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Discussion Starter #1
What are some of the safest IV-V-V+ Rivers and creeks that you all know of? The Tallulah is the first thing that comes to my mind
 

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Relatively speaking; (threads like this are certainly one way to spark up a hot debate), here's my list / suggestions:

1st gorge Lime, at medium / low flows. The 'big' drops have recovery pools and there aren't keeper holes.

OBJ isn't too hard or dangerous if you walk the 20 footer. That thing has damaged quite a few backs. Otherwise it's fast slides and manageable drops.

Upper East is quite easy. Good "1st creek" for newbies.

And anything roadside gives you an added level of safety, purely on access to emergency equipment.
 

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Come on guys, get with it.

"The safest, steep river in the country", Brush Creek in CA, just claimed a life last month.

Gore is far from "safe"

Your entire post is an oxymoron. Not even lakes are "safe". Life is not safe, we are constantly dodging things trying to kill us like: cars, AIDS, ex girlfriends, avalanches, lightning, rattle snakes and rivers.


"Your a moving target boy, so don't slow down." ..Craporadon - 7/22/10
 

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Seems to me that rivers and rapids are considered "hard" because of the dangers of a bad line. If a swim or bad line doesn't have the potential to result in injury or death, it's probably class III.
 

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Are you wanting "safe" or a list of runs that would be a progression into the higher classes? Craporadon partially right though I'm wagering, based on his tone, that he's more hinting at decision making as being directly related to safety (in particular, his decision in girlfriends it seems). Safe is too simple, too monolithic to be used to describe what you're looking for. So what are you actually trying to find? If it's a progression, read up on the rapids, go look at them, and see for yourself. I'll boat certain listed IVs and Vs and I won't touch (not yet anyway) others.
 

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"The safest, steep river in the country", Brush Creek in CA, just claimed a life last month.

WTF? Safe? I was going to call you an idiot, but I am refraining.
 

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rippnshier- you just missed the point entirely. Brush Creek was for a long time considered extremely safe because it has clean drops. But someone recently died there, illustrating the fact that even runs that are often thought of as "easy" are still dangerous. Get it now?

Original poster- you need to ask a more focussed question like "what rivers have big clean drops?" You would get alot of good answers to that question. But when you ask about safe hard rivers, you get just going to get alot of people telling you that you don't know what you are talking about.
 

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People have broken their ankles and legs on Tallulah. Personally, I get really nervous at the top of Oceana.

I understand what your talking about...like running the 20 footer on S Mineral creek. Sure its rated Class V, but come on, you could run this on a tube.

I always think of Gore, OBJ, and Bailey as "tourist" class V...class V that has been run so much that the lines are well known and are not too tough.

What about Escalante, it you take out above the Falls? Or the Big South if you portage the big 3...there are usually pools at the base of the drops.

I think if you are a good boater, any Class V creek that lacks any large holes is pretty safe. The holes are what gets ya.

Paddlers skilled at the art of portaging can turn any class V run into a "safe" trip.

1st gorge lime, huh. I have only run the 3rd gorge but would love to run the 1st...gives me a little hope. I thought there was a hole at the entrance to adrenaline.
 

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What about Escalante, it you take out above the Falls? Or the Big South if you portage the big 3...there are usually pools at the base of the drops.

I think if you are a good boater, any Class V creek that lacks any large holes is pretty safe. The holes are what gets ya.
This is a joke right? "Any class V that lacks any large holes is pretty safe." Tell me you're joking so I don't have to waste my breath. Big South? Perhaps you didn't hear about the death last year in Bouncing Betty on the Big South. Perhaps you've never seen anybody swim the entirety of Slideways. Even if you're joking around, this kind of attitude is dangerous to other people who read this and believe it.
 

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I think Bailey is relatively safe. I'd disagree about the first gorge of lime; too gorges with not enough exit options if things go bad. Escalante without the inner makes my list.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the input everyone! I don't mean to strike up arguments, just curious. What I mean is: What IV-V-VI rivers/creeks come to mind that would not be life-threatening or overly dangerous to not get your line or swim on?
 

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The safest hard river is the class III run that you mix up with a bunch of hard ferries and eddy turns. Slalom boating is hard and safe.

One of the messed up things about the sport of kayaking is that as you get better the whitewater gets more dangerous. By definition class V is more dangerous than class IV. If you're a sport climber you can climb harder stuff but the bolts don't get farther away. If anything, as you progress as a sport climber it gets safer.

Generally I prefer to push myself on clean, bedrock runs vs. steep mank but I've seen enough cave/cauldron/square-hole beatdowns that I'm not sure that cleaner=safer.

IMO the best way to make hard boating safer is the ability to look at a drop and evaluate whether or not you can run it. I frequently walk stuff that everyone else runs cleanly because I know what my weaknesses are as a paddler. There have even been a few (very few) occasions that I'll run a drop that others portage because it fits my style and I'm confident about the line.

Also, re: class V without large holes...I'm way more scared of caves/sieves/wood/pins/flush-drowning than big holes.
 

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What I mean is: What IV-V-VI rivers/creeks come to mind that would not be life-threatening or overly dangerous to not get your line or swim on?
Each river has it's own special hazards. The discussion of Frog Rock on the Ark is a good example: Class III, but a badly blown line puts you in a deadly sieve.

A blown line in IV and higher is serious business. Think about Pyrite on Gore: IV+ move at 1100, but if you were to pencil straight in, there's very serious piton and pin potential (look at it at low water). Even if you walked the big 3, a flip in the Bailey steeps could easily result in a concussion due to the fast shallow nature of the run.

The safest IV and higher boating is: A good crew that you know, running a river that they know, with everyone boating around their comfort zone, and everyone making well-thought decisions about what to run and what to walk. It's about the people more than the run.
 

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The safest IV and higher boating is: A good crew that you know, running a river that they know, with everyone boating around their comfort zone, and everyone making well-thought decisions about what to run and what to walk. It's about the people more than the run.
Word.
 

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1st gorge lime, huh. I have only run the 3rd gorge but would love to run the 1st...gives me a little hope. I thought there was a hole at the entrance to adrenaline.
Yeah, the alternate name isn't "50/50 falls" for nothing. You definitely have a good chance of swimming there. I've run it backwards, upside down, and corkscrewing down the flume. But it's an inescapable pool at the bottom, and with safety at the top (to guard against pinning in the right side) and a rope at the bottom, it's relatively safe for as big a drop as it is. From a swimmer's perspective, it's a whole lot safer than, say, the Upper Taos Box.

As for escapability - there are a ton of ways to get in/out of Lime. If you've hiked around there, you'd know you can get to river level at almost any rapid of significance (above or below) without anything more than a 50' throw rope.
 

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Because of their pool/drop nature, I think there are many creeks in the SE that would fall into this category. Wilson's Creek and the Watauga are two that come to mind. I don't think there is a better beginner creek anywhere in the country than Wilson's. Plus the water isn't that cold in the non-winter months so swims are much more forgiving.
 

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Class VI

Thanks for the input everyone! I don't mean to strike up arguments, just curious. What I mean is: What IV-V-VI rivers/creeks come to mind that would not be life-threatening or overly dangerous to not get your line or swim on?
I would like to know which class VI runs are safe? Was thinking about stepping it up.
 
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