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Old 04-17-2008   #41
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by GAtoCSU View Post
While I can only speak for myself, I have never ran a rapid, on any river, that I didn't think I was going to make it out the other side.I hope that most of the boaters that I paddle with believe that they are going to make it through X rapid. If they are rolling the dice and think it's a 50% chance of making it out alive, I don't want to be on that river with them and I don't care if it's class 3 or class 5+.
I think you missed my point here Peachy. I'm not talking 50/50. You said you've never run a rapid you didn't THINK you were going to make it out the other side. "Think" however is much different from what I said which is, to KNOW you are going to make it out the other side. Granted, when I run a class V canyon, rapid or stretch, I truly believe in my mind that I am definitely going to make it out the other side, which is stronger than just thinking that I'm going to make it out the other side, but I still do not KNOW. To be confident that you can make it out the other side is the best you can do. You can never KNOW, for certain, exactly what is going to happen in there. And to me that is part of what makes it special. If you did KNOW you wouldn't get that tingly feeling in your gut, where the butterfly wings are tickling your adrenaline gland making you decide right then and there if you are up to it or not.

If you don't THINK you can make it then I agree that you best to turn tail... but you can never KNOW for certain.

Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 04-17-2008   #42
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
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What is different about class V is the same thing that makes it difficult for our loved ones to understand. That feeling of not knowing if you're going to make it out the other side, the challenge and the teamwork necessary to negotiate a difficult river canyon, rapid or stretch. Without that it's still fun but is just a hobby. With that unknown outcome it is a journey every time and for me only class V can provide that.[/quote]

Evan, uncertainty sounded like your goal? Why?

Hey, I have enjoyed expeditions for the appreciation of seeing exotic and amazing places. New explorations do have uncertainty. However, I am never boating with with the expectation of having uncertainty about if I make it out the other side. Don't get me wrong ... I think I know what you're trying to express. However, speaking for myself, I frequently boat class V because that level is usually comfortable and is fun to me (admittedly, V+ & VI can start going beyond usual comfort). Not because I have to be scared, uncertain, or trying to prove something to myself. I go for the undivided attention devoted to having fun, ... for the recreation, the exercise, ... for the pureness and its distraction from the insanity of the humanized world. Never to contemplate whether I'm going to survive the day, but to contemplate the fantastic opportunity for feeling alive.

I'd bet that you are too, Evan. Keep up the good work.


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Old 04-17-2008   #43
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Originally Posted by RiverWrangler View Post

If you don't THINK you can make it then I agree that you best to turn tail... but you can never KNOW for certain.
My point was not directed at you. I feel very comfortable boating with you and would go to an unknown, unrun river with you and have no worries.

With that said, I think we all know of boaters that are running shit that is over their head. It's boaters like this that I am worried about and nervous when I am in a group with them. There's no way that they believe they can make a drop 99/100 times when they have swam it 75% of the times that they have tried it. I knew people back when I was on the East Coast that were just like thsi.

JJ, on the other hand, is very safe and I'm supporting what he's doing. I can't wait to boat with him again and the same for with you.

When are we boating? God I need some water.
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Old 04-17-2008   #44
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
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I think and hope that most boaters that call themselves class V boaters are class V boaters because they are smart about their decisions. They are the type who say well today I feel like shit, so I am going to walk this rapid today, that I style any other day and come home to my wife and kids and not regret what I did.

Peaches define "over you head" because I think you have to push your self if you want to boat the gnar at some point. I don't think that you need to jump from filterplant to running the Crystal gorge, but you should set goals that are pushing you past a point of "comfortable".

Those who know me know that I ain't the best boater out there, and I do get lazy some times on the river, but when it is serious I step it up and let it all go. Every year since I started kayaking I have set goals and every year I have met or exceeded those goals.

I know it changes when you have a family, but I would rather die doing something I love than just fading into the wind.

The jergens helps me get the baby batter off the brain so that I can spit my favorite episode of Sex and the City coherently to the filly that is impressed with my sensitivity and sexual security. Ladies young and old skinny and fat hot and butterface love Sex and the City. (trust me)
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Old 04-17-2008   #45
Owner: Class 5 Carvings
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Well in the end it's all about having fun, I started kayaking a few years ago and was lucky to be taken in by a crew of confident boaters that could teach me what they knew. Now I feel great every day I am on the river with them, and not because they are leading the way but because I know they are all going to make good decisions. I know that I can run the big stuff, and the butterflies and adrenaline that pump me up before those gnarly ones is what it is all about, but I have no problem walking them either on days that it just doesn’t feel right. Going big is great, I like to go big in every thing I do, but I also like to come home and drink a few beers. So going out to the Big Sizzy with the team is just another great day in the woods, and who cares if the big 3 are dodged or not. As for those with family or a conscience, if you can run it great, but if you’re worried about what could happen if something went wrong then why risk it. There’s always another day, and not to be a prick but say you go to the Big S and tell your woman that your only running the buggie and the stress free rapids, then your having a great day and you decide to step it up at cool world and style it, there’s nothing but an argument coming if that slips out, so just say it was a great day on the river and the few short walks you had were enjoyable!!

