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First Ascent Kayak Team Prepares for Africa Expedition
Posted on October 30, 2010

The First Ascent kayak team—Ben Stookesberry, Jesse Coombs, Darin McQuoid and Chris Korbulic—has embarked upon a new expedition in Africa, inspired by 19th-century searches for the source of the Nile and ensuing expeditions into the Upper Congo. Using whitewater kayaks as its modern tools for exploration, the team will venture into Africa for the first time, through hippopotamus- and crocodile-filled river banks and never-before-run whitewater. They’ll travel through lands experiencing a booming water-quality crisis and the constant threat of political conflict. Along the way, the team will document this one-of-a-kind journey, where the thrill of Class V whitewater takes a backseat to issues of safety for the kayakers themselves and the people of the Congo.

The team will be the first to attempt navigating more than 300 miles of river in the Upper Congo Basin on route to a descent set to cover over 1,000 miles of the Congo River.

In this first audio dispatch, Ben Stookesberry talks about preparations for the trip:

“I’m testing the system for our trip from the headwaters of the Nile and into the Congo River, entering the Congo River in Rwanda and floating all the way out into what’s been said so many times to be the heart of darkness, in the center of one of the largest countries in Africa, the democratic Republic of Congo, formerly known as Zaire. It’s probably the most ambitious expedition our kayak team has taken on to date.”

Africa Expedition Dispatch 1 – Ben Stookesberry, New York

[audio:|titles=Africa Expedition Dispatch 1 – Ben Stookesberry, New York]

Audio dispatches courtesy of

Author: - Saturday, October 30th, 2010

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