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Old 07-05-2005   #21
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
Originally Posted by sj
I feel like I am picking on you not my intent. Just that experience is a key point in most accident threads. And we should try to keep things as real as possible as a community. The genral populace dosen't understand us and genrally has no sympathy when things go bad or we have an access issue. Sorry to make you an example. i have no idea who you are and am sure we would get along in person. sj
agreed! I am very nice in person - really. otherwise i couldn't be in customer service. moving on. thanks to everyone who put up with us.

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Old 07-05-2005   #22
Father of illegitimate San Juan sasquatch children, Climax. CO
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 211
How is everybody doin'
-I was on the upper with Dsteaves yesterday. I have run it many times. From 550 to 2500 in silverton. I have guided rafts since 1996 from Alaska to Tennessee. Almost every run in my kayak i have been cold no matter how much I put on at the put-in for the upper A.
-If you have friends that want to make that run ask them to please be over-prepared! I think that is what everyone in this thread is talking about and knows from years of experience.
-What I also think is that in some sense it is our duty as experinced boatmen and boatwomen to make known the dangers of rivers, like the Upper A, to other people even if that means talking to some newbies at the put-in who obviously don't know what they are doing or puting dangers we know about into CRC3.
-I talked to the coordinator of the San Juan county search and rescue team at the take out. He said that the boyfriend had jeans on when they took him out. Did anyone see that at the put-in? He also told me that seven rafts flipped on sunday. I am just wondering why so many? Who was guiding these rafts?
-I am wondering what happened to the couple and the only thing that I can think of happening is that they drifted into No name without knowing where the scout eddy is. Even if they didn't drift into the rapid this is something that should be said in CRC3, as an example. The section from No Name down through Broken Bridge is some of the most consistent water I have ever seen and could kill anyone, I don't care how good you think you are.
-I don't have the answers for these kinds of problems only suggestions. But, I know if we alert people to dangers they will find more information that can lead to answers for themselves. That is why I take part in this discussion.

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Old 07-05-2005   #23
ActionJackson's Avatar
Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 195
I think tboner was absolutely right upstream in this thread - a big part of the dynamic of the Upper is the water temp, and that takes a big slice out of your margin for error. I'm thin and chill easily, but even so, I force myself to add one more layer than I think I need before putting on up there.

I would also add altitude as a factor. As I recall, Silverton sits at around 9300'. It's not as big a deal as the water temp, but it cuts into your margin, too, esp. for us Plains dwellers (Oklahoma, in my case) or those of us whose conditioning is not what it could be.

I've only run the Upper three times, but each time, it's not far past the put-in that I'm struck in a big way by the fact that this is NOT a place to swim, and if you do, it will probably be a distance event that turns serious quick.

Upper A is a special run, but it deserves extra margin and respect.

As always, deepest sympathies to friends and family of the victim.
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Old 07-05-2005   #24
Snowmass ski patrol
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 86
Hey SJ
have you ever been to a gore race? If so I'm supprised you didn't notice the over abundance of safty set up along the race. As far as pine creek goes it to has had deaths on it, but is still no comparison. SAFTY...SAFTY...SAFTY... Most people getting into the sport have never seen water this big before. The casualties of this season is really no big surprise I hate to say comming off a seven year drought.... Please people live and learn from the mistakes of others.... Buy the way there is also no comparison between the upper golley and the upper A. Its all about respect.
Peace Love and Respect.
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Old 07-06-2005   #25
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 498
Mountain No I have never been to any kayak festival the crowds are always less else where when a festival is happening. I am not sure why you addressed this to me as my point was about reporting facts of WW deaths acurately . So rumours don't get outa hand. Exspecialy ones that are derogatory to the deceased and their loved ones. In hindsite I wished I had used more whit and humour as is my usall style. For that I am appologetic.

