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Old 07-02-2013   #11
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
Can someone explain why it is such a bad pin spot? Sounds like it has happened to numerous people. I often do the ferry move back to the right channel after hitting the mystery eddy. I always thought it was just a big pillow that might flip me if I didn't make the move... not a pin spot. Is there a sieve there or something? Or do you just get plastered across the upstream side of the rock? I guess I haven't ever taken a really good look at it. Regardless, I can say that I'm never going to ferry back out of the mystery eddy above that rock any more. Thanks for the heads up.

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Old 07-02-2013   #12
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Not a kayaker, but I have pinned boats in strong current and I think I learned what you have;
1) Commit; right or wrong, commit and go. Hesitation nearly always turns out worse than committing. And, even if it turns out badly, those who witnesses your wreck will remark on your incredible moxie, trying that line like you did.
2) Being able to breath is job 1; all else will work itself out eventually. The OBJ video should bring that home to everyone. Never quit trying, and do not panic.
3) Remember rule 1 if you get pinned.

I know this was scary, and you are still trying to absorb what happened and why. No doubt, your confidence is a bit shaken. From reading your posts about this its pretty clear to me you handled the situation correctly. Don't let it eat at you; get back in there, knowing you are a better yakker for the experience, better prepared for what the river Gods have in store for you. And, know that you will never again hesitate on Bailey.

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Old 07-02-2013   #13
Buckrodgers's Avatar
Teacher, Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 251
Originally Posted by jeffsssmith View Post
I've paddled Bailey but don't know where the mystery eddy is. Can someone please tell me what rapid it's in.
Glad you're OK Beth! I remember laughing my ass off when Kent did something similar there and swam, but he wasn't pinned nearly as bad--he was really in the eddy, so it was funny rather than scary.

I've learned my lesson over the years to always boof as high and tight into an eddy as possible, no matter what, be it boils or pin spots or whatever.

Jeffsssmith--if you are wondering where the mystery eddy is, you can watch my excessively long Bailey video that I made just for people to see all the rapids. They are all labeled, but the mystery eddy is toward the end of the run (right before the flatwater), not really in a rapid:

Bailey Canyon June 17 2012 - YouTube
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Old 07-02-2013   #14
caspermike's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
Rule number 1 always be aware
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Old 07-02-2013   #15
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Originally Posted by jeffsssmith View Post
I've paddled Bailey but don't know where the mystery eddy is. Can someone please tell me what rapid it's in.
lat 39.404605 long -105.372608

It's the last rapid in "dome-land" before the class II leading to the takeout.

I've heard a few people comment that the mystery eddy is a serious move above 400 cfs due to this pin potential. At 600ish a few years ago, I witnessed a similar incident to what Beth encountered. I think the "safest way" to run this rapid is to take the right eddy above mystery eddy to ensure adequate boat spacing.
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Old 07-02-2013   #16
Roy's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 682
It's chaos and there is no one answer. I guess the only thing I have to add is the same theory I apply to getting out of a hole: keep moving and trying new things. Time is of the essence here and when you're stuck in one position, seconds are ticking away. Where that breaks down is if you're maintaining an air pocket, you might not want to do anything that risks losing it, but putting your paddle blade in the current is the right idea, IMHO. Waiting for help that can take a while is dicey in and of itself.

Glad to hear it all worked out, Beth!
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied...learn to swim!
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Old 07-02-2013   #17
Front Range, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 79
Glad you are OK

Glad to hear you are OK. Sounds like you kept your cool through a very scary swim to recall all those details. My swims are typically a blur of shit, fuck, damn, shit, fuck damn....

Is there a link for the OBJ video that has been mentioned a couple of times?
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Old 07-02-2013   #18
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
First I heard of someone getting pinned there was Christian, and he is, well was, way more of a bad ass boater than all you chumps combined. It's a classic spot for building complacency and not noticing the hazard. When you do a run as many times as Bailey and if you're like me, you started doing it when it felt like a run that was on the hairy edge, so you're in scenery overload mode, it's easy to see the same things every time you go down there. In recent years, I've tried to make a point of looking for something new every time I go down a familiar run, whether it's just a little eddy that's on the other side of the river from where I usually run or something up on the canyon rim. Otherwise I just go into robotic mode and do the same motions every time.

Anyway, I do think that spot is largely a matter of awareness. If you're a boater that just barely survived Bailey out of control, just stay right on that drop. I do the mystery eddy almost every time because it's so fun, but I definitely drive into it with authority, knowing that blowing it can be consequential. I also like the ferry back over to the right channel move, but I think it's pretty safe because you can just paddling into that hole and let it surf you back right.

