Originally Posted by wyosam
I didn't see any problem with the OP's scenario (other than being a general shit show- but that happens)- There was not a rescue, just a gear recovery, and I suppose clearing the line for whoever else may be coming down the river (I have no idea if there is another line). They had their people out of the water, and it seems like they mentioned some dry clothes. Used a spot to let someone know whats going on, let authorities know they aren't needed. Sure, they could have been better prepared to recover gear, but from the sounds of the scenario, I'm not sure what they could have had along- there's only so many ways to get rope on a raft that's surfing out of reach. Sending something down to knock it out (like another party's fishing raft) is a reasonable approach.
You must run some pretty tight trips if you are feel confident calling our group a shitshow. As I mentioned above, we had plenty of extra gear and experience to use it. I'll add that we also had extra food, water, first aid kits on each boat, a pin kit in the group, a lightweight sleeping bag on my boat, and about 45+/- years combined boating experience among us, including experiences on both sides of rescue situations. And also plenty of advanced first aid training with experience using it. If needed, we could've stabilized a hypothermic or injured person and spent the night out with them while others went for help or to safety, or we could've just called in a rescue using the SPOT if there was a really bad injury. That day ours was a group that could have (and have before) saved the day if we'd encountered an actual shitshow group in actual distress.
It seems you want to make this all about frivolous calls to SAR, and while you're at it, judge our group as a "general shitshow." If it makes you feel like an Eagle Scout to judge or second guess us, go for it. You can also bask in the smugness of being the last self-reliant man in an America gone soft and where everyone calls in the SAR when they get a blister 100 ft from the car. Keep telling yourself that and enjoy it. As stated above, at no time did we even consider
alerting SAR or other help outside of a spouse + friend. Over the two hours the boat was getting surfed in the hole, there was always someone standing by with a whistle to warn other boats coming down the river of the hazard, or to alert the other members of our group in the first boat downstream if the stuck raft flushed free so they could recover it.
The point of all this is that even on a run most folks take lightly, even with experienced boaters, shit can happen. Had we been in the wilderness with little or no prospect of other boaters coming down, communication with the world, or of us hiking out, we would've been ready and able to take the risks required to free the boat using any of several plans we formulated while we watched the Mini-me spin donuts in that hole. Since it wasn't necessary we kept everyone safe and avoided needlessly letting the situation cascade into a more dire event that could've ended badly and actually required calling out SAR or EMS.
This stretch of river is basically a Class II float with one Class IV- hole and a couple of Class II+ holes at other diversions along the way. We found the major hole the hard way. As Xena will vouch, it's got consequences. We used our judgement and avoided risking another swimmer in the hole who may not have been as lucky as Xena. Lots of folks run this without incident. That's great for them. We didn't on this occasion.
Something I'd like to add to my post above: This run is notorious for having intolerant landowners. While the landowner reps our group dealt with were gracious and helpful to us, many boaters have reported being arrested for merely "touching the river banks or bed" which is considered trespassing in Colorado. One of the kayakers at the put in even warned that guys who would be taking photos in case we accidentally trespassed once we entered private land below the kayaker takeout.
This discourages scouting due to risk of being arrested for trespassing. It also affected how I reacted to the flip. When my partner and I looked back and saw Catwoman and her partner go in, I pulled into the first eddy but was just out of sight of the flipped boat. When it didn't come down the river, I made the mistake of letting concern for trespassing keep me from fully landing and running back upstream with a throw bag where I should've assisted sooner. Lesson learned.