CONGO: The Grand Inga Project
The epic first descent of the world's biggest rapids.
A free film presented by Friends of the Yampa and Bud Werner Memorial Library. Donations to Friends of the Yampa gratefully accepted at the door.
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INGA: They are the world’s biggest rapids, 1.6 million cubic feet of water per second, thundering down the final pitch of the mighty Congo River. They are twice as steep and 100 times the average volume of those found on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Explorers have tried to conquer these rapids for generations, but none have succeeded. ”It would be insanity in a successor,” wrote famed explorer Henry Morton Stanley in 1877, after his right-hand man drowned. "There’s nothing shameful in portaging,” declared Col. John Blashford-Snell during his multinational team’s highly publicized attempt in 1974. And popular French TV Adventurer Philippe De Dieuleveult never had the chance to comment, as the entire team who attempted the rapids with him, mysteriously vanished in 1985. The Inga rapids have remained the “the choking stone of navigation” up or down the Congo River for centuries.
After years of planning and research, kayaking icon Steve Fisher first visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007, to initiate his attempt. He and his logistical team of Pete Meredith and Boston Ndoole, quickly encountered the insurmountable obstacles that come with the maddening politics of a broken country, and it wasn’t until 2011 that the team finally got the go-ahead to mount their expedition. For this mission, Fisher handpicked an elite team of top paddlers including Tyler Bradt of Missoula, Montana; Benny Marr of Ottawa, Canada; and Rush Sturges from Forks of Salmon, California.
"CONGO – The Grand Inga Project" is the riveting documentary that follows the expedition as the team struggles to navigate complicated logistical challenges, and then the historic first descent of a 50-mile section of the Congo River. No effort is spared in telling the story of what really happens when you decide to take on the deadliest rapids on earth. “This is a river like no other,” recalls Fisher, who’s logged dozens of major first descents, “We may have survived, but somehow we feel more humbled than proud.”
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RUN TIME: 80 min.
ABOUT FRIENDS OF THE YAMPA
Friends of the Yampa is a river advocacy group based on one common passion, a love for the Yampa River. Based in Steamboat Springs, the group has a long-standing history of working for the river by organizing river clean ups, holding discussions about the rivers important and rare attributes, funding and helping build river features as well as participating in a variety of local, regional and national policy efforts and campaigns.