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Kind of a weird story. Two seasoned outdoorsmen dying because their canoe overturned and they had PFDs but weren't wearing them?
 

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The sad irony is I got to Yellowstone on Thursday the 16th from Cody and hiked out to Storm Point on Yellowstone Lake to stretch our legs. It was really windy and I even commented to my kids how I would not want to be out on the water in this. Kim and Mark were due out on the 17th and I had no idea of the tragedy that was was unfolding.

I worked with both men and did maybe 6 trips with Kim in the 90's. To say they were competent in the outdoors and on water is an understatement. The two competing sentiments are if anyone could survive, it would be Kim and that Kim would have never left Mark behind. We are still in stunned disbelief.

The Grand Canyon River Guides featured Kim way back in '94 in the excellent Boatman's Quarterly Review . After he retired from the NPS in '00 we spent another 20 years fighting for the Wilderness and wildlands he loved.

http://www.gcrg.org/bqr/pdfs/8-1.pdf
 

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I was in the channel between Lewis/ Shoshone 17-18 th.Whitecaps on Lewis.Did not make up channel with driftboat.4 canoes were going in the afternoon we left channel Winds were tough to reach launch site. Glad we had some freeboard and a motor.Winds were forecast til Monday.
 

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I've never paddled on the Shoshone but I've skied across it several time on multi-nights from Old Faithful to Flagg. I'd can't imagine not having pfd's on on such a large lake especially if weather was dicey. Very sad. The Crumbo interview in Boatman's quarterly provided by Trevko is very informative and touching considering current circumstances.
 

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Continued sad news. Search scaled back.

Large lakes in small boats can be dangerous even if extremely experienced. I can't get out of my head the question "why did they not have their pfd's on?". I'm sure that question also torments the parks service and family/friends. Thinking about it, pfds weren't required to be worn hence high winds might have immediately blown them beyond reach if they were not secured. Most of us have seen pfd's go air born in a sudden gust.

My best guess having spent some time(in winter) around Shoshone Lake is that they made a south shore camp then took out their emptied canoe to visit Shoshone Geyser basin at the west end of the lake. It is the koolest place on the lake. Attempting to do that means swamping due to a SW prevailing wind will push you the length of the lake. The length of the lake is even huger.

"Shoshone Lake is Yellowstone’s second largest body of water. It has an average year-round temperature of 48 degrees, and the survival time in the water is estimated to be 20 to 30 minutes, according to the park service.

Waves of three to four feet are common on the lake, according to the park’s boating regulations. On most days, winds on Shoshone Lake come from the southwest and cause the eastern shore to be pummeled by waves of two or three feet, making paddling dangerous."


 

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It is a very large lake
Many winters ago, took the Bombadier into the park, skied to Fairy Falls and Shoshone Lake, a beautiful ski destination
Shoshone Geyser erupted magically upon our arrival and in the brilliant winter sunshine, produced a double rainbow
Wishing peace to family and friends of Kim
 
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It is a very large lake
Many winters ago, took the Bombadier into the park, skied to Fairy Falls and Shoshone Lake, a beautiful ski destination
Shoshone Geyser erupted magically upon our arrival and in the brilliant winter sunshine, produced a double rainbow
Wishing peace to family and friends of Kim
It is a beautiful place; and to discuss it now simply acknowledges our mutual love of a potential destination that Kim and his brother had that day.

We skied from Old Faithful always having to break that years first bottomlessly deep trail into the Shoshone Basin with my SO of the time. It was in the early 80's and our camp was on Grants Pass. We baled on going all the way to Flagg that year because it was kinda cold. It was just a couple days after xmas. Overnight it had been 25 below. Previous night at Lone Star Geyser was 34 below. Anyway, anything above zero degrees cold was welcomed, especially trying to eat it. So we put our rock solid jerky, cheese, crackers and cookies in the exhaust of a little fumarole while we explored the basin. Seemed like a great idea. I like ravens but the bastards only left us empty zip locks. Kindly, all four of them. It was a hard day but nothing like being in the waters of Shoshone Lake perhaps like Kim. That night it was a low of 25 above. Maybe the raven gods had pity on us after ravens ate our lunch. I wish the raven gods had been kinder to Kim and his brother.
 

