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Old 08-25-2010   #51
V for Victory
9300ft, Colorado
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It is true that the rock in question is jagged and has a bunch of bore holes in it from previous blasting.

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Old 08-25-2010   #52
Helena, Montana
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i think the real issue is that it is considered a "learning" run.

1st time i ran it i had read about the seive. didn't "see" the problem, so there was no real problem in my mind.

2nd time i ran it, well, my stupidity was only re-enforced.

3rd time..... 4th time....

took a couple of years to finally understand just what was possible in there.

i am torn, like many, about not only the possiblity of making it worse and the slippery slope of grooming the rivers.

as a guy that tells far too many mothers/wives/husbands/children that their loved one is dead the answer is clear.

as a guy who loves the wild places, needs the adventure, and only truly feels awake when faced with risk/benefit type questions, the answer is also obvious.

i just don't know.

i think that a really big, really scary sign at thr RR bridge put in would make a bit of a difference.

i just honestly didn't get it for a couple of years, and i had been told all the stories, had read all the horrible reports.

i have to believe that i'm not the only one that thought they had a lot of respect for the river, yet failed to respect this particular run........

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Old 08-25-2010   #53
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475

What if, through signage and education, no more deaths ever occurred at this rapid? What if the meager and inadequate efforts thus far were improved to accomplish a massive education and warning objective?

Substantial signage at Frog Rock, before, and at all upstream put-ins. Substantial education by guide books, magazines, outfitters, chambers, lodgers, websites, chat rooms, FIBArk, etc. You are not at Disney Land. That is not Mickey Mouse waiving at you. This is the outdoors. Do you belong there? Are you aware of the dangers? You might die! Know the danger and be safe.

D'oh, actually, as I look out my office window at traffic whizzing by, I would be more likely to die as I leave work and drive in my car.

Trust me, I have daughters that are kayaking and, of course, I don't want them to die. Education is the key. We used to own the land just to the north of Elephant Rock Campground. We used the pool below Frog Rock as our swimming pool for years when they were younger. They learned not to swim Frog Rock Rapid and I have had them portage it with their kayaks while I would enjoy the challenging side of it. We've enjoyed Frog Rock for many years.

Throw rocks in there if everyone wants, but I don't think we should be blowing up every stretch of rivers that someone is scared of. Heck, that is most everywhere. These dangers really do exist all over rivers.

Let's educate and post signage. The Commercial Rafting companies have a major role in this. The boating community has a role in this. The schools have a role in this. The lodging and retailers have a role in this. Etc.

Get the word out where this rapid is located and that it is dangerous. Most importantly, mark it well. Just like marking a cliff area at the ski areas.

Tragic deaths are emotionally disturbing to us all. They happen all over, in all kinds of ways, during almost every second of the day. And yet, the Arkansas has had many decades of enjoyment by river enthusiasts. Despite some that might suggest that it is not pristine, many consider it a wonderfully fun and scenic waterway. We should just know about it if we going to endulge in it.

Be safe. I have to go and drive home now.

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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Old 08-25-2010   #54
Thronton, Colorado
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I don't think education is the answer, mistakes can happen, even to the educated. Guides are certainly educatyed as to the dangers of Frog Rock, are they not? Yet one group og guides made a mistake, someone swam, and that person died as a result. Education can certainly help, but it's not the answer (it's one of many though).

I like the idea of moving boulders from the left to the right, if that were really possible. I wonder if it's possible to get heavy enough equipment in there to do that? Even then, that too is only a partial answer, just as the education is. Again, just because there is a left line there doesn't mean someone isn't going to fall out for some rason above the "new and improved line" and swim into the hazard. However, I like that it would probably reduce the likelihood significantly.

The only real way to "eliminate" the hazard is to deal with the rock itself. Blast it, move it or something along those lines. Even then, you may be traing one hazard for another. But if it's a lesser hazard or the hazard shifts from one of loos of life to one of loss of equipment (jagged rocks ripping a boat), then maybe it's worth it.

The more this debate continues, the more I am in favor of doing something. I'd like to see true experts weigh in though, not just river rats. Any heavy equipment operators out there? Any geologists out there? I sense a lot of speculation here being presented as fact. It would be interesting to see what facts those with the approriate expertisae would bring to light...
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Old 08-25-2010   #55
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
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I think the "slippery slope" argument is pretty far fetched if for no other reason than money. State agencies are not going to be throwing themselves at every rapid that someone dies in or every rock that's a potential foot entrapment. Ain't gonna happen. Forget that one. They'd close the river/section before they went that route.

Personally I think having the amount of signage necessary to actually do anything constructive would be god-awful ugly. Far better to move the rock (sounds so easy but of course it's not) than plaster the area with a billboard(s).

Do we actually get to "vote" on this or is this thread just a little mental masturbation? I don't see the State Parks having a public input meeting around this one. I'm betting they'll consult with their lawyer and budget but not Jimmy Kayaker. I could be wrong but I'd bet our opinion doesn't matter on this one.
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Old 08-25-2010   #56
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Some ramblings... and Mike Hartley. I suspect yer right about our capacity to have any impact.

