Richard Bangs photo by Michael Nichols.

Richard Bangs photo by Michael Nichols.

By Dave Shively

Richard Bangs lives for that next unknown bend in the river, that symbolic space between the risks of curiosity and the rewards of discovery. A thirst for this heady and hard-earned enlightenment fueled Bangs' journey from a 19-year-old Grand Canyon guide into a river explorer without equal. While he can hang his hat on 43 of the globe's most renowned first de- scents, including the Bio Bio, Yangtze and Zambezi, Bangs remains most visible as ambassador for an industry he also pioneered. As a founder of Sobek Expeditions (now Mountain Travel Sobek), he's penned 19 books and produced a wealth of adventure travel programming for film, television and the Web. "In my teens, barreling down the Colorado and bouncing down African rivers, adrenaline was part of the appeal and it was damn exciting to do rapids no one had done before, unlocking the puzzle of hydrology," he says, again hoping to capture that elusive, transformative power behind exploration. "But over the years, my point of view has broadened so that I find adventure in new understanding."

This story first appeared in the March 2009 issue of Canoe & Kayak magazine.


Richard Bangs // Greg Barton // Tao Berman // Paul Caffyn // Graham Charles // Serge Corbin // Nigel Dennis // Dubside // Steve Fisher // Bob Foote // Dan Gavere // Alan Hamilton // Freya Hoffmeister // Mick Hopkinson // Nikki Kelly // Payson Kennedy // Rob Lesser // Anna Levesque // Martin Litton // Brad Ludden // The LVM/T-Dub Connection // Sean Morely // Nappy Napoleon // Michael Peake // Scott Shipley // Jim Snyder // Rush Sturges //