Sketchy Business: Upper C July 24 - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-31-2015   #1
 
lodore's Avatar
 
Denver, Colorado
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Sketchy Business: Upper C July 24

We were on the Upper C last weekend when we came across a commercial trip in some trouble at Eye of the Needle. One of the passengers had somehow come out of the boat and was perched on the rock in the middle of the river. The guide gave us the "all okay" head pat but we pulled over just below to be safe. He was by himself with no less than 10! children and 3 adults in his raft with three duckies far downstream. One of the duckies had only one person, sans paddle, who was clinging to the canyon wall to keep from being washed downstream. With the help of our kayaker, the guide was able to get the woman off the rock and back to shore, thankfully. I have no idea what happened to the paddler.

This was by far the sketchiest thing, especially for commercial, that I have ever seen on the river. One guide, one raft, with way too many people, and three duckies full of people with no experience. On top of which, none of the clients spoke any English. (how'd that safety talk go?) It's not even really the fault of the guide if that's the sort of nonsense the company is into.

Be aware that although commercial folks usually have their shit together, some are crazy dangerous, fly by night, BS operations that should not be allowed to have a license ANYWHERE. If ever you know of someone getting on somebody else's boat, make sure they know who is taking them down the river and what kind of experience that company has.
Did anyone else see this shit show?

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Old 08-01-2015   #2
 
Duluth, Minnesota
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Different part of the country but as a guide I've been in that situation. "Sometimes you've just got to work for your money" was what the owner told me. Wasn't an issue of too much work but not enough safety. Should have quit on the spot. One guide in a kayak with three rafts full of people on a low water trip where he knew damn well that people would end up getting stuck. Of course they did and the trip got split up at one point. Assholes like that should run the trip themselves if they think that's OK.

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Old 08-02-2015   #3
 
seattle, Washington
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Is this a class 2-3 run? The situation you described sounds no where near out of control . The guide would have probally grabbed a duckie and picked up the customer. Nice you helped, but I wouldn't flame a company for something as trivial as this. On the flip side the guide was probably thinking "I wish this annoying kayaker would mind his own business " nothing worse then a routine situation being escalated by a private boater.
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Old 08-02-2015   #4
 
Salida, Colorado
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Not even close to the sketchiest situation I've ever seen.

Once that guide pats his head in response to your question, leave them alone. Waiting downstream and perhaps assisting that part of the group may be appropriate, esp. the IK without a paddle.
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Old 08-02-2015   #5
 
Glen Vegas, Florida
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You want sketchy... Head to the Gauley!
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Old 08-04-2015   #6
 
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Denver, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucketboater View Post
Is this a class 2-3 run? The situation you described sounds no where near out of control . The guide would have probally grabbed a duckie and picked up the customer. Nice you helped, but I wouldn't flame a company for something as trivial as this. On the flip side the guide was probably thinking "I wish this annoying kayaker would mind his own business " nothing worse then a routine situation being escalated by a private boater.
Um, what? Did you read what I wrote? He had a woman who didn't speak English trapped on a rock in the middle of the river. Our kayaker helped to get her the rope and convince her she needed to jump in the water. The man in the duckie was holding on to the canyon wall to keep from being washed downstream since he lost his paddle and no one knew where he was. The guide wasn't getting a duckie, he was on the shore so...
Definitely not his fault that he was saddled with all these people but this was not a safe situation by any stretch. I'm not sure how any of this sounds "under control." Guess you and I won't be boating together anytime soon.
PS. We were all guides on a private.
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Old 08-04-2015   #7
 
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Denver, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucketboater View Post
Is this a class 2-3 run? The situation you described sounds no where near out of control . The guide would have probally grabbed a duckie and picked up the customer. Nice you helped, but I wouldn't flame a company for something as trivial as this. On the flip side the guide was probably thinking "I wish this annoying kayaker would mind his own business " nothing worse then a routine situation being escalated by a private boater.
By the way, if having clients swimming rapids is a "routine situation" you are probably doing something wrong. This is a very straightforward stretch of river, which probably leads to folks being a little lax about safety. Maybe if the company had shelled out for another guide it would not have been a big deal. I hope the guide had more sense than to think that getting help from other boaters would escalate a situation that he did not have control of.

I was a commercial boater in a past life and have worked for a range of companies, so I can empathize with this guy's situation. I don't think I would not be so quick to wave off safety boaters if had a swimmer (that did not speak English) in a rapid and the rest of my trip scattered downstream for a quarter mile or more.
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Old 08-04-2015   #8
Old Guy in a PFD
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Schutzie can relate to this; back in the day there were outfitters who ran a "lean" operation.
I see two issues here; one guide with one boat for 14 passengers, duckies or not, is too few boats and too few guides. Should have been two guides and two boats.
Second issue is the inability to communicate with the group. I mean, how do you say "do not leave the cooler lid open" if they don't understand English? If no one in the group could translate, the guide had the obligation to either cancel the trip (and likely get fired) or find a translator (unlikely on the upper Colorado at launch time).
And yes, I hold the guide responsible as much as the outfitter. The option to call a "no go" is theirs alone, since the safety of the passengers is theirs alone. Kind of like a pilot or captain at sea.

But I am curious how the hell a passenger got stuck on the rock in the middle of needles eye; I mean, you gotta work to hit the damn thing with a boat, much less swimming in a jacket.

Although, Schutzie might have to tell the story of a local newscaster (quite famous in the day) who joined our group with her husband when she was 5 months pregnant. And managed to end up the only person in her boat as it went through the bottom of Yarmony; the rest of the passengers, including her tort lawyer husband, the guide, and 5 other lost souls had to swim for it. Low water too. The guide sucked to put it bluntly.
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Old 08-04-2015   #9
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Tabernash, Colorado
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With 10 children and 3 adults in your raft, it is not very feasible to rescue people from ducky's, even if it's a larger boat, and it being " only the upper colorado". Your stacking bodies in your raft at that point, and then your kind of out of control.
Worse has happend on rivers for sure, but that guide was deffinately over loaded once you added in 3 ducky's.

I don't see how that was a safe or responsible decision by outfitter or guide.
You can't effectively guide ducky's or run safety for them with that load in your raft.
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Old 08-05-2015   #10
 
seattle, Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lodore View Post
Um, what? Did you read what I wrote? He had a woman who didn't speak English trapped on a rock in the middle of the river. Our kayaker helped to get her the rope and convince her she needed to jump in the water. The man in the duckie was holding on to the canyon wall to keep from being washed downstream since he lost his paddle and no one knew where he was. The guide wasn't getting a duckie, he was on the shore so...
Definitely not his fault that he was saddled with all these people but this was not a safe situation by any stretch. I'm not sure how any of this sounds "under control." Guess you and I won't be boating together anytime soon.
PS. We were all guides on a private.
I did read what you wrote. Had you mentioned that you were guides in the op I would of had a different opinion. I watched a recent YouTube video of a girl running that rapid in a blow up turtle and a beer in her hand. I can't imagine that could turn into a shit show but I'll take your word for it.
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