Need opinion on rafting safety with one novice boater and one experienced - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 6
Need opinion on rafting safety with one novice boater and one experienced

So taking a desolation trip in July with two rafts one is experienced the other is novice just wondering your opinions on if the experience boater should go through a rapid first or in the sweep position for safety reasons I would love everyone's opinion on this and if you could explain your reasons the best you can I would appreciate it I've always had at least one experienced rafter in front and then one in the sweep position let me know what you all think thanks

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 43
I would lead with the experienced boater to set the line. Done this numerous times and always eddy out after the drop to assist with any issues. A big part of any successful run is set-up.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
Never enough free time
 
Red Lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 246
I vote for the experienced boat going first and establishing the line, which also allows them to retrieve swimmers or recover unmanned boats.

I just got off Deso on June 8th and we had a fun time in Three Fords. I went first, semi-experienced boater went second, with solid crews following in 3rd and sweep positions.

I opted to split the two big holes at the top and run it down the middle as the push into the wall and the reactionaries in the hero line looked rough.

We were past the holes and I asked my 11 year old son to tell me how "Bob" was looking behind us. He answered, I see his boat but I don't think "Bob(ber)" is in it. I look back over my shoulder and...sure enough.

I start pulling hard for the right bank to grab whatever small eddy I could get, and by the time I get set up "Bobber" is about to float past us. He was exhausted and had to take a break and so was too far out for a good throw. I did get his attention and pointed him to keep swimming hard for the right bank and pulled out to go after him.

In case you haven't run Three Fords before, it is not a pool drop and going out at the top makes for a very long swim.

Meantime, he is looking pretty good and not in any particular distress and my wife tells me to go after his boat, which is right side up. I chase it down and she pirates on to his boat and gets the oars while i start pulling hard for the bank again. "Bobber" drug himself out of the water one eddy up from me and walked down the bank to load up with us.

The moral of this story is that boat 3 and sweep boat saw him go into the hole and get sucked out, but then totally lost sight of him over the horizon line.

We had "Bobber" safe on board and his boat recovered before either of the other two boats even caught up to us. If we had been behind him with no other help, he would have been in for a long wait for anyone to even get eyes on him and his boat would have been far down the river.

The other boats who saw it from the top said he lined up behind me to get past the first hole but then just kind of lily dipped his oars instead of pulling hard like me to get well clear of the second hole. He looked a little tentative on the oars in Joe Hutch earlier and kissed the wall which is why I was worried about leading him into the hero line in the first place.

It doesn't always go down that way, but I'd rather have the experienced boat in front. On another river where someone could get pinned or wrapped on a rock around a blind corner, I might do it differently, but that worked out good for us in big flows on that particular rapid.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 6
Thanks guys for the help. I defiantly had the same idea of the more experienced to go first, for the exact reasons you both stated. but thought it a good idea to ask others opinions in case there was something I was missing or overlooked. so I do appreciate all your inputs. half our group has never been white water rafting and the other half has experience in class 4+ so just trying to figure out the best and safest way to accomplish this trip being TL. So thanks again! Happy and safe floating everyone!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 6
So how were the mosquitoes montanalaz as bad as everyone says?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
Never enough free time
 
Red Lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquadog View Post
So how were the mosquitoes montanalaz as bad as everyone says?
Two years ago they were horrible the week of June 24th, this year they were "almost" non-existant the first week of June.

Even during the buggy trip two years ago, it was still a great trip. They thinned out for the most part below Jack Creek. We camped at opposite stampede the first night and we had the kids hiding under a net all evening while the adults mostly wore headnets and long sleeves/long pants.

Night two was just an application of full strength DEET.

By night 3, we were able to scale back to some non-DEET hippy repellant and then nothing after that.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
 
Arnold, California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquadog View Post
So how were the mosquitoes montanalaz as bad as everyone says?


Non existent yet, but they will be. Just got off before the water is starting to drop. The spawning ground will be huge.
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