Originally Posted by streetdoctor
I've never paddled this section of water but I feel like I've read about a lot of incidents there this spring. How is there so much carnage on a section of class III water?
At lower flows (like the last few years), this is the party section of river- tubing, sunning, swimming, and the like. It's where you take your friends who are scared of the water and where people go to get drunk and goof off on the water (I'm not condoning this, it's just a fact). Last summer, by this time, you could probably have done most of the section out of the boat with no pfd, as you almost can't tell there are any rapids at all. Many of the weekend and holiday users have no idea how to deal with real water. The character of the two significant rapids changes quickly and dramatically as flows increase, the water is much colder than people are accustomed to or expecting, and many of the revellers have been caught off guard. At over 5000 cfs, most of the eddies are gone, and a swim for the uninitiated is a little terrifying. Right now (around 3000), most large boats are fine, there are plenty of eddies, but smaller boats with inexperienced paddlers have definitely been tossed around in the rapids, and many of the people in those boats don't know basic river safety or don't have respect for the power of the river. Last weekend, I saw two rattled SUPers eddied out below Needle's Eye who said they had no idea the water would be like it was, and they would be taking out before planned (smart). I also saw two very drunk grown men on a single duckie, one in a dry suit sitting partially submerged on the stern, and they were headed toward Yarmony (not smart). I have no idea what happened yesterday, but I do know there are a remarkable number of river users out on the Upper C right now who should probably wait until it's under 2000 cfs.