The AT50: Kayaker Erik Boomer (#29)
Highlights: Whitewater endurance runs of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado (2001), the Middle Fork Salmon River (2005) and Grand Canyon of the Stikine (2010); first-ever kayak circumnavigation of Canada's Ellesmere Island (2011); 30-plus first descents
Quote: "I'm thinking my next adventure will be a warm one. I want to keep combining things I love with kayaking for long, remote trips."
Fact: During the Ellesmere Island expedition, a polar bear ripped at hole in Boomer's tent, and he had to ward off a 3,000-pound walrus with only his paddle.
AT Point Total: 39.5
Erik Boomer, nicknamed "The Honey Badger," is an athlete-explorer who taps into deep wells of tenacity and determination on his adventures. He is an accomplished kayaker, with more than 30 first descents to his name, including Quebec's 100-foot-tall Chutes á Magnan waterfall, which he ran in 2011. Besides dropping over huge falls, Boomer has racked up a number of whitewater endurance feats, including a five-day paddle of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River (a 250-mile stretch that usually takes 20 days), an 10-hour push through the miles-long class V+ rapids of British Columbia's Grand Canyon of the Stikine (this "Everest of whitewater" generally takes three days to run) and a 9-hour speed run down 130 miles of whitewater from Idaho's Marsh Creek through the Middle Fork Salmon River and down to the Main Salmon at Cache bar takeout. In 2011, Boomer completed the first-ever kayak circumnavigation of Canada’s polar bear-ridden Ellesmere Island, an epic, 1,485-mile slog for which he was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year.