Bout' lost my life yesterday - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-20-2008   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 67
Bout' lost my life yesterday

Howdy folks & I'm lucky I'm actually here to tell my story.

Yesterday (Monday 5.19) I set off what was to be a 2-day float trip down the Gunny River through Escalante Canyon to take out at Whitewater east of Grand Jct. First off, I waited in the hot sun by myself for 2 1/2 hours for the boat party (a total of 4 of us; a couple on a huge beat-up, patched gray boat held together with about a dozen plastic ties hold the zippers together. The other party was on a one-person yellow pontoon fishing oar raft). I was to follow along in my gray eskimo kayak. I have lots of raft miles under my belt and have enough kayak skills to do certain trips but I do know that my roll is not as consistant as it should be. However, knowing that the river is running wicked high with funny water, I was under the understanding that it was pretty flat with no whitewater to be concerned with. I also assumed that my friends (the ones on the raft - "Griff" and his girlfriend) have LOTS of raft experience and supposedly stress the safety issue and to be sober while on the river, itself (which they were if you can believe that).

After waiting several hours, we finally took off around 3pm. About 2 miles down the river, we encountered some (to me) unexpected rapids which were quite sketchy. I stuck close to Griff's boat who were upstream from my approximately 50 to 100 FEET (NOT YARDS). I went over a large wave (a rock I later found out that 2 canoeists last year wrapped a boat and broke it; apparently, it's still there). I didn't make my roll and exited the boat, holding onto the hand-hold at the nose of my boat with one hand and paddle in the other. Luckily, I put a whistle on my life jacket which ultimately saved me.

I was screaming, "HELP, HELP, HELP" and blew the whistle. Griff had a trolling motor on the boat where his girlfriend was sitting right next to. Griff was at the oars. Neither did absolutely NOTHING to even ATTEMPT a rescue. I was hoping that they were just frantically oar over to me so I could grab onto their boat to get to shore so I could collect my bearings and move on. He didn't even attempt to communicate to his GF to start up that motor to come get me. Yes, they saw me; yes they heard me. NOTHING!!!!

Meanwhile, the ranch manager lady at Escalante Ranch just so happened to be outside BEHIND the horse stable (approximately 300 YARDS through the trees on land) attending to her horses and heard my screams and whistle. Her horses, she told me, even knew there was a problem. She said she saw me in the water and the raft behind me and just assumed they would get me but noticed that they were not attempting a rescue. Meanwhile, I must have swam about a 1/2 mile in the middle of the whitewater, having my eye on Griff's raft and the left shore. I even screamed, "I DON'T WANNA DIE OUT HERE!!!! HELP!!!!"

I was in the water for about 10-15 minutes when I was able to grab a strong branch on shore (I have no clue how I was able to drag my upside down boat and paddle to the shore) and I wasn't even out of the water when out of nowhere, they lady comes up and asked if I needed any help. I was shivering nearly uncontrollably. Griff and his girlfriend floated right on by in the middle the river WITHOUT STOPPING and I barely heard something come out of his mouth which said, "DRY OUT" (or something like that).

The ranch lady and I walked my boat back to the horse stable where he gave me some warm clothes, iced tea and I was at the ranch for about 3 hours waiting for her husband to get back from work to take me to the take-out where my car was. THANKFULLY, my keys were in a zipped pocket of my dry pants, along with my 15-foot NRS straps. However, my 3 drybags and cooler were on Griff's boat. Early that evening, we drove around Dominguz Canyon looking for them at camp. They dropped me off at the take-out and I drove straight to the Delta County Sheriff's office where I talked to a wonderful deputy about the whole thing. My goal was to get in contact with a BLM law enforcement officer patrolling the river to me up with these assholes to get my stuff with charges of criminal negligence.

The sheriff's deputy got a hold of one who told me that he didn't think there was a law that requires members of your boat party to attempt a rescue and they are not required to do so. I stayed in a motel in Montrose (rolling in around 12:30am). The motel lady gave me some clothes. I went to the BLM office in Montrose to report the incident and they KICKED ME OUTTA THERE!!!!

This experience taught me to no longer trust people anymore. I know have grave fear of the river and I may even give up kayaking for good. I'm in the process of staring up a on-line interactive newspaper called gunnylines.com (it's on the web now; you just can't Google it yet but you can type it in on your address bar; will be advertising it in the local community in the very near future). I also want to add that Griff NEVER signed in at the put-in. He was the organizer of this trip. I'm also having second thoughts about requiring permits for certain sections of rivers. I'd like to see a law requiring head members of boat trips to attempt rescues of it's own members if they see them in trouble.

