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Old 07-09-2007   #51
TimWalker's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 205
My Points
1. Prevention before rafting. A best practices campaign might be of use. A typical customer might have contact with 4 to 5 employees of the rafting company before hitting the water. What are the odds that all of them are consistent with rhetoric and use sound judgement? Each role has a different business perspective but they should all understand all perspectives.

2. Regulation. I don't think the government needs to be involved but they will be someday if the companies are perceived as negligent and lacking ability/judgement. My view here is that government sets minimum standards, the companies should strive to deliver more than the minimum and let the free market work.

3. Rapid Ratings. Hype sells, no doubt. Most people on this website see rapids from a kayaking perspective and same about the ratings of rapids. Let's say a class IV to a kayaker might be viewed as class V to rafters. Why? Bigger boat leaves less room for making lines or might only allow one line, the consequences of dumping multiple people from a raft exponentially increases the risks and the risks associated with recovery. It is all relative and changes depending on your perspective.

4. Fatty's. Well, it is about time someone says it. You have an increased risk, not only of the general things that come with being out of shape, but that your PFD might not work right if we have to extend its size with cam straps. I once had a man on my raft on Parkdale, this guy was huge, not all fat, but giant. He had to have weighed in at 375 to 400 and was about 6'8". I had him and one other on the right side and four on the left, including myself, and the boat was still sinking on his side. He fell in during Spikebuck. I can't blame him, he was odly fitted to the boat and his center of gravity was against him. My first attempt to pull him in was weak, I admit it. After I put on my Superman PFD, the second time was better and I dunked him deep, pulled with all my might and he was half way on board, then I grabbed his XXXXXXXXLs and gave him a weggie that he probably still feels and he was in. I guarantee, a 120# male or female guide would never have pulled this man in. However, he was a great guest and enjoyed the trip and was not all that fat. I guess my point here is that we can't just draw a line with regulations.

5. Experience and equipment. Numbers trips, and similar whitewater, should include/require experience, physical fitness, swimming, wet suits, helmets, splash jackets and a safety kayaker in a creek boat.

6. Posting while drunk. Guilty, but not today.

7. Heart felt condolences. RIP to victims and condolences to families.

8. Working sucks. Working today after a very cool Bailey trip yesterday. I tagged along on a trip with no one I knew, some old schoolers and others from Fort Fun, one of which was a 56 year old woman. She did great. I'd hate to try and put a limit on her.

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Old 07-09-2007   #52
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 700

Two or three years ago several deaths occurred in gore. I think two were on the same line in the same rapid. Maybe we should have the forest service regulate who is equipped to handle every scale of rapid, and then fine anyone who gets on the wrong scale.

For all of you who are about to flame me, this is sarcastic.

The guides do a good job. We play a dangerous game. I gave it up for a couple years with the birth of my first child, but couldn't keep away. The amazing thing here is how we turn on our own rather than supporting them when they need it. The thing about our game, is that when it gets bad, it gets amazingly bad very fast.

My condolences to the family, and the parties who helped. Ed, good job. Lets take the personal attack BS to the PM boards, or at least wait until we here a first hand account of what went down bvefore we bash a company based on conjecture and speculation.

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Old 07-09-2007   #53
g-spot, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post

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 ha
ve 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.

