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Old 07-09-2007   #21
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I agree with yetigonecrazy, especially the part about Pine Creek. That is an ugly, ugly swim if you don't get out right away. It suprises me that stuff like that gets run commerically.

I remember when I first started running Gore: I was so suprised to see commercial outfits putting on. Some of them were going to portage the meat but some were not. I had no idea that people paid money to run that stuff. I remember thinking to myself that some of those customers have no idea how serious it would be to swim any of the named rapids in that canyon. Even if they walk Gore and Tunnel they are not safe. Can you imagine a customer swimming the length of Kirschbaum's? They'd probably remember that for the rest of their life.

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Old 07-09-2007   #22
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
Paddling Since: 1864
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 917
I think the answer dates back to 1789 when Marie Antoinette said " Let them raft" Seriously, I give out my deepest condolences to people that have lost people rafting, and in the wars, and driving, and skydiving, rock climbing, scuba diving and ODing on meth. However, to say that the raft companies are completely responsible is ludicrous. If people want to go rafting then they should be able to go rafting. Yeah they might be out of shape, but they come so that they can do something they can't experience otherwise. I have taken some of the fattest and oldest people down the river, did I ever think aw, maybe I should tell them they can't go, no I thought I better be on my A game today and it is a good thing I did 200 bicep curls last night cause I am going to need them.

Think of if you tell someone that they can't go rafting because they are too fat or too old. You are just reaffirming what society has been saying all along; that the obese and old are worthless and can't contribute to society. Huh, maybe you saved them from the river death, but will you be so keen as to follow the suicide that happens a week later.

Yes every guide should be swiftwater trained, cpr certified and in colorado they have to have a minimum of 50 river hours to guide. Sounds pretty good to me. guides could always be paid more but considering I was making about $150 a day for rafting, being in the outdoors I would say that is pretty good. Be friendly and work your tips and you get paid well enough. If you think you can't handle the 310lb custy then swing him to someone that does have 22in guns or perfect your dunk method.

Plus fat people float and have a lot of insulation. It is usually the skinny people that get cold and hurt. The combined temperature of the air and water needs to be less than 120 degrees for hypothermia to be a major threat. We will say that the water is at 40 most of the time, so when it is cooler than 80 out give the custies some clothes, it is simple.

52 years old is not old at all. Some of my best customers were 60+ retired folk they paddled hard and sent me some mean ass brownies later. I wouldn't even consider not taking someone until they were 70. Plus most seventy year olds I know will kick the living crap out of you with their old man strength.

My point is we don't need more regulations or to be judgmental of people, shit happens and it sucks, that is life, deal with it.

970-217-21 six six
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Old 07-09-2007   #23
Yrisarri, New Mexico
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 21
Something I saw

The day after the accident I was carrying my kayak down the stairs at the numbers put in and in front of me there was an woman 40+ and very overweight like maybe 100#+ overweight trying to walk down the stairs to get on a raft. She had to be helped down the stairs because she could not walk down the stairs by herself. (This was a commercial raft and I didn't look as to which one) but I thought to myself ( and this was before I knew about the deaths the previous day) that this person has no business being on a raft in the numbers!

You can't tell me that this person is well equipped for a swim in the numbers and doesn't have a good chance of being injured or killed.

Earlier that morning I also was down at number 5 doing some scouting and I saw two rafts flip on the bottom rock so conditions were right for an increased percentage of flipped rafts there.

I know that these people are taking their own risks and I am all for that, we all make those choices, but perhaps some passengers really don't understand that a swim can be really bad and can certainly kill you. I think that physical and mental preparation is an important factor but if you can't walk down the stairs to the raft without help good grief!

Probably a raft company that has the courage to tell someone they are too old, fat, and out of shape to risk swimming in the numbers would lose their business to the others who just sign up anyone who is willing to pay and sign a waiver. I'm not sure what the answer is on this? I am almost never in favor of the government trying to fix anything!

