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Old 06-03-2005   #21
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 40
I have run this rapid from probably 250 to 650 (ok, I walked it at 650.) It is a rapid that gets much harder with more water. I have talked to people who walked this one at high water and then ran the brain. At 650 I watched a friend get surfed in the hole for a good 3 minutes. He told us the only way he got out was to just push his paddle down as deep as he could and eventually it grabbed some of the flushing water. That paddler said he thought he was going to have to swim. So, in my opinion I've seen it super sticky. I think one of the other issues may be the lack of awareness that it was a bad place to swim. I've dropped through the slot to see three people in boats and 2 swimmers swirling around in the room and nobody seemed super concerned, it's just a strong uphill paddle to get over the lip of the second drop at higher water. It's a really funky hydrolic and you really have to paddle uphill to get over the second drop.

I for one was never aware that there was the potential for this type of disaster in that rapid (I mean, there is always that potential, but I was unaware that there was anything specifically funky about this rapid...)

I guess I just want to repeat the topic of this post that it has been a really bad start to the season. Please be careful everyone! My heart goes out to family, friends and those boating with the vicitim! Having just got back in my creek boat after a long break I'm living proof that the runs will still be there when you're ready for them.

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Old 06-04-2005   #22
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 86

Last night I went to dinner with some old kayaking friends who were passing through town headed to Grand Junction for some dirtbike riding. We got to talking about why they no longer really kayak anymore. These weren't just casual kayakers, but guys who 8 or 9 years ago used to live in their vans and well, kayak, 150 + days a year plus weeks spent in other countries in the winter. This was the case with me too.

We got to talking about all the friends and aquaintances who had died boating in the past 10 years and the number is staggering. Many of these weren't your newbie boaters, as Dano states "Some who are truly on the top of their game, a very select few who I do not consider myself a part of, will not need to heed this warning. These individuals are at the forefront of paddling today and are aware of the risks they are exposed to and they have the skills to run things that normal humans can not." I'm thinking of course of guys like Chuck Kern, Brennan Guth, Paul Zirkelbach, Henry Filip, etc.

The most sobering thing is that many of the people we knew who died kayaking did so on runs we'd paddled and many of them were as good as us or much, much better!

I was thus saddened, but not surprised to get home after this dinner, check in to Mountainbuzz and see this thread.

Basically I think that if you get really heavily involved in this sport, make it a lifestyle then it is probably certain that someone you know is going to get killed. So Dano is right on, be aware and be as safe as possible.

Remember, this isn't even a high water year here in CO, just average after many years of low water.

peace, tdq

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Old 06-04-2005   #23
Tiggy's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, CO
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
If you want the rivers and creeks to be harder, do what I do
C-1 Babeee!!!

Responsible River Running is no Laughing matter.
99.99% of the time you will be fine, until that moment comes.
Like Dr.Laura says, "Do the right thing"
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Old 06-04-2005   #24
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Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 516
Class V and +

I've been in emergency services since '79. One observation has been: If God wants you... you can't hide. If not you almost can't be stupid enough.

A couple of analogies: I think steep creekin is like free climbing. Tho shall not fall and tho shall not wet exit. (Under certain circumstances)

Statistically every time you climb above 4000 meters your chance of death
increases something like 20%.

Life is short weigh the consequences.

There is nothing like the heartache of a friend or family member who has been ripped from your life.
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 06-04-2005   #25
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I agree that your goal should be to stay in your boat when you are getting worked in a hole but I think you also need to think about pulling the ripcord before you desperately need air. In my opinion, you need to exit with enough reserves to take a few laps in the hole without your boat unless you think the swim itself is probably fatal.
I saw someone get worked in the hole in Rigor Mortis the other day. He held on for a good long time and eventually wet exited. After he got out of the boat he was recirculated at least 4 or 5 times in the hole without getting a breath. If he had held on too long before getting out of the boat he could have passed out in the hole and then he would have been in bad shape.
I got worked in the Pine Creek hole last week. I held on for several laps, getting the occasional breath without taking on water, but I didn't feel like I was getting out of the hole anytime soon. It was huge that day. I did not hold on until my lungs were bursting. I knew the swim was going to be very dangerous, and I was aware of the flush drowing there a few weeks earlier, but I got out with some reserve air in my lungs and then took the worst swim of my life.
Whether or not to swim is a judgement call made in an instant. Maybe I could have held on longer in the Pine Creek hole, but then again maybe I would not have had another chance for a breath and the longer I waited the more I would have fucked myself for that huge swim I took afterwards.
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Old 06-04-2005   #26
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062
james mcfarland


My name is Quynh Nguyen, a reporter for 9NEWS. I'm interested in talking to some people who knew James McFarland. I'm sure he was a great person and it looks like by all accounts, he was an experienced kayaker. Please contact me as soon as you can. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.


