Although they only live 10 miles from each other, Rob Raker first met Erik in an unlikely location, Antarctica. A documentary filmmaker, Rob was on an expedition to document an ascent of the tallest peak on the continent, the Vinson Massif, while Erik was climbing the peak as part of his goal to climb the Seven Summits. But it wasn’t until Rob was on assignment to film Erik on some of his exploits that they became good friends. Since then, they have rock climbed, ice climbed, skied, ice skated, paddle-boarded, bicycled, kayaked and traveled to over a dozen countries together.

In Fall 2008 Erik asked Rob to teach him how to do an Eskimo roll in a whitewater kayak. This got Erik considering the possibilities. The next summer, Erik decided to test his kayaking skills and signed up for a 5-day trip on the Green River in Utah. With only Rob as his guide, they climbed into their kayaks and headed downstream, experimenting with various guiding methods. Little did they know that the guiding system and series of commands they developed on that first trip would be used to tackle the Grand Canyon five years later.

At 59, Rob is the oldest member of the crew and will be part of a team of guides that has been carefully assembled since those early days. With this team and the skills developed over many hundreds of hours of paddling, Erik should be well equipped to handle the challenges of the Grand Canyon.