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Old 08-11-2010   #1
V for Victory
9300ft, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Dangerous Mentors (PSA/Rant)

What are experienced boaters doing taking people who don't even have 5 days on Pinecreek and Numbers?

Inexperienced kayakers haven't learned to fear the river. They haven't had bad swims. They haven't been maytagged. They haven't clocked themselves while upside down. They haven't gotten offline and worked over. Inexperienced kayakers haven't learned that the river is no place for cockiness. They are supposed to get experienced in III so that they survive to respect the river properly when they develop the skills and experience to run burlier stuff. Until then, it all just looks fun.

I was super gung ho and relatively fearless until my first painful swim. My mentor made sure that this happened in water I could deal with.

Experienced boaters should know that a throwbag and a newb's fancy creekboat and luck are no replacement for skill, experience, and a solid roll. If they instead throw newbs in class V right away, they'll quickly scare the newb out of the river at best. At worst they'll get people injured or killed.

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Old 08-11-2010   #2
Paddling Since: 1993
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Generally, I agree. However, people progress at different rates and what is more dangerous for some is less for others. In the end it all comes down to personal decisions. When you float off the shore your are really on your own. By the way dont you think you are overrating pinecreek and the numbers? Class 5??

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Old 08-11-2010   #3
V for Victory
9300ft, Colorado
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Originally Posted by mrekid View Post
Generally, I agree... By the way dont you think you are overrating pinecreek and the numbers? Class 5??
Numbers is a IV if that's what u mean
Arguing about whether Pinecreek is V- is rather beside the point.
There's already enough bodies in the Ark.
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Old 08-11-2010   #4
tj@cu's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
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If someone had a good roll and is on line on other runs why not let them progress? You could innertube the numbers and be fine that run is 3-4, pine creek is one rapid, scout and let the person make their own decision, you shouldn't be telling people what they can and can't run. I understand wanting to let people progress slowly but some get bored easily and progress fast, I would rather someone find their limit than quite kayaking because their "mentor" wont let them get beatdown a little bit.
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Old 08-11-2010   #5
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Taking people where? That first sentence doesn't make much sense. PSA?
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Old 08-11-2010   #6
Denver, Colorado
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There's validity to both sides here;
I guess maybe I can live with taking some aggressive, physically talented boater on a low-water Pine Creek run on his/her fifth river day, IF - you tell them that swimming out of that rapid is very dangerous, that foot entrapments are common there, and that even though the rapid may not be super tough or the hole super bad at this flow, it's a dangerous place for a F-up.
Somebody with 4-5 days' river experience doesn't know what the hell he's looking at when he scouts Pine Creek, so the mere fact that he says "Sure, looks fun!" does NOT mean he's good to go.
Mentor better educate/better make sure the newb understands what he's getting into.
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Old 08-11-2010   #7
Join Date: Apr 2004
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what ever, my friends have been dragging me around for years on shit I was only marginally ready for and I turned out fine..... if you don't like who you are following down the river find someone else... enough said. Its not up to the "mentor", its more about making your own decisions on the river.
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Old 08-11-2010   #8
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Jackson, Wyoming
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LOL, I've taken beginners down the numbers. It seems much safer then paddle class 3 runs on the ark.
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Old 08-11-2010   #9
Denver, Colorado
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I ran stuff comparable to the numbers at low water (ocoee) my 4th day in a kayak. I loved it and I was hooked. My mentor was a top notch east coast boater with loads of experience. It just depends on the boaters. Just because its not cool for some like the original poster, doesn't mean it can't be good for others.
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Old 08-12-2010   #10
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
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I'd say it does depend on the newb's character and how much they have experienced in those previous 5 days. Are they tough, strong, rugged, outdoor experienced types? Or are they fragile, weak, and naive to survival types? Did they experience some battering swims through rapids in the prior 5 days that they may have gained respect and understanding from? And did they receive critique and teaching from their mentors about how to have done anything differently? Etc.

I agree that jumping into Pine and #s with only 5 days experience may be rushed for most people. There are some places in each that, especially at low water, it would not be a kind experience to be upside down in or out of your boat. Much of the time, though, it might not be too bad of experiences. Again, that being for the mentally tough type of individual. However, the mentors better know that they may suddenly be dealing with a threatening and scary ordeal for the newb and themselves. So, know your crew. Do you want to go there? Are the mentors being thoughtful and respecting of the newb's potential for survival and continued interst for the sport? Mentors should contemplate and be considerate of this. If you've never experienced a catastrophe, it is no fun and can be tragic. Be respectful and careful.

Kayaking is a fun sport and, even though it is filled with varying levels of scary experiences, most of the time it is a safe sport. Most of the time.

Personally, I have done several decades of very difficult dirt biking in the mountains and of kayaking. I've learned that you are much more likely to have excruciating injuries dirt biking (a sport where you can breath air and basically control the throttle, i.e. - action), but more likely to die kayaking (rare, but probably more likely than serious injuries).

Knowledge is power. Be respectful and considerate. That said, we should experience YHWH's creation and rejoice. We get to enjoy it ... to the fullest if we choose. Kayaking has been one of the greatest influences on my own life, and I owe it to my mentors that taught me well and encouraged me.


No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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