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Old 09-17-2007   #1
bobbuilds's Avatar
x, x
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Join Date: May 2007
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whitewater safty and river reading classes

can anyone help me with whitewater swift water rescue and or reading the whitewater classes this fall i will be going in may of next year but anything i can do to learn more befor then would be a plus preferably in september or october . i am looking for some classes or private instruction right here in colorado any one with verifiyable certifications i will gladly pay for or any good boaters who might be willing to help me . any free advice would be apreciated also and if your willing to help the river trip is on me all the way , i just want to get better ,and i seem to only learn from those who know
thanks much

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Old 09-18-2007   #2
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Bozeman, Montana
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#1 rule

#1 rule don't stand up in the river.

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Old 09-18-2007   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
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#2 Green good, white bad.
#3 When in doubt lean down stream
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Old 09-18-2007   #4
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
try these,
the neely book is a fun read for reading water. River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety, 3rd (AMC Paddlesports): Books: Slim Ray,Les Bechdel
is the book for swr
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 09-18-2007   #5
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Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
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I second the Nealy book, it does a great job of describing how the river works. It may not have the most basic things described like a simple eddy. I believe it says it is geared for intermediate paddler, but it is great for anyone to learn about how the river works.

Reading river is good for boat control. Boat control is important for being safe. Rolling is probably part of this if a kayaker.

Safety and rescue are good things to learn in SWR course, and in basic courses.

I agree with don't stand up in the river comment.

Self rescue is the best rescue. Don't get hurt or killed trying to swim after your gear or something stupid like that. Feet downstream when tired, otherwise, actively swim for "safetly".

Trees and debris in the water is bad, swim/boat away from this. This is the term "strainer"- water goes through, but people and boats get pinned or sucked underwater and entangled.

Carry a throwbag, and know how to use it (practice practice). don't ever wrap it around yourself. Anytime you have rope, have a knife that is quickly accessible.

Bring a buddy every time.

Bring a whistle. One blow = attention, 3 blows = need help now!

Use float bags in your kayak when appripriate.

Carry 1st aid kit, know how to use it

Know CPR

don't use non locking carabiners for anything

learn paddle signals and teach your buddies.

learn swimming and escape techniques for holes

Watch out for undercut rocks (no pillow might mean undercut)

Dress for the water temp, not the air temp, hypothermia causes and complicates problems

Always be prepared, carry all the gear you could possibly need. Paddling late? headlamp might be a good idea. Thirsty? Bring water and beer to rehydrate. Horny = condoms, etc.
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 09-18-2007   #6
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Summit, Colorado
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I'm not sure I agree with "Don't use non-locking carabiners for anything." I prefer non-locking for my river safety (completely different story with anything involving climbing and/or rapping). Here's why:

1. I like the ease of getting the simple gate biner onto things. If I'm trying to snag a boat in the middle of the river with one hand on the paddle and one on a rope, I don't want to have to worry about a locking biner.

2. Same goes for getting the biner off.

3. Locking biners tend to jam up when exposed in silty rivers, making 1 and 2 even more difficult. If you use a locker, you should probably check to make sure it still functions smoothly every time you go out.

4. In river situations, pretty much any time you want a locker (ropes across the river for a pin, entrapment, boat/person transport, etc.) it will suffice to use the 2-non-lockers-back-to-back method.

These opinions are partially influenced by the last SWR class I took with Wigston and the excellent results I have had from a number of Z-drags and more with non-lockers. I'm curious to hear what other people have to say on the subject.

All the other advice is excellent, especially about bringing beer to the take-out .

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 09-18-2007   #7
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Eagle County, Colorado
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My theory on that is from Mike Mather who told of stories of the following:

1. Pro kayaker with non-locking biner on his PFD strap playing in a hole and having his shoulder strap binered to the back deck grab handle of his boat. If his buddy didn't come get him, he might have been pinned and trapped.

2. Raft guide about to enter something kind of gnarly was scouting from the boat, slipped, and got a non-locking biner hooked through the tendon on the back of his knee, the other end was binered to the raft. So this guide ran some class IV+ or V section with his tendons binered to the raft.

I guess I'm not saying that you shouldn't use them, but put them in a pocket or something as they are very dangerous. I can see that they might be useful in trying to snag something, but that is also the danger. I use an autolocker on my flip line for quick access when guiding. They are cool, but expensive.
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

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Old 09-18-2007   #8
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
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the tendon was the tough one to listen to. if you take the swr class from mike, he says never ever use a nonlocking biner and never a locking that is unlocked. so far the locking ones arent gunked up yet. rinse em in clean water every once in a while.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 09-18-2007   #9
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 321
I've heard advice both ways about the locking vs. non-locking thing. When I took a SWR class from Mike Mather, he told some horror stories about paddlers wearing non-lockers on their lifevest, geting worked in a hole somewhere, and then finding themselve clipped to their boat's security bars in generally akward positions (e.g. face up, shoulder to rear security bar, etc) that could be difficult to escape. I don't know how much was real and how much was tall tale, but it sounded pretty gnarley.

I also took a course from Wigston who didn't mention any such stories and certainly there can be advantages to having a fast acting biner handy. I've been carying the locking kind more now, espcially since I'm experimenting with rafting. Lots of ropes, straps and other items on a raft that I wouldn't want to be clipped to, especially in a gnarly situation.
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Old 09-18-2007   #10
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 86
more #'s

#4 Wear shoes
#5 paddle w/people you know and trust
#6 the throwbag doesn't do you any good sitting there in your boat. Always carry that with you when out and about, scouting, etc.
#7 stay in your boat if at all possible
#8 when swimming be aggressive and don't wait to get saved
#9 don't chase equipment into situations that you normally wouldn't boat on the fly

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