Do raft companies regularly screen people on the basis of age, physical shape, experience? or can anyone sign up and do the numbers their first time in a raft?

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Old 07-09-2007   #24
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
I am still looking for information about the 2nd numbers death. I Cant find any.

Where is this information published and is it real? Usually I have the right beta and everyone and I mean everyone that I talk to around here thinks that the 2nd woman was not a death.

Also I can't believe that I spelled anything right after midnight and the 8 or so scotch on the rocks i had last night. Pounding headache right now!

So where is a published report about that last incident. Basil where did you get your information? Not sayin it is not correct - but it could be just like someone else posted there were 2 other deaths that same day.

So basil please post the published or link to the info - so we all know what is going on. If this information is out there it should not be hard.

Rumors fly and finding the truth is harder than it seems some time.
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Old 07-09-2007   #25
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13

I have followed this since hearing the sirens on Thursday. The Mountain Mail came out early with a fairly good report, given their time frame.
This is today's update:
Second woman dies after rafting accident

I was surprised that my searches did not find a report in the Vail Daily, where the company involved is based???? Could not find a mention in the Denver Post.

The client attire on ##s seems to vary from wetsuits/splash jackets to shorts and t-shirts as of this weekend. Helmets seem to be the standard often-faded plastic Protec. Some companies have a safety kayaker -others do not.

This tragedy may bring about a review of procedures. It would be interesting to have a pop quiz after the safety talk at the putin.

If someone has the AHRA investigation report, please post.

Yesterday we noticed a Swiftwater Rescue class practicing at the BV hole. Given what is spent on gear, this class is a great investment in being able to contribute to your boating group.

Condolences to the families involved,

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Old 07-09-2007   #26
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Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
Go back to the thread that started this and read 'Reply #7' where the family member posted about the second death:

Death on the Ark near BV
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Old 07-09-2007   #27
I'm wrong 50% of the time
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RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
This is from the other thread
Death on the Ark near BV

I believe that this is where Basil is getting the info.

Originally Posted by aronaleah View Post
It was my family on the river. The most accurate article i have been able to find is ectionID=&S=1, other than that i can tell you that Bea, the woman that was taken to denver, did not make it. she died around 8:30 Friday night, her daughter (the other one taken to the hospital in salida) is doing fine, and so is everyone else that was on the trip.

Ed, thank you for everything that you did, we all greatly appreciate it.

We have heard that two other people died earlier in the day, also on the numbers section of the river, and with the same guide company. If anyone knows anything about this, i would appreciate anything you know.

Thank you,

Government regulation is a bunch of crap. People are responsible for their own actions. Yes - rafting CO's need to be more strict on who the deem fit to run certain sections, but ultimatly it is up to the individual.
Claimer: Someone that makes a claim that they have been there and done that, can do anything you can do better than you. I hate "claimers"
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Old 07-09-2007   #28
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Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
A few things.

First of all, statistics:

The river is a dangerous environment, but statistically, it is much safer than the drive to the river. The fatality rate for participating in commercial whitewater rafting is .45/100000 user days vs. 15/100000 for automobiles. AW has some great info on this at American Whitewater - Whitewater is Safer Than You Think. They even used the Ark (which when they did the study had the highest fatality rate among studied rivers- 17 in the five years they studied).

Regardless of the stats, compared to cycling @ 1.6/100000, I would say that commercial companies are doing a pretty good job of keeping Joe Rafter relatively "safe". Are we doing enough? We should always try to do better.

Secondly, commercial companies:

I think there are two huge areas for improvement that could be made, and both have to do with communication.

