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To understand Steve Fisher is to understand the power of the river and the extraordinary forces he is willing to navigate in a kayak. In the man versus nature scenario, Steve Fisher never loses—that’s really what his contest is all about.

Take the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet, for example. Estimated to be the deepest river gorge in the world, it’s three times deeper and eight times steeper than the Grand Canyon and runs at 10,000 feet above sea level. In 40-degree water, with sections of rapids running at 20,000 cubic feet per second down gradients of 100-250 feet per mile, swimming means certain death. When Fisher navigated those waters as part of a major expedition team in 2002, it was only the beginning of a career that, like the river itself, would continue forging ahead with unstoppable force.

Fisher has a reputation for having a balls-out attitude. Ultimately, though, the real confrontation is between Fisher and the river where the consequences are all his own. He’s been humbled plenty of times over the years and will be the first one to tell you he’s had more than a few close calls. In the end though, nothing seems to scare him—it only makes him want to go BIGGER.