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Old 06-10-2013   #21
Eagle Mapper's Avatar
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by upshitscreek View Post
putting that gem up... wow...just wow.

That dude that jumps into the boat getting surfed is the man. I would invite that guy on any trip.

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Old 06-10-2013   #22
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
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Originally Posted by Ranco View Post
Yeah, no need to bash the camera guy. Assuming he was in a position to help more than the people already helping is silly. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do except watch. I know because I was caught in a similar hole in Jackass rapid. My friend on the oars simply didn't see the hole in time. We were maytagged for about 15 minutes, until a kayaker in our group got us a rope and pulled us out of the hole. We were right by camp and I could see a number of people in our party unloading boats while were in the spin cycle. There wasn't a damn thing they could do, so why not do something productive...
More people should be mean more safety. What if the first bag misses? What if the pull on the line when the bag hits the raft is bigger than anticipated and there needs to be 5 people on the line instead of 2. The scenarios can go on and on. That said every scenario is different. Sometimes you just know 1 person is more than enough to assist a rescue. With a loaded flipped raft I would assume you want every hand you can get.

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Old 06-10-2013   #23
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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I agree with not wanting or appreciating anyone in our personal groups photographing or videoing while an incident is going down.

I have been TL on a few river trips and have always had a pre-launch safety talk. Even when its with the same group of boaters I prefer redundancy to unintentional oversight. In that regard, I have always mentioned that our priority is to group safety so I never "allow" boatman to stay behind at a scout to tape other boats going through. Any of us who have had a flip or incident know how difficult it is to help our fellow boatman with "proper spacing" nonetheless when a boat has launched 5-10 minutes ahead of ya. We always have 1-2 photographers who want actions shots that occasionally try to barter a chance to get shots .... we either talk them out of it or give them the option to walk down to the first eddy to get back with the group. Considering we scout rapids that normally have potential for undesirable outcomes they often opt for not having photos instead of the potential for a lengthy walk if something goes down.

I love video and photos as much as anyone but I have definitely seen several incidents where people prioritized them over the safety of the group, which includes expedient action on the part of the rescuers. There are plenty of places when an additional 5 minutes in the river is a major physical hazard.

Obviously in regards to persons in my own group. I don't consider that fact that I have much control over others outside our party. I consider it a privilege to have others with enough skill and willingness to help if the situation arises.

The other element to consider is how disrespectful it is to your fellow boatmen to photograph their worst moments. Having flipped I can tell you I am diligent about squashing the desire to photograph the incident unless the responsible boatmen is game. It can be one of the most trying experiences of your life and cameras become an intrusion into that vulnerable moment. My one flip, so far, affected me for days afterwards. Just knowing how much I inconvenienced my entire crew was a hard pill to swallow. Luckily where I flipped was never a hazard to their safety.

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Old 06-10-2013   #24
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BZN, Montana
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I wouldn't go nearly that far. Camera's are part of river trips, but I'm not thrilled when I see footage from would be rescuers just standing there. Tripods, video from spots inaccessible to help with safety etc gets a pass. Setting up a camera doesn't mean you setup less safety than otherwise, in fact many times you can talk someone into carrying a rope to a bad spot by asking for pictures.
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Old 06-10-2013   #25
I'm wrong 50% of the time
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RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
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JJ and I got worked in that hole forever and ever and ever... Ahh..good times. There are some great threads on that trip. JJ almost lost his trunks trying to get us out. The "others" in the group had time to walk back to their boats for cameras, but not throw bags. Reading the other thread on bad "invites", might want to watch out for bad TL's as well.
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Old 06-10-2013   #26
cedar city, Utah
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Context matters, I didn't fully explain mine.

I have never boated with a party larger than 10 people, never hope to (I value the experiences provided by small groups). We normally have 4 or less rafts, often just 2 or 3. So with that in mind, I know how difficult it is to secure swimmers, push a boat into an eddy and then right it with few people. Its a process of mass and energy, which is limited with small groups. On our trips every passenger knows they must be willing to help if the situation arises (obviously I am talking about rivers that have features of concern, not so much diligence on say the 99% of Deso). A single boat tied up to shore at a scouted rapid is a major loss to efficient rescue.

At Lava, even with all boats in the water floating into the run it took a little more than a mile to get all our people out of the water and then a total of 2+ miles to the boat ashore. Not a desirable outcome.

Most rivers I boat don't have many viable options for shore based rescue from the top. But I stick to mostly class III & IV rivers in the West. I think a boat with a few passengers is best in the river or in an eddy down stream of the rapid, not tied upstream, in those situations. Being close together (a subjective concept that is different for each rapid) is an important decision in most of the rapids I have boated.

