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Old 07-11-2005   #11
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 480
Your friend needs to be replaced.

Like it or not, all of us are the result of a sexual act.
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Old 07-11-2005   #12
Tiggy's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, CO
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
I wasnt aware the riffle under the train bridge was a rated rapid :P

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Old 07-11-2005   #13
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 16
Sound like communication was a major issue. As Fatboy said, you never gave a all clear sign asking them to proceed. Your friend was the one to put his family into a dangerous situation. He should have gotten off his ass, with rope, PFD, and helmet, and been downstream of the rapid.

Find someone else to paddle/raft with.
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Old 07-11-2005   #14
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
Yeah, seems like more of a communication/paying attention to detail kind of thing. Whoever ran the shuttle would have known the relation of the takeout to Trestle. As a rafter (who started as a kayaker), I prefer to try to keep people within sight, and preferably within a close enough distance to go get each other in the event of a nasty swim. Bonus if you arein throw bag range. I sometimes get frustrated when I am rowing the raft and one or two less experienced kayakers with no roll are already in the next rapid before I can get to them to assist if there is a swim. Seems like if you have the ability to swim over to a raft and chase down gear vs. going for a long cold swim, you would choose the easier option. I think where your kayakers and rafts go depends on a lot of things. Who is more experienced, etc. I'm not a very good kayaker and wouldn't be much help towing a swimmer to safety mid-rapid, for example.

I would have had kayaking kid sit tight in the eddy and wait for everyone else to regroup below the rapid, but that's just me.

Bummer that the Eagle is pretty much done now. The waves and holes are real small now and some of the holes towards the bottom are becoming rocky spots now.
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Old 07-11-2005   #15
Marine Biologist
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 90
This issue is not "rafter vs. kayaker" at all. I think your friend has an issue of misplaced anger; he was stressed out about his kids, which is quite natural for a parent, but he needs to examine the way he vents his stress and places blame. Shit happens on the river. I am a rafter learning to kayak at this point, and even after > 100 river days (probably closer to 250 or so), bad decisions can be made. Two summers ago on Cataract at 25000 I let 2 buddies (good swimmers with wetsuits and whitewater experience) swim through a small wave train to camp. Turns out camp was more than just around the bend, more like 1/2 mile downstream. We satyed in the wave train with the duckies wave hopping (two boats had already gone down to find camp ahead of the swimmers), and when we peeled out downstream and got to camp my friends were not there. Time to worry, as I have heard of swimmers in high water swimming from Big drop II to the lake. Granted, that was at 70,000 cfs, but I was still scared. We sent out a search party running up and downstream, with the plan to meet back at camp in one hour to report findings and make a decision from there how t proceed. Long story short, my friends had gotten out of the water after the river became shallow and a bit bumpy, had watched us pass from shore and just not hollered at us or waved. They were found upstream, no problem. Point of the story is that despite experience shit happens outdoors on the river. Keeping people within eyesight is a GREAT idea, but kayaks are in danger of being run over during bumper boat style river running, so not too close. The issue here is not kayakers vs rafters, but of making sure you have people around you who react well to stress and adversity, which happen during any wilderness adventure sport. Rage-a-holics are just not the right people to have around, even if they're good people when they're not under stress.
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Old 07-11-2005   #16
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
I agree. I think just like snowboard vs. skiing, the more expierienced rafters/kayakers don't really care what kind of rig you are in so long as you are fun to go with and can have a good time + be safe. Just like on the ski hill, usually the people complaining about snowboarders vs. skiers are gapers from Texas or something. In both my swifwater rescue training and my avalance rescue training, group dynamics always comes up as one of the number one factors for people being fun and safe vs. bad experiences. Everyone needs to be on the same page, if not find a new group to go with.
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Old 07-11-2005   #17
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381

It seems like you've come to an internet forum to gain favor for a decision you already know the answer to... I hate to repeat what's been said already but it's true that we all run into jerks sometimes and it sucks to punish his wife and kids, but this doesn't sound like recreation to me. I spent a lot more time than usual on the water this year, both commercially and privately and I've decided that lots of uptight people can't put their stress on hold even when they're on the river. Paddle with people who take responsibility for their own actions and are there to have fun.
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Old 07-11-2005   #18
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Yes, this is a communications/expectation issue. But, I still wonder if you are more likely to get those issues between rafters/kayakers than between two rafters or between two kayakers. The two activities give you a different perspective on river issues, such as how to read water and judge subtle safety issues.

I was hoping to get more comments that were pro-rafting perspective. But, I guess this is mainly a kayaking forum. Perhaps I'll try a different forum and see what I get.

I was also expecting to get chewed out more for my mistakes, but I guess people gave me slack because shit happens and admitting your mistakes are key.

This guy has been my friend for 15 years. While I may not join him on the river until I see that we are more in sync, I clearly won't give up on him as a friend. After all, there is more to life than boating, right?
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Old 07-11-2005   #19
Marine Biologist
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 90
go rafting!

expecting more pro rafting posts, eh? Rafting requires more skill in the area of reading the water; a raft is much less maneuverable than a kayak and therefore lines need to be much more carefully planned and a knowledge of where a thread of current will go is key. In a kayak, you can just squirt around and avoid obstacles literally right on top of them. Iknow plenty of kaykaers who don't know how to read water and can still run class IV due to a bomb-proof roll. Mistakes in a raft are much less forgiving, and capsizing ALWAYS ends in a swim, the kayaker's worst nighmare. That being said, in a kayak you can go more places and roll up in the inevitable capsize, so it's more versatile and hairball. I am pro rafting and feel that it is the head of the evolutionary chain due to comfort and beer carrying ability (as well as naked river nymphs), but kayaking is appealing because I will be able to run BIG drops without endangering anyone but myself, and can see areas that just cannot be accessed by a raft. Oh, and being cramped in a kayak is uncomfortable as hell, too.
|^^^^^^^^^^^^\ ||
| BEER ................. | ||'""|""\__,_
| _____________ l ||__|__|___|)
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Old 07-11-2005   #20
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Hey Cristof,

If you want a rafter's perspective then you may want to try Raftzone on Boatertalk(dot)com or HCRR(dot)org. On the HCRR list, the replies will come much more slowly but more folks will know the run you were on.

I really don't think that you're dealing with a rafter / kayaker issue though, but one of river awareness, expectations & communication.

I"ll certainly agree with Fatboy/Phil - sending less experienced boaters downriver into a rapid they don't know while part of the group is still scouting it is really dangerous. First, the inexperienced boaters not have the more experienced ones to show them where to go or possibly rescue them. Second, the scouting folks will probably not be in the right place to provide safety and it'll be a long time before they can get down to help in case there's a mishap.


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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