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Old 11-11-2008   #1
GWS, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 486
Best self rescues.

I was just talking with some old fart boater (Jeremy Signorini) and laughing about some boating antics.

Lets hear about your best self rescue.

I have had so many it is hard to pick. I think the best is my swim on valle. Yes, my friends are asking which one I am talking about...

There I was, at the put in with a gauge reading of 2.2 (on the old scale). We had a solid group, Bubba, Jed, Daniel, Beavers, Bo and I. Daniel went 1st so he could get some footage. I went last becasue I like to have lots of people to pick up the pieces. Anyway.... I was busy smiling for the camera and forgot to boof. I melted down the entrance falls and came up upside down against the river left wall. The boil was descent size and the water was airaited. I tried to roll a buch of times and was getting no purchase with my blade. I finally came up and was psyched. All of the sudden I ever so slightly tapped the left wall with my boat and flipped again. As soon as I went over I felt myself getting sucked into the falls. For whatever reason, i pulled my skirt thinking that I would be better getting pummled if I were swimming and not in the boat. As soon as I came up, it was dark and scary. I was in the cave. I tried to swim out but could not. Then I felt a ledge. I was able to get one foot on the ledge and then stem out and brace myself. I emptied my boat and was able to stuff the stern into a crack in the back of the cave and get back in the boat. I then paddled out like nothing had happend. Some of the crew on the river right side did not even know I swam. The rest of the run was flawless.

There you have it, self rescue in the valle cave.

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Old 11-11-2008   #2
goldcamp's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 337
Nice Thread...

This topic should be good for alot of responses. I wouldn't call this my best because I was hurt afterwards but I was proud I was able to keep hold of my shit. I ran Tunnel on Gore and hit the line where I needed too but had to brace out of it and dislocated my shoulder in the process. This wasn't my first dislocation but it had been awhile. I attempted to roll twice thinking that I was miraculously going to both set my shoulder and come up for air at the same time. Setting a dislocation is very similiar to rolling on that side. However when I started hitting shit I pulled the plug. I held on to both my boat and paddle and made it to river right. I was in the eddy but I couldn't get out with my stuff. I was the first one in my group and nobody was there to help me get my shit out. I didn't realize it until later that I was swimming near an under cut. Not a particularly dangerous one but it could have gotten ugly quick. Eventually I made it to the side with my stuff. It took another 10-15 minutes to get my shoulder set.

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Old 11-11-2008   #3
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 298
must make rescue

On my third trip down the Black Canyon of the Gunnison I decided to do a solo overnighter. Things were going well on day one running the same rapids I had run on my first two trips and portaging where needed. I was doing well remembering the lines and keeping out of most of the sieves. I came up to a rapid that was called "Let's Make a Deal." There are three doors and I took door number three. Eeeennnt, I'm sorry, wrong choice! I swam, right above the 18'er, on river right and took my paddle and headed for shore. There is a terrible pin/piton situation on the right side of the falls that I wanted to avoid sans boat. Halfway to the river right bank I realized that on a solo trip that the boat with all my food, shelter, clothes etc. would be an asset to also keep from that same fate. I turned around and shook myself from the fear-induced haze and grabbed the boat, swam frantically back to the river right and into a cave/shelter (look for it next time) where I hyperventilated and recovered just in time to eat a snack and remount to run the 18'er before lunch. I spent the night and the paddle out the next day in a lot of self examination on why I decided to do this trip. Looking back, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Now this rapid is named "Lost Boy Slots"......Thanks....Milo....
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Old 11-11-2008   #4
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B.F.E., Wyoming
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 907
Will yakgirl101 explain her epic swim again?
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Old 11-12-2008   #5
placerville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 732
at the ark earlier this year waiting on some friends, i decided to run pine creek through numbers solo, like i have done lots [and lots] of times. the level was around 1600 - 1700. i did think that this was on the high side of what i should solo pine creek at, but i was psyched and confident. entering the rapid, i remember thinking that it was much pushier than the usual flows for that time of year, but quickly got amped on the fun 1st half of the rapid. i started my casual, smooth line to the left of the hole and realized that at this level, i should not have been so casual. that move requires some power at higher flows, and i had not gotten on it enough. as i entered the left side of the hole, i thought i would be able to squeak out and around it. no such luck. as the thrashing began, i thought about what a stupid situation i had put myself in, and how a swim through the sisters would not be ideal. i thought about my kids, then realized i was going nowhere, and getting all kinds of thrashed, as well as using lots of energy to hang on and fight. i reasoned that i should save my energy for a possible swim, and decided to abandon ship. I let go of my paddle, and had both hands on my skirt, trying to pull as i was getting looped and windowshaded. all of a sudden i felt like i was shot up in the air, and landed upright facing downriver with no paddle and my hands still on the grabloop of my skirt. i was getting sucked backwards very slowly back into the maw, and i started handpaddling furiously to escape the backwash. i did, then realized i was heading downriver w/ no paddle. i was quickly considering my options, wondering if i could get out somehow w/ no paddle and w/o also loosing my burn. i was in the middle of the current and realized this was not going to happen. i spotted my paddle bobbing downriver about 30 feet in front of me. i rapidly gave chase handpaddling downriver and was able to grab it right as i entered the sisters. after making it through the sisters to my favorite part of the rapid, the run-out, i let out the loudest scream i had ever felt. i immediately thought my old bro Russell was watching out for me, as the day years ago, i got the call saying he had died i went and ran numerous solo laps of pine creek, hooting and hollering as if he was with me the whole time, like he was in the old days. i had many days of reflection after this incident. what dumb fucking luck. how irresponsible to put myself in that hole w/ no one around to help. I like to think Russell had a say in my getting the biggest get out of jail free card i have had to use in about 16 years of boating.
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Old 11-12-2008   #6
Silt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 47
Back in the day, long before anyone ever referred to me as an "old fart boater" I had a self rescue in Vallecito. Boofant (sp) the rapid above Paddle Bitch has a million dollar eddy on the right with a boulder backing it up. Young dumb and full of #$# I went for the eddy. The left side of my W.S. Dessant hit the boulder, launched me air borne over the rock landing upside down in the water. I fell out of the boat and swam to the river right eddy at top of Paddle Bitch.
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Old 11-13-2008   #7
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
Paddling Since: 1864
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 917
So there I was jibbing a 100 ft rail at Copper when I became distracted by a snow hare (closely resembling a snow bunny but larger, right around a deuce). I slipped off the rail and landed on my head, hard enough to see Jesus. Ever since that day six years ago when I was "saved" I have not been a wretch. Those of you that know me know of my impeccable morals now a days.
970-217-21 six six
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Old 11-13-2008   #8
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Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
Thankfully, this didn't happen to me, but I watched it unfold with a rope in my hand. Out of respect for the self-rescuee I will refrain from naming names.

