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Old 02-04-2016   #21
Pucon Kayak Hostel's Avatar
Pucón, Chile
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 41
Glad it happened... someone's life has been saved. Love you Baer.

The more I think about this video the more grateful I become that it happened. First my friend Baer is still here. Second, this video is the greatest preventative short of a drowning to others whom might be attracted to this drop now known as a high potential killer. Eventually, one might predict someone else would drown on this rapid. The graphic footage has served a greater good.

The video is emotional for the community because of it's controversy and the added respect value of what happened to Juan Dugarte, a dear friend to many. Conditions were different chiefly with lower flows. And that likely played into Baer's, Aeon's and Mark's decision.
Two issues I want to mention: self-decision and this learning opportunity for proper safety.
Trust Baer understood the risk taken. That's his decision to "Baer." It's apparent in his Gopro footage. At least 50% of this rescue is self-rescue. Baer's aggressive pro-active swim moved him several meters downstream. His fast moves on the wall advanced him another few meters downstream to where when he was stuffed under the wall that his chances of popping out in downstream current were higher. That swim must have been part of their pre-run rescue plan in case of problems. Without his own proactive swim he would not have been reachable by rope and may not have survived.
Mark's rope attached to his own body arriving to Baer is a remarkable point and almost seems like chance. Baer points out that he took several long arm strides on the rope meaning he was deep. Mark attached a rope to his body with a plan to throw rope into cave and paddle paddler out. That too was their plan of action and risk taken. Sketchy to some. But it worked. Worth noting is how solid of a boater Mark Taylor is. Thankful they got the job done.

As the owner of Pucon Kayak Hostel and leader of Patagonia Study Abroad we see lots of crews coming through to charge. Including this team just two days prior. This video will likely become one of our greatest teaching tools for assessing safety and decision making. If nothing else the video illustrates to chargers the many things that can go wrong with boat rescue even with the most solid of boaters. For that I thank the team. But I am not an instructor that wants to say, "Don't take the risk." Where's the self-discovery and learning in that? Rather, would it not be more impactful to have a set of principles for your own decision making of what you will and will not allow yourself. The questions to contemplate might be:
  • What is the basis for your reason to run this rapid?
  • What could possibly go wrong on this rapid?
  • What are the worst case consequences for any failure?
  • What is best case scenario for 100% rescue scenario?
  • What would issue 100% rescue safety? Is 100% rescue attainable here? Are you willing to set that 100% rescue safety?

The event happened. Baer survived. And in my opinion I believe this controversial video has served a greater good and saved someone from drowning in the future. Please learn from it what you will.
Thank you Baer for the courage to take the heat and I look forward to paddling with you on the Gauley or Nevados next round.

Keep Kayaking.

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Old 02-04-2016   #22
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,044
The times I've been to formal debriefings in the ems job, or as a river guide, one thing the moderator always stressed, was the importance of not letting it become a finger pointing session. Ya, there will always be some of that, but it is important for people to learn from the things that almost went horribly wrong. The more open and honest discussion that can take place, the better.

Can't help but think there should be a similarity here as well.
Props to BAER for posting this one on the buzz, in spite of knowing he would get ripped on.
And once again, glad your ok man!

" I wish I were a headlight, on a North bound train..."
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Old 02-04-2016   #23
mhelm's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 267
Nice reply David. I met Chris at your place in Chile, and we have paddled together on Gore here in Colorado since as well. We all make decisions to push ourselves or hold back. Not many people are on the water as much as Chris, and he made that decision with his team. Luck was on his side along with having a plan and not giving up. We don't kayak because it is easy, and we do learn from our mistakes. Glad you're alright Baer!!!
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Old 02-04-2016   #24
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 64
People have free will. Baer chose to run the drop. The people providing his safety chose to do so. The people criticizing Baer's choice also had the freedom to make that choice. Everybody wins. Even if Baer drowned, that doesn't mean anyone loses. The people still get a safety lesson and who is to say Baer wouldn't have woken up in another cave in another world, one with free beer, swimsuit models and carne asada?
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Old 02-04-2016   #25
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 165
I'm glad he posted the video and account of what happened too. Gives me something worthy of checking out here while I'm at work for the man.
And of course I'm glad he's alive! If I was arguing that every time someone dies on the river that it shouldn't be run, then the fractions section of the Ark should have been shut down a long time ago.
That's not the point, and was never stated or implied.
Being a "dumbass" for putting yourself and your "crew" into that situation is subjective and well...that's my opinion. Especially that drop.
My apologies for pointing out the obvious and not watering it down. And yes it touched a nerve.
Lord knows we don't need another kayak fatality giving others a reason to say "I told you so" and "that sport is too dangerous" especially our own families.

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