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Old 01-26-2013   #31
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 817
Huck, please check your personal Buzz messages. Thank you, tom

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Old 01-26-2013   #32
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Thanks for the info, Huck.

I also appreciate your sensitivity to the group and second your request that they be given time to return and get back to "normal" before asking anyone fill in blanks in the story. The details will come out soon enough and I doubt there's any real urgency to pass on safety recommendations from this tragedy that haven't already been posted.

My condolences to Kaitlin's friends and family.


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 01-31-2013   #33
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
So no more info on this? Anyone?
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 01-31-2013   #34
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 817
This is getting more and more problematic. I am hearing that an adjacent trip had contact with the Kenney group the day of her disappearance. That would not be unusual at a popular camp like Below Tapeats, given the populatity of the Tapeats Creek-Thunder River-Deer Creek hike, and the proximity of Racetrack Camp upstream. It is possible to hike from one camp to the other as well. The NPS will neither confirm nor deny that alcohol may have played a part in Kenney's disappearance. Recent rains with snow in the high country in AZ have greatly decreased the river's clarity, and given the clothing Kaitlin was last seen in, the potential to recover her body if she went into the river is becoming very slim. Anyone who has gone into the river from Tapeats to Mead has not been recovered. These are the facts as we know them at this time on this tragedy. yours, tom
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Old 02-05-2013   #35
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
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I can only council we, the river community, should not put our heads in the sand. Locking threads and accusations are not helpful. We need to learn from this tragedy so that it does not happen again, for Kaity's sake. Yours, tom
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Old 02-06-2013   #36
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Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 60
So I've been holding out on this ever since I got back from the Grand because I've thought that the details aren't that important for the general public to know. But at the same time, every incident like this has great potential for learning, and can be beneficial for people in similar situations in the future, as to avoidance of such scenarios.
I paddled down from Racetrack to Lower Tapeats to greet the group camped there; everyone welcomed me warmly and it didn't take long before Kaitlin came up to me, grabbed my arm, and introduced herself. She was bubbly and bright with a big sweet smile. We ended up sitting amongst the rocks near the river, sipping whiskey, laughing and bullshitting. She had a ukulele strung around her back and I asked her to play me a river song, she strummed some chords but the music soon faded into more conversation of whatever you talk about when you're sipping whiskey next to the river without a seemingly care in the world. Not much later, a few more members of my group made their way down to Kaitlin's camp and the night unfolded into partying and shooting the shit around the campfire. At some point still early into the evening, I noticed that Kaitlin wasn't around the fire anymore but there was near 20 people hanging out so I thought little of it; she was off doing her thing, whatever that was. The fire died down, folks retired to their sleeping bags and so did I. The next morning I woke up to nearly 2 inches of snow on my sleeping bag. Around noon, 3 members of her group came to our campsite assuming she was there. There was concerned disappointment on their faces when I told them she wasn't with us. They began a search of the Lower Tapeats area and my group joined them soon after. We covered the beach and did a grid search of Tapeats Creek and as far upstream a person could go before getting cliffed out. Nothing. Her group began to make the sat call while myself and another member of my group assembled a hypo kit and kayaked a mile downstream to the entrance of Granite Gorge. We assumed that if she had been swept downstream, and possibly crawled out onto a beach, she'd be severely hypothermic but possibly still alive. We searched the river banks left and right from the river, then hiked back upstream from the entrance of Granite Gorge to camp, combing the upper reaches along the way. Nothing. By this time the chopper arrived and began searching downstream to about 5 miles past Tapeats. Search and rescue teams were brought in the next day and the chopper continued doing laps downstream. We consoled the group but eventually had to push on.
No one is at fault here, we all like to party on the river, it's part of our paddling culture, but what I've taken from this experience is that there's a higher level of responsibility to yourself and others around you when you party in the wilderness. You need some system of accountability to make sure everyone makes it back to their tent at night. Kaitlin's soul journeyed off that night but it could have just as easily been me, or you. Who knows how she ended up in the river; she could have easily been trying to pee, slipped and knocked herself out on the rocky shore and been washed downstream. It'll be a mystery, but we should learn from this and be accountable to each other.
I'm stoked that I got to meet her and spend that last night with her; she was definitely a joy and put a big smile on my face.
Hendri Coetzee said something along the lines that yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and all we have is today and the opportunity to make it the best day ever. Kaitlin was living that; and what an amazing place to to say goodbye in.
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Old 02-06-2013   #37
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Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,147
this is just so sad. My condolences to all directly involved and family. The one thing to remember is, some times bad shit happens to good people for no particular reason or fault, and no amount of explanation or reasonable planning could have caused a different outcome. I know a guy that fell off a 6' ladder hanging xmas lights. There was no lesson to learn. It was just a stupid accident, only preventable by sitting on the couch and surfing mt buzz 24-7.
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Old 02-06-2013   #38
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
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Posts: 1,768
thanks for the report and your efforts Josh. sounds like one of those people who made the world a better place while she was here. we could all learn from that.
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Old 02-06-2013   #39
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
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Agreed. Thank you Josh.
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Old 03-26-2013   #40
GC Guide's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1990
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Posts: 520
So Sad........

Female body found in Grand Canyon

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