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Canyons and Ice: The Wilderness Travels of Dick Griffith (Ember Press) Paperback – March 15, 2013
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"Dick Griffith has lived the sort of big, wild life that most cardboard-cutout adventures of today only dream of living. He has engaged the wilderness in his own way on his own terms without ever once pandering to sponsors. He has undertaken adventures hard to believe, and survived every one of them. The result is a life so awe inspiring you may not believe this book is true. But every damn word is as real as the north-country dangers that have killed lesser men. -- Craig Medred, reporter for Alaska Dispatch and author of Graveyard Dreams
At a time when few river canyons had been traversed in the 1950s, [Dick] had the temerity to venture into the wild and unknown Barranca del Cobre in Mexico without even a proper topographic map. His ingenuity was amazing. . . . He sought no recognition for his achievement in fact, few knew of the accomplishments until the past few years." -- James "Rocky" Contos, Director, SierraRios
"In Griffth's wake have come many other adventurers seeking to explore the country's wild places. . . . But no one, it seems, has yet amassed the number of treks both solo or with a companion or two that Griffith has." --(National Parks Traveler)
"[Griffith] has traversed unexplored canyons in a packraft and has skied solo across thousands of kilometres of the Arctic. All of it without sponsors. All vividly documented in his journals. And now for you and me to read about in this fine book." --(Hiking in Finland
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Top Customer Reviews
At 85, Dick Griffith has lived several lives, and this is the book that tells those stories.
Based on more than 500 pages of his notes and journals and well illustrated with his photos spanning over sixty years, this is the definitive Dick Griffith book, the one as noted above, that we have all been waiting for. It's a biography, not autobiography, so it is much closer to his personal style and demeanor: ego-free.
In his 20s Dick was a canyoneer in Mexico before that term was coined, and whitewater rafter, taking his wife down Glen, Grand, and Copper Canyons in the 1950s. In his thirties, the year Alaska was granted Statehood, he traversed half the Brooks Range, solo and living off the land. In his 40s he took his two kids and their friends all over the Chugach Mountains and completed his traverse of the Brooks Range. In his 50s he introduced packrafting to the rest of us during the original adventure race, the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic. In his 60s and 70s and on skis he followed the Arctic coast of Alaska and the Northwest Passage to Hudson Bay, solo; at 64 he paddled the Grand Canyon in an open Sherpa Packraft (pre-Alpacka with smaller tubes and no spraydeck) also solo.
But there is much more to Dick than these wilderness adventures and fortunately for the rest of us, this book captures much of the human and family side of this great man.
The book is not a chronology of his un-sung achievements. No, it's a well-crafted narrative that intertwines these achievements with quotes and observations of Dick, his family, and his friends.Read more ›
The first river runners to run Lava Falls in Grand Canyon were the team of George Flavell and Ramon Montez in 1896 as they piloted the wooden boat PANTHON through the cataract. It took another fifty five years before a rubber raft would attempt the run. That would be Dick Griffith, credited with the first run of Lava in a rubber boat in 1951. The photographer who documented his run was Isabelle.
A year later, Dick and Isabelle were pioneering routes through the Barranca del Cobre along the Urique River in northern Mexico, and by the close of the 1950's, Dick and Isabelle had moved to Alaska, where Dick began his love affair with long walks over the Wilderness of the arctic.
While the book recounts one man's love affair with Wilderness, it also chronicles a change to the land and people of remote landscapes. Indeed, the remote Grand Canyon and Urique Barranca Dick knew are gone, and the arctic badlands now team with snow machines and sport hunters. At one point in 1999, late in Dick's wanderings, an old Eskimo woman followed Dick out of Cambridge Bay into the icy Wildlands. Dick wrote in his journal "...She wanted to go back to the land where life was not easy but a happy one and like myself she must have loved the memories of a simple basic life."
While I would have liked to hear more about Dick's travels in the Himalaya, one of "...Read more ›
For those who liked this book and want to read of other people's wilderness travels I'd recommend Alaska's Wolf Man, Alaska's Wolf Man: The 1915-55 Wilderness Adventures of Frank Glaser. NOT so much for his hunting /trapping activities but for the huge distances he walked across Alaska for work and just to see the country.
I have been down the Grand a few times with him. He was always the first up to kick the rest of us, hangovers and all, into motion. Following him on skis was always a challange of endurance. Above all, his generous nature has nurtured many into life and nature.
Barney, his son, and I have been working together for some decades. Perhaps this book will give you a bit of a window into one of the hardest hard men, and his son is certainly carrying on his legacy. Please to share in his world. It is truely a genuine adventure. bill morris
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hidden among us are men among men; rugged, self sufficient, genuine. They're a rare breed and remain reclusive in this TV addicted, couch potato, skinny jean society. Read morePublished 8 months ago by J. Cleveland
A must read for everyone! Kaylene Johnson has written another moving book.Published 12 months ago by Dee Broughton
Ok. There is adventure and then there is ADVENTURE! i just finished the most incredible tale of Dick Griffith's mostly unheralded adventuring through river canyons and 6000 miles... Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by rtrittipoe
This book is adventure at it's best!! This should be placed on your shelf next to "Into Thin Air" and "Touching the Void". Read morePublished on December 4, 2013 by Lynn Post
A great read. River running before the crowds. Arctic travel before it became a fad. Amazing color photos for that time period.Published on November 14, 2013 by P Richter
We are proud to announce that "Canyons and Ice: The Wilderness Travel of Dick Griffith" by Kaylene Johnson is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is the mesmerizing story of an amazing man. A love story, an adventure story, a story of courage, resilience, and a life well-lived. Read morePublished on August 26, 2013 by Reading Mom