TV18 Video: Interview with Eugene Buchanan
In this Steamboat Today segment of Steamboat TV18, former Paddler magazine editor and Publisher Eugene Buchanan talks about his new book, "Brothers on the Bashkaus." The book focuses on a whitwater rafting trip in Siberia.
- Saturday, June 9, 2007, 6 p.m.
- Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs Adventures are relative. And while some folks will be thrilled to get a first taste of competition at this weekend's Yampa River Festival, others may be interested in hearing the tale of a wild river descent far from the Yampa.
Vladimir Gavrilov referred to the Bashkaus River as one of the finest and most challenging rivers in the world. Of course, when Steamboat Springs' Eugene Buchanan ran the 212 Class IV-VI rapids on the Bashkaus (a tributary of the Ob River in western Siberia's Altai Mountains), he didn't have niceties such as Gavrilov's guide book to the region's rivers. His own guides to the river had even less - they used homemade catarafts made from germ warfare suits and felled trees, and floatation suits assembled from old wine bladders and soccer balls.
In 1993, Buchanan, publisher of the e-zine "Paddling Life," secured the first whitewater expedition grant from W.L. Gore and Associates. Buchanan and three friends embarked on a journey to the former Soviet Union, intending to run the Kalar River. But when their distant contacts fell through, the group tied its fate to a team of 10 Latvian strangers to try to run one of the continent's most inaccessible and imposing rivers.
"In terms of everything - from the planning, to the cultural element, to the whitewater, it ranks among the top expeditions of my career," said Buchanan, who spun the tale into a compelling account in the recently published, "Brothers on the Bashkaus: A Siberian Paddling Adventure."
Buchanan will present a slideshow about the trip at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Buchanan will follow the presentation with a book signing and said he will bring some of the remaining gear from the trip, including a homemade two-man cataraft, a customized metal paddle, and of course, a free offering of the pork fat cubes the group subsisted on during the 26-day trip.
Fortunately, there will be free New Belgium beer to wash down the swine. The presentation, which will be preceded at 5:30 p.m. by a silent auction to benefit Friends of the Yampa, highlights the social gathering that will cap the full day of events at the Yampa River Festival.
"The first thing I thought of when I heard about the book and talked to Eugene was that it made perfect sense to add it to the content of the festival," said Josh Karzen, manager of Epilogue Book Co., which will host the slideshow and book signing. "It gives us a way to help a local author and to participate in a local event that will encourage people to check out the content of the festival as a whole."