Throw Bag Lesson Learned - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-31-2013   #1
Ashland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 123
Throw Bag Lesson Learned

I learned a lesson about throw bags last weekend, fortunately at no cost. We were running Dragon's Tooth on the lower Klamath River. (If you're not familiar with it, it's a class 4 with an entry move just left of a wrap rock and then a very quick right or left move to avoid a smaller wrap rock called The Dragon's Tooth). The flow was just low enough that the only line possible is the "line of truth" (far right sneak route not open), but high enough to be a little pushy toward a entrance wrap rock and "The Tooth". First raft through had a nice line and set up safety in the eddy below. I was on opposite shore with a throw bag. My throw bag is 50 feet of rope in a pouch on a waistbelt, which I like on scouts since it's convenient to carry. Second raft through had nice entry but then rode up on the pillow of the Tooth and did the sideways roll to a flip, changing the rower to a swimmer. As the safety raft pulled out to fetch him, I threw my bag with a perfect aim....but the rope was 5 feet too short. It all worked out fine, as the safety raft picked up our swimmer quickly and he wasn't hurt. The 75 foot throwbag was safe and sound clipped into the rower's compartment in my raft back in the scout eddy. Now, I realize there could be scenarios where I have a 75 foot rope and need 80 feet, but from now on I'll be taking the 75 footer with me on scouts and when setting safety from shore. Sharing this with all you buzzards in case you find this lesson of use.

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Old 05-31-2013   #2
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,390
Thanks for sharing, it is a good idea to practice throw a few times on shore or flat sections to restack your rope and remember the length of your own rope. In a panic situation it's hard to judge the length to the swimmer and as you mentioned, the short rope is worthless then.

I have a deso trip in a few days, your story reminded me to throw all my ropes out during the flat section and restack them
-ALEX [ youtube ][ my boat ][ ]
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Old 06-08-2013   #3
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North Fork, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 46
Practice is good. On a trip a few years ago, my rafting partners set up a raft for swimmer retrieval and practiced the throw below Ranier which at moderate to low levels is a good swimming rapid. Both experienced and inexperienced got some good practice in and also provided some for the swimmers for retrieval. Good thing to pass the time if you have a good setup and time. Probably before happy hour.
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Old 06-08-2013   #4
The Old Troll
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Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 458
Wish I could throw a bag half as well as you guys. You must have been ball players in school. Guess I'll have to get out there and practice.
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