Behind The Quest To Run A Glacial Waterfall (Video)

Aniol Serrasolses shocked the world when footage emerged of his 65-foot vertical plunge off an ice wall—now we have the full story of his dream expedition

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In November of 2023, footage emerged of whitewater kayaker Aniol Serrasolses taking a plunge unlike anything we’d ever seen. Deep in the Arctic, Serrasolses descended a 65-foot waterfall cascading off a shelf of ice. Of course, in the back of our minds, we could calculate running the waterfall was just one element to pull off this unique expedition.

In the short Red Bull documentary Kayaking down the Ice Wall, we now have the full story behind Serrasolses’s glacial waterfall mission.

Behind the Mission to Run a 65-Foot Glacial Waterfall

To reach the waterfall created by melting ice, Serrasolses and his team traveled within the Arctic Circle to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. From the most northerly settlement on the globe, Longyearbyen, they boarded a research vessel and sailed for the Bråsvellbreen glacier.

Hoisting a kayak up a glacier.
Hoisting Serrasolses’s kayak atop Bråsvellbreen. Image: Red Bull / YouTube

When the team arrived, they were met with a towering, 100-mile-long frozen wall. Serrasolses and the crew watched in astonishment as calving ice fell into the ocean to produce tsunami-like waves. They cruised the perimeter of the escarpment, scouting for Serrasolses’s waterfall. The critical ingredients were volume and enough aeration in the pool to produce a soft landing for the five-story free fall.

The team found what Serrasolses called, “the most beautiful waterfall I had ever seen,” and had to figure their way, kayaks and all, up the ice wall. To do so, the research vessel pulled right along the edge, extending a series of ladders for expedition members to climb, and set up belays for the rest of the team.

Setting a ladder bridge across a glacial stream.
Setting the ladder across one of more than 30 stream crossings. Image: Red Bull / YouTube

Where the expedition crew landed atop Bråsvellbreen was far from the waterfall Serrasolses would run. To reach it, they traveled across the glacier by foot. With a look more mountaineer than paddler, they employed crampons and ice axes. Serrasolses towed his boat while his support crew member Philip towed a ladder, which they utilized to cross some 30 glacial melt streams.

After seven hours of arctic trekking, the team arrived at the waterfall Serrasolses dubbed “Philip’s Ladder,” in gratitude for his team member’s effort. The rest, business as usual for Serrasolses.

Feature Image: Red Bull / YouTube

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