Thank you for letting me share.

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Old 05-20-2008   #2
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Damn. I bet if you had let go of that boat you wouldn't have been in the water for so long...
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Old 05-20-2008   #3
 
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
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might want to calm down a bit beforre attempting rash actions / words. Might want to rethink your post and edit / down tone it a bit too. Sleep on it
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Old 05-20-2008   #4
 
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,907
Uhm, you might look for some new "friends."


Quote:
Originally Posted by yakgrrl101 View Post
Howdy folks & I'm lucky I'm actually here to tell my story.

Yesterday (Monday 5.19) I set off what was to be a 2-day float trip down the Gunny River through Escalante Canyon to take out at Whitewater east of Grand Jct. First off, I waited in the hot sun by myself for 2 1/2 hours for the boat party (a total of 4 of us; a couple on a huge beat-up, patched gray boat held together with about a dozen plastic ties hold the zippers together. The other party was on a one-person yellow pontoon fishing oar raft). I was to follow along in my gray eskimo kayak. I have lots of raft miles under my belt and have enough kayak skills to do certain trips but I do know that my roll is not as consistant as it should be. However, knowing that the river is running wicked high with funny water, I was under the understanding that it was pretty flat with no whitewater to be concerned with. I also assumed that my friends (the ones on the raft - "Griff" and his girlfriend) have LOTS of raft experience and supposedly stress the safety issue and to be sober while on the river, itself (which they were if you can believe that).

After waiting several hours, we finally took off around 3pm. About 2 miles down the river, we encountered some (to me) unexpected rapids which were quite sketchy. I stuck close to Griff's boat who were upstream from my approximately 50 to 100 FEET (NOT YARDS). I went over a large wave (a rock I later found out that 2 canoeists last year wrapped a boat and broke it; apparently, it's still there). I didn't make my roll and exited the boat, holding onto the hand-hold at the nose of my boat with one hand and paddle in the other. Luckily, I put a whistle on my life jacket which ultimately saved me.

I was screaming, "HELP, HELP, HELP" and blew the whistle. Griff had a trolling motor on the boat where his girlfriend was sitting right next to. Griff was at the oars. Neither did absolutely NOTHING to even ATTEMPT a rescue. I was hoping that they were just frantically oar over to me so I could grab onto their boat to get to shore so I could collect my bearings and move on. He didn't even attempt to communicate to his GF to start up that motor to come get me. Yes, they saw me; yes they heard me. NOTHING!!!!

Meanwhile, the ranch manager lady at Escalante Ranch just so happened to be outside BEHIND the horse stable (approximately 300 YARDS through the trees on land) attending to her horses and heard my screams and whistle. Her horses, she told me, even knew there was a problem. She said she saw me in the water and the raft behind me and just assumed they would get me but noticed that they were not attempting a rescue. Meanwhile, I must have swam about a 1/2 mile in the middle of the whitewater, having my eye on Griff's raft and the left shore. I even screamed, "I DON'T WANNA DIE OUT HERE!!!! HELP!!!!"

I was in the water for about 10-15 minutes when I was able to grab a strong branch on shore (I have no clue how I was able to drag my upside down boat and paddle to the shore) and I wasn't even out of the water when out of nowhere, they lady comes up and asked if I needed any help. I was shivering nearly uncontrollably. Griff and his girlfriend floated right on by in the middle the river WITHOUT STOPPING and I barely heard something come out of his mouth which said, "DRY OUT" (or something like that).

The ranch lady and I walked my boat back to the horse stable where he gave me some warm clothes, iced tea and I was at the ranch for about 3 hours waiting for her husband to get back from work to take me to the take-out where my car was. THANKFULLY, my keys were in a zipped pocket of my dry pants, along with my 15-foot NRS straps. However, my 3 drybags and cooler were on Griff's boat. Early that evening, we drove around Dominguz Canyon looking for them at camp. They dropped me off at the take-out and I drove straight to the Delta County Sheriff's office where I talked to a wonderful deputy about the whole thing. My goal was to get in contact with a BLM law enforcement officer patrolling the river to me up with these assholes to get my stuff with charges of criminal negligence.

The sheriff's deputy got a hold of one who told me that he didn't think there was a law that requires members of your boat party to attempt a rescue and they are not required to do so. I stayed in a motel in Montrose (rolling in around 12:30am). The motel lady gave me some clothes. I went to the BLM office in Montrose to report the incident and they KICKED ME OUTTA THERE!!!!

