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Hotel Charley V™ brings
thrills and funds to kayak club

Expedition kayaker Ben Stookesberry runs a waterfall on the Rio Piaxtla in Mexico's Sierra Occidental Mountains as it flows through North America's deepest canyon. Hotel Charley V, premiering Thursday night at the Elks Lodge, follows a group of expedition kayakers on their quest for first descents of rivers that have never been run before. [Darin McQuoid/First Ascent]

Expedition kayakers to premiere film

By Kathrine Warren
Staff Reporter
Published: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:27 PM CDT
Imagine traveling the world kayaking rivers that have never been run before with a weeks worth of food and supplies packed in drybags in your boat and no real idea of what lies ahead because youre the first person to travel that stretch of water.

Thats what a group of some of the countrys best kayakers did last year, and their story will be told Thursday night at the world premiere of their movie Hotel Charley V at the Telluride Elks Lodge at 7 p.m.

It was an epic adventure with an unknown outcome, said Jesse Coombs, an expedition kayaker who made the film with Darin McQuoid, Ben Stookesberry and other pioneering boaters.

Coombs and Stooksbury will be at the premiere to present the movie and answer questions.

Hotel Charley V follows their adventures as they make the first descent on the Rio Piaxtla in Mexicos Sierra Occidental Mountains, explore a remote corner of India to find the Himalaya Mountains still uncharted whitewater and finishes with a search for the largest runnable waterfalls in the world in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Were doing what we love, Coombs said. Its our passion.

Coombs said the movies started out as a way for the athletes to share their passions with their friends, family and colleagues and its taken a life of its own.

This is the fifth movie in a series of first descent documentations, all of which have been screened in Telluride to benefit the San Miguel Whitewater Association in past years.

‘Hotel charley is a term we borrowed as expedition kayakers, Coombs said. Which is military speak for hardcore.

Eddie Bauer and First Ascent sponsored the film and expeditions. After their stay in Telluride, Coombs and Stookesberry will tour Colorado, and other western states to screen the movie.

After the tour the guys will start plotting more trips for their next movie.

Next year were looking to go to Guyana or over to China, Coombs said.

The San Miguel Whitewater Associations secretary/treasurer Cari Mackey said the club has formed a close relationship with the kayakers and the fundraisers and movie screenings have been growing exponentially every year.

Theyre not just young kids hucking themselves off cliffs, Mackey said. Theyre fascinating guys because theyve been doing it for so long now and they do it in a really calculated manner.

Mackey also said Thursday nights event is a great way to kick off river season in the area.

We get to watch [Ben and Jesses] amazing footage from around the world while helping save the rivers and teach kids to kayak at the same time, she said.

Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will go towards Tellurides kayak club and American Whitewater. The club will also raffle off all sorts of outdoor gear including a kayak and a paddle for $5 per ticket.

Small musicians, big sound  

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