THE LOST VALLEY
OF THE MERCED
There are no maps for these adventures. Because they haven't been written yet. Join the Jeep® brand and Outside as they follow Steve Fisher, one of the world's foremost adventure kayakers, who is carving his own route through the unexplored and living Beyond Adventure.
STEVE FISHER — MAN VS. RAPIDS —
Steve Fisher has been called the "World’s Best All-Round Kayaker." He first picked up a paddle at age 6 in his native South Africa and has been finding new ways to challenge himself ever since. He's kayaked towering waterfalls, massive waves and been the first to conquer the most outrageous rapids. Today, he makes movies chronicling his adventures.
THE LOST VALLEY
OF THE MERCED
— RUNNING A FORBIDDEN RIVER —
The Merced River is the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada, and until now, the forbidden fruit of Yosemite. Due to the extreme difficulty of the whitewater, this 15-mile stretch of slides and gorges that end at the iconic Nevada Falls remains a holy grail among paddles and, until now, paddling the park has been illegal.
Finally in 2015, after years of lobbying, the park rules changed, allowing kayaking on the rapids. Steve Fisher and his team want to be the first to challenge these water legally. Being first in line for the permits isn’t enough; they also have to come to grips with the worst drought in years and take on an arduous 17-mile hike with kayaks and camping supplies strapped to their backs. Follow their journey here.
KAYAKING THE MERCED — THE JOURNEY —
|5000 FTVERTICAL DESCENT||PORTAGES||2 DAYS|
|KAYAK JOURNEY||3 DAYS||HIKE AT
PAT KELLER — PADDLING PARTNER —
Pat Keller grew up on the river. His parents met as raft guides on the Chattanooga River and he's been paddling since he was 6 years old. He's won many competitions, has had first descents over huge waterfalls and was named 2014 Male Paddler of the Year by Canoe & Kayak magazine. He’s known throughout the paddling community for his passion for the sport and is a frequent partner of Steve Fisher.
Overcoming the fiercest whitewater rapids on the planet requires specialized gear to help you stay safe and in control. When Steve first learned how to paddle on the Bushmans River in South Africa, he used traditional kayaking equipment, but technology has come a long way since then. Every ounce counts when it comes to equipment. Steve spends a lot of time finding the lightest and strongest components to serve him well on his bold kayaking expeditions.
Carbon fiber to be light, strong and stiff. High-strength synthetic fiber on the edge of the blade to help prevent wear and tear on the rocks. And an aluminum shaft to add strength and added durability.
Thin-walled plastic shell with carbon fiber main support beam. Lighter weight helps in maneuvering and when Steve has to carry his kayak and his gear 17 miles over the mountains to forbidden rivers.
A combination of carbon fiber, high-strength synthetic fiber and fiberglass with polypropylene foam liner. Steve's custom helmet is super strong, lightweight and offers heavy-duty protection when taking on the toughest rivers in the world.
Steve bought the ice hockey-style pads after witnessing a friend land on his elbow off a 74-foot waterfall. Steve often uses his elbow pads to body check a rock to achieve the line when running a rapid.
THE FINAL STRETCH — BREAKING THROUGH —
In order to reach the Merced River, Steve and Pat undertook two days of hiking over the Tuolomne Pass, carrying their kayaks and camping gear. Join them as they finally put their skills to the test and come face-to-face with thrilling whitewater runs, intense rapids and rocky, tumultuous gorges that make up the Merced — all while being challenged by high snow melt levels and an approaching storm.
Yosemite National Park is better known for its scenery than its wildlife, but Steve and Pat did run into a bear "who was just as surprised to see us as we were to see him!"
RIDING THE RAPIDS
On their trip, Steve and Pat encountered a group of hikers studying the sheep population and recording new lambs that had been born in the park.
See the possibilities and redefine adventure. Throw away your maps and chart a new course. The All-New 2015 Jeep® Renegade can handle whatever is over the horizon.EXPLORE RENEGADE