Lost Throw Rope, Browns Canyon, Seven Stairs - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-14-2015   #1
jspoon14's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
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Posts: 238
Lost Throw Rope, Browns Canyon, Seven Stairs

Our party lost a throw rope yesterday in Browns Canyon, below the last rapid in 7 Stairs. Please be on the look out and remove if found. The rope was diployed, it was let go when a swimmer go tangled in the line. It is a yellow NRS pro throw bag. Last seen river right and should have washed into the eddie, water we too muddy to track it.

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Old 06-14-2015   #2
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Any luck looking for your rope today? Widow Maker is a bad place for a rope to get stuck right now. Please tell us when you find it!
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Old 06-15-2015   #3
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Denver, Colorado
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We looked for it on Sat but that is the only day we were down there.
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Old 06-15-2015   #4
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 134
Its cool bro......Oh no...wait it isn't. Just so you know, there are boaters who have lost their lives to ropes left in the river. I understand that shit happens but what do you have going on today that is more important than removing this hazard?

Everybody else, don't forget your knife.
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Old 06-15-2015   #5
behind the 2nd flatiron, Colorado
Join Date: May 2015
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I think a lot of people need more training on when to actually use a throw rope. I was in browns saturday and sunday, saw a lot of swims, didn't see a single time a throw rope was necessary. It's pool drop... swim your ass to shore in the flat water.

I hate rope in the river. hopefully someone finds it in an eddy.
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Old 06-15-2015   #6
Dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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JSPOON thank you for the update. That was the right thing to do. Did you contact the AHRA? That would also be the right thing to do. Did you contact all of the river outfitters that send their guides and guests down Browns canyon? That would be the right thing to do.

The one thing that is completely unacceptable is for you to post that your group put little effort into finding your group's now deployed throw bag, and "oh, it should wash into an eddy."

Having worked on the Arkansas for over 15 years, I am confused to where this rope was thrown from. Did you have an incompetent throw bagger standing on shore below Stair # 7, or did someone throw from a raft? I realize it is high water, and people swim. What your group needed to do was assess their individual abilities to self rescue. The eddy (not eddie by the way) you mention in your post is large and a swimmer can make it to shore or another raft, safety kayak, etc. if they have business being on the river at these flows. If you can't swim your butt off and make it to the eddies on both river right or river left before swimming into Widow Maker, then you shouldn't be on the river at these flows. There is no reason to have thrown that rope!!!

Four years ago, during the training of our rookies, I rolled out of one of the rafts, and swam to a fang rock in Widow Maker just above House Rock, and watched as all my trainees floated by. I put myself on this rock to see how they would go about rescuing me, simulating the place a potential guest might find themselves stuck in the main channel while still in the middle of a significant Class III rapid. As I waited for my trainees to come to my simulated rescue, I noticed a throw bag surging in the main current. The training drill stopped immediately. I was able, with the help of four trainees to follow the rope upstream to where it was chalked in the boulders of Meat Grinder. We were able to pull it out. All 70 ft. of it!!! There was the name of a highly respected company in the valley on it. Outrage was my first emotion. There had been no communication from them that they had lost a rope in the river. You could tell it had been in the main channel of Widow Maker for a few days time, if not longer, because of the build-up of algae on it.

We got off the river that day, and I kept the throw bag with me. I called the Head Boatman of the company that had lost their rope, and he seemed oblivious to the fact that it had been lost. That was unacceptable. He said his trainees must have lost it during a drill. Why the instructors, or a trainee did not stand up and announce that they had just created a major, possibly deadly hazard I do not know. My stance was obvious. I could have become entangled, a rookie of mine could have gotten entangled, or one of the hundreds of rafters (private or commercial) could have gotten entangled because of their stupidity of leaving a rope in the river, and not letting anyone know about it.

You did the right thing letting everyone know about the deployed rope. The only problem is, your group left the rope in the river, and now it is somebody else job to clean up your shit!!!

You might be right, maybe it will all work out, but that is not showing the river community (professional or private) that your group has a respect for the river, or understands the seriousness of the situation you've created.

Go clean up your mess!!!
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Old 06-15-2015   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 98
I, also, used a throw bag below #7 on Saturday.
I threw it to a commercial raft ,with multiple swimmers just before they were washed into the new strainer below the rapid.
I have my rope though, and that guide was very happy I hit them with the rope.
Using a rope when its needed can save lives. Using it when its not can endanger them. Losing a rope in the river is never ok. Practice when its not needed!

Be careful out there folks!

Have fun!

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Old 06-15-2015   #8
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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I think you should call your employer, take 2 days off, and come find your rope. Explain that you've added a potentially deadly hazard to the Arkansas River and you have an obligation to resolve it. Please post here after you've removed it or looked several times.

I don't come to Denver and leave landmines around your office.
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Old 06-15-2015   #9
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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 538
I just took a swiftwater class a month ago and someone in class (I wont name names, but you know who you are) stepped too far in water tossing bag and the bank literally dropped 4 ft. under surface of water and he lost control of rope. He was fine, but now rope in water, all three instructors where in water in an instant (calm town section, but high water) and had that rope out of water in seconds. I later come to learn that they lost a friend due to a rope left in water. Take time off of work!
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Old 06-15-2015   #10
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
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Posts: 208
Get real folks

Just how does anyone recommend he go get his rope when it could be anywhere in the next 100 miles of low visibility muddy river?

Doesn't seem like anyone on this thread was actually there, but yet you are accusing the guy of deploying the rope when he shouldn't have and leaving the scene.

High and mighty are those of you who could never misjudge when to throw, then never lose a rope, and of course if you did lose it, you would find it right away. Those three Swiftwater instructors know if they didn't get it right away, it could be lost forever. They were lucky to be right there.

Nice supportive river community down on the Ark, eh?.
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