I love to dance, but who needs the music- It throws me off.
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Old 06-04-2005   #27
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 66
Two things that were said in this thread that I thought were really insightful. I'v eonly been boating 3 years and so this is the highest water I've seen. I went out last week to do a run that I had cleaned twice in the past at lower water and literally got my ass handed to me and ended up walking a good chunk of the rapids. Bad day? maybe, but I think that learning lower water years may have given me a false sense of security and it's time to reevaluate.
Second, everything has risks (as I have to tell my wife or she wouldn't let me kayak). For the most part it's probably more likely to be killed in a car crash driving to boat than it is ont he river has been mentioned multiple times, there is no replacement for that gut feeling; and all too often we think its just the chicken in us talking but often it's our brain trying to save us while our balls try and kill us. Listen to your brain and be safe.
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Old 06-05-2005   #28
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
This is a sad, tragic start to the summer. Sometimes it's foolishness, but sometimes shit just happens on hard water, and occasionally on not-so-hard water. The goal should be to realize the cost, minimize the foolishness and bad judgment, then make YOUR call.

I see two big contributors to a rise in whitewater incidents - not deaths, necessarily, but incidents - and the more incidents, the greater chance for tragedy. In the last 6-8 years, I have seen a rise in the number of boaters with two dangerous qualities: First, they can't read water very well. Second, their egos are too big. It's not hard to see why this is a problem.

Reading water is a skill learned over a moderate amount of time, but perfected over many years. If you haven't been boating for but a few years, you probably still have a lot to learn about reading water if you are pushing your limits. Be aware of that and act accordingly. Use your friends - if they are more experienced you can gain knowledge which might save your life or someone else's. Or more likely, prevent a bad line or nasty swim. As for egos, use your head. If your friends push you beyond your limits, get new boating partners. Are you constantly taking bad lines in Class [pick-a-number] drops? Maybe you need to ratchet it back a notch.

I recall clearly being on LSB a few years ago, taking out to scout/walk the Slot with a crew that had some newbie creekers. There was a tree in the water guarding the takeout eddy, and it required a fairly straightforward move to get behind it and into the eddy. One guy in the group ("Yeah, man, I won a rodeo last year.") tried to get into the mirco-eddy just above the tree. Well, maybe it could be done and maybe not, but he just ferried right into the strainer right in front of us all. He flipped and swam, but managed to get his head and shoulders out of the water on the upstream side of the strainer. We had ropes to him almost immediately, but he was much more interested in trying to save his paddle - a $150 Aquabound, which I only later learned he had borrowed after losing a brand-new Double Diamond after getting annihlilated on Bear Creek a few days earlier. We yelled at him to take the rope and forget the paddle, but he kept going for the paddle. When he finally gave up and used the ropes to climb out, the tree was bouncing and shifting - it could have broken off into the current while he was in the water, and him with it, right above the Slot. When it was all over, I loaned him a take-apart and chewed him out good for being such an moron. Bottom line - he couldn't read water, which led to a bad line; couldn't swallow his pride, which could have very well killed him.

All that said, everybody gets worked in the course of things, and that is not what I'm talking about. Good-natured ribbing about that weak line I took in the last drop isn't bad either, as long as I belonged in that rapid.
Join up, suckas.

"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
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Old 06-05-2005   #29
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 305
It doesn't take much water to be in over your head.

I am new to Whitewater boating.
I spent this winter watching all the"cool" videos made it look real eazy (just point and paddle off that water fall). Made me want to get that Nomad/Huck and go for it.
I go to the Playpark and see the players and want that 88.

Common sence, growing up on/in the water and being involved with several near drownings made me think different.
So in my used boat I go and paddle Deckers till the day I feel I can move up to Browns then move on to...

It's all about the learning curve but sometimes you spinout on a curve you've been around many times.

Be safe and paddle smart.
Look at the Earth the water always wins.
Don't do anything, just stand there.
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Old 06-05-2005   #30
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012

how I knew I was ready to progress to the next level was I had to be able to make any move I wanted in Class III before progressing to Class IV and Class IV before progressing to Class V. I had to eddy hop Zume Flume before I did Numbers. I had to eddy hop Number Five before attempting Gore. Class V is easy when your on line. It's when you're not on line that you need the skills to pull it off. Not everyone has the same philosophy but this has worked for me. I haven't taken a severe beating in 9 years of boating. (I'm sure it will come though)

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