Boat Scouting - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-23-2007   #1
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Boat Scouting

Read a trip report on another site and found a different use of the term boat scouting. To me, bs means that I can see a clear route to the next two eddies (or one I know absolutely that I can make) where I can get out and bank scout or portage the rest of the rapid that I can not see. Or some rock or island from which I can absolutely ferry back to the bank. If that is at the top or part way down doesn't make a diff, "when in doubt, eddy out".

Cause no matter how many times I have been down a rapid or have read about it or been told the line, there could be a new log lodged in a bad place.

Now, I know that can lead to analysis paralysis and long days on the river(a risk in itself), but I feel confidant about my boating skills (how I can move a boat and read water) to do much of my bs right on the lip. How do y'all work it? I haven't done much V, but it seems most III works with boat scouting but a lot of IV needs a bank scout at least the first time down to know where lines and eddies are to know how to work the rapid.

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Old 04-23-2007   #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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well you could always train with a raft to learn to read it

you could pay to take a comercial raft training class, reading water should be the #1 thing taught and some cool rescue stuff too. or you could just run a lot of new class 3 and 4 water till you kinda get comfortable with what the water might do.. and on the other hand, you are absolutely right. when in doubt,,, scout.. it may just save your life... GOOD LUCK!!!
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Old 04-23-2007   #3
 
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I like a two-eddy rule. If the run isn't bombed regularly by the locals (e.g., Bailey) then I'm much more apt to scout or boat scout steeper rapids. The really big difference between boat scouting class III and class V is that V is just a whole lot steeper. On a class III, you can boat scout it, but experienced boaters can pick the whole line from the top, which is why they read-n-run it. Lots of Vs don't allow you to see the whole rapid even once you are several moves into it. I do not like to run class V without scouting on foot first unless I am well-acquainted with the person leading me down and we have an understanding about such things. That said, some rivers (Green Narrows) would talk for-ev-er to scout and can't be boat scouted, so you have to trust your guide and your skills before dropping in.

If the log in the class III rapid can't be seen from the top, then it is likely small enough that you can avoid it by paddling hard away from it.

There is no rule for when to boat scout vs. get out of your boat. The rule is what you are comfortable doing and feel safe doing, no other, and that applies whether you are a noob or a vet.
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Old 04-24-2007   #4
 
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I agree, it's hard to have a hard-and-fast rule. It depends a lot on how often the river is run (i.e. the Green Narrows isn't going to have wood in it that nobody knows about on a given day), how comfortable you are with the run/difficulty level, and the strength of your group and your leader/probe. I've run stuff like the Green and the Tallulah with a guide and have only scouted once or twice (oceana and Zwick's), otherwise I've just boat scouted and relied on guide beta when in eddies above drops. It's pretty fact-specific, but I'm generally comfy boat-scouting anything where I see an eddy I know I can hit, and even some horizon lines with a good guide and a clear river.
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Old 04-24-2007   #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ag3dw View Post
Read a trip report on another site and found a different use of the term boat scouting. To me, bs means that I can see a clear route to the next two eddies (or one I know absolutely that I can make) where I can get out and bank scout or portage the rest of the rapid that I can not see. Or some rock or island from which I can absolutely ferry back to the bank. If that is at the top or part way down doesn't make a diff, "when in doubt, eddy out".
My definition of boat scouting is that you're scouting entirely from your boat. It's always a good idea to not catch that last chance eddy or to at least make sure you can get to shore and portage from your next eddy if you don't like what you see.

When running class IV, I'll do my best to boat scout as much as I can, especially on a long run where time savings is critical. Sometimes, I'll catch an eddy on the opposite side of the channel I think I want to run. That lets me peek at the runout easier and get an angle to look at the base of the drop if it's not too steep. When I can't see the base of the drop from my boat, I get out and scout. If it's difficult for the abilities of the others in my group, I'll recommend they scout as well. If it's not too bad, I'll relay the line, run it, and set safety for them below.

There are no hard and fast rules. If I'm not on a popular run, like the Green Narrows, and/or don't have a good leader in front of me, I err on the side of caution. That being said, you'd be surprised how much whitewater is boat scoutable if you try. Just make sure you leave yourself and your group an out and scout on foot if you can't see what you're about to run.
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