Complete BS! By telling the obese that they can't go on a raft trip you're not telling them they're worthless. You're telling them that its going to be a lot harder for them to rescue themselves or for the guide to rescue them, thus they have a higher risk of injury or death. I think airlines should charge more to obese people, obese should pay more for health insurance, and any decent guide should refuse to let them on their raft on a section of river where a swim would be dangerous. As far as old people, Ive seen 60 YO boaters, mountain bikers, skiers that kick ass, age is relative. Noone is born obese, eating that tub of ice cream and sitting on your ass in front of the TV is a personal choice. Its about time that obese people take responsibility for their actions. As someone who watches my health I feel that its unfair that I am forced to share the financial burden of the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
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Old 07-09-2007   #54
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
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Gee people aren't born fat, you have to eat ice cream, huh tell that to my friends who were put on anti depressents and gained 200lbs or my friends who have thyroid problem that its their fault. Huh, what about fatty genes that have been passed down since king richard. I say all the raft guides suck it up and quit bitching about how hard it was to pull in the fat nebraskin. You don't have to pay for people to go rafting so I think that obese people rafting isn't affecting you all that much.
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Old 07-09-2007   #55
g-spot, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post
Gee people aren't born fat, you have to eat ice cream, huh tell that to my friends who were put on anti depressents and gained 200lbs or my friends who have thyroid problem that its their fault. Huh, what about fatty genes that have been passed down since king richard. I say all the raft guides suck it up and quit bitching about how hard it was to pull in the fat nebraskin. You don't have to pay for people to go rafting so I think that obese people rafting isn't affecting you all that much.
How many people do you know that are fat because of thyroid problems? Its pretty rare. The vast majority of overweight people eat too much and exercise too little. Obesity causes heart disease (kills more people in the U.S. than any other disease), diabetes, and other diseases. Everyone in the U.S. pays to treat these obesity caused diseases. So yeah it does affect me financially if you're obese.
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Old 07-09-2007   #56
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Phuoc My, Da Nang, THE 'NAM
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Posts: 1,988
alright, i figured this thread would do this, so ill add some points to mine...

you say I generalize most texans, oklahomans, etc, as not being the river running type. I am not saying every single texan and oklahoman that comes to colorado to raft is going to be an inexperiened rookie. but i think if you take a large sampling of them, i would hazard that the level of inexperienced would probably be near 90%. no, not everyone is a rookie, but very few people grow up on the river like we do.

and im sorry, you can spout your safety talk all you want, but it still doesn't do shit. you can tell the clients that the rapids are "dangerous" and that it is a "class V river" until your blue in the face. the bottom line is, those tourists still dont fully understand the risks. they say they do, BUT THEY DONT! the read the little paper they sign that says "you can be killed" but come on, they dont actually think they will! its the tourist mentality!

people are going to overestimate their abilities. it is human nature. for example a guide that has "several" seasons of rafting making broad sweeping generalizations on the state of the rafting industry in regards to safety, greed, motives and competency." - that is a personal attack that is unnessecary and you can choke on my cock for that. its the lack of safety motivated by greed on the companies parts thats causing these problems in the first place. i didnt say anyone was incompetent, just a lack of good decision making. im merely expressing my opinions, not making canon statements here. oh, and by the way, it was at 2300 when i swam on pine creek. not 1500, thanks.

i agree with Jill, how many clients do you see show up to the put in wearing cotton shorts, and cotton t-shirts, and sneakers with socks pulled all the way up, and some goofy hat to match? i cant say it enough, where are the pre-screening of the clients? im glad to hear there are certain companies that do screen and tell customers "NO", but sadly not every company is going to and until they all do we're going to keep having these completely avoidable deaths.

of course it is a dangerous sport, and again, you can tell that to the customer until you run out of air, but clients always, always overestimate their abilities, and without people to step up and say "hey johnny colorado, you shouldnt be doing this", then the problem will continue to grow.

"oh, but I can refuse a tour as a smart guide". do it. and when your name gets bumped to the bottom of the guide list for doing so, then dont complain to me. thats one of the problems right there. guides who step up and take responsibility and say no often get pushed back because they do so. again, its accountability on the companies part!

i dont really know what else to say. the guides are doing a wonderful job, and its mostly thanks to you guys that we dont have more deaths than we do. but i think the number is still way too high, and its completely preventable with just a little bit of work dont get the government involved, we don't need that kind of regulation, but seriously, to the raft guide companies: GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER! are you really so worried about being judgemental to customers that you would rather kill someone than tell them they arent allowed to go rafting on that particular stretch? the fat lady described on page 5 or 6 pretty much sums it all up. if they shouldnt be there, they shouldnt be there. dont take their money and send them into harms way, tell them calmly they are not ready for that and if they get angry, then they get angry. you still have hundreds of more clients who are willing to go! weed out the bad seeds and then go! and yeah, it is kind of harsh to be told that, but honestly, if I was some fat guy from kansas and i was up here rafting and a company told me: "hey, dont go rafting here, you'll probably die", then i might get mad but i'll realize that its better in the long run!

how many more deaths is it going to take people to realize that this is getting out of hand?

