless creek" is called Boulder creek near Troy, MT. About 10 miles downstream on the West side of the Kootenai from Troy. I'm not sure when the article was written but I heard Doug ran it solo and kept it a secret for quite a while. I think the next groups to find it were maybe in 99 or so, by 2001 people in Montana ran it regularly but it is a lot of work and a long shuttle for 1 - 15 foot logging dam, then a portage where you need to know where to get out and one tight 25 foot waterfall. Then you hit the kootenai river class 3 section. There's not a lot of rapids but t's very beautiful and peaceful in a deep canyon with clear water.

It's definitely a testament to someone's soulfulness to not brag about a 1st D and not even tell anyone. Pretty cool. He did'nt care if he got a sock sponsor or anything.

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by johnnie a. on Fri 26 Nov 2010, 7:21 pm

compton, i say this in all respectfulness, but you should post less on the internet and just go boatin' more, and try and push your limits like the guys in this video clip... don't get me wrong, compton, as i'm sure you're much more handsome than the backwoods hillbillies in this little rough-cut/homegrown film attempt...

http://www.tgrmedia.com/tgrclips/wehyakintrailmedwm.htm
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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by afaust on Fri 26 Nov 2010, 10:22 pm

The unintendo air screw from the female kayaker on the first slide looked gnarly.

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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by inbetweenswims on Wed 01 Dec 2010, 10:37 pm

Thanks to everyone for the great questions and topics. The response has been really great and the Utah Rivers board has been really helpful. Several of the items mentioned - views on new boaters, more detail on Stikine, thoughts on First D's, etc - will, hopefully make for a great conversation.

Seriously, thanks. This exactly the sort of feedback I was looking for and hope the In Between Swims can reflect with Ammons and others.
brianteats wrote:

In my recent online exploits, I can't find any information about him running the Amazon. Something about running the whole length(headwater to ocean?) Did he do this? If so, I'd love to hear more about that. I see 'the world's longest river' mentioned...as in the Nile? I'm confused.

So..this is my bad. Apparently, I read the Outside clip incorrectly. Doug hasn't done the complete Amazon - only the first 50 miles or so. I'll likely do a little more on that in the show.

And, thanks for listening....
~jeffmc
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Re: A request for questions for Doug Ammons...

Post by wasatchbill on Fri 03 Dec 2010, 5:42 am

This thread got me to read some of Dougs writings, which has been fun. I have a question for him about the changing nature of what "class V" is (I'm not a class V boater, just curious about the way things are rated). Whitewater ratings have always seemed more nebulous to me than rock climbing or ice climbing ratings; perhaps thats just the way it is. But I noticed that he wrote something along the lines that the NF Payette gets two grades harder at 4000-5000 than at 1500. And if its class V at 1500, doesn't that point out a major limitation of a close-ended rating system for whitewater? He also wrote that class V from a couple decades ago is class IV or easier now. I find that odd; maybe because I come from a rock climbing background. Climbing ratings are nebulous enough!

It reminds me of when the Yosemite decimal system was a close-ended rating system, from 5.1 to 5.10. Then 5.10 got harder and harder, until they decided to split 5.10 into 4 subdivisions (a, b, c, d), and made it an open ended system, with 5.11a, b, c, d, 5.12, and so on.
Before there were 4 subdivisions per grade, there were basically 3 subdivisions; and 3 are still commonly used for 5.9:
5.9-, 5.9, and 5.9+.
Sound familiar? III-, III, III+...
Why not split whitewater class IV and V into 4 subdivisions each (a, b, c, d), and make it an open-ended system? It seems to me that class IV has a very wide range of difficulty in it. Of course you would have to specify the difficulty at different flow levels, which they did a great job of in WWotSR. Those are the most specific ratings I've seen.
Cheers-
Bill


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