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GeoRon, this is what I would like to read in your posts!

You certainly captured the feeling of satisfaction and peace after experiencing winter days in Yellowstone

Raven is trickster, not to be trusted, but admired
 
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I haven't seen Kim Crumbo for over thirty years, but have good memories of him while working at Grand Canyon in the eighties. I was a seasonal backcountry ranger in 1980 when Kim was a new boatman on the river patrol crew. The first time I ever got in a whitewater raft, Kim was at the oars. He was built like Rambo and could ferry a heavily-loaded 18 footer like a child's toy. I thought I could never be a whitewater boatman if I had to be as strong as him. Since I didn't have huge muscles I had to learn to row with my brain and plan moves way ahead. Kim and several others mentored me and by the time I left the canyon in 1986, I became a river ranger at Cataract. My last year at GC, I was assigned to motor boat patrol in the Lower Gorge. I had a 17 foot Boston Whaler with twin 50hp outboards. On one occasion, I met the river patrol crew at Separation Canyon to tow them out to Pearce Ferry. We camped at Separation overnight and the river dropped a couple of feet, grounding the Whaler. I got up first and tried to push the boat back into the water before anyone else noticed. Not happening. Kim and the other boatmen were laughing. Kim got his back under the bow and broke the suction loose from the wet sand as only he could have done. The whole crew then pushed the boat back in the river. Also in 86, Kim and I were both required by the Park Service to go through the federal law enforcement training course in Georgia. Neither of us were keen on being ranger cops, but had to do it to keep our jobs. Kim was 39 years old at the time and had the highest score by far in the Physical Efficiency Battery of the hundreds of recruits there. One weekend, Kim and I went to visit Okefeenokee Swamp and rented a canoe. We spent hours paddling around surrounded by alligators and incredible birds. Good thing we stayed in that boat. He shared some stories of being a Navy Seal in Vietnam that were really hair-raising. I was in an infantry platoon in Vietnam myself, but his experience was way crazier than mine. Kim only lasted a short time as a commissioned law enforcement ranger and transferred to the Resource Management Division where he excelled. Kim was the guy who talked me into buying a Domar when Mike Walker at OARS was a dealer in Flagstaff. The Park Service used Domars for quite a few years while they were available.

I am incredibly sad at the loss of Kim and his brother Mark. I met Mark a few times and he was also well-respected river ranger at the Canyon. I am sorry I didn't get to know him. We can only surmise the sequence of events on Shoshone Lake. We only expect the novices to make fatal mistakes, but that is not always the case. I have been running my little Mini Max in ice cold whitewater every spring recently. I sometimes wonder if a guy over 70 may not survive a cold swim. I am now more inspired to wear the old dry suit.
 

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Whatever happened to Kim&Mark should be a reality check to all. I never met Mark but Kim checked my trips 3-4 times and we ran into each other in Flag and at Lees another few times. Dislike of the FLETC curriculum/mindset not uncommon in my experience, LE attracts lots of different types and repels a few... often those I appreciate.

Weather events and flash floods seem to be happening more frequently and with more consequences... I'm not familiar with Shoshone Lake but can imagine what happens when big wind and cold water combine. I take speculation about PFD's with a big grain of salt, safety is always paramount and Kim stressed that in every encounter. We likely will never know what transpired here but the fact is two really capable, strong&experienced boaters lost their lives at least in part because of weather... Mountaineers deal with this too often: as boaters we need to pause and pay respects, incorporate the cautions weather imposes, and assess our skills & preparation every time a "situation" occurs.
 
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