Aniol Serrasolses’ Private Stikine

Aniol Serrasolses on the Stikine, solo kayaking, and Class V scrambles.

Aniol Serrasolses needs no introduction. Last Fall, the legend and G.O.A.T took the opportunity for a solo lap on the renowned Stikine River in Northern BC. Along with moving through the massive Class V whitewater, he also took some time to explore the canyon walls by foot. Watch his scrambling and read Astral’s interview about his relationship with the Stikine and solo kayaking below.

ASTRAL  //  For those who aren’t as familiar, describe the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. What makes it special?

ANIOL SERRASOLSES  //  To me, the Stikine is one of the greatest river canyons in the world. One of the last few places where everything is still truly wild and pristine. A big river, deep canyon walls, powerful rapids, rich wildlife, history… Everything about it is absolutely mind blowing and appealing to me.

ASTRAL  //  Can you describe your relationship with the Stikine? 

ANIOL  //  It’s the one place I always find myself thinking about. I’ve spent so much time there that I know it very well and within all the chaos of the rapids I find peace, a safe place, my own personal jedi mind training room. I’ve grown so much as a paddler there, both mentally and physically. I have so much respect for the river and everything that represents the history of whitewater kayaking.  

ASTRAL  //  How many times have you run the Stikine?

ANIOL  //  43 laps since 2013. Over 110 days inside the gorge. Record Times of 5 hours 37 min with Benny in 2016. (+7 no portages descents in a row in 2016.) 5 hrs 11 min with Gerd and Benny in 2017.

2 descents in one day (in 2017) – 15 hours – 164 km. No portages. 9 laps in one season in 2017. My fastest and highest solo descent was 5 hrs 8 min in 2018 at 600 cumecs. First under 5 hours descent was 4 hrs 56 min in 2019.

ASTRAL  //  WOW! Can you describe what it’s like to develop an intimate relationship with such a remote wilderness environment like that?

ANIOL  //  It’s an amazing feeling, I have deep love for many rivers in the world but there’s something special about the Stikine. The way I feel when I am in there, to find myself thinking about it for days, that one place where I’ve truly been alive and free. I strive to go back over and over again with the simple goal of spending more time locked in those canyon walls.

ASTRAL  //  Soloing some of the largest whitewater in the world is extremely dangerous. Why take larger risks on something that is already extremely consequential. 

ANIOL  //  Aaah man soloing is a funny subject. It’s hard to make anyone understand the reasons or to even justify it. I think we are all just very different and looking for very different things when we go boating.  To me there’s something very powerful in being in such an epic canyon by myself, so remote and unforgivable, with no one to rely on, no mistakes allowed. To fully embrace the moment and neutralize all intrusive thoughts and to fully focus on what you can do, concentration at its finest, moving fast and efficiently, not looking back and totally aware of your surroundings. Paddling at the top of your game. To me it’s been a long process to build the skills and knowledge to actually want to be in there and do it properly. It took me 27 laps for my first time alone. I’ve been in there another 9 times since… It is more of a mental journey than it is physical. An active meditation and a deep and meaningful trip to your deeper self. A good way to know what you are made of, to disconnect from a mundane life and to have a second by yourself to be in silence, to think and appreciate your life while doing something epic. I love it.

ASTRAL  //  Your hikes and scrambles allow you to explore much more of the Canyon than what most experience from the water. What is the appeal of traveling by land?

ANIOL  //  The hikes have become a very important part of the trips itself. The desire to explore new places and get a new perspective of a place I know so well from the water. In the end all I care about is spending quality time there.

ASTRAL  //  What do we as wilderness athletes have to learn from mountain goats?

ANIOL  //  You’ll never be the first to access any of those cliffs, you are just following paths of the true guardians of the Stikine. It is cool to observe them and share such a sacred place with them for just a second…

ASTRAL  //  What shoes do you wear when you’re exploring that kind of landscape on foot? And why that pair?

ANIOL  //  I really like the TR1 Mesh because they’re very versatile and comfy. Great for hikes, good grip on wet rocks and slippery terrain, they go in and out quick and easy and they feel really comfy inside the boat.

TR1 Mesh

The TR1 Mesh is Aniol’s choice for high consequence scrambling.

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