How many friendships have been broken by class V? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-25-2005   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
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How many friendships have been broken by class V?

Has anyone else experienced the devicive power of running hard whitewater?

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Old 07-25-2005   #2
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Baytopia, Colorado
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Re: How many friendships have been broken by class V?

Originally Posted by Curtis_Elwood
Has anyone else experienced the devicive power of running hard whitewater?
most people can say yes but no one can talk about it.
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Old 07-25-2005   #3
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Re: How many friendships have been broken by class V?

Originally Posted by mania
Originally Posted by Curtis_Elwood
Has anyone else experienced the devicive power of running hard whitewater?
most people can say yes but no one can talk about it.
That's exactly what I am experiencing right now. Everything is hush, hush. There may be one or two people in our community that visit this forum, but out of respect for all involved, I wouldn't post this on Boater Talk or our local forum. It's tough to keep my lips sealed sometimes, but I guess I've got to take the high ground.
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Old 07-25-2005   #4
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Denver, Colorado
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Posts like this make me thankful of the crew I've been fortunate enough to hook up with. I'd risk my ass and know they'd do the same when the shit hits the fan (and it has). A good group makes it a lot easier to head into the middle of nowhere and do this kind of activity. It is not an individual sport.

Here is just a small example: I see the eyes of my buddy in front of me as much as the back of his helmet through the gnar. I've been behind some folks who would paddle hundreds of yard, through holes and all kinds of pin potential without checking on the sweeper. I'm sure half the time they (and me) are just making sure they don't miss a good chundering, but it makes me comfortable.

If you don't feel comfortable with the people you're boating with, communicate, tell them what they are doing wrong or could do better. If that doesn't work, cut them loose. There are definitely a few boaters and climbers I'd prefer never to have my back, but have only parted ways with one climber. Our Class V group is growing and everyone in the group now f'cking dominates, they wouldn't be invited back for a second round if they were sketch.

Class V (and kayaking in general) has provided me with many amazing friends, but ended relationships with plenty of girlfriends.
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Old 07-25-2005   #5
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Ok, screw the hush hush. What happened? This can be a learning experience for us all... do tell.
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Old 07-25-2005   #6
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Old 07-25-2005   #7
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Wow. I've never really seen this addressed. I have, through moving about, paddled with several different crews more than casually. And I've seen straight up blowouts (the worst I know of was with my crew on a Middle Fork of Salmon trip that I missed). I think that the clashes come from two directions, different personalities in a difficult situation and inexperience. All this combined can form the closest ties and the biggest fights.

Kayakers are usually different folks. Our sport is hard, dangerous, counter-intuitive, and sometimes flatout scary. The people who partake are an unusual sort. We all know that getting paddlers together is like herding cats--often kayakers all have their own idea of what is right. This sets up a stage for drama when you add the nature of hard water to the mix, the fact that the group must come together and act as a team to push on safely. An accident on the water forces the issue. I have paddling partners who clash occasionally, and it is mostly b/c of personality diffences. Placing two hard headed people in the pressure cooker of remote clV will eventually precipitate drama, if the 12 hr drive there didn't already. This issue us tough to solve.

On the other hand, there are kayakers who lack experience (or just a sense of safety). They cause alot of stife, as they don't get the team aspect, and can endanger others. We always endanger one another (any rescue I've been part of had inherent danger for all those involved), but we should consider all the risks when making decisions on a remote run, the Black Canyon being a perfect example. Inexperience can lead to poor decision making, not covering your buddy's ass, not knowing your place in the group, blowing critical eddies, etc. This has caused problems between myself and close friends. And I've been on both sides of the issue. This problem was any of us--it takes education.

Crews paddling hard water have to be very tight to work through these problems. It is surprising that so many good, tight crews exist. It helps when everyone is on the same level, as Livingston said of his crew. Livingston, cherish it, next year one of your buddies will have gotten married, another will be working too much, someone will move, and you will have an up-and-coming hotshot joining your group who can't throw a bag or never looks over his shoulder.

Good subject. Hopefully Curtis you can work it out with your pards. 95% of my experiences have been great, but I've butted a few heads. Along with everything else, kayakers tend to be really cool, great people. I'll bet that the "ass" you described would put his life on the line for you at a moments notice, given the need.
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Old 07-25-2005   #8
Join Date: Jul 2005
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It's good to hear that milo and bowen were helpful in a time of need. I only know milo casually, but I do know that he is a great person, very strong boater and would do ANYTHING to help! Bowen is the reason that I am addicted to this sport and was the one to take the time to take me to the pool and teach me how to roll. Bowen is a strong boater and was a mentor and source of information for me last year(my first season). This season I met a couple of people that were willing to initiate me into harder runs. They only knew me from casual interaction at the gunny play park. After pushing my limits with them I would call them friends for life. I hope I never see the day when I wouldn't call them mentors or friends. I know that as I move up the food chain things will get more tense but I trust that everything will remain cool. Everyone on this forum started in the same place! Some people are more adept and some are not. I am not at class V stage and don't try to say that I am. This sport is a serious mindfuck at times but I still crave to be on the river as much as possible. Curtis_elwood your friends should know that cicumstances are cicumstances and that things can spin out of control. I hope that down the line, even if bad things happen, that my boating partners would not put a halo over their head and curse an incident they may not fully understand!
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Old 07-26-2005   #9
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Can you tell us more about how she broke her ankles? What was her boat angle/position? Was she pointing extreme river right? What was the level? I'm asking because I've seen that drop penciled almost every way possible and I'm curious were the rock is for future reference. It looks like there is something there but remarkably I've never seen anyone touch it.

As far as friendships and partners go. You truly need to find a good group of people and stick with them. You don't realize what a persons true personality is until the shit hits the fan. I won't run a hard wilderness run unless I have at least one or two of my boys with me. People who I've been through combat with. People I know so well, that we can have a conversation with without ever saying a word. I always know what he is thinking and him me.

My soap box for the day: When the shit hits the fan, I can’t stand people who yell and scream bloody murder. Stay fucking calm. Yes you need to speak loudly to be herd sometimes, but overly stressed intonations can make the situation seem much worse than it needs to be. Be calm, communicate, act quickly, don’t fuckin bark at people like a freaked out drill sergeant. Work together as a team. If someone is doing something wrong, politely correct them. A good leader directs and keeps people calm at the same time. Remember, the situation is only as bad as you make it. Think about the positive, (for example). It’s a broken ankle; she is alive, breathing, and conscious. There is a way out (be it extremely difficult). I have a park service at my disposal. I have several able bodies and a patient that can participate. I have time. Although this experience may suck right now, I can learn from it and come out a stronger person. (I’m making assumptions about the rescue purely for an example)
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Old 07-26-2005   #10
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Sorry you guys have these experiences. Livingston is dead on with his words. We are lucky to have such a great crew. We have paddled so much together that we understand each others strengths and weaknesses and play to those. I will be honest that the only way that was possible was through many heart to heart talks and sometimes full on fighting (off the river!!) When we're on the river our goal is to make sure we "dominate" and make it back home together. I only wish I could paddle with you guys more often!!!!!!!!!
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