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Old 08-21-2010   #1
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
United Breaks Guitars but Western Breaks Arm

Hi all, some of you may have seen the RRFW Riverwire on the Western River Expedition two boat motor trip that ran aground at Crystal Rapid August 6, 2010. This same Western trip powered through Hermit Rapid earlier that day. Their second boat made the “perfect entrance” at full throttle and found themselves on a roller coaster ride that forcibly threw one passenger into the river, while another passenger sustained a compound arm fracture.

You can see photos of the arm breaking Hermit ride (the fifth photo shows feet in the air) posted on the Rapids Page at the RGC Wiki site here:

Rapids - Rafting Grand Canyon

Once their swimmer was retrieved and the passenger with the arm fracture stabilized, they motored to the Crystal scout where the NPS helicopter flew in to evacuate their passenger. Once that was done the trip headed on downriver, and within minutes the first Western boat wrapped on Big Red in the Crystal Rock Garden. A photo of the Western rig, with an Outdoors Unlimited gear boat pinned
next to it, is posted on the same page.

FYI, yours, tom

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Old 08-22-2010   #2
dgosn's Avatar
San Juans, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 485
Is this another not so subtle slam of commercial operators in the canyon?

I also looked at your link. Each description accompanying the pictures suggest that people need to avoid large holes and waves? WTF is that about? Pool drop big water is meant for hitting the meat.

here's the quote from the Hermit picture:
"Here's a series of five photos taken from shore of a Western River Expeditions motorized raft hitting the big wave in Hermit August 6, 2010. One passenger was forcibly thrown from the raft, while another sustained a compound arm fracture. Bystanders on shore noted the motorized boat was at full speed entering the hole and that there was plenty of room to miss this hole on either side, or go slower. The fifth photo shows feet in the air."

What wrong with going big in hermit? That rapid has one of the best wave trains anywhere. If i paid for a commercial trip I'd be pissed if we avoided it, ecspecially in a near unflippable craft.

Shit happens on the river Tom - part of the adventure. trying to stir the pot by posting accounts of commercial carnage is BS. Funny thing is I dont see you post much about commercials rescuing private boaters, un-pinning private boats, or sharing ice and food.

Sport Climbing is Neither
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Old 08-22-2010   #3
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 818
Hi Dgosn, no slam intended. The risk of going "big" in Hermit is a swim or a fracture or both, as we saw. Rescuing other boaters, assisting in un-pinning boats, or sharing ice and food, happens on the river between all types of recreational paddlers. It's part of being a good neighbor. So is reminding all river runners to be safe. You and I will have to agree to disagree as I certainly would not want my arm broken after paying to travel through Grand Canyon on a large nearly unflippable motor boat. All the best, tom
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Old 08-22-2010   #4
Emmielou's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 106
In this case, I see Tom's point in posting this information. Those are some pretty cool pictures regardless. As for the accompanying information, for someone who is new to boating and gathering information from a website, it seems prudent to include the "safe" runs. It's generally the adventure lines, i.e. gut the meat, that don't require additional information to find. For someone with more experience boating, or who is more comfortable reading their own water, then choose your own big line and have fun!

Several Grand Canyon listservs have been discussing this incident for several weeks, and I imagine that the discussion would have occurred whether the boats in question were commercial or not, as having 2 boats wrapped in Crystal is big news. Tom was just giving us a link to more information from that trip.
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”-Ed Abbey
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