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Old 11-20-2009   #11
CBrown's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 347
Scary stuff. I once swam from Gore rapid to right above Pyrite through Scissors. I could not walk once I made it to shore. It was pretty scary. It's tougher than you think to get to shore when your getting flushed in cold water like that.

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Old 11-20-2009   #12
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Great teaching/learning video, thanks for sharing. Agree with Atom that looking back upstream is super important to gauge other paddlers progress.
According to commentary there were 3 other boaters sitting in the eddy below the crux of flight simulator, question? why wasnt at least one of them out of their boat setting up safety for the two following boaters? this is a serious class v drop..Was safety set up for the previous 3 boaters?
Spacing between the video boater and eventual swimmer seemed pretty wide, but cant actually tell from video, when its high i like to stay as close as comfortable to my partner, but still be able to avoid hole riding etc together, but we're close and can see what is going on with each other.
We have also done this run several times over 5' and I cant imagine "swimming" for 4 minutes in there, something to be said for the swimmers fitness level.
Thanks again for the learning opp.

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Old 11-21-2009   #13
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Jackson, Wyoming
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Two years ago I had a brutal high water swim on the SF of the clearwater(6000 cfs) in Idaho. If my group wasn't on the ball, I for sure wouldn't have made it that day. It was an 80 degree day and I was wearing pants and a dry top. The river was flooded and the banks were 5ft higher then the center of the river. Prior to this swim I had been swimming laps in the pool 3 times a week, running and felt to be in good shape.

The thing about safety is what's mentioned above. Constant eye contact on surroundings and what's going on with your team in the water.

I agree with Jmack about sending a paddler downsteam for a bag throw,which happened with me, I was moving much faster than you would've been in flight sim. I was 3ft from grabbing the rope when I went back down not to resurface for 100+ feet. These activities keep your spirits up while swimming knowing your friends are trying to get to you and give you a ride and rest.

Being aggressive swimming is important but also to know when to hunker down will save your life as I feel it did for me that day. Most people pull and try to swim right away and waste energy. Take a second to figure things out, do I need a breath for some downtime or can I go for it?

Gear is essential for paddling where there's a chance of a swim, especially in cold water. I wasn't dressed properly, had an Ed vest(no flotation), no drysuit and made a decision to do a second run when I knew I was already tired from my long drive and the first lap. I knew better and made a bad decision.

Unlike Dave, who I am friends with and respect. I will always get to someone swimming and get them on my boat asap. I also never chase gear down a steep creek, as you're chasing a moving strainer. Always talk and make eye contact with the swimmer.

Try to hold on to your paddle, as you will swim much better while trying to move to shore.

That day on the SF, my friends got me out and saved my butt, not me. I couldn't get out without help and the whole half mile of the biggest holes you've ever seen the guys were in the middle paddling upstream while dropping into them trying to get me. They took some heavy beatings trying to get to me that day, and they did get me.

20 seconds in cold rapids you're gonna be struggling to swim, breathe and focus. Relaxing and thinking will always help you.

my 2 cents Gary

This is a great thread
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Old 11-21-2009   #14
bouldrmatty's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 137
Did you see the size of that trout at 8:30 to 8:32 on the film...

Glad it worked out for everyone... An amazing river that I wouldnt want to be out of my boat on....
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Old 11-21-2009   #15
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 115
I'm kinda confused--it seems like the 20-30 seconds spent in that eddy is enough time to get out and get a bag ready to throw.

I'm not trying to criticize the guy, I just don't understand why he didn't even try, especially with several other boaters in the water to help if the rope doesn't work.
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Old 11-21-2009   #16
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at my house, Montana
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More good discussion. I know the typical rescue instruction is to throw before you row. But if you're already in your boat in such nasty water, shouldn't you consider how difficult it would be to deal with the person if you actually get them to shore? What would they be vectoring into (if they would even swing all the way, or nearly into shore), and didn't it seem like it could easily just be another nasty hole, rock, or such? With such strong water, would one person be able to hold them with no buddy belay? Back to vectoring, you'd likely need a person downstream to help with them, to be vectoring the rope, pulling them in, and if it is a shitty spot, would a person be potentially creating a 2nd victim?

It's hard to imagine what might have been going through the people's head, but in such nasty shit it seems like a single rope with the person nuking downstream just would be futile, and people in boats keeping chase was a good choice.

Just some general thoughts that I'm not ready to strongly defend, but I can't say I really see a throw bag as having helped here.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 11-21-2009   #17
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at my house, Montana
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just watched it again, and not sure what to think, other than hindsight is 20/20. I can't really tell what is downstream for what a rope would pull him into, but since the camera didn't even look there one might think it wasn't considered. At first it seemed like Mike was blasting down, then not, and was way across the river. I hate second guessing after the fact sometimes, even when it is just to try to learn.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 11-22-2009   #18
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
I watched the video twice. The high level of skill they demonstrated in both, boating and individual preparedness, to challenge a river of that caliber at those water levels is awesome. They were definitely prepared physically and mentally for a long swim and trained in self rescue. I know shit happens to the best boaters, but their standards were definitely up to the challenge. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-22-2009   #19
Join Date: Nov 2005
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It seemed that the other kayakers weren't that helpful. The swimmer was the narrator's buddy. The narrator was the main rescuer. He stayed with the swimmer.

This is a reason I like the salamander bags. You give the swimmer the rope attached to your waist, then you don't have the swimmer on your boat, you can hit an eddy easier, and then pull them in.
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Old 11-22-2009   #20
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Originally Posted by basil View Post
This is a reason I like the salamander bags. You give the swimmer the rope attached to your waist, then you don't have the swimmer on your boat, you can hit an eddy easier, and then pull them in.
I've gotta admit, that sounds way less preferable to me. Now you have the swimmer on your body instead of the boat and a rope in the water. Have you ever executed a move like that? Looking at the nature of the water in this video I can't visualize how I would feed a swimmer in the water the end of my waist bag (more possible) and then negotiate the drag of a swimmer in the water into an eddy. That's swimmer's going to be pulling hard on your waist.

Also, I too noticed the guy did not burp his drysuit or at least not very well. One comment on this thread was that it helped his buoyancy, but my first thought was it must have been really difficult to swim with all that air in his suit.

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