Bert Loper

Bert Loper

Albert A. "Bert" Loper July 31, 1869-July 8, 1949) was a pioneer of the sport of whitewater river-running in the American Southwest, particularly the Colorado River and its tributaries. He along with many of the noted boatmen of his era, were the first (and last) people to navigate the uncontrolled Colorado River. In 1920, Loper acted as lead boatmen on the USGS survey mission to find a suitable damnsite in Black Canyon, future site of Hoover Dam, notable water czar William Mulholland joined the expedition as well.


Loper died died while running his self-built boat, "The Grand Canyon", through 24 1/2 Mile Rapid in the Marble Gorge of the Grand Canyon at the age of 79. A monument to his life and accomplishments on the Colorado remains at the site where his rivercraft is decaying. Norman Nevills, the famous Colorado guide when finding the wreck, noted its shoddy construction.

A large monument to Bert Loper stands in what is considered his hometown of Green River, Utah.


Loper was born the day John Wesley Powell discovered the confluence of the Colorado and San Juan Rivers. Twenty-five years later, Loper discovered his love of river running while placer mining on the San Juan.


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