Its also important to highlight that we don't have any kayakers in our group, which is a major loss on some of the rivers we float. Having a solid, qualified safety kayaker would undoubtedly change the way I mitigate risk.

And I fully recognize each party is gonna mitigate risk differently, hopefully based on the skills and desired outcomes of their group. That said, cameras have been and always will be a low priority on any trip I float with. Photos and videos just aren't that important to me (and I was a graduate from a commercial photography college/program). But to be fair, I may believe that cameras are often a hinderance to many experiences in the backcountry. So there is that.

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Old 06-10-2013   #27
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
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1. Because someone shot the video, we all get to debate it's merits, grouse about it, learn from it.
2. There were at least 3 people, probably more, at the river right scout. The cameraman hinted he was up in years. I cannot blame him for filming on, given what I saw in the video.
3. The guys getting maytagged were looking primarily to their crew on river left. Were I one of the extra guys on river right, I'd be standing by, but not butting in unless and until I knew I wasn't interfering with rescue operations by the trip-mates of the boat in distress.
4. Some people's emotions in bad situations include laughter, which logically, after the fact, we may deem inappropriate. It did not seem to me like the camera guy was making light of the danger.
5. Where is the ire for the boatman who, rookie or not, steered his raft into obvious danger?
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Old 06-10-2013   #28
Salt Lake City, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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In terms of analysis of what could have been done differently, here’s my perspective from the purple cataraft.

Longer throw line: the first toss from the boating party to the swimmers was 2’ short with line at full extension.
Throw bag practice: the first toss from shore was 3’ downriver from the swimmer. Close is not good enough to an exhausted swimmer.
Swimmer recovery: The second toss from shore was perfect, but rescuer was not prepared for the subsequent pull. With the amount of set up time it may have been possible to utilize a rock, sit down, brace feet, or use a hip belay.
Rescuer positioning: the second rescuer had the foresight to position themselves at the furthest rock outcrop possible. However, this occurred halfway through the ordeal. If the raft flip occurred earlier they would have been ineffective.

To be clear these critiques are comparing what happened to the ideal state, which only exists in hindsight. Indeed, I hesitate to nitpick my fellow rescuer’s actions especially considering his catch with one hand on the rock, one hand on the rope, body suspended horizontally under tension.

Anyway general takeaways are:
1) Understand the limitations of shorter throw bags.
2) Practice tossing to objects in moving water. It’s probably better to error on the side of throwing too far and slightly upstream.
3) Be prepared for the pull, take up slack if possible.
4) Identify early the best place to be in terms of proximity to a likely swimmer as well as security.

In hindsight you could say they should have just jumped out of the raft especially considering the relatively safe pickup area below. However, if I were in their shoes I would have done the exact same thing and continued the highside battle. Going forward, I will consider abandoning ship more of an option in such circumstances. It is also easy to say they (and me for that matter) should have picked a different line. Speaking as one who flirted with the same hole, I made a decision based on available information and it seemed right at the time. The danger was not obvious.

Eddying out on river right was not really an option. Three boats were staged appropriately for pickup below. One person was holding two boats on shore. In retrospect this person could have tied off the second boat so a fourth boat was available, but I am not convinced this would have been appropriate.

Phillip, as for a cohesive plan for managing the rescue, I’d be interested in your thoughts as to what that might have looked like. We had two people with throw bags and three boats ready for pickup with communication happening where feasible. At the time it seemed like the boat would either spit or flip out at any moment and we prepared accordingly. Indeed, after noticing they were in a recirculator I delayed going to shore for ~60 seconds as their release seemed imminent.

Glenn, none of the boating party rescuers had an open drysuit or were without PFD. The video team might have been, but as they were a different group and not aware we were running. Tossing a rope to the boat from river left was completely out of the question. Such distortions are why my opinion of the video team’s actions and the extent they could have helped differ from my friends. I appreciate the video and without I would not have given the incident as much thought.

The good news is both were back on the water yesterday. In the end it was a successful and rewarding trip.
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Old 06-10-2013   #29
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Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Good points, Mike. I too actually really appreciate having the video, as it is a great learning tool. From my position in a boat downstream it was kind of hard to tell exactly what was going on both in the surfing boat and on the shore, but I kept expecting it to pop out either side up any second, so I knew I needed to stay in the boat ready to intercept swimmers and/or boats.

While it isn't as exciting, I think your go-pro footage from the purple cat is also helpful for reviewing the incident:

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Old 06-10-2013   #30
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Farmington, Utah
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Posts: 707
I am going to sit here, and bitch at other boaters for not helping while I stand here, and film. Fucking assholes. Gettin' MAYTAAAAAAGED where is that guy from? Boston?

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