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Old 07-11-2005   #21
Tiggy's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, CO
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
with alln the pluses and minuses , doesnt that make the international scale go up to like 18? lol, never heard of a 1- , maybe it goes to 16.
All I know is 4+ through to 6 has my full attention, lol
Hey Peter Did you get worked in that little tube on your sig?

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Old 07-11-2005   #22
US Army Officer
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 10
I spent the better part of a year looking into adding an alpha rating for danger to the AW system. Having a climbing background it seemed easy enough to apply.

The intent of such ratings would be for safety though most paddlers I found simply wanted it as a quick reference guide. Some want it to stay clear of R or X ratings while others were attracked by the idea of running X rated rapids.

The real lessons from accidents is that most don't happen on what we would classify as R or X rapids. Hence the real purpose will have little impact on reducing accidents while the second order affects causing a false sense of security could add to the pbm.

The AW rating system by design is vague and attempts to focus on difficulty only (how it is applied is another story). Most paddlers who want more from a rating system are not comfortable with the uncertainty...and for whatever reason some prefer to trust a guidebook or streamkeeper to summarize the dynamics of a rapid's hazard in a letter. Too often when talking to an accident group I hear...the guidebook didn't even mention this as a hazard...

All agree that safety really comes down to judgment. Knowing how to read water and identify hazards is the key. I like to use the gun anology. It doesn't matter if it is a BB gun or shot always treat a gun as if its loaded to prevent accidents. The same applies to rivers and rapids. Our safety and safety mistakes are habit based.

If I honestly thought danger ratings could potential prevent more accidents than they would cause I would have pushed for the change. Danger Ratings are a case of more is less and less is more.

Secondary reasons for such a rating system (easier to look at an alpha rating than read the text) are not worth the risk of false security and consequences.

Tim Kelley
AW Safety Chair

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Old 07-12-2005   #23
Tiggy's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, CO
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
Paddlers dont get worked because of the rating system...typically its bozos ill equipped....or paddlers pushing the edge or perhaps ignoring proper river safety.
Ive boated ten years now and have always used the international system, it works very well.

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