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Old 05-16-2005   #21
Retail Manager/Kayak Instructor
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 89
Hey all-

I just returned from visiting Ryan. Here's an update:

His trachea tube has been removed and he's talking, aleit quietly, on his own. He and his family are psyched on all the support they've received from the Buzz and Fort Collins communities. Ryan is planning to be out of the hospital in two days and is already talking about the party to throw when he's feeling better!

I'm sure everybody is as psyched as we are at the shop that Ryan's recovery has gone so well to this point.

Be safe,

Brian :lol:
The Mountain Shop
Poudre River Kayaks
632 S. Mason
Fort Collins, CO 80524
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Old 05-16-2005   #22
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Hey Gary,

From what I can decipher from your post, you seem to be missing the point of what I said. I don't know how you got the idea that I'm saying anyone doesn't have the responsibility to decide the level and safety of a river they boat. Of course they do. Folks need to be aware of what's going on around them and whether someone's in trouble.


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 05-16-2005   #23
Gary E's Avatar
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 739
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Andy,what I got from your post is"experienced boaters screwed the Novice boaters" ect...I see some of your points and agree we have to look out for each other..What I don't agree with is your take on mother duck being responsable for baby ducks bad lines and ass beatings...There has to be ACCOUNTABILITY for your own actions/decisions in your boat,thats all I was saying...I think we agree that most if not all paddlers would act if someone is in trouble and do your best to help make it best case...

When I paddle with my friends I don't even know who "the trip leader"is,as I don't feel we have what you are talking about in the upper post(an alpha paddler)...I am accountable for myself and watch out for my buddy's...I guess we are just in different modes on the water...It's all good,be safe and glad we got to chat...
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Old 05-16-2005   #24
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 11
Great job, great info, lessons to be learned

Great job to all those involved in the accident. And thanks for all the well thought out and very informative posts about what was done, how it was done, and the well thought out evaluations by those involved of what was done, how it was done, what was done well and what could be done better if anyone ever finds themselves in a similar situation. We all get to learn from others successes and mistakes.

Thanks again and best wishes to all involved, victim and rescuers.

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Old 05-16-2005   #25
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 176
I'm glad to hear Ryan's doing well. It gives me the heebie jeebies everytime I see an ambulance tearing up the canyon; I'm glad this time it turned out ok.

Gary & Andy - I think you both essentially agree, you're just talking about two totally different situations. Having experienced boaters taking novices down class III is not the same responsibilities as a bunch of experienced boaters running class IV-V together. Beginners who don't know how to read water yet are trusting their experienced friends to either lead them down a line they can handle or help them scout the rapid so they know where they need to go. If you're taking someone down a stretch of river that they wouldn't run without your help and guidance, you HAVE to take some responsibility for their safety.
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Old 05-16-2005   #26
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
I absolutely agree with Gary- this particular case ended up with many folks from another party rallying to out together a phenomenal rescue. It's my understanding that Ryan was up there with one other person, but there were a number of other groups on the same section. Conditions and factors aside (flow, boat choice, rapid difficulty, skill), this was something that we can all look to as a fortunate outcome to an incident that should send all of us to Swiftwater courses and CPR refreshers.

In the case of high stakes boating (as Gary said, IV+, V, or wilderness boating) you have to look as much at yourself & your own limitations in the same way you look at your partners- because ultimately, you put your crew at risk if they have to get in the water to rescue you. In that regard, creeking / big water becomes part solo sport, part expeditionary team sport. It's your responsibility to know when to eddy out a walk if you're over your head- as much for your sake as for your partners. The "shepherd" role only applies as much as the info that the most experienced boater can provide a competent boater- he/ she is not making that must-make eddy for you.

By the way- for those of you that don't know- for all his bravado & brash talk, Gary E is flat-out one of the safest class V boaters that I've ever paddled with, and I know he would risk his life to save mine. So he deserves to expect the same from you- I think that's all he's saying.
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Old 05-16-2005   #27
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 305
Personal accountability

Now that this topic has reached this point (personal accountability) there is something I want to say as a new boater, I have to decide on when I should get out and stay out or when I should paddle and maybe swim or take my beating and hopefully swim away.
I personally don’t have a roll yet and it maybe sometime before I do, it keeps me from paddling in some places I would like to, but it will not keep me from trying out some paddling experiences (where I feel I belong) but that being said how as a new paddler do I choose where I should go and shouldn’t be? Common sense and education. When in doubt, stay out.

Now as a Scuba Instructor and being used to taking responsibility for those around me I need to add this, when you are in an activity that could involve rescuing others you need to choose if you are able/want to, if you feel like you can’t /don’t, then maybe you should paddle only with people at your level or better yet alone, as even with your peers there could be a problem, I teach my students to rely on them selves but to be there for their buddy and for those close to them in the event of one even if they are not their buddy.
Maybe Kayaking could take a lesson from Scuba in this respect???

In everything that I have read about kayaking/river running it says that you should have a strong paddler in the lead, taking turns leading and a strong paddler following, also taking turns. Anytime you have boaters going down a run they don’t know.
Don't do anything, just stand there.
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Old 05-16-2005   #28
Charc in = charc out
ToddG's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
my comment, "creeking is a team sport", has been a mantra for several years now.

it relates to higher-end whitewater & the teamwork needed to tackle it safely. it applies as much to off-river situations as on. it means that each person on the team is entrusted to make smart decisions for themselves & for the team. it means that you always have someone you trust watching your back, & when shit hits the fan, there's some level of competence you can rely on. it means that if someone is not feeling it that day, they are able to either get their shit together mentally or admit that they're blowing it, & then make the right decisions for themselves & the team. it means that if someone who is not up to snuff is glomming onto the group/run, you politely excuse them & don't feel guilty about it. it means that if you are the liability, you are mature enough to accept that & make the right call. it refers to the tight bond that happens among a team that communicates well & works together to accomplish great things & HAVE FUN doing it. that's how you come back from a trip with good stories. that's all i mean when i say that
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Old 05-16-2005   #29
adrock's Avatar
Fort Collins/GWS, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 208
the ryan rescue

I was second to last paddler in the group of nine (the todd G group). Here is what I experienced and some things I learned from the rescue.

Firstly, I talked to punk ass (aaron) today as we were interviewed by nine news this morning at PVH. We went in to see Ryan afterwards and he looks good. Also, just FYI, FOX news came to my house this evening, why they came to my house or how they got my name I am not sure but I talked to them for 5 minutes and emphasized the incredible team effort.

Also, at the hospital, Ryan's family expressed their extreme and very sincere gratitude to everyone that helped.

As I came through green bridge in middle narrows I noticed a yellow boat pinned and saw ropes flying. I grabbed the slack water to the river right of the pin rock and worked my way up to ryan. He was frantically trying to get his head out of the water and it was extremely difficult to grab him as it was everything I could do to keep my position next to the rock. I grabbed his life vest and pulled as hard as I could. I grabbed his boat, pulled as hard as I could, nothing. At one point he was able to grab the top of my boat and get a breathe but the force of his weight just subbed my creek boat. Plus, he was super panicked so he didnt grab my loop or really see where exactly I was positioned.

Great rope tosses (yes, maby one too many) were floating across his body but he could not grab lines nor was I in position to attach a rope to his boat or body. Thinking back on it though, I would have directed a throw to me and beaned it to my vest or boat, and tried to then attach my leash (or hand) to his boat. Granted, his boat was pretty much upside down and I didnt have a visual on a security loop. The other thing I might have done is try to get on that pin rock and pushed on his boat from above (this would have been super tricky but worth a try.) This all happened so damn fast, the ultimate challenge was trying to be creative and stay calm.

So Ryan pretty muched stopped struggling and I began shit myself (this is like 15 seconds after I pulled in next to the pin rock) as Matt jumped in the water from upstream and got between the boat and the rock. As matt pushed from river left upstream on the boat, I pulled on ryans body downstream. How Matt was able to position himself between the rock and the boat, and generate force upstream, is pretty fucking baffling to me. It was the crux move that pretty much decided whether or not Ryan had a chance.

As Ryan washed free of the pin I let go of his body and boat which Matt was now attached to. I had to bounce through some wierd junk semi-upside down and pull my shit together. Ryan's boat followed me and I plowed it to a broach rock next to shore. At this point I was forced to exit the river on the left bank as the right side had cliffed out. I ran up and watched the incredible effort to revive ryan, agonizing from the roadsize shore.

I then watched several calm paddlers pull together and bring ryan back to life with compressions and breathes. Absolutely amazing.

My little brother Cisco serendipitously showed up at the scene at the time of CPR and had a blanket and some pillows and a huge foam pad which we used on the ladder as a backboard. We also used his vehicle to get Ryan to the ambulance. Big thanks to him and his calm fast thinking.

I think my main lessons:

1. Dont give up. Even if someone stops moving, as freaky as that is. As long as you can keep the rescue from taking someone elses life, keep trying shit, new shit, old shit, talk to eachother keep it going.

2. I noticed that ryans vest was not a great paddling vest, I think it had less flotation then mine and I am 160lbs, he is 250. I think more flotation would have helped him get breathes and aided his rescue hugely.

3. get current on your cpr and rescue breathing ( I know, already mentioned). Along with that, put a mask in your dry bag, keep it with you on the river. Just ask the guys that gave breathes whom I'm sure can still taste ryan's puke in their mouths, not fun.

4. Always look back and stay somewhat close, no matter what you are running. As we all know, most of this shit goes down in the CIII or IV drops. If someone in your group gets pinned and has limited breathing ability, you are going to have to get to them very very fast. This is hard to do if you are 100 yards down stream.

salud and thanks to everyone, I think the river ultimately blessed us that day, even though it was probably one of the hardest emotional experiences for a lot of us.

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Old 05-17-2005   #30
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 168
Thanks for that recount adrianmatthew. I have waited to give my account because I was not entirely sure what happened. In the heat of the moment I was operating on instinct and adrenaline so my memory is foggy.

As mentioned, I was on the river left side of the rock so I was unaware of what was happening on the river right side. I paddle to river left and ditched my boat. Someone else was also in that eddy and got out of his boat too. I jumped in and swam to the rock. I was almost in arms reach of his boat when the current started to pull me back. I was clawing at the rock when ropes came at me. I grabbed a rope and pulled my way to the bow of Ryan's boat. Using the rope as leverage with one hand, I was able to push the bow of his boat with the other hand freeing the pin. When the boat was unpinned (keep in mind the rock was blocking my view of Ryan and all that was happening on river right) I didn't know he was unconscious. I got pulled around the rock with him and his boat. I realized he was unconscious and pulled his skirt and pulled him out of the boat. We both got washed up on the wet rocks down stream. Exhausted from the swim, I couldn't pull his body up onto the slick rocks. I will never forget the frustration I felt and how helpless I was when I couldn't pull him up onto the rocks. Others came to help, one person swimming from upstream and another from shore (I think?). This is where the details are foggy for me. I have no idea who was who and who was doing what. We pulled him to shore with help from more people on river right and started CPR. I think the rest can be summed up in the other posts.

I need to know, did I interrupt anyone else’s attempts at successfully rescuing him? I have been running the scenario through my head over and over wondering what I might have done better or if I did something wrong. Now I realize that there was another attempt going on the other side. I would very much like to have a reunion so we can compare notes and piece together the whole story. This has been an overwhelming emotional experience to which I have never felt before. The few memories I have run through my mind over and over every minute of the day and they aren't getting weaker - but stronger.

Great job to all! I am amazed at how everything just came together. It seemed like 10 or so people were just doing their job and everything pieced together like a puzzle. It was an honor to work with you all. I look forward to meeting Ryan and telling him he's horrible kisser.

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