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Old 09-01-2009   #21
all over colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 49
here is my two cents imnot sure if this is going to help or not with any of this discussion but i have only been boating for a year or so and have taken whitewater rescue classes just to benefit my self and others the classes are cheapfun and you learn alot about,ropes,knots,anchors, and z-drag setups, and so much more. I have yet to run gore and im not sure when i will but for the most here it soundslike someone was just trying to help made a mistake and a bad throw..But they dont call it running the shit for no a reason becuse shit happens and as boaters we need to realize close calls, mistakes,carnage, bad swims and the like aregoing to happen on the river plain and a far as it goes ID725 you made a bad throw that made a bad situation worse, mistake you learned everything turned out ok thats how we learn..just my two cents..peace
to beer,brods,and boating may they be with us forever

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Old 09-01-2009   #22
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 482
Id, without reading the link I believe you are reffering to the incident in gore were a kayaker was strangled, that was in 2001.

I don't remember the order but within weeks another solid kayaker with hundreds of runs down gore died in gore rapid after hitting his head somewhere around indecision rock.

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Old 09-01-2009   #23
Longmont, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 173
It was August of 2000. One thing I took from re-reading the accident report is that if you find the entanglement, to cut the rope as close to that as you possibly can to leave a minimum amount in the water.

Crazy to hear how easily the rope tangled around the swimmer and boat rescuer, glad it turned out ok. Good reminders, thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-01-2009   #24
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I've said it before and I'll say it again: any experienced kayaker who paddles without a knife is RECKLESS. If he lost it that day and didn't want to miss the trip then, OK, I can understand that... it is a concious decision to take a risk for a short period. If he has been paddling the tail end of the season without a knife then that is just fucking stupid.
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Old 09-01-2009   #25
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254

One of the reasons I'm willing to look at some harder runs with you is that I KNOW you'll be looking out for your crew and not just thinking of your own good time. When shit goes down so many decisions have to be made in that first second that of course we won't always get it right. Remember the highly competent crew that melted down on the Poudre Narrows earlier this season? But your intent and heart were right on. And while others have pointed to your "bad throw" it actually sounds like your throw was right on the money at pretty much a dead run. And I've seen seasoned class 5 boaters get their throw rope yanked out of their hands when they've been standing still, set, and ready for a swimmer. The force can be similar to catching a climber with a hip belay.

You reacted with the intent to help out a stranger, made us aware of the hazard, and shared what you learned. Not really fair to ask for more.

See you on the river.
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Old 09-01-2009   #26
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
good discusion....wasn't trying to be an ass, but its a learning situation for more than a couple involved which needed to be discussed.
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Old 09-01-2009   #27
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
Originally Posted by Id725 View Post
Thanks for posting that, Ian. Good to hear more from the other crew's perspective.
And holy shit - scary.
Yeah - I was well anchored to make a throw where I thought it would be needed if one of the guys in our crew got into trouble.
But then someone from another crew ended up in trouble - I could see he was gonna swim, but I could tell he was gonna be downstream of me before he pulled.
Seeing nobody else around with a rope and seeing that it looked like he was on pace to swim into Scissors, I decided to act. I went sprinting down the bank to get ahead of him, downstream of him-- but damn he was moving fast.
I got a little ways ahead of him and threw the rope on the dead run, with the plan of setting my feet against a rock and sitting back before the tension hit. I figured I might have 10 seconds from the time I threw the rope until the tension hit, and there are an awful lot of rocks on this bank, and I'll be able to wedge myself in time.
But unfortunately, I didn't have 10 seconds. It was like 4. The bag landed right past the guy's face and he grabbed it immediately, and as fate would have it, I was standing on a big flat boulder. There was NOTHING to grab onto or wedge my feet against, and the force of the rope immediately yanked me off my feet and I landed on my face, holding onto the rope. I started sliding down the face of the boulder, and if I didn't let go of the rope, we were going to have two swimmers.
I had to let go.
I wish SO BAD that I could go back 30 hours and make the decision that I just can't help here. I can't make a throw to this guy, because I'm outta position and I'm not anchored.
I wish I could take that throw back.
If I had been anchored, I'd a been a hero. Would have saved the guy from swimming scissors. But since I couldn't get anchored in time, I simply should not have made the throw.
Now all I can do is pray that the rope gets found quickly, or that it's never seen again and never causes a problem.
I'm really sorry it's in there.
It is very comforting to know there are boaters like you out there, willing to step up to the plate to help a fellow boater. The outcome of the rope is a by-product of an act of going the extra mile to help a total stranger. Plus, posting the rope hazard is just the next step, in the rescue attempt. Who knows when a rope will get tangled even with a correct anchor.
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Old 09-01-2009   #28
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966
Sounds like you're really beating yourself up over this incident. i can see why since the consequences could have been so much worse but the reality is that everything turned out all right and HUGE lessons were derived from the incident!
I am not new to kayaking or whitewater but have just recently started to step up my game on the river. Situations like this, that you were big enough to post on, OPEN MY EYES to situations that I have not YET (thankfully) been apart of but could/will certainly in the future.

