SUP Whitewater Expedition - First Descent of the Mountain River NWT

Written by Jimmy Martinello

The Crew: Jimmy Martinello, Todd Lawson, Dennis Flett and Jon Burak

The Mountain River is one of the most sought-after whitewater journeys in Canada. The river is a tributary of the mighty Mackenzie – Canada’s largest and longest river system. Due to its extremely remote location, relatively few paddlers over the years have challenged the Mountain River, but nobody has ever attempted it on SUPs.

Jon Burak and Dennis Flett sending down one of the great whitewater sections of the Mountain River.

Over the course of two weeks in July (in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday) the team of four experienced whitewater standup paddlers set off on the first-ever SUP descent of the 340 kilometer, class III Mountain River. It has been called the “holy grail of whitewater Wilderness Rivers”, and is a true great north adventure with large volume rapids, fast current, and six canyons.

Entering one of the spectacular canyon’s, amazing views in all directions.

The expedition encompassed challenging, sustained whitewater SUP conditions and true mountain exploration. They also had the privilege to climb 6 amazing summits in the Mackenzie Mountain system along the way.

Taking in the amazing views of the Mackenzie Range in the Northwest Territories

Good times on the Mountain River

The camping, trekking, route finding, portaging, was unbelievably pristine. The wilderness of the north remarkable in its offering and beauty; so thankful were we. Leaving such a magical experience of a life time, knowing we need to cherish and protect places like the Mountain River.

Evening reflections

Twelve days we spent on our own with no signs of human effects, clear cuts, damage to anything. So precious to have places like this to explore, to keep pristine for others to experience and share; protect we must!

It was everything and more than we hoped for; to experience such good times with great friends in one of Canada’s most awe inspiring regions. Mountain River NWT.

Team selfie on the last day of the journey.

The Session was used the entirety of the trip. Learn more about the Whitewater SUP Paddles, here: