Pyranha Logo
facebook twitter vimeo




Nass – The Sacred Headwaters

The Nass, what a mission this one turned out to be! 19hr hike in, 5 days on the river and a 250km hitch. This river is one of three veins flowing undisturbed off the pristine wilderness of the Sacred Headwaters Plateau.


As most epic missions begin, a few quick phone calls, some minor talk of logistics, then commit. This trip was a little different to most. Myself, Hector Darby MacLellan and Louis Geltman signed up.


Rumours of a ‘hike in’ route (as opposed to the usual float plane) were heard on the grapevine. Todd Wells, an up and coming expedition legend, managed to plan what seemed to be a ‘do able’ route from the end of the road that follows the Little Klappan to Nass Lake. From A to B, roughly 20 km stood between the two.

Having heard it has been done, we unanimously decided this is the way to go, screw the floatplane! Todd armed us with a photo of a napkin on which he drew a ‘Lord of the Rings’ style map. This turned out to be very open to interpretation! Let’s just say the Topo maps we carried with us did not match exactly with Todd’s artistry.


The crux… we had 3 tributaries to choose from. These marked the start of our descent into the Klappan drainage. We decided to go with the obvious choice, the largest. That way it would make for good boat dragging, or even kayaking. Our choice was average at best. As we dropped deeper into the canyon and the walls grew taller overhead, we started to truly feel the remoteness, the exposure. This climaxed with a sequence of gnar waterfalls that were un-portage-able. Our only choice was to hike back up stream and climb through the thickest BC hell f*@# I have ever experienced and onto the ridge.


Once past this section we met up with the river again, once all creeks met we were able to kayak. Hey, it wasn’t bad with some nice class 3-4. The next part of the puzzle was to find the meadow marking the divide between the Klappan and the Nass. We found it! By this point it was about 5pm, 9 hours into our second day of hiking. The only catch was (after analysing the Topos) that Nass Lake sat on the distant horizon as far as the eye could see. Our 80lbs boats by this point were starting to feel really heavy. We crushed it, 4 hours straight of pushing through oil infused, thigh deep marshlands.

We were at the lake! 13hr day done. Only now it was pissing down with rain and we were all exhausted, cold and suffering from mild trench foot. Louis by this point had really not been feeling well for some time. We called it, we made the controversial decision to delicately break into the hunting cabin on the lake. This shed like structure provided us with shelter for the night. We left the cabin the next morning as we found it. The owners none the wiser other than the confusing $20 bill pinned on the wall. Thank you.


The river is stunning, put simply it boasts endless pristine wilderness for as far as the eye can see. There is a lot of classy class 4 with enough 5s to keep you on your toes.


This river is home to some of the biggest log jams I have ever seen! 100s of 1000s jammed at all angles making a beautiful spectacle.


A first for me was eating a perfect, fresh salmon that a Grizzly we disturbed left twitching on the riverbanks. River bounty, perfect. That lunch, we cooked it up on a flat slate over an open fire. Delicious!


This was the first time I took the 9R fully loaded on an expedition. It paddled beautifully! That thing still flies fully loaded. I have to say a few years ago I did not think the 2010 Burn could be improved, it was my perfect boat. Now the 9R has taken that title!