Mick Hopkinson began his whitewater career with ten years of training for slalom competition, developing and honing his technical skills. Following in the British expeditionary mountaineering model, he along with a small team including fellow Brit Mike Jones, spent seven years exploring and making first descents of the most technical runs in the Alps before moving onto the Himalayas.
Their first descents of the most technical sections of the Inn and Oetz rivers, catalogued as Class VII in German guidebooks, became the benchmarks for all that followed. Their documented first descent of more than 200 miles of the Blue Nile in 1972 (two years before Richard Bangs raft descent) included 60 miles of Class V rapids. The Dudh Kosi first descent was chronicled in Dudh Kosi – Relentless River of Everest, and award-winning film at the Banff Film Festival.
Hopkinson was also a member of the Karakorum expedition (Braldu in Pakistan) where fellow team member Mike Jones lost his life, the Karnali expedition (Nepal), and the “Taming the Lion” team which made first descents of many of the huge rapids on the Indus. In the 1990’s, he explored rivers in New Zealand and Canada making numerous first descents. Hopkinson continues exploring unrunnable stretches of rivers as well as teaching and guiding for his company.
• Benchmark first descents of the most difficult stretches of Inn and Oetz rivers in Switzerland and Austria (1971)
• First descent of Blue Nile in Ethiopia (1972)
• First descent of Dudh Kosi in Nepal (1976)
• First descent of Braldu in Pakistan (1978)
• First descent of Karnali in Nepal (1987)
• First descent of many of the most technical sections of the Indus in Baltistan (1990)
• Numerous first descents in 1990’s to present in New Zealand and Canada
• Slalom racer during 1960’s (Britain)
• Owner of New Zealand Kayak School, a kayak school providing instruction and guided trips