Thanks to all that posted/commented on this incident. I think its been a really great teaching tool for river safety.

Be well,
"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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Old 09-01-2009   #29
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,027
Hmm, my 2 cents:

- In the situation as it was described here, throwing the rope did not seem unreasonable. It sounds like you (Mike) were in a reasonable position where you might have been able to prevent a protracted swim, and I don't think it's unreasonable to throw with the expectation of quickly sitting down and bracing yourself. The fact that you couldn't in this situation may have just been bad luck.

- It does emphasize the importance of only throwing a rope to a swimmer who is aware a rope is coming and wants to take it. This reminds me of a similar experience I had at Gore. I had set up safety for my group and then was walking back upstream. Some C1-er came through and ate major sh-t coming out of the sneak and swam. I was a little bit below indecision as he came swimming through and had a rope in my hand. I considered hitting him with it, but looking downstream figured a rope wasn't going to do much good in that position. However, if I were further downstream where you were, a rope could pull a swimmer in.

- If you ever take a Wigston safety class (the kind you have to pay for), you'll find he's a major proponent of, let's call it, the linear pull, rather than the pendulum. I.e. he wants you positioned with a rope downstream of where you plan on hitting the swimmer so that you can pull him directly towards you. This avoids the problem of having a hugely weighted rope that is difficult to manage (for rescuer and swimmer) and the swimmer getting sucked underwater as he's pendulumed over. It's an interested idea that you don't hear about very often.

- When I first started boating I took a CWWA course with Mike Mathers, who is one of the best safety gurus around. One lesson he emphasized was that once a rope is in the water it is a vicious snake that will twist and wrap around almost anything. As a consequence, he said if there's any chance of a rope being on the river, you better have a knife. You'll probably never use a knife in your lifetime, but if you do you'll be glad you had it.

- Reporting these incidents is very useful, not just from the perspective of considering what do in a similar situation, but also to make people aware of the risk. I feel like Gore rapid is a classic example of something that runs all the time, people encounter some issues from time to time but rarely have anything serious happen, and it's easy to become complacent about the dangers of the rapid. I recall 2 years ago or so there was a very near death from someone getting worked in Ginger and it was perhaps only the fortunate timing and actions of a raft that saved him. There's also that video from Marty of a guy getting dragged along the bottom of the river for a good 100 yards after swimming out of Ginger. My take is you have until about indecision to roll up safely. After that, if you're upside down you're head's going to play pinball with the rocks, and a swim is potentially epic if you're stuck in the middle of the current. Point being, the more information out there about what can happen and where and how it can happen, the more intelligent decisions people can make about what they do and don't want to run.
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Old 09-01-2009   #30
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 393
Here is a really good article from Wigston re: what KSC mentions above. The Colorado Kayak Chronicle: Setting effective safety from shore: By Nick Wigston

The article hit home to me because I was taught the pendulum method but I think this new technique is superior in most situations. Ever since reading that article early season I've been trying to set safety further downstream.

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