I hope if anything ends up getting done (I still think doubtful because of liability issues) the "experts" consulted will be river rats and folks of the river community. The people who know best are on this board. The people who designed and built the parks downstream know and love the Ark and would be best positioned to engage the bureaucracies that would have to be on board. Mike Harvey, are you back in town yet? R'neck, is there any precedent for the rafting industry getting involved with something like this? I know you guys cut out strainers, thank you.

I have enough experience to have a well informed opinion about some aspects of what is possible. I believe there is adequate access to get heavy equipment there. Access granted may be a different story. I think the main rocks/ledge that make up Frog Rock are too big to be moved by a large excavator. *Maybe* the downstream rocks that sieve the exit could be moved. Next time I am there I'll look at it with that in mind. Having not looked at the left channel with moving the bigger rocks in mind, I can't recall if any are too big to move but my guess is that none are too big to at least roll to the side to open a low water channel.

Even if, as my man R'nek says, Frog Rock is the result of blasting it still looks to me like a large piece of relatively intact granite that has fallen in the rio. My own aesthetic sense is that blasting would be crude and the results unpredictable. A dam like formation of blasted rubble would still be a hazard. Besides, at this point I'm still talking myself into the need for something to be done. I like the move in that rapid above the sieve and often paddle it while some of my buds go left. I'm just tired of families grieving cuz of one small slot in there. At this point I like the idea of blocking the entrance to the sieve with boulders from the left channel.

RIP Kim...

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Old 08-25-2010   #57
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Still against messing with the river. A tourist dies almost every year scrambling on rocks in Garden of the Gods, should we level it to avoid this in the future?
"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 08-25-2010   #58
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Durango, Colorado
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Personally I think having the amount of signage necessary to actually do anything constructive would be god-awful ugly. Far better to move the rock (sounds so easy but of course it's not) than plaster the area with a billboard(s).
I've been following this discussion for weeks; in the meantime, I went up and ran several sections of the Ark and bypassed the Fractions out of respect for the rescue crews. I came into it thinking, "yeah, fix it" and I think I'm coming out of it, "leave it alone and educate the people." Here's why: we created the hazard. People go to the "wilderness" to experience the "wilderness." There is something beautiful in the fact that danger lurks just out of sight. (This is with all respect and empathy to those who are suffering a loss.)

I have to think about the signage on the Dolores above Snaggletooth. For those who haven't seen it-It is primitive- several broken wooden signs with white paint (reminiscent of burma-shave road signs) that remind the unsuspecting boater that danger lies ahead. Think skulls and crossbones. It creates trepidation in a way that doesn't detract from the scenery.

I'm not sure that's the answer, but it wouldn't have to be a billboard... sometimes less is more.
"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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Old 08-25-2010   #59
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
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I disagree about the cost and unsightliness of better signage. I think it is at least an immediate and low cost initiative. Many posting locations already exist. They just need fresh and better details. Signage might only cost a couple of thousand dollars. Certainly the warning sign just above Frog Rock Rapid is weathered, small, and often not noticed. I'm sure we can handle there being something much more substantial there. Awareness of the spot is what is demanded. Even at inflated government expenditures, I really don't think it would cost a lot to do this effort.

As Phil alluded to, access for heavy equipment to the rapid is probably unavailable and the costs very obstructive. I wonder if a heavy cable pull could be accomplished from the east side of the tracks. It's quite a distance, though. Perhaps Fred Lowry, TCR, or contacts at Climax could assist in evaluating.

Nonetheless, I think awareness education is the low cost initiative for something that we can control.

It has been interesting to hear how many people have expressed their unawareness. That they've generally viewed it as a benign looking rapid. Now that people are beginning to realize things, I then start to wonder what they would do if the ever really viewed the Upper Taos Box or the Pueblo. Whew! We would have to dredge the entire basins.

By the way, I made it home driving okay. I didn't have to take the risk. I could have holed up in my office and avoided the danger. Instead I chose to do something dangerous. I felt knowledgeable and prepared enough to risk it. Nonetheless, a risk it is. Animals, drunks, stoners, illegals, rocks, winds, mechanical malfunctions, heart attacks, sleep deprivation, debris falling of passing vehicles, etc., etc. In the blink of an eye it could be over. A couple of mornings ago, just as I was about to pass a tractor rig moving an old mobile home, an entire wheel shot off the mobile's axel. It projectiled up through the trailer's side exploding wood, metal, and fiberglass all over right in front of me and the wheel went speeding across four lanes and into parked cars and guys standing in front of their house. I don't know about everyone’s' near-miss experiences, but my life's list of them is long. There are dangers everywhere. Rightfully, we should try to exercise risk management. Most all the time protections can be implemented. And yet, rivers probably won't be entirely safe.

Things that make you go, hmmm.
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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Old 08-26-2010   #60
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The AW database has three previous fatalities from the sieve:
American Whitewater - -SecurityGadget-explain
American Whitewater - -SecurityGadget-explain

Three other deaths on the Fractions/Frog Rock stretch were at high water:
American Whitewater - -SecurityGadget-explain
American Whitewater - -SecurityGadget-explain
American Whitewater - -SecurityGadget-explain

The earliest reported accident for the Arkansas in their database is from 1982.

Originally Posted by Phil U. View Post
I have heard 9 deaths including a couple in a tandem canoe...

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