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Old 04-24-2013   #11
"Just Read and Run Baby!"
followthebubbleline's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 57
MY first Canyon trip was in August and we had four people sharing two duckies the whole trip. They swam all of the time but were fine with just swim suits and life jackets. Hint: the insulation in life jackets not only helps you float if you take a swim but also keeps your core warm if you keep it fit snug.

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Old 04-24-2013   #12
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I don't think I would stick by that 100 stuff. 50 water and 55 air is still cold for a swim and I bet hypo potential. add some clouds and that ratio becomes much colder.

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Old 04-24-2013   #13
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by panicman View Post
I don't think I would stick by that 100 stuff. 50 water and 55 air is still cold for a swim and I bet hypo potential. add some clouds and that ratio becomes much colder.
That's "hypothermia zone" stuff. Under "100", immersion protection is a "must".

Cold water is cold water if you can't quickly get out of it. Your fingers get numb, you lose your breath, and you get tired fast....a self-rescue is a lot harder even if you're not hypothermic. Avatard's "130 total" would be a lot more reasonable--or even 120. Above that, a dunk is less of a big deal and hydraulics--not cold--would be your primary concern.

I'd suggest that from 100-120, it's not a "must", but it's still a good idea.
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Old 04-24-2013   #14
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
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I go by the rule, if you don't bring it, you certainly will need it. At least bring a shorty. If you get too hot, jump in the river to get the suit wet. The evaporation will chill you
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 04-24-2013   #15
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2008
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hypothermia results from the RAPID loss of core body heat.

it can happen at any outdoor temp with grand canyon water temps especially close to the dam. we just had a guy take a long swim on a fairly warm sunny day at house rock and he was in borderline shock afterwards. you can bet he wishes he had a wet suit on that day and many afterwards.

you don't have to wear the suit all day long and as avatard says at least bring a shorty or whatever you have. any reasonable group will give you time to put on a wetsuit above a rapid.

as my grandmother would say: safe lives longer than sorry!

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Old 04-24-2013   #16
mesaliving's Avatar
Delta, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 25
Floated Grand last August and I'm another +1 for no wetsuit - Super Hot! AND when we did jump in to "cool off" (water temp 55F) your body core was perfect and simply warmed up nicely. LC, Havasupi, Elves and more were all welcome swims during trip. Keep eyes out for monsoon weather - different kind of wet
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Old 04-24-2013   #17
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Wolcott, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 432
No need for a wetsuit. It will be blazing hot. Thin hydro skin for sun protection. I did it in sept and never even thought about wearing anything but a shorty.
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Old 04-25-2013   #18
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 184
Lees Ferry river water temp is 47 now and I don't think it warms much in the summer, and only about 5 degrees down the length of the canyon.
I've been down twice in Sept with good weather and the river never was warm enough to enjoy more than a quick daily dip to rinse off the dust of a hike. Then again I'm from the Southwest and not a member of the "Polar Bear Club".

Unintentional rafter swims are generally short, if you can climb back onto a boat unassisted, but that can be tough if you've spent more time in the kitchen than on the hikes. I don't see the issue of overheating in a wetsuit if you are on/near the river. We also carry dip-stick squirt guns to rinse boats and easily cool off if needed. Just put your thumb over the end and it produces a fine mist effect that feels great, without the full-on soak.

I remember wearing a farmer John for the big rapids or cool weather days in Sept, but in Aug it would just be good to have it along as an option.
I am currently looking for a dry-suit, to more safely extend my early kayaking/rafting season into CO.
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Old 04-25-2013   #19
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
For what it is worth.

A Grand Canyon quick dip to cool down or even a very short swim with rapid pick up is one thing.

A long tiring swim in Grand Canyon water, no matter what the air temp is, can easily result in hypothermia for many of us.

I think counting on pool drop and fast pickup at the bottom of rapids is mostly a good thing but often times something happens and that fast pickup goes away and the swimmer has to float down another rapid close to the first one. Then a good thing can quickly change into a bad thing.

Every body gets to make their own decision as to when or if to put on protective layers. Those who are prepared to swim can take a quick dip or pour a hat full of water on their head or get sprayed by a bud with a water cannon - and if they do swim laugh about it around camp. Those who decide just a pair of swim trunks is the way to go may or may not be laughing after a swim.

It is a personal decision because some people handle cold water better than others.
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Old 04-25-2013   #20
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 276

you don't swim in the air
you swim in the water

and you can't predict how long.

once you've dealt with your friend in near shock from a bad swim, you will look at things differently.

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