Legendary adventurer Doug Ammons shares a life passion for the outdoors

Posted by The Skyliner on March 30th, 2011

Candace Day
Staff Writer

Doug Ammons illustrates his love of adventure by posing with his kayak. Photo courtesy of DougAmmons.com.

Named by Outside Magazine as one of the top ten game changers in adventure since 1900, world-renowned adventurer Doug Ammons made an appearance on North Greenville University’s campus Friday night.

The Department of Outdoor Leadership, Foothills Paddling Club, Crusader Outdoor Adventure Club, and Green River Adventures hosted the evening with the legendary paddler who came to speak to students and show his new film, Wildwater…A Love Story.

Ammons started off the night with a slideshow presentation telling the history of his “love affair with whitewater” and offering adventure sports like kayaking as a metaphor for life. Both require hard work, focus and appreciation. He ended his time at NGU with the screening of his film.

Ammons, age 52, is from Missoula, Montana, and has a PhD in psychology. He works as editor of two international science journals, but Ammons’ true passion in life is seeking adventure in the wild unknown of the outdoors.

As a world-class kayaker for more than twenty-five years, Ammons has been on white water expeditions all over the world, particularly in the Rocky Mountains, Canada and Alaska. His passion leaves him fearless in taking on outrageous rivers and creeks solo.

Ammons is especially known for conquering class V+ and VI high water descents. His film unveils the depth of his passion, and it becomes obvious that kayaking, to him, is much more than a hobby.

“Doug followed his passion of whitewater kayaking but found much more. He found an appreciation for creation, an understanding of life’s complexity, and a respect for other cultures. This reinforces with our students that Outdoor Leadership has a power that is difficult to replicate in different arenas,” says NGU Chair of Outdoor Leadership Trey Fouché.

Ammons also has a few books under his belt of accomplishments that include The Laugh of the Water Nymph (2005), voted one of the best outdoors books of the year by the National Outdoor Book Awards, and Whitewater Philosophy (2009).

One of his books under construction is entitled The Stikine. It shares his journeys on the Grand Canyon of the Stikine and his 1992 solo run that is close in comparison to Reinhold Messner’s solo climb of Mt. Everest. Some of Ammons’ publications have become useful tools for NGU’s Outdoor Leadership students.

“We have been using Doug’s text in my class, and his writings have been great learning for our students,” says outdoor professor Nathan Ruffrage.

The list of Ammons’ accomplishments goes on with his Emmy Award winning documentaries featured on National Geographic, ESPN and the Outdoor Life Network, his success as a guitarist and his black belts in various areas of martial arts.

Ammons, and his wife Robin, a criminal defense attorney, reside in Montana with their five children.

More than 45 attended the event held in Hamlin Recital Hall. Twenty of those in attendance were from outside the NGU community.

“This event is one more way that NGU can have a positive impact on the Upstate community, and the students and faculty of Outdoor Leadership are happy to help contribute in this way,” says Fouché.

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