Amazon Express expedition at Lago Acococha near Alpamarca, Peru August 17, 2012. 

 Photo by Erich Schlegel


This was the first expedition to paddle the entire 4200 mile length of the Amazon River from its newly discovered most distant source in the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic Ocean in northern Brazil. The Mantaro is about 90 miles longer than the previously discovered source at the Apurimac River. We missed the most distant source by about 4 miles, but logged the first expedition from the Mantaro River source, the second expedition to complete the Mantaro River and the fastest expedition to paddle the complete Amazon in 111 days.


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The Source of the Amazon River

It's far simpler than you'd expect and far more controversial than it should be.




Jeff Wueste and West Hansen were the first people to kayak the entire 2100 miles of Europe's longest river, the Volga River in Russia from its source in the Valdai Hills, between St. Petersburg and Moscow, to the Caspian Sea, south of Astrakhan.

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Volga River Expedition

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The 2020 Arctic Cowboys Northwest Passage Expedition

Originally planned for 2019, the 2020 expedition includes three solo sea kayakers from Texas: Jimmy Harvey, Jeff Wueste and West Hansen. They will kayak the entire 1900 miles of the infamous Northwest Passage, located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, from the town of Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada to Baffin Bay, near the town of Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada.

Northwest Passage Expedition


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In 2012, at age 50, West Hansen began leading expeditions in the legendary faraway places of our ever-shrinking world. Fueled by the lure of a daily existence devoid of constant electronic input while traveling at a natural pace, the expeditions also seek out routes that have yet to be attained by others, though often attempted. While his primary mode is through canoe and kayak paddling, given his extensive history of ultra-marathon canoe racing, expeditions based on terra firma are on the horizon.


As a member of the prestigious Explorers Club, West has access to the greatest living modern day explorers and archives of the most notable historical expeditions. His private library includes rare first editions of publications and maps from expeditions to both poles, in the Amazon and the Northwest Passage.


In spite of his goal to seek refuge from the onslaught of constant immediate electronic input, West has this website to provide information, education, entertainment and perhaps a bit of a spark for anyone interested in getting out there and experiencing the world at its own pace.

Amazon Express (12)


No expedition succeeds on the efforts of one person. I have been aided by some of the most experienced and able explorers and supporters on the planet and want to pass on what I was given. Please contact me if I can be of any help on your expedition, speak at your event, host a viewing of our Amazon documentary, book signing or simply talk about exploration.