how many more deaths is it going to be until the government steps in- and shuts it all down because its getting to hazardous?

how long are these completely avoidable deaths going to continue until the companies realize they need to get their shit in gear??

probably waaay too long, but not before more senseless deaths happen because of a bunch of goddamn greedy raft company owners.
"Don't f$&@ing eddy out, just run it! Whaddya doin??" -LMyers
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Old 07-09-2007   #57
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Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
It depends on what you mean by "out of hand". Every death is a horrible thing, but I think most of the community agrees that as a general rule, the companies and guides do a pretty f'n good job of mitigating the risk. I think there are three people who have to say yes (or four, if it is a minor) before going rafting, and they must fully understand what they are saying yes to:

The rafter needs to be comfortable with the risk involved and given the chance to change their mind, or go on a different trip

A guide should be able to make a common sense judgement call of who they are comfortable on their boat, and defer a custie to the TL. I.E. I'm a 120lb guide on the numbers, I don't feel comfortable with the 320lb guy on my boat, so I will give them the TL to take, or to give to someone else who is comfortable with this custie.

The TL (and this is usually the case, but should be done more often) needs to have the ability to deny anyone from joining a trip based on common sense. You can't swim, and just had to take a breather walking accross the parking lot? Sorry buddy, but you can't go on the Numbers today.

Each situation is unique and is subjective. Fitness is in the eye of the beholder too. I'm a tubby raft guide who probably looks like one of your lineman corn-fed Texans, but I'm also a triathlete. That's why the custie gets the final say as to what they can choose to do if they TL and guide haven't seen a blaring warning sign.
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Old 07-09-2007   #58
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
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picture board

IMO: The registration desks/lobbies of most rafting companies typically display large photos of smiling rafters to promote the fun and thrill of their trips. Yes they want customers, and those customers are told that there is risk in the recreational trip for which they are signing a waiver.

HOWEVER, how about a large collage of carnage photos including pictures of ambulances and flight for life choppers as a visual reminder. I wouldn't hesitite to also post AW's statistics of how safe the odds are, but it would still be a visual reality check for people to contemplate their own readiness. Then add a reminder of "Can you swim?"

Also, I think helmets should be required. Lastly, without use of scouting (which additionally affords potential for injuries on land) I think that safety kayakers and, where permisable, pre-set safety baggers should be utilized more often. There is not so many Pine and Numbers trip going on that the extra precautions couldn't be facilitated.
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Old 07-09-2007   #59
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Political correctness is for pussies who think that they have the right to never be offended. Mother Nature and her rivers don't give two shits if anyone is offended. Class IV/V is no place to be sparing people's feelings. That doesn't mean that you cannot be tactful... I'm sorry if that is beyond your skillset.
Just for clarity since we seem to be straying. There is a time and place for everything and if you want to take this thread away from boating then its the time to put it in a new place, its called the Eddy.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 07-09-2007   #60
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 113
That's a load of crap if you think telling people it's a harder run than it is is going to scare them off! Even if you've rafted a few times you have no grasp of what it's like to spend 60 seconds in a rapid in the Upper Animas. Their is a reason kayakers don't teach friends how to paddle by running them down Numbers in the first few times on the river, solid roll or not. Kayakers have a appreciation for the danger on the water. That risk is clearly not conveyed properly. Trying to scare someone off by saying it's harder when they don't have a clue to what 4 and 5 rapids are is stupid and only makes things worse for later trips. Just cause you rafted numbers a couple times doesn't mean your ready for Gore.

I'm suprised the up roar is only around the guided trips. What about the Gumbies and tubers? It's tough line to draw that you all are agruing about. The bottom line is we as boaters are stewards of the river. If we have constructive ideas for rafting companies to prevent more of this, throw it out (some have). I'm a big fan of swim tests early in cold water. That gives people a ton of respect for what they are about to do.
The other side of this is the tubers. If I see kids putting in at the Butterss on Boulder ck I'm going to suggest they realise that I'm paddling the same water with a helmet and life vest. Some kids are punks, but it's only because they have no clue to what lies ahead.

Let's hear some constructive ideas for how you explain the risks involved beside talking through it? This is the digital age, what about a short video that shows people swimming and how exhausted they are at the end? Be constructive.

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