As guides, we need to do a better job communicating the risks to the rafters. Everyone has a waiver, but during our safety talks, we need to let people know that things can happen. I don't want to ever have a 4 or 5 year old get tossed out of my boat on a class III trip and have a parent say "I didn't know this could happen!" We need to help them make informed decisons. We also shouldn't ever say "you'll be fine" or something like that when someone comes up who is nervous and asks if they will be safe. We are used to running our trips well, and having them go smoothly, but we should never try to convince someone, even lightly, that they or thier kids will not swim, drown, or slip and fall. I have been guilty of this before. Oh, you'll be fine, don't worry, we do this every day. There are better ways to word it, like "here's what could happen, but to let you know, I've had 0 people swim this section off my boat this year (or 5 or 33, or whatever)

Also, we always assume that the guests are using their own best judgement as rafters about their abilities. We shouldn't do this. In the commercial rafter's mind, they are deferring all decisions about rafting to the professional guide, because they are better informed. We as guides make assumptions about people's health, that they wouldn't be participating if they were worried that they would have their 3rd heart attack if they fall out of the boat. I think there should a little more added on to safety talks or to waiver signings about this. "We make river decisions, you make the participation decision."

Thirdly, I think we need to turn away more guests. I saw a 450lb guy floating on a commercial trip on Brown's one day. I'm a bigger guy, and try to lift weights and shit, but I don't know if I could drag that dude back in the boat by myself. We expect the guests to use common sense about their abilities, but as guides, or TL's, or raft companies, someone needs to use common sense here too. We all too often like to say "you'll do fine, get on the boat". No thanks!

Finally, and most importantly, I think safety talks lack self-rescue as a major theme. Even from very experienced guides, they skip this part, or glaze over it. This needs to be the number 1 theme. "If I can't help you, you have to be able to help yourself, you are on your own. If you aren't comfortable with your ability to do that, you should consider whether or not you should be participating, and understand the risk involved."

The more common one that you hear is "if you can't swim, tell your guide". Wrong!!! I think you say, "if you can't swim, you should decide if you are comfortable with the risk of having to save yourself should your guide be unable to assist you!"

Anyone have any other suggestions? What about training? SWR as a requirement for guides? For TLs (most already have this). Medical training? The better we can self-regulate, the better off we will be. We all know, like LC said, we don't want the government deciding what is best, because then things will really get ugly.
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Old 07-09-2007   #29
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 161
Originally Posted by yetigonecrazy View Post

so as I said before, Im not attacking the guides. i think the problem lies with the companies, and their inability to say "NO" to certain people when the cold hard cash is being stuck in their face. Private party deaths are always sad too, but those are almost to be expected, because most private boaters know what they are getting into. most of the tourists who float probably have never been rafting before, let alone know proper safety procedures, and yet, lets send a boat of 8 of em down the numbers, and we dont care, because were $300 richer! woo hoo! who cares if someone dies, we got bank!!
Exactly. Clear Creek is a bit closer to home for me than the Ark but it is the same situation here. I can't begin to tell you how unsurprised I was that someone died on the Kermit's stretch this year.

Rafting that run with tourists when it is running above 700 is just asking for trouble. It is much more difficult than the Numbers and swims are almost always ugly. I have logged a lot of runs on that stretch and have seen commercial rafts dumping far too often for me to think that it is an anomaly. If the family of the deceased wanted to bring a negligence suit against the rafting company, they would probably be in good shape.

I understand trying to make a living, but at what cost?
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Old 07-09-2007   #30
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 169
Originally Posted by KUpolo View Post
Exactly. Clear Creek is a bit closer to home for me than the Ark but it is the same situation here. I can't begin to tell you how unsurprised I was that someone died on the Kermit's stretch this year.

Rafting that run with tourists when it is running above 700 is just asking for trouble. It is much more difficult than the Numbers and swims are almost always ugly. I have logged a lot of runs on that stretch and have seen commercial rafts dumping far too often for me to think that it is an anomaly. If the family of the deceased wanted to bring a negligence suit against the rafting company, they would probably be in good shape.

I understand trying to make a living, but at what cost?

Why don't you nuke this dumbass post from this ignorant fool?

if i'd known it was gonna be that kinda party...
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