I generally agree with your analysis of what to do after pinning. I fortunately don't have a lot of experience with it, but in general, I think the best thing is to get out of your boat as quickly as possible when you pin badly. However, if your'e in a situation like you described, where it's not clear that you will be able to quickly exit your boat when you're pinned, and your cockpit is facing upstream, it can definitely make matters worse pulling your skirt and allowing your boat to fill with water. I wonder if you weren't moving out of the pin because your PFD was snagged on something and that's why it tore and subsequently released you?

As others have said, I think the main sin here was not taking the drop seriously enough and recognizing the hazard - a trap many before you have fallen for. The rest was handled well.

Also, the more I've paddled, the more I believe one of the main hazards on the river is other boaters. My paddling buddies are probably tired of hearing me talking about this, along with River Brain and a couple of man crushes I currently hold, but I contend that it's true! I'm pretty cautious these days about making sure people clear certain holes or drops before I follow suit and generally prefer to stay in front or back of the pack to avoid the boater river hazard. I also trust boating with certain groups of boaters much more than others. You learn that some people are better to follow than others. Certain boaters are notoriously slow or hole riding prone and there's nothing worse than catching your slow ass buddy in the middle of a big rapid and having to back paddle or take a sketchy line around them. Hand paddlers are the worst.
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Old 07-02-2013   #19
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I think that the mystery eddy pin rock is a bad pin spot because once a boat is broached on the rock point, there is very powerful current going on either side of the rock that just pushes the boat onto the rock. Its not just a simple pillow where all of the water is pillowing up, probably because its a point jutting into fast current.

In the spirit of learning... the first mistake is not giving the boater ahead of you enough time to clear the eddy line. I always wait in the eddy on river right above the drop and give boaters dropping enough time to clear out before I drop in.

I mentioned to Beth that for future reference, learning how to exit your boat without pulling your grab loop is key. I have learned that if I twist my hips (think left hip bone on your seat, right hip bone facing up and out of the cockpit) and bring my right leg up so I can push up on the skirt with my knee or by pushing my foot on the hull of the kayak, that my skirt will simply pop off the deck without the grabloop being pulled. The twisting motion is key as it pulls on the skirt where the weak seal is on the side of your hip.

I also think mystery eddy shouldn't necessarily be avoided just because of this pin spot. If we avoided everywhere you could pin, you wouldn't run bailey anymore. Mystery eddy is typically an easy 3 stroke move, and its easy to avoid the pin. I also paddle back out to the right, and I don't think you pin that way, because you really don't have momentum on to the rock. I think what gets people caught is they don't have left momentum, and think that they can just take a little sweep and get in the eddy, and the downstream momentum they have coming into the move pushes them onto the rock. Once on the rock, the jets of current on either side become perfect creekboat holders.

When Christian pinned and got off it, he told us that get got off by violently rocking his body back and forth to get the boat to move and it flushed off.
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Old 07-02-2013   #20
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966
When Christian pinned and got off it, he told us that get got off by violently rocking his body back and forth to get the boat to move and it flushed off.
In retrospect I've wondered if I could have rocked and made a difference, but I felt superglued to the boulder...I've have much more benign pins where I was able to rock my way off the pinner rock, but I just don't think that was an option for me - not even if I possessed the strength of KSC's abs....

I appreciate all the thoughts/feedback on the situation and think there were some pertinent and excellent points. The two that resonate most, for me are: being aware and committing to your line. Those are probably the most proactive actions that can be taken in any situation to avoid finding yourself in a bad way...I didn't have either of these things happening on Sunday.

Although I agree that being able to breath is, obviously, imperative, I don't think I'm on board with the idea that
2) Being able to breath is job 1; all else will work itself out eventually.
I don't know about the, "all else is going to work itself out eventually," part.

The OBJ pin has been referenced a couple of times and although I've watched the footage, I don't know what actually happened. I don't know if the paddler attempted to get out and was stuck or if he was maintaining the air pocket for as long as possible.

(The footage clearly states in the beginning not to use the video without permission, so I don't want to link it up here.)

I'm not sure the suggestion of maintaining an air pocket at all costs is always the answer, especially if you think you stand a good chance of getting yourself out of the boat, and hopefully out of the situation, all together. I felt like I would be better off out of the boat - I did think to take a couple deep breaths before I put myself on my back deck hoping to pry off with my paddle. I think that was a good thing - I mentioned earlier that, oddly, I was not crazy out of breath when I surfaced, despite being caught up/pinned underwater on something. I don't know how long I was down....surely less time than it felt like, but I think those breaths helped with "dealing."

Off to Idaho tomorrow...I haven't had a chance to get on the water since Sunday, but am looking forward to looking at the river with a better set of eyes after this experience.


"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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