In 1971 five men from Portland, Oregon headed out to the Deschutes River in central Oregon for what they called “a cheatin’ death affair.”
They planned to descend the Deschutes River’s most formidable obstacle; a 14-foot waterfall called Sherars Falls, in a raft of tied together inner tubes.
Sherars Falls is not just another rapid on the river known for its class III and IV thrills. It’s a mandatory portage where the entirety of the muscular river plunges headlong over a cliff. Native Americans have erected wooden gangplanks over the churning pool of water to dip net for salmon. And many residents in the town of Maupin, which lines the Deschutes’ banks, have heard the stories of hapless adventurers who have tempted fate along the river only to never be seen again.
Dropping the falls in a kayak might be possible, but on a flotilla of inner tubes?
Watch this vintage video that captures the essence of foolhardy adventurers.