If however it was my post in reply to how really difficult is the Upper A in comparison. I do beleive that it' is a lodjical step for the aspiring class V boater. Get so you can catch 2 eddies in any of the numbers at 3 ft. Then you are ready for the upper A at lower water then on to Gore. This is consitent with CRCII and AW ratings of these rivers. although current ratings don't allow for distants from rescue or water temp bith of which are a major factor in the Upper A. This how ever is another thread.

it has been almost 30 years since my first class V rapid and one of my longest swims. There have been a ton of both since. all my memories from the upper A are of really cool easy to read IV . We left silverton at 1600 . Still not exactly sure where garfeild was as the first time we looked something was No name(I portaged that day) we did scout BB but it was to me straight forward IV down the river left bank. What I however remember most is I had a new Piroette s and I dropped in to so many holes sideways into front surfs into old school pirroettes. I probably got more that day than anyone season up to that point. I beleive is was in 96 so my memorie of the Upper a is probably a little nostalgic and not as objective as those that run it regularly. as far as saftey you are absolutly right but this is also another thread.

Again my intent was not to piss off or step on anytoes. just do my bit to make the community a little more freindly in what is turning out to be a tragic year. peace steve
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Old 07-06-2005   #26
lmaciag's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
Durango Herald Article

Per the report, neither were wearing helmets or wetsuits.

"She did have blows to the head and face that very likely made her unconscious or at least stunned her"

Here's the link:
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Old 07-06-2005   #27
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 80
Floaty22 - I was guiding one of the rafts that flipped on Sunday. If you are seriously concerned about the caliber of watermen going down the Animas or guides that flipped a raft that day, feel free to call me personally and we can discuss this further. Why did so many rafts flip that day? Probably because it was 4th of July weekend and there was a large amount of people on the river. Guiding the Animas is no different than guiding any other class IV or V river. There will be flips and accidents. Of course as with any other risk you take on the river, the possibility of injury or death is minimized with proper safety. I was with the group just a couple hours ahead of the accident. We had adequate safety and kayaker support throughout the run making for a successful trip. It is imperative for any raft running this degree of whitewater to have kayak safety and support.

Running difficult whitewater is an experience limited to a handful of people on this planet. Most people will never know the feeling and experience we take from this. We are lucky to be part of that group. I feel badly for the friends and family of the woman that died on the 3rd of July. It is important to remember that the consequence of death is the risk we take to experience the most beautiful and untouched places imaginable and it should be taken in stride with what we do. Respect the river, respect the people that enjoy it's thrills, and learn from the past.

Sean Lee
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Old 07-06-2005   #28
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
yes it is sounding like they really were prepared for a lower animas trip not an upper animas trip. i have heard that her PFD 'came off' also, indicating it was not even cinched up. i still doubt that they had run true class V but I won't make any claims.

i wrote the paper telling them that they were doing a disservice by quoting patterson who said they took all the right precautions. they clearly did not. maybe some of that is leaking through to them. i am going to call the writer tomorrow to see if she wants to go on a trip and see what its really all about.
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Old 07-06-2005   #29
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 43
After a period of flaming from my last posts I'm ready to chime back in.... And by the way, I'm cool with being flamed since I'm one of the few on this site that have the balls to call it like they see it. You know who I'm talking to. Anyway, here's my two cents.....

In my opinion the standard "whitewater swim" position should be tossed out in favor of aggresssive swimming, especially in high water. The main hazard (unless there are sieves, etc.) in whitewater swimming is NOT bumping rocks, but rather extended swims. In all my commercial trips I emphasizse swimming agressively on your stomach. Getting out of the water quickly is paramount. The traditional whitewater swimming position is passive, and I also think is more prone to foot entrapments when swimming steep drops. Maybe I am biased after not being on a pool-drop river, but I think that many fatalities and injuries can be avoided with the good old Mark-Spitz-Imitation. Get your ass to shore. Which brings me back to my earlier point... that is that good conditioning is also important for serious whitewater.

No disrespect for those mourning is intended.

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Old 07-06-2005   #30
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 43
One more thing....

It is possible for a PFD to come off even when properly tightened. I remember a number of years ago on the Upper Gauley when a vicitm was found with not only his PFD removed, but also much of his river clothing.


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