2015 Whitewater Loss of life - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-22-2015   #1
 
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2015 Whitewater Loss of life

It's the elephant in the room but I have a buddy that says year is reminiscent of 2011 (another high water year) with the loss of life that has/was experienced.

With no disrespect to the emotional aspect of this discussion - what do folks think? In climbing we have ANAM - is there a similar statistical reference for whitewater in North America?

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Old 06-22-2015   #2
 
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There is a rumor that a rock climber in some sort of ducky or sit-on-top tried to ferry across the Ark above above Pine Creek, got hit by a log, and swam all of Pine Creek and Numbers at close to 4,000 without a PFD or helmet and lived to walk into CKS and tell them to notify AHRA that he was OK and did they find his boat. Is this true?
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Old 06-22-2015   #3
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There is. Charlie Walbridge puts it together a couple times a year. He posts it here. Here is the last one he put up.


https://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f...4-a-56110.html
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Old 06-22-2015   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipbak View Post
There is a rumor that a rock climber in some sort of ducky or sit-on-top tried to ferry across the Ark above above Pine Creek, got hit by a log, and swam all of Pine Creek and Numbers at close to 4,000 without a PFD or helmet and lived to walk into CKS and tell them to notify AHRA that he was OK and did they find his boat. Is this true?
Can't be true as you say simply because the cold water exposure would be too much beyond a few mins.
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Old 06-23-2015   #5
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Originally Posted by gannon_w View Post
Can't be true as you say simply because the cold water exposure would be too much beyond a few mins.
Maybe a swim of Pine Creek combined with the Numbers would be too long. These stories get embellished though. To my knowledge the climber was crossing in a playboat without a skirt (not a sit-on-top) and had to bail when too much water sunk the boat. He swam most of Pine Creek, but pulled himself out after the river took his shoes, pants, boat, and paddle. He got out river left and walked down to the bridge at the numbers put-in then back up to his car at Pine Creek. He was only wearing boxers and was a little bloody, but still alive. I doubt he will ever forget the day that he swam Pine Creek at 4,000 without a pfd or helmet.
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Old 06-23-2015   #6
 
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Originally Posted by JP Griffith View Post
Maybe a swim of Pine Creek combined with the Numbers would be too long. These stories get embellished though. To my knowledge the climber was crossing in a playboat without a skirt (not a sit-on-top) and had to bail when too much water sunk the boat. He swam most of Pine Creek, but pulled himself out after the river took his shoes, pants, boat, and paddle. He got out river left and walked down to the bridge at the numbers put-in then back up to his car at Pine Creek. He was only wearing boxers and was a little bloody, but still alive. I doubt he will ever forget the day that he swam Pine Creek at 4,000 without a pfd or helmet.
Runner up for a Darwin Award. Holy smokes!
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Old 06-23-2015   #7
 
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Loss of PFD seems to be a fairly common cause of death.
Walk around any put-in and look at the large percentage of ill-fitted PDFs.
People under estimate how violently turbulent a hydraulic feature can be.
There is no way a properly fitted PDF should come off or ride high so your head is under water.
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Old 06-23-2015   #8
 
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Dress to swim

Yes, some pfds that came off and some heart attacks are always on the list. I continue to see lots of people not dressed to swim. Ignore the 100 or 120 degree rule - the water temperature is what matters and it is cold.

Dress for a long, cold swim, even on those 90 degree days.
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Old 06-23-2015   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Loss of PFD seems to be a fairly common cause of death.
Walk around any put-in and look at the large percentage of ill-fitted PDFs.
People under estimate how violently turbulent a hydraulic feature can be.
There is no way a properly fitted PDF should come off or ride high so your head is under water.
It's kind of tangential to this discussion but we were talking about gear that has been used that most assuredly save one's life. My PFD rings in at the top of the list. I swam part of Browns this past weekend - 100% sure I would have died if not for my pfd - not a single question in my mind. I agree with Rich that many, many, people underestimate the effect whitewater has on an ill-sized or loose PFD. Even at reasonable levels, swimming without a PFD could result in death - that I'm certain of.
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Old 06-23-2015   #10
 
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Originally Posted by JP Griffith View Post
I doubt he will ever forget the day that he swam Pine Creek at 4,000 without a pfd or helmet.
Do you ever forget the day you swim pine creek at 4,000 cfs WITH a pfd and helmet?

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Ignore the 100 or 120 degree rule - the water temperature is what matters and it is cold.

Dress for a long, cold swim, even on those 90 degree days.
I always thought of the 100 degree rule as after a short swim you will be able to warm back up in the air without risking hypothermia or not being able to warm back up to a safe temp at all. Until you are out of the water, the air temp doesn't matter.
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