Known for going places no one has gone before, Ben is The Guy when it comes to exploring new waters. Solo runs or teaming up with fellow badasses to put routes on the map, he gets to more untouched runs thanks to rigorous portages, helicopter drops, and even once, kite skiing. He and fellow Picky Team kayaker Ben Marr were nominated for National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2016, and in 2017 they created an award specifically to celebrate his Supertrip 5000 excursion.
Proudest accomplishment, non-pro:
I was a member of the 1996 Colorado 4A state champ 4 x 800 meter team. Incidentally, my teams were runners up in 1995 and 1997. To this day we hold the school record at Greeley West High School in the event at 7mins and 54 secs.
Who’s your biggest supporter?
Mantra that keeps you going when the going gets tough:
The times that are toughest, most difficult, and stressful are the ultimate opportunity to test yourself in the most internal way. It's the ultimate opportunity for a truly zen moment where nothing exists other than the present and what is directly in front of you.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
From where I grew up in Greeley, CO the Rocky Mountains are a blue Silhouette on the horizon. I remember feeling that I wanted to be in the mountains. But now I think that that feeling was really wanting to be some place wild and untamed.
Favorite Place in the US:
Fantasy Falls on the North Fork of the Mokelumne in Northern California
Why'd you pick Picky?
As a child my mom never let me have soft drinks, candy, sweet cereals or anything processed. It's hugely affected my diet choices and certainly Picky Bars fit the bill in terms of something my mom would want me to snack on. Somehow it reminds me of the home made granola or fig oatmeal cookies that I used to get in my lunch as a child while my friends downed sweet stuff like Twix and Twinkies. I'm not going to lie and say I've never enjoyed a Snickers, but when I'm two days into a 5 day hike with 100lb kayak on my shoulder I need not only something that tastes good; but more importantly, I need real food that is going to pack the nutritional punch to keep me energized and motivated for the trail ahead.
Anything else you want the people to know?
I feel most free on a pair of rollerblades. I am half joking, but my glass is truly half full when it comes to my rollerblading obsession.
137 first descents in 32 countries and counting
2007 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year
Banff Mountain Film Festival Best Adventure Film: Kadoma (2011)
National Paddling Film Festival: Best Documentary Professional Category: Walled In (2013)
Men’s Journal 50 Most Adventurous (2015)
2016 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Finalist (with Picky Team member Benny Marr)
Hike in, Hike out, and the First Descent of the Rio Jaromillo