Paul Schauer

Paul Schauer

If you are looking for Paul in the summer, he is probably on an Alaskan river.  More likely than not, you won’t find him. Paul’s favorite places are wild whitewater canyons only accessible by whitewater kayakers or packrafters with class V skills.

Paul paddled his first kayak at age six.  A pair of home made “training floats” fastened to the stern of the slim, fiberglass craft prevented capsizing on the cold, but calm lakes and streams near his Fairbanks home. Two decades later, Paul loves the challenge and beauty of experiencing Alaska’s most intense whitewater.  From powerful, huge glacier-fed  torrents, to steep, technical creeks in narrow, boulder-choked canyons, Paul paddles in the Chugach, Talkeetnas, Alaska Range, Wrangells, and Brooks Range.  Primarily a “hard shell” kayaker, Paul also earns respect among the community of Alaskan adventurers who push the limits of whitewater packrafting. It took little arm-twisting from author and packrafting aficionado, Roman Dial, to coax Paul into discovering the potential of ultralight Alpaca packrafts on Class IV+ gems like Montana Creek, Disappointment  Creek, Bird Creek, and the Upper Little Susitna.

One of my favorite  places in Alaska is the upper Willow canyon. It’s an amazing granite bedrock canyon with some of Alaska’s best class V whitewater. It’s just being in the canyon. It’s a really powerful place. It’s one of those places that you can only get to and access with a whitewater kayak, or a packraft at really low water

(View the high resolution version on YouTube )

Even when Paul is at work, he often contemplates the power and patterns of flowing water. As a scientist working for the United States Geological Service in Anchorage, he makes a living studying dynamic river systems.

Winter brings a change of pace and energy for Paul.  Like most life-long Alaskans, Paul pursues different outdoor activities in the seven months when days are short and white water is frozen.  At the same age that Paul first jumped in a kayak, he began competing in cross-country ski races in Fairbanks. His Nordic racing career included four years representing the elite University Alaska Anchorage ski team in intercollegiate competition. He still occasionally hops in a fun race. These days, Paul’s often trades in his skinny skis for fat AT or Telemark boards. He puts Nordic training to use skinning up peaks in the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains. Carving turns on steep backcountry faces and powder-filled couloirs keeps the joy flowing.

Paul’s creative outlets include sharing wild places and magic moments through photography and video.  With artistic eye and technical skill, Paul crafts stunning visual stories of Alaskan adventure.  You can experience Alaska through Paul’s eyes in his LiquidLight Photography Portfolio, his YouTube channel, and his AKWhiteWater blog.


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