By Tyler Allen Explorebigsky.com Staff Writer
BOZEMAN – The Baxter Ballroom on Main Street in Bozeman will host a showing of Congo: The Grand Inga Project, Friday Oct. 5. The documentary chronicles the first successful descent of the Inga rapids of the Congo River, in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The show was supposed to be the grand re-opening of the Rialto Theater on Main Street, but issues with the city water main prevented the theater from opening this weekend. The ballroom, upstairs in the Baxter Hotel will open at 7 p.m. and refreshments will be served before the 8:30 p.m. showing. This will be just the second presentation of the movie after a sold-out premiere in Salt Lake City, Utah in early August.
The movie will showcase some of the best paddlers on the globe – led by kayaking legend Steve Fisher – as they negotiate one of the most high-volume, dangerous and remote stretches of whitewater in the world. With more than 1.6 million cubic feet per second of water, the Inga rapids are twice as steep, and 30 times larger, than those found in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. This 50-mile stretch of the Congo – nicknamed the “cauldron of death” – has claimed the lives of numerous explorers and has been considered un-runnable for years.
The documentary also follows Fisher and his elite team – including Tyler Bradt of Missoula; Benny Marr of Ottawa, Canada; and Rush Sturges from Forks of Salmon, Calif. – as they negotiate the complicated logistical challenges and crooked politics of the DRC.
“There wasn’t even a helicopter in the DRC and it took them four months to get a permit to fly one in,” said Bomb Flow magazine editor Todd Heath. “The cool thing about this film is half of it is about the DRC and the history of the previous explorers [that have attempted this descent].” Seven people died in the first attempt in 1985, and none of the bodies have been found, he added.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Rialto Theater box office, Bling Wireless and the Bomb Snow/Vast Gallery for $12, or for $15 at the door. For more information visit ingaproject.com
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