cliff jumping WW - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-15-2008   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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cliff jumping WW

Ran Westwater canyon this last weekend and just wanted to remind those that enjoy the fine art of cliff jumping should think a bit about what you can't see.
Stopped river right - right above the cowboy shelter at the start of the canyon and jumped off the higher wall after about 6-8 drunken kids just jumped at the same locale. Maybe 25-35'. Leapt and felt I had good clearance with standard jumping form. Almost immediately after entering the water (maybe 6-10' down) and still with considerable velocity hit a rock. Fortunately it seemed to be a downward slanted smoothed rock ledge since the impact only deflected my descent and the entire impact was on my right ass - missing tailbone, spine, legs and other more critical areas. A few inches in the wrong direction would mean a canyon exit by means other than boat and I wouldn't be typing this while standing at my keyboard.
I try to practice minimizing risk by improving skill - but here you are subjecting yourself to almost uncontrolled random risk taking (i.e. unknown subsurface conditions) that isn't nearly as exciting as chosing and running a clean line. My mistake and just an FYI.

-pg

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Old 09-15-2008   #2
 
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A VERY good reminder! I know I've been guilty of rarely thinking about my LZ....."looks deep enough to me". I know there are some pretty good ones below the canyon proper....but I've never jumped above.

Thanks for reminding me to check more thoroughly.....since I'll be there in a few weeks.
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Old 09-15-2008   #3
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A guide from West Virginia is now paralyzed from the neck down because of a cliff jump on the Colorado. I'm hesitant to jump at all anymore, especially into muddy water.
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Old 09-15-2008   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randaddy View Post
A guide from West Virginia is now paralyzed from the neck down because of a cliff jump on the Colorado. I'm hesitant to jump at all anymore, especially into muddy water.
I watched a friend of mine when we were teens dive from a railroad bridge into a river in Oregon and he broke his neck when he hit bottom. It was at a place where we had jumped/dove from many other times.

I think about it when jump/dive now and I do my own check before I just blindly launch or take anothers word for it.
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Old 09-15-2008   #5
 
Boulder, Colorado
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Rules to Cliff Jumping

1. ALWAYS check the landing...this includes after watching many other kids jump. In rivers this can be and generally is more dangerous. If you need to dive down two or three times to thoroughly check do it.

2. Never enter head first

3. Never jump over 20-25ft with a life vest on

4. Right after impact immediately tuck to stop downward travel
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Old 09-15-2008   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbarnow View Post
Rules to Cliff Jumping


3. Never jump over 20-25ft with a life vest on

4. Right after impact immediately tuck to stop downward travel
I'm glad pg posted on this....and I'll certainly keep it in mind before I think about taking flight. I grew up launching off 40-50-60 footers on a regular basis at the pueblo reservoir and ALWAYS checked the LZ....AND had someone with a depth finder check the entire area. The past few years I haven't been as diligent. Duly noted and I'll be more mindful.

Jbar....just wondering why a jump over 25ft. would dismiss a life vest? I hucked myself off a (roughly) 50footer in Gunny Gorge a couple weeks ago with mine on....I don't think I'd ever jump without one....just gotta tighten er' up. And my preferred method of entering the water is to "fan and flatten out". Saved me a few times at the res. in shallow LZ's. Maybe it's because I have a couple extra LB's, but balling up would take me a little deeper as opposed to how I get er' done now.
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Old 09-15-2008   #7
 
Boulder, Colorado
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The life vest advice might be a little short. I watched some kids jump off a cliff when I was about 13. I asked them repeated why they were wearing their vests and they said that was the only way their parents would let them. I told them not to do it and then watched them huck a few seconds later I heard the screaming. Both had double dislocated their shoulders. I guess I look at it as if I'm going to jump I'm going to do it where the water is definitely deep enough. I'm not as concerned about drowning as the effects of the impact. More resistance equals harder on the body. On the other hand there is an argument for wearing but after watching those kids I'll play my luck without.

As for balling...bad explanation for fanning and flattening...just get to rolling started so your not going straight down.

Just uploaded some good jump pics...not sure how to insert in the forum.
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Old 09-15-2008   #8
 
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I would never jump off of a cliff into water. I used to do it (on the upper Colorado and a few times on Westwater) but never again.

I have never been hurt cliff jumping but I have broken my neck and now that I know what that is like I can say, without a doubt, 100% sure that there is no way that the thrill of jumping off a cliff is worth the risk.
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Old 09-15-2008   #9
 
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Cliff jumping is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the river. Lot's of really serious injuries.

As for the life vest, if it's tight, I'm not sure you are better with it off.
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Old 09-15-2008   #10
 
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Hi,

Back when I was young and foolish, I did some 40-50 footers with my PFD on.

The trick is to snug it up tight and grab tight onto the neckline with both hands, to keep it from coming up around your head and trying to rip your arms out of the socket.

But that was only in areas where the bottom profile was an absolute certainty.

I've seen folks jumping off the black rocks in WW near Miner's Cabin -- something I never would do without a lot of careful exploration. They also jump off the river left rock down at "the kink" just above Big Horn camp. Higher probability of deep water there, but you still gotta be careful....

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
gulchradio.com
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