When did you realize your limits? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-27-2015   #1
 
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
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When did you realize your limits?

While I haven't been catarafting very long in the grand scheme of things, I do feel the need to constantly challenge myself. I feel the urge, perhaps it is a natural human instinct, to run the rapids that are in front of me, on the river I am running that day. While a portage of a rapid or hazard is necessary for survival (and I've done several to date due to river wide logs, or other hazards, etc.) in my mind somehow I get this impression of defeat (don't ask me why - it doesn't make sense!). I know what would happen if I hit those river wide logs, plus I am a husband, and father of a 5 year old, so common sense prevails and I portage and I don't dwell on it too much however. I am sure I am not the only person that feels this way - that I am not alone. And it is not something that I came up with on my own but a feeling that pops up in my head when I am using my common sense and portaging or skirting around a hazard. Why is this?

So you come to a difficult rapid beyond your ability or skills. Common sense says portage/avoid or skirt this rapid but there is a part of you that wants to see if you can get through....you can make it... you don't like the idea of not running this section for some reasoN (with the exception of perhaps a big falls or something).

- do you get this feeling? do you see where I am coming from?

- have you ever ran it just to see?

- have you been humbled? did you realize limit?

- did you get your arse handed to you and/or get hurt?

- why do we feel the need to constantly push even though it doesn't make sense? is this a species survival thing or? (even though we don't need to run this rapid to survive - is it hardwired into our genes to want to push the envelope to get somewhere?).

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Old 04-27-2015   #2
 
Meridian, Idaho
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I typically save all major consideration of my skill and ability levels, or lack thereof, for when I am clammoring atop my overturned raft or wondering from the bank if I will ever see it again
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Old 04-27-2015   #3
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West Slope, Colorado
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Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why written by Laurence Gonzales addresses many of your questions from a psych point of view and why human instincts drive us in certain directions to conquer. He does a pretty good job of explaining about those that make these decisions and the consequences of them as well.

I've gotten my ass handed to me just to see if I could do it. Maytagged 3 times wondering if I'd live asking myself "so is this how it ends?" The desire to take a swift water rescue course and knowing my mortality was the result of "just seeing if I could do it". Listen, you get one chance to make a fatal mistake. I'll try not to be so cavalier next time. I've got 2 young ones and a wife I can't leave yet. Spending 4,000 miles on the road each month puts me at a really high risk too. I need to put that into perspective as I'm flirting with other high risk activities like rock and ice climbing. If I can minimize my risks I may be able to skirt disaster where others don't. Do I need to quit these activities? I don't think I do.

Go out and have fun but know what can happen and prepare for the worst. Know your limits is a good way to be conscious about it. Just me opinion FWIW.
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Old 04-27-2015   #4
 
Carbondale, Colorado
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when I first started boating.... I wanted to push everything.... wanted to run as much class 5 as I could... after a few horrendous swims.. and seeing a few body recoveries... I have mellowed tremendously. they say second year boaters are the most dangerous people on the river... something to consider...


I have learned from some old timers... that paddling can be a life long pursuit of happiness... no need to rush. id rather style class 4 than survive class 5. that's just my 2c. im stoked you are stoked on boating! have fun and be safe ! cheers!
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Old 04-27-2015   #5
 
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C. Springs, Colorado
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For me.....age is the limiting factor. The older you get......the more you realize your limits.
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Old 04-27-2015   #6
 
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Longmont, Colorado
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Quote:
they say second year boaters are the most dangerous people on the river
I resembled that remark as a 2nd year boater! I then took a SWR coarse...
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Old 04-27-2015   #7
 
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Portland, Oregon
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I had only run 2-3 class II+ rivers before I decided to take a guide school to increase my knowledge. There were MANY eye openers for me in guide school that helped me learn to respect the river.

Swimming my first class III rapid in 43 degree water in April in a 3 mm wetsuit.

Seeing the forces involved in unpinning anything.

Seeing how difficult coordination is on a river when trying to effect a rescue of any kind.

Seeing a 4 foot log recirculating in a class IV rapid for 3 days straight.

With a healthy respect for the river, I learned quickly where my comfort zone was, and I push it only when I feel like it. Otherwise, I walk around. Some of my crew still feel weird about portaging, but I want this feeling to diminish.

For me - the "Can I run this" internal voice is much quieter than the "what are the consequences of swimming this?" voice in almost all situations. This limits what I can, and will run, and I'm just fine with that. I'm a relatively new boater too (4 years or so), so maybe this will subside as experience increases - but the point is that until my skill-set supports the "can I run this" voice with ability, I will always be the "second year boater" that may be creating a situation.
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Old 04-27-2015   #8
 
Meridian, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laterwagged View Post
I had only run 2-3 class II+ rivers before I decided to take a guide school to increase my knowledge. There were MANY eye openers for me in guide school that helped me learn to respect the river.

Swimming my first class III rapid in 43 degree water in April in a 3 mm wetsuit.

Seeing the forces involved in unpinning anything.

Seeing how difficult coordination is on a river when trying to effect a rescue of any kind.

Seeing a 4 foot log recirculating in a class IV rapid for 3 days straight.

With a healthy respect for the river, I learned quickly where my comfort zone was, and I push it only when I feel like it. Otherwise, I walk around. Some of my crew still feel weird about portaging, but I want this feeling to diminish.

For me - the "Can I run this" internal voice is much quieter than the "what are the consequences of swimming this?" voice in almost all situations. This limits what I can, and will run, and I'm just fine with that. I'm a relatively new boater too (4 years or so), so maybe this will subside as experience increases - but the point is that until my skill-set supports the "can I run this" voice with ability, I will always be the "second year boater" that may be creating a situation.
Well stated, I worry more about what happens if I dont make it much more than if I can make it. I also stay off streches with big stuff I know I shouldnt run, I know myself well enough to know that saying I will portage and actually doing it are two different things.
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Old 04-27-2015   #9
 
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Seattle, Washington
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I think one thing that comes with experience is pushing different limits.

You have a lot more limits than just "whats the hardest class run I can survive."

How small a boat can you overnight out of? How many nights can you spend on a day run? Can you do a bike shuttle self contained solo lap, from home to river and back?

As I found my limits in terms of difficult drops, I simply looked in these other directions.

I enjoy working low consequence highly technical lines where I can go all-out, and my only penalty is a blown line or a hit rock.

But I've also never felt like portaging is defeat. I'll portage something I've run just because I want to get set with a camera this particular time.

Not much room for pride on the water... it serves only your ego.
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Old 04-27-2015   #10
 
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Hampden, Massachusetts
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I realize my limits when everything starts to go in slow motion, and time nearly stops..in my head it gets quiet....my senses are heightened..I know and feel everything in my surroundings...those are those "oh sh!t" moments......Grab the perimeter line..she's going over...this is gunna hurt.

I guess I finally realize my limits when I reach them. Limits may be skill, equipment or river/environment conditions. But, once you know your limits, you make better choices next time around. However, I love/hate being paid to push my limits in a commercial raft with paying customers.
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