Straps and tethers.... - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-29-2008   #1
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Straps and tethers....

Alrighty, given the recent Arkansas River news, I have a great river safety topic for the day:

Over the weekend we had a little raft flip goofing around on the Dolores. The raft sat against the flip rock for a moment like it wanted to wrap. I was on the upstream side and hanging on to a strap. I swung around the stern to check on our brave oarsman. He yelled to me that he was trapped and to "get a knife!" Before I could make it around the boat he used his own knife and cut the strap that was wrapped around his leg. It was an oar tether! He then swam to shore safely. For a moment though he was caught between a rock and a raft and couldn't get out! Had the raft shifted the wrong way or wrapped he could have been in a pretty bad situation. I actually gave the "all OK" sign to our boat upstream so they wouldn't approach us and risk shifting the raft. I'm confident that this was the right move, as a whistle blow could have caused them to try to bump us free and trapped our friend.

Shortly after this event we had someone on our trip lose an oar in some class 2/3. I can imagine the carnage that could come from having only one oar in a bigger rapid.

So obviously we want to minimize loose straps, etc. and I generally keep my boat pretty tight. However, the oar tethers are always loose straps. I'm trying to decide if I want to continue using tethers or if I'd rather risk having to get to my spare in some gnar gnar.

Don't be shy folks, any input would be appreciated.

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Old 05-29-2008   #2
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Jay is trying to steal my thunder. Come on people, make a statement about knives and straps!
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Old 05-29-2008   #3
 
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River knives and straps are awesome.
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Old 05-29-2008   #4
 
Land of Lovin, Colorado
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I agree, river straps/ropes are a must for keeping gear and recovering gear too. Knives are definitely important for quick release in the event of entrapment. I have only had to use my knife once so far but I was very, VERY glad I had it on me.

I try to keep straps so tight that you could not get your hand/foot/leg etc in them but accidents happen and you need a quick way to cut them if neccessary.

I have a Gerber EZout which is awesome because it's a folding knife so I don't have to have a sheath I can just clip it to my knife attachment on my vest using the beltclip and it opens with one hand so you can still hang on to your boat/rock/tree whatever with one hand while cutting with the other.
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Old 05-29-2008   #5
 
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I had this discussion not that long ago and i'm sure people have talked about it on here too but my feeling is that I want to keep the oar close if it pops out. However, I also don't want it tethered with a cam strap. I try to use the smallest cord I can find or I like P-Cord the best because it will keep an oar close-by in the water but can be practically broken by strength alone in an emergency. If not, you pull out the claw and try not to drop it.
How was that Randaddy?

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Jay is trying to steal my thunder. Come on people, make a statement about knives and straps!
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Old 05-29-2008   #6
 
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I am a newbe when it comes to oar powered rafting, so I elected to get the NRS oar tethers. They stay close to the towers for normal use and snap out longer when pulled, so they could still be a entrapment hazard. They do have a real easy quick release that can be worked with one hand, I will have to see how it works with it weighted. Being a long time yaker, I always have my knife near by, just in case.

I will look more carefully at my webbing as I have to admit, I did not tie off the straps on my raft to the point that they would minimise the chance of entrapment, this past weekend on the upper C. I need more smaller straps as I ended up using a bunch of 9' ers where all I neeed was 1' to 4'. The tales of the 9s were where I was careless.
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Old 05-29-2008   #7
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You are all so wise.
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Old 05-29-2008   #8
 
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this topic sounds kinky. straps and tethers...
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Old 05-29-2008   #9
 
Gallatin Gateway, Montana
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Use Pins 'n' clips

Pins and clips are the ultimate setup in big whitewater, if the oar pops out, just shove it back in.....
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Old 05-29-2008   #10
 
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SE, Wyoming
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Tighter. . . ooooh!

Actually, dahlings, I use webbing for oar tethers: loop end nice and snug on the oar tower and a sliding steel ring on the oar (cinched with stitching or a slider or glider or whatever those things are called). In between is a plastic snap-lock buckle for quick release.

Thus: no knots, no trap loops, and a quick release if an oar gets hung up, etc. Under monster stress, the plastic parts will break. Obviously you can still slash away with your river knife, if that makes you feel all warm inside.

Seems like I saw the setup in a catalog and duplicated it for about 15% of the retail bite. Some stuff like steel rings, buckles, etc. can be found at horse & saddle suppliers cheaper than at river shops.
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