Our Guide Book: Dangerous River

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When I first got contacted about this adventure, I asked Greg whether he recommended any guide books or websites.

“Dude,” he started, “you have got to read this story by this Patterson guy.” And while I may be exaggerating with the word dude, as Greg expresses himself more eloquently, I cannot emphasize how epic R.M. Patterson’s real journey down the Nahanni was.

In fact, his book Dangerous River: Adventure on the Nahanni went on to become the iconic book of its time. Similar to how everyone recognizes Into Thin Air today, the story is one of the best and most interesting works of non-fiction about adventuring, exploring, and reaching the outer limits of this place we call earth.


They were in the mountains of the southeastern Yukon now; and that country can warm up in the wintertime under the southwest wind, or it can drop down with the north wind to sixty and seventy below zero till the aurora crackles in the black night sky, and by day a sun that is without heat peers through a drifting veil of glittering frost particles.

…in every direction — upstream, downstream, and on either shore — one was faced with the tremendous canyon walls. They rose sheer from the talus slopes at their feet, with mosses and dwarf firs growingon the ledges: limestone and sandstone they were, in level strata — but the colours of the rocks were fading now and the cliffs were turning blue in the twilight. From all sides came the noises of swift, clashing water.

Never in my wildest dreams had I hoped to see anything like this.

~ R. M. Patterson, 1929

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