Social media can provide users with inspiration of all sorts, from fashion to travel to motivation. But the newest wave of inspiration comes from daredevils, or people otherwise risking their lives to get that perfect action shot.
These Instagram and YouTube stars will travel to all parts of the world, visiting dangerous locations, in competition for the most extreme pictures. The following story details how a group of friends did just that on a trip to British Columbia. They proved that going to the ends of the Earth to take iconic photos could have serious consequences…
High On Life
A popular YouTube channel called High On Life, followed a group of travelers all over the world, as they explored a long list of destinations. Places like India, Thailand, Europe, Cambodia, US, Mexico, Canada, Vietnam, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Nepal, and Indonesia, were just a number of the places the crew traveled to.
According to their Facebook page, which has over 128,000 followers, the group has been friends since high school and has been making videos ever since. “Though we went to different universities we maintained our friendships throughout and moved in together after graduating, shortly after we began making videos again and started up a YouTube Channel,” they posted.
Quitting Their Jobs
They explained that their travels started in 2012. “In 2012 we gave up our lease and set out on a big adventure around the world. It lasted 7 months and took us to 14 countries and completely drained our bank accounts.” But, despite their dwindling funds, the group was hooked.
Doing What They Love
They spent the following few years working hard to make travel and video production their full-time job. Eventually, their hard work paid off with their videos and photos attracting a huge following on social media. Over the years, their Instagram page gained 1.1 million followers and counting…
Shannon Falls, British Columbia
One of their most recent trips followed three of the vloggers, Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh and Megan “Mindy” Scraper on a trip to British Columbia. The crew set to swim at the top of Shannon Falls, which is the third highest waterfall in BC.
A Dangerous Climb
The park covers an area of about 210 acres and at the highest point, the water falls from a height of 1,099 feet. The area is accessible from the Sea-to-Sky gondola and by hiking trails in Shannon Falls Provincial Park. However, search and rescue officials say it can be dangerous…
Plummeting 100 Feet
Despite the known warnings, on July 3, 2018, the Vloggers headed out to the waterfall. But during their hiking adventure, Lyakh’s girlfriend, Megan Scraper, got caught in the strong current near the edge and plummeted over. She dropped nearly 100 ft according to witnesses.
One After Another
As Lyakh was trying to keep her from going over the edge, he went over too, and then Gamble took the fatal plunge when he tried to help Lyakh. A witness who watched the incident unfold ran down the mountain to call for help…
Search And Rescue Teams
After the current took the three friends under, police were forced to call in search and rescue teams and helicopter units in order to recover the bodies. The “extremely difficult” and “very dangerous” terrain combined with a heavy water flow made for a very risky recovery effort.
Recovering The Bodies
Scraper initially slipped and fell and Lyakh and Gamble were swept away in their attempts to save her. Underwater dive teams responded to the scene but sadly, their three deceased bodies were found the next day in one of the lower pools…
Gamble’s cousin spoke out after his death saying, “Even in his final act on this Earth, he was trying to save the life of his very best friend.” Rob Mangelsdorf said that Gamble had known Lyakh his whole life since they were little kids.
“They were inseparable, absolutely inseparable their whole lives.” He took to Facebook to pay tribute to his adventurous cousin writing, “There’s a little less light in the world today. I love you Ryker Gamble. You are gone but will not be forgotten.” Friends of Gamble also spoke out on Facebook…
Honoring Gamble’s Memory
Many loyal friends and followers have begun to honor his memory. Kimberly Fraatz, who met Gamble while working in the video industry, described him as “a true gentleman and a hero.” She said, “I’m in absolute disbelief and shock. Ryker Gamble you were an amazing guy. We met when we were both starting our journey in this crazy industry, with a lil company called Gold Standard Entertainment.”
Lykah’s girlfriend, Scraper, who goes by “Mindy” on Instagram, also has about 173,000 followers on her account. She often appears on the “High on Life” account as well. What’s unfortunate, is that even before this devastating incident, locals have complained that the area was being visited by people unprepared for the dangerous terrain…
Those concerns also exist in other parts of the province by hikers and wilderness enthusiasts who are seeing these areas invaded by tourists in search of sites they’ve seen on Instagram. The friends were known to post “death-defying” videos on their YouTube channel, including one titled, “Epic Cliff Jumping and Waterfall Slide (EXTREME DANGER).”
Just last year, Gamble, Lyakh and another High on Life member, Justis Price Brown, made headlines for leaving a designated trail in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to film atop the protected Grand Prismatic Spring…
All three pleaded guilty to charges including disorderly conduct, commercial photography without a permit and the use of a drone, according to the New York Daily News. Gamble and Lyakh were ordered to pay $5,000 each in fines and both of them served one week in jail.
They took to social media to explain themselves and offer an apology. “When standing at the face of such natural wonder, we were drawn to it…In an attempt to get the perfect shot, we acted in a way that doesn’t reflect our respect for the environment we were trying to capture.” But it’s expected that their deaths will likely cast a spotlight on the uneasy relationship between social media and lovers of outdoor adventures…
Heartfelt Tribute To Their Friends
While grieving the loss of their friends, the rest of the High on Life crew set up a GoFundMe memorial fund with a goal of $50,000. They wrote, “There are truly no words that can be said to ease the pain and the devastation that their families are all going through right now. Our gift to them is to use the money raised to cover the costs of the Celebration of Life that will commemorate all three of these beautiful lives.”
Tributes By Devastated Fans
Loyal fans are also paying tribute writing posts about the trio. “These three lived harder and saw more than most see in a lifetime,” one fan wrote on Instagram. “They also inspired so many of us to travel and pursue our dreams. My heart goes out to all of you.”