Drift socks for sticky hydraulics - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-14-2012   #1
 
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Drift socks for sticky hydraulics

So I took my cat out on the New River Gorge a while back. I purposely went completely sideways over a 3' ledge that happened to have a really good hydraulic. I spent 30 minutes getting my 16' Legend out of that spot, and only got out with the help of my buddy in his kayak with a tow line.

Anyhow, I was thinking that in the same type of situation, it seems that having a deployable drift sock to throw out down stream to catch the current and pull me out of the rapid would be a good idea.

I know that this has only certain applications, and you must consider certain factors (down stream conditions, etc...) that could make this an additional hazard. But, if you are on a river that is rapid-pool-rapid-pool etc... that this application might be a handy device to help get your boat in the right direction and help pull it out of a sticky situation. I'm the only catboater that I've seen out East. Is this common practice? Buzzards thoughts?

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Old 07-14-2012   #2
 
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Bad idea or horrible idea. good practice is running a drop correctly. Fix what's wrong clean lines are the best way to stay out of bad situations. Action reaction consequence. Having extra rope in the river is never a good idea. Stay out of holes and if you can't seem to think you can run something portage or tone down what you are doing to better match your skill set
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Old 07-14-2012   #3
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We went up to the white cliff stretch of the Missouri a couple of weeks ago and used a drift sock setup to beat the headwinds and it worked great. I tied off a string of bail buckets to my bow line and tossed them in the current, also camstrapped the oars to the front dance floor to keep them down. We made a steady 3mph with no effort into a nasty headwind that Canoers were slogging against. It was pretty fun to raise a PBR and shout "HEADWINDS A BITCH".
We also used a poncho for a while. That actually pulled a lot better but I couldn't hardly row against it to set up for downstream moves. It was also a pain to deploy but that's what could probably work to get a surfed boat unstuck. Maybe something like a collapsible sock with a stiff ring at the mouth (like a sun shade for a windshield) that you could toss out in a hurry.
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Old 07-14-2012   #4
 
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Oh, this situation was not above my skill set. We were practicing SWR techniques. That is why I stated I did this on purpose. My thoughts however, are that using a small drift sock on a 20' line could be handy to help pull a boat out of a hydraulic. If the line becomes a risk, you can always "cut slingload" if need be. Not saying this device should be a goto, but it seems like a it would save a lot of time, high-siding, adrenaline, and sore muscles in a real situation.
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Old 07-14-2012   #5
 
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Or avoid and know how to deal, never heard of such a thing if they don't teach it in swift water rescue I wouldn't use it ropes are dangerous hopefully you got that out of the class. Less ropes the better. What if you get snagged on drift sock and your boat stays in hydraulic, hope you have a knife. Fighting wind is one thing empty some air out of your tubes. But drift socks seem like a horrible idea in whitewater regardless of where you are, current goes faster than boat so if you get tangled that's a bitch..
Correct lines go along way and when they fail that's whitewater that's why there's class IV and v cause consequences can be a bitch. You don't see people do it cause it's not smart
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Old 07-14-2012   #6
 
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Although I can appreciate the desire to harness the power of the current and wind in flatwater, I have to agree with Mike that the fewer ropes in the river, the better. Especially on kid trips (which is about the only time I touch flatwater). Cutting a rope that becomes a hazard may save yourself, but a lose rope in the river is a hazard for every river runner after you. Innovate cautiously.
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Old 07-14-2012   #7
 
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I havent taken an official swift water rescue course yet. And yes, I would agree that it is common sense to read the river, pick your line, run it properly, blah blah blah. I get all that... I just wanted input on if this device has been used, would it work under the explained circumstances, and what i should be cautious of. I dont need lessons on how to run a river, but thanks for the obvious. Just a gear discussion, not a sermon.
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Old 07-14-2012   #8
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The buckets on the flat water is brilliant.

In the situation the drift sock idea could be effective. I pondered this after inadvertently spending a bit of time in ledge hole in Ladle. It was actually quite calm when I wasn't trying to get out and not very large hole but I hit it just right/wrong and there I was. too far for a bag. We didn't have the line retriever which would have been awesome to get the reach or connection we needed.


As it was I used a 10 foot Carlisle to high brace out of it by working one end of the hole getting the boat bobbing back and forth just like you would a kayak. I wished there would have been video. It was pretty funny really and I was laughing at the time and slightly embarrassed.

I also think of the situation on the Murtaugh a few years ago when an oar boat was getting worked in a ledge hole and ultimately ended in a fatality.
Ushaped ledge hole with fairly calm water below and low chance of rope entanglement.
Obviously it's not good to leave rope in the water, but to have a low weight, low cost, low risk ( use a farily large floating line) drift sock could save lives.

Low head dams are another type of place that could see benefit of this type of tool.

Ropes can dangerous. So can guns. Don't try taking my guns and I promise to use ropes safely.
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Old 07-14-2012   #9
 
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Way to think aoutside the box

Quote:
Originally Posted by caspermike View Post
Or avoid and know how to deal, never heard of such a thing if they don't teach it in swift water rescue I wouldn't use it ropes are dangerous hopefully you got that out of the class. Less ropes the better. What if you get snagged on drift sock and your boat stays in hydraulic, hope you have a knife. Fighting wind is one thing empty some air out of your tubes. But drift socks seem like a horrible idea in whitewater regardless of where you are, current goes faster than boat so if you get tangled that's a bitch..
Correct lines go along way and when they fail that's whitewater that's why there's class IV and v cause consequences can be a bitch. You don't see people do it cause it's not smart

Caspermike,
Just because it is not taught in SWR classes doesnt mean it's not a good idea. And if we all "avoided and know how to deal" we wouldn't need swiftwater rescue classes would we?

I think it is a valid idea to try when you just need a little downstream force applied to your boat.

Ropes in the water are a hazard, but they are not the devil. Use it if it makes sense, and then remove your ropes.
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Old 07-14-2012   #10
 
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Drop into the cage of your cat and you'll usually get sucked right out. Hold on! I agree with the no-go for self deploying a drift sock. Too much hazard to throw a rope out when you aren't in control of the situation.
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