In late August, Netflix released "The River Runner," creating much stoke within the paddling community.
The documentary chronicles American kayaker Scott Lindgren's attempt to become the first person to paddle the four great rivers of Tibet's Mount Kailash. His quest spanned two decades, and following his successful run of three, a life-changing diagnosis threatened his try at the final: the Tsangpo, called the "Everest of Rivers" due to its extreme conditions.
But it wasn't just the film's heart-stopping footage of first-descents and some of the biggest whitewater in the world that inspired its viewers. At its core is the story of one man's unyielding commitment to the river and the transformative power of facing down fear.
The adventure doesn't have to end when the credits roll. To help keep your stoke high this winter, here are five of our favorite books about paddling, including one about Lindgren's eventual attempt at the Tsangpo River.
Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River by Peter Heller (2005)
In 2002, a team of seven paddlers - Scott Lindgren among them - launched on the Tsangpo River, attempting to become the first to successfully navigate its gorge, the deepest on Earth. Told from the author's perspective (as both an expedition journalist and world-class kayaker), the story includes history, drama and mutiny, set to the constant thrum of a death-defying pursuit.
Courting the Diamond Sow by Wickliffe W. Walker (2000)
Before Lindgren attempted to run the Tsangpo River in 1998, a team of four paddlers attempted the same. Wickliffe Walker, the author of this book, was part of that expedition - which ended in tragedy when Olympic kayaker Doug Gordon disappeared in a set of rapids. Walker's book is the harrowing account of their time in the gorge, comprising firsthand accounts and journal entries from the ill-fated quest.
Fearless by Joe Glickman (2012)
The only read on our list that doesn't involve river-running, this is the story of 46-year-old Freya Hoffmeister's year-long attempt to paddle alone, unsupported around the Australian continent. Many experts tried to her talk her out of it certain she would get herself killed. But not only did Freya plan to survive the 9,420-mile trip through shark-infested waters, her goal was to do it faster than the only other paddler to have accomplished the same feat.
The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko (2013)
In 1983, massive flooding along the Colorado River threatened the Glen Canyon Dam, which could have caused the most catastrophic failure in history. Amid the crisis, a trio of river guides secretly launched a small wooden dory at the head of the Grand Canyon just 15 miles below the dam. Their goal was to use the surge to slingshot themselves 277 miles, from Lee's Ferry to Lake Mead, and set an all-time speed record through the heart of the canyon. Filled with rich history and an eccentric cast of characters, this Class V epic should be on every paddler's bookshelf.
River of Doubt by Candice Millard (2005)
A must-read for river runners and history buffs alike, this is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's 1914 exploration of an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River. Using dugout canoes, Roosevelt and his team, which included his son, Kermit, and Brazil's most famous explorer, Candido Rondon, attempted to navigate nearly 1,000 miles of the rapids-choked river - facing starvation, disease, drownings and murder along the way.