This experience taught me to no longer trust people anymore. I know have grave fear of the river and I may even give up kayaking for good. I'm in the process of staring up a on-line interactive newspaper called gunnylines.com (it's on the web now; you just can't Google it yet but you can type it in on your address bar; will be advertising it in the local community in the very near future). I also want to add that Griff NEVER signed in at the put-in. He was the organizer of this trip. I'm also having second thoughts about requiring permits for certain sections of rivers. I'd like to see a law requiring head members of boat trips to attempt rescues of it's own members if they see them in trouble.

Thank you for letting me share.
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Old 05-20-2008   #5
ec
 
A-Town!, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 91
Here's my advice.

1) Don't quit kayaking.
2) Learn and knowledge your personal limits, and stick to rivers/sections within your abilities.
3) Make sure that you are paddling rivers where you can perform a self rescue if necessary.
4) Know your paddling partners better. Communicate with them on safety issues before a swim occurs so you are on the same page.
5) Kayak with kayakers. I've paddled with rafters before, and their vessels don't work the same. For example, have you ever gone mountain biking with a group of road bikers? It doesn't work out so good.
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Old 05-20-2008   #6
 
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Front Range, "Beautiful Colorado"
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 64
Sorry about the incident. Your crew was not very experienced by the sounds of things. I don't normally reply but feel it slightly necessary.

I hate laws like you are mentioning. To make a inherant beginner mistake by attempting a new river with little skills at high flow with people you thought to trust but never been on the river with. sounds like your venting.

There are inherant risks with all extreme sports. To force a law on the books ( which once on, is hard as hell to get off the books) due to an angry sense of insecurity is just not fair to responsible outdoor recreationalists.

Come on please don't waste your time on such a petty deal. You swam and didn't let go of your boat and gear because you would rather risk life and limb instead of breathing another day. You basically told me you put a price on your own life of less than $1500.00

Good luck and think. Sorry about the swim and well the plus side is with a self rescue is, you don't have to buy anyone ice cream / beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakgrrl101 View Post
Howdy folks & I'm lucky I'm actually here to tell my story.

Yesterday (Monday 5.19) I set off what was to be a 2-day float trip down the Gunny River through Escalante Canyon to take out at Whitewater east of Grand Jct. First off, I waited in the hot sun by myself for 2 1/2 hours for the boat party (a total of 4 of us; a couple on a huge beat-up, patched gray boat held together with about a dozen plastic ties hold the zippers together. The other party was on a one-person yellow pontoon fishing oar raft). I was to follow along in my gray eskimo kayak. I have lots of raft miles under my belt and have enough kayak skills to do certain trips but I do know that my roll is not as consistant as it should be. However, knowing that the river is running wicked high with funny water, I was under the understanding that it was pretty flat with no whitewater to be concerned with. I also assumed that my friends (the ones on the raft - "Griff" and his girlfriend) have LOTS of raft experience and supposedly stress the safety issue and to be sober while on the river, itself (which they were if you can believe that).

After waiting several hours, we finally took off around 3pm. About 2 miles down the river, we encountered some (to me) unexpected rapids which were quite sketchy. I stuck close to Griff's boat who were upstream from my approximately 50 to 100 FEET (NOT YARDS). I went over a large wave (a rock I later found out that 2 canoeists last year wrapped a boat and broke it; apparently, it's still there). I didn't make my roll and exited the boat, holding onto the hand-hold at the nose of my boat with one hand and paddle in the other. Luckily, I put a whistle on my life jacket which ultimately saved me.

I was screaming, "HELP, HELP, HELP" and blew the whistle. Griff had a trolling motor on the boat where his girlfriend was sitting right next to. Griff was at the oars. Neither did absolutely NOTHING to even ATTEMPT a rescue. I was hoping that they were just frantically oar over to me so I could grab onto their boat to get to shore so I could collect my bearings and move on. He didn't even attempt to communicate to his GF to start up that motor to come get me. Yes, they saw me; yes they heard me. NOTHING!!!!

Meanwhile, the ranch manager lady at Escalante Ranch just so happened to be outside BEHIND the horse stable (approximately 300 YARDS through the trees on land) attending to her horses and heard my screams and whistle. Her horses, she told me, even knew there was a problem. She said she saw me in the water and the raft behind me and just assumed they would get me but noticed that they were not attempting a rescue. Meanwhile, I must have swam about a 1/2 mile in the middle of the whitewater, having my eye on Griff's raft and the left shore. I even screamed, "I DON'T WANNA DIE OUT HERE!!!! HELP!!!!"