It was our last day on Upper Cherry Creek and some of the boys decided to hike up and run Cherry Bomb one more time. Everyone had solid lines through the main drop and the group began to negotiate the waterfalls in the lower CB Gorge. The last paddler in line missed his boof on the fourth or fifth falls below Cherry Bomb. This falls is about seven feet tall and totally walled in- you really want to keep you bow up and power away from the hole. Anyways, dude missed his boof and plugged the hole resulting in one of the most scenic displays of freestyle I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately, the walled-in hole was not letting go so he pulls the ripcord and swims for it.

Now, the only ways out of the CB Gorge are either running that shit or climbing out from a two boat eddy on river right about half way out. Below this eddy is a pretty intimidating series of drops that ends in a sieve drop that you basically boof onto the right side of and splat through a slot. The left side of the sieve drop is a reciculating eddy in a polished granite room, definitely not a safe place to swim.

Our swimmer drops through a few more ledges before he pulls some Wolverine shit and claws his way onto a ledge on river left, just upstream of the last chance eddy. I am pretty sure that this is the same ledge that Rush Sturges swam to when he had his big swim in CB Gorge a year or two ago (shown in The Source). At this point I am getting ready to pendulum the guy to safety, but he's just standing there looking up at his boat and paddle that are getting recirced in the drops he just swam. Sure enough, the paddle floats by and he grabs it. Then the boat pops free from the last hole and he grabs it as it floats by too. All this was done in such a nonchalant manner that it was almost like he wasn't concerned about the boxed in waterfall and sieve combo immediately downstream.

So, the guy hauls his loaded boat up onto this tiny wet ledge and starts trying to figure out how to balance it so he can get back in. He finds his spot, puts his skirt on, grabs his paddle and seal launches in to run the rest of the gorge like he had just finished taking a piss break. Needless to say, I was impressed.
"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes writing for the majority in New Jersey v. New York
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Old 11-13-2008   #9
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1066
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 165
good catch

I was in New Orleans going down Bourbon Street drinking. I was hammered and wanted one more drink before going home. I walked up to a bar and the doorman told me that I had to wait. The bar was not full. About five minutes later, he said, "theres" a five dollar cover and you have to buy a beer. I gave him five dollars and he let me in. I went up to the bar and asked what kind of beer they had. The bartender replied that they only had budweiser in cans, despite the line of bottles above the bar. It seemed that I was not welcome, although most of the patrons were staring at me smiling. It was at that point that I realized that all the women in the bar were dudes and I was clearly in the wrong place. I ran-- great self rescue.
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Old 11-13-2008   #10
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 298

Rafting shit happens too! So we put-on the Middle Fork at 10 feet on the gauge. This aint no float trip. We did 7 miles one day, it took thirty minutes. There was trees in the river, lots of them. Logs, root balls, Trees of all sizes--20, 30, up to 80 foot long ones. You just treated them like other rafts, like on the Gauley during Gauley season. I flipped in Ski Jump and got the shoulder strap of my PFD harpooned by an oar. After that extrication I pulled my passenger onto the flipped raft. About a mile downstream one of the other rafts had pulled over and started to tie off the raft to a tree. One of the passengers throws a rope and my passenger grabs it and ties it off to the floor lacing, and when the rope comes tight it pulls the other raft from shore. The boat captain gets a broken toe, he had almost gotten the rope tied off. I look at my hysterical partner and tell her to jump and swim for the bank. With that burden off my shoulders I take a deep breath and hear the two hapless people on the other raft yelling to me to "do something." We are travelling at 15 MPH through rapids and they've never been on a raft trip. I jump into the upright raft and row downstream with the upside-down raft in tow. Taking a desperate line, I crank on the oars and run a hole about the size of Skull and it stops me just enough to slow our momentum and as the upside down raft runs the hole it completely stops us but does not keep us in the hole. I eddy out and start drinking some well earned beers.

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