Eric Nies got the river bug early in the 1970's, kayaking on the Potomac River near Washington, DC, and raft-guiding on the Shenandoah River in West Virginia. After graduating in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1981, Eric started guiding and teaching whitewater full-time, first in the southeast with Nantahala Outdoor Center, then out west in the early '90's with Otter Bar Lodge and Tarkio Adventures. He has paddled, guided and video-boated in Chile, Costa Rica, Nepal, India, Siberia, New Zealand, and in the U.S. on the Gauley, Salmon, and Grand Canyon. He was also one of the pioneers on the Narrows of the Green, as testified by the formerly anonymous rapid that gave him a heinous beat-down in 1989, and now bears his name.
Eric has a long involvement with whitewater rescue and wilderness medicine. He helped develop NOC's river rescue program in the early 1980's, and certified multiple times as an EMT before finally going to medical school in 1995. These days Eric is an ER physician in upstate New York. He is the current Safety Chair for American Whitewater.