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So this article got me thinking:

https://coloradosun.com/2020/01/20/...-66422153&mc_cid=01390387c2&mc_eid=1ff2c27b1a

Especially this:

"Backcountry winter activities are often compared to other risky behaviors, such as flying planes. Bumgarner notes that pilots never leave the ground without completing a list of protocols. He emphasizes the necessity of backcountry protocols and trip planning tools for skiers and snowmobilers that emphasize decision-making — each time they head out into the mountains."

Since I'm always feeling like I forget to tell a newbie something, I'm wondering, does anyone have a pre-launch safety check list. I can put one together but would be interested if anyone has one already.

Thanks
 

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A very good list...I would add as a sub title:

STOP
Stop
Think
Observe
Plan

This is imperative in any situation, land, water, minor or major incident, etc.; it only takes a few moments to process, prevents secondary "victims"
 

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If I'm going with newbies, I e-mail an almost identical list as the one jspoon posted for them to read. Then before launch ask if anyone has any questions about rafting safety. I check the newbies life jacket fit and quickly go over safety list. Unless there are a lot of questions we are on the river in 5 minutes. I usually go with people with 20 years of experience so we skip the safety lecture. If it is warm enough and your in a safe stretch of river it can really help to have anyone who has never swam to give it a try so they don't freak out when they swim accidently.
 

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I REALLY like the idea of emailing newbies, bighorn. It gives them time to read and digest the list instead of trying to absorb it all in the anxiety/anticipation 5 minutes before launch.
 

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Generally speaking my personal belief is that backcountry travel (I'm a snowmobiler) is far more dangerous than whitewater rafting.

(Yes, I'm not boating class 5, yes I know boating can be dangerous. You can typically choose your level on danger in rafting whereas avalanches are unbiased and can happen without warning in typically safe areas)

When snowmobiling we choose not to take more than one inexperienced or new person to our group at a time. We feel that this rule ensures that our decision making processes are not compromised.

That is one of the great advantages of having a TL in rafting. Having a TL backcountry snowmobiling is next to impossible as people are not always following one another or in direct proximity.

Point being is a good TL that is safety conscience can have a direct impact on the safety (or lack there of) of trip participants. That allows the rest of us to relax every now and again!
 

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Generally speaking my personal belief is that backcountry travel (I'm a snowmobiler) is far more dangerous than whitewater rafting.

(Yes, I'm not boating class 5, yes I know boating can be dangerous. You can typically choose your level on danger in rafting whereas avalanches are unbiased and can happen without warning in typically safe areas)
You can't really compare backcountry sledding to whitewater if you're not including Class IV/V! To me, front-country logging road sledding is like Class III, and sledding groomers is like Class II.

There's a difference between the risk of the activity itself and the relative exposure. For some locales, it's the immediate risk...for others, it's an easy locale yet remote from help.

The Lochsa is a classic big water Class IV. It's roadside and not terribly difficult to get off the river if you have a bad day...but you're also 2 hours from the nearest hospital so you need to keep that in mind and not do something stupid with sharp objects or fire in camp!

Or near me the Swan is a nasty creeky IV-V that beats people up and has drowned a few...yet help is only a 5min helicopter ride to the hospital.

In any activity, as the risk goes up, and the distance from help increases, the level of safety and the "expedition mindset" becomes more important to ameliorate both risk and exposure.

When snowmobiling we choose not to take more than one inexperienced or new person to our group at a time. We feel that this rule ensures that our decision making processes are not compromised.

This is a great idea.

In whitewater kayaking you can take closer to 3:1 or 2:1 experienced to newbies.

Point being is a good TL that is safety conscience can have a direct impact on the safety (or lack there of) of trip participants. That allows the rest of us to relax every now and again!
Good to have the "yellow" boater as your TL and not a "red" boater?!
 

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Grew up in the Swann and spent a lot of time in the Bob. Totally agree. Those runs through the valley are underappreciated with some excellent log jam hazards. S

Should clarify my version of snowmobiling is backcountry off trail riding, over 30 degree pitch up to 13k feet. Like chris burandt less the 70 foot cliff jumping and significantly less skill!

I'm just saying I appreciate a good safety conscience TL and it puts me at ease knowing someone takes it seriously. If by yellow and red you are referring to organization and impulsiveness than yes, I like me some yellow TL's!
 

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Grew up in the Swann and spent a lot of time in the Bob. Totally agree. Those runs through the valley are underappreciated with some excellent log jam hazards. S

Should clarify my version of snowmobiling is backcountry off trail riding, over 30 degree pitch up to 13k feet. Like chris burandt less the 70 foot cliff jumping and significantly less skill!

I'm just saying I appreciate a good safety conscience TL and it puts me at ease knowing someone takes it seriously. If by yellow and red you are referring to organization and impulsiveness than yes, I like me some yellow TL's!

Local snow biker Marty Mann is an acquaintance of mine. He broke through a cornice a year ago, fell down 300' of cliffs. He just got released by his surgeons last week. An expedition mentality on the part of his fellow riders kept him alive until a helicopter could rescue him 1.5 hours later.

I'm still OK with some exposure, but taking less and less risk. I must be getting old!


Yellow-red-green-blue

You must have missed this fun thread!
https://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f42/rafting-personality-test-102033.html
 

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It's always advisable to give a safety orientation before launching, whether I do it or someone else does it, if you have kids(teenagers, 10 yr to young adults)
they can do a safety talk also to the other kids and adults. I like to stress that we all keep an eye one another for safety( life jackets, helmets, where is your camera, might want to put more sunscreen on you neck, I have a bottle of JD in my ammo can for later when the adults are asleep, I heard that, etc.)
 

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I heard once that 80% of injuries on river trips happen on shore or in camp. That's something that should be covered. For my trips I also have a rule of no bare feet in camp to minimize stumped toes and cut feet. This is especially important with kids.

The safety talk is a standard part of daily river life and everyone should be fine with it. It's important that the newbies aren't the only ones receiving the talk.

-AH
From the other thread....

Seems like the "no bare feet rule" would be an easy, obvious request but it is not. I've found the push back to be incredible even when deep in the wilderness when medical followup is far away and likely very expensive. Even when directly requested by permit holder or TL the resistance can be mind numbing and persuasion unsuccessful.
 

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Well, may I add, if you don't wear foot protection in the back-country you have shit for brains and you are messing with every other person on the trips good time. Just a thought. May I provoke?
 
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