The Dam Tides - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-26-2010   #1
The Mogur's Avatar
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 493
The Dam Tides

Everyone who floats The Grand Canyon knows about the dam tides. Water levels fluctuate radically with the demand for power from the Glen Canyon Dam. So you tie-up your raft in the normal way, and in the morning, after the water level has dropped, this is what you find.

The same thing happens in Hells Canyon on the Snake River. I awoke one morning on a Snake trip to find one of our rafts perched precariously on top of a boulder, four feet out of the water. Getting a heavily-loaded beached raft back into the water can be a lot of work.

So here's how we avoid the problem.

We call this a bungee anchor. The blue bungee is sold under the name of Anchor Buddy. You can find it at just about any marine supply store. It stretches out to about 35 feet.

Here's Hoss deploying his bungee anchor. He's throwing it as far out from the back of the raft as he can, and he'll leave enough slack in the tie-up line to let the Anchor Buddy pull the raft out away from shore.

The anchor Hoss uses is called a "folding grapnel anchor," and it also came from a marine supply store. It has the advantage of being light weight, and the flukes fold up, so it is compact to store. The disadvantage is that the flukes can snag in the rocks. I had to sacrifice mine when it got snagged so firmly that I couldn't get it loose. Note the brown cord attached to the bottom of the anchor. That will allow Hoss to pull his anchor after it is snagged--something he figured out after I lost mine. The alternative is to use the mushroom anchor like in the third photo. It may be less secure, but it is also less prone to snag.

Here's how it looks after the bungee anchors are deployed. There's enough elasticity in the bungee to let us pull the rafts to shore to load or unload. When finished, the bungee will pull the raft back out into deeper water.

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Old 12-04-2010   #2
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,799
cool idea. we got superhosed at the Ledges camp. Don't know if that would have worked there but at most camps it would.
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Old 12-06-2010   #3
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Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 62

Prior to my first trip back it the spring, a friend of mine who is a GC veteran suggested using a prusik on the bowline.

I used a 10' length of 6mm cord tied in a loop with a double fisherman's knot. I tied the loop to the bowline with a prusik knot, then attached the other end of the loop to my sand stake with a carabiner. With this, the length of the bowline is easily adjustable. Just before turning in for the night, I'd adjust it so the raft was free floating with some room to spare. With flows between 12K-6K, I never had a beached raft in the morning. For piece of mind, I always had the raft tied off to something else or the other rafts, in case the sand stake failed (which it never did).

A photo example of a similar method can be seen on Stupid Guide Tricks (except I liked tying the prusik off to the sand stake so I didn't have to get my feet wet to adjust it).
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