I was in the water for about 10-15 minutes when I was able to grab a strong branch on shore (I have no clue how I was able to drag my upside down boat and paddle to the shore) and I wasn't even out of the water when out of nowhere, they lady comes up and asked if I needed any help. I was shivering nearly uncontrollably. Griff and his girlfriend floated right on by in the middle the river WITHOUT STOPPING and I barely heard something come out of his mouth which said, "DRY OUT" (or something like that).

The ranch lady and I walked my boat back to the horse stable where he gave me some warm clothes, iced tea and I was at the ranch for about 3 hours waiting for her husband to get back from work to take me to the take-out where my car was. THANKFULLY, my keys were in a zipped pocket of my dry pants, along with my 15-foot NRS straps. However, my 3 drybags and cooler were on Griff's boat. Early that evening, we drove around Dominguz Canyon looking for them at camp. They dropped me off at the take-out and I drove straight to the Delta County Sheriff's office where I talked to a wonderful deputy about the whole thing. My goal was to get in contact with a BLM law enforcement officer patrolling the river to me up with these assholes to get my stuff with charges of criminal negligence.

The sheriff's deputy got a hold of one who told me that he didn't think there was a law that requires members of your boat party to attempt a rescue and they are not required to do so. I stayed in a motel in Montrose (rolling in around 12:30am). The motel lady gave me some clothes. I went to the BLM office in Montrose to report the incident and they KICKED ME OUTTA THERE!!!!

This experience taught me to no longer trust people anymore. I know have grave fear of the river and I may even give up kayaking for good. I'm in the process of staring up a on-line interactive newspaper called gunnylines.com (it's on the web now; you just can't Google it yet but you can type it in on your address bar; will be advertising it in the local community in the very near future). I also want to add that Griff NEVER signed in at the put-in. He was the organizer of this trip. I'm also having second thoughts about requiring permits for certain sections of rivers. I'd like to see a law requiring head members of boat trips to attempt rescues of it's own members if they see them in trouble.

Thank you for letting me share.
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Old 05-20-2008   #7
 
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 298
I'm sorry that you almost lost your life yesterday (although I think you might have been more freeked-out and shocked than in real danger), and I'm sorry that your people didn't take better care of you. sounds weird.

It also sounds like you didn't really know what you were in for...maybe in a bit over your head?

Do you really think that we need more laws though, to prevent this type of thing? More permits and regulations? How about less knee-jerk reactions and fingerpointing and more taking responsibility for our own actions...?
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Old 05-20-2008   #8
 
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,017
Sorry to hear about you're ordeal. But speaking from experience, people can have very different views of the same situation. I boated Grizzly with two friends that I had learned with but they hadn't boated in a while. In an eddy in Class I water, one of them flipped over and started floundering. The other freaked out and jumped out of her boat in knee-deep water to rescue the sticken boater. I just kind of sat there with a puzzled look on my face. I probably looked like an asshole to bystanders but I just couldn't figure out what all the panic was about.

Just saying that your friends may not have interpreted you're situation as life-threatening and it probably wasn't if you were able to swim to shore with all your gear. Then again, even if it wasn't life threatening, I've never heard of a crew who doesn't help swimmers to shore. That's just lame.

On another note, please remember, for your own safety that self rescue comes first. Don't ever wait for someone else to rescue you. If you are truly in fear for your life, ditch your gear and swim like you mean it. If you're friends don't get you or your gear, find new friends and move on.
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Old 05-20-2008   #9
Mut
 
GWS, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 494
Glad you are ok.

BUT, you are responsible for yourself and YOU could have avoided your ordeal.

Don't become some welfare reciepient looking for the government to watch out for you, take some responsibility.

Mut
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Old 05-20-2008   #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 18
re: Bout' lost my life yesterday

Glad you're safe. Congrats on getting yourself out of a bad situation. ec has some good advice. I know you're PO'd about your "buddy" the rafter, and with good reason, but in general there's no legal obligation to assist. Most paddlers feel a strong personal obligation to help their friends (and others) in need, but that's different than a legal obligation. Look at the positive -- you learned a lot. Among other things, you learned that you need to pick your paddling partners carefully, that you can self rescue even in a tough situation, that cold water will take your strength away quickly, that big water needs to be treated w/ respect, that having a bomb-proof roll is v. important, and that there are plenty of good folks out there (ranch lady + her husband, motel lady, etc.). Rest up, relax, practice the roll, find some kayak buddies, and get back out there!
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