P the K
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Old 04-17-2008   #46
Mad Scientist/Creeker
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Ken - You are right, I believe we are looking at the same feeling, just from two slightly different angles. The uncertainty is not the goal, but it is what makes the accomplishment that much sweeter. Whenever I am preparing for an expedition all I can think about is the glory boofs and the feel of my paddle catching the current, but when I'm donning my gear at the put-in and there is no warm-up, straight into the class V maelstrom, my adrenaline is pumping, the butterflies are circling and I know that I must let go and focus on the moment because floating willy nilly into class V just will not suffice. What you described as the "undivided attention devoted to having fun" and the "fantastic opportunity for feeling alive," is the same feeling that I am trying to express with the uncertainty factor. If it was easy it wouldn't require your undivided attention.

Class V is comfortable for me as well and there is not much more fun than sailing a ten foot boof or plugging into a 25 footer or dropping into a seam and disapearing only to reappear upright and online. It had better be fun or why do it? It is not a sport about death defying stunts or being on the edge and to me if you are prepared, it is much less dangerous than it appears to people outside the sport. There is certainly still a factor of danger involved, which whether we admit it or not is part of the allure in at least an abstract way. Of course coursing through exciting and exotic, rarely visited places is a huge component as well. It all comes together to provide unforgettable and incomparable experiences to anything else in life and to me that is why it is not a hobby and why it is worth the risk.

Great topic and I haven't been this engrossed in the buzz in awhile. P to the K, Peaches and others have hit it on the head that it really is about having a good time, paddling what you are confident paddling, and living to come home to your family, to paddle another day and to drink a few beers.
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 04-17-2008   #47
Join Date: Oct 2003
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honey, if you're reading this you are way more important than boating and i only run class 5 with competant people
Seriously Dude!
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Old 04-17-2008   #48
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Kyle has decided not to run any Class V in 2008. It was his decision.
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Old 04-17-2008   #49
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Originally Posted by yourrealdad View Post

Peaches define "over you head" because I think you have to push your self if you want to boat the gnar at some point.
Pushing yourself? Yes...Swimming all the time? No.

Not every boater that gets to class 5 has a swimming problem and not every boater on class 5 swims on a daily basis. However, there are some people that run class 5 that are a liability to themselves, their group, and river access (in certain places).

For instance, lets say a class 4 boater (comfy in the middle narrows) decides to go to Crystal Gorge. He then proceeds to swim 3x before he reaches the Inner Gorge and decides he wants to give it a go. Is this smart? I don't think so.

How about the guy that loves adrenaline and thinks the river is a pussy. He proceeds to show up on Big South, drop some names of rivers that he has swam, and tags along with your group. He swims Rock Lobster, Taco Bobs, Fantasy Flight, and Bar Room Brawl. Is this a guy that you want on the river?

We've all had shady people show up at the put in and end up being a liability. Hell, I've showed up at the Narrows in the last few years and had my group say "No way that guy is coming with us" before we even get out of the car. Why? B/c of experiences like this. People boating shit that's over their head.

JJ is not one of these people. He's an extremely talented boater and a cautious one at that. Can't wait to boat with him this spring.

The best thing that a person can do that is looking to paddle harder rivers is to master the previous difficulty. If you can make all the moves on class 3... You're ready for class 4.. Same with class 5. I know some damn good slalom boaters that RARELY ever paddle class 5 (if they ever have). However, if you take them to a creek they style it up... Why? B/c they can make the moves regardless of having been on that level of water before. People try to progress to difficulty water too quickly these days. They never learn the basics and they pay the price with swims.
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Old 04-18-2008   #50
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Originally Posted by COLDFEAR View Post
Here is my question how many paddlers die in Class 5 vs the lesser class of whitewater?

It seems to me more people die rafting and paddling easier creeks and rivers then competent class 5 paddlers running 5 or 5+.
"Charlie Walbridge has examined whitewater fatalities as far back as the early 1970s and, along with J. Tinsley, has published 5 anthologies on the topic.59 His reports focus on individual events as a way of helping others avoid similar situations. He notes that the number of whitewater fatalities has increased in recent years, but this may merely reflect the growth that these sports are experiencing. He also documents and comments on the
fact that there are 2 distinct types of whitewater fatalities.

The first, which has been an issue for many years, is the inexperienced rafter, canoeist, and, less frequently, kayaker who gets caught in a situation above his or her capability.

The second most common type of whitewater fatality involves highly accomplished boaters, usually kayakers, attempting extremely dangerous whitewater. Unfortunately, it appears that the latter type of fatality has been on the rise for the past few years."

Quoted from:
Injuries Associated With Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
David C. Fiore, MD
From the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Reno, NV


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