Jock Whitworth, superintendent of Zion, temporarily closed the Narrows to boating while the cause of the mishaps is evaluated to determine "why so many boaters underestimated the difficulty of the route," said a news release from the national park.
Mike, I agree, it sucks that they shut it down. From the headline it sounds like the narrows might be shut down for good due to this; I just wanted to make sure that those who didn't read the article weren't getting the wrong impression.
Hopefully, the report that comes back will determine that these people got into trouble because they were stupid and didn't know how to predict a quick rise in the water level.
hopefully they realize it was possible boater error rather than to high flow because that could be cause for future closers due to saftey(as the present temporary closer is). that would royally suck sense i have yet to paddle it.
I'm with caspermike, That really sucks!!! I've never been there either, and wanted to make it out there next season since I already had too much planned for this season!!! Such a beatiuful place, and a shame to possibly lose it!! Hopefully they just find the boaters at fault and fine the hell out of them and open it back up!!! Wow!! A helicopter rescue!!! At least there weren't any casualties!! What a drag!! Let's hope for the best!!
What are the facts? Did an underpreparred group get on the water late and not make it through? Did an inexperienced group have a green boater in there? was there a significant strainer that brought down mulitple groups?
Once we know the facts we can respond. Certainly this is a case where the actions of a few are effecting everyone of us.
Can somone who was in their tell us what the heck was going down?
well 4 out of 5 groups, had problems. doesn't sound like it was the run rather than the a couple boaters of the 4 of 5 groups. if there was a problem with the run group 5 would be unsuccessful as well.
sounded like one person had antifun with a strainer not multiple.
I'm not talking smack to anyone but I think the book sandbagged the run a little bit. Not necessarily the whitewater ( the Temple section down is more difficult ) but the "dragging along your non- boater buddy in a duckie comment " makes it sound super easy. People have to understand this run has many intangibles you have to be prepared for such as
rising / dropping flows, injuries, unexpected overnighters, remoteness, difficulty in getting rescued, wood, etc... I've tried to make these points in a couple posts. This is a bummer. Hopefully the NPS will open it back up and folks will be a little better prepared. There are plenty of adventures out there in difficult terrain, harder whitewater, but logistically the Narrows are difficult for a number of reasons and boaters need to keep this in mind.
seeing how the authors of the NEW TESTIMENT have run sooooo much gnar is it possible they, without intent have down graded their experience on that section?....i know they are very smart folks(not too good with numbers and spellin") but they are smart folks that have a good idea of classifications...so what gives?....a little bit of water tends to go along ways when confined...was that the case?.....please do tell.... you folks that epic'd what was up?....
Here is what I sent zion...we simply cannot afford to loose this gem so I would recommend you write as well, espcially if you have experience in the narrows.
"I have boated the narrows several times and wish to provide some feedback for the recent debaucheries. I can safely say that the whitewater is only class 3 but the canyon is a class 5 commitment. There are many guide books that also reference a mere class 3 skill level "Whitewater of the Southern Rockies" is one I gave you a copy of last year. As far as the 80% failure rate of the 5 crews I simply must tell you that this is a certain anomaly. I hope your interviews with the inept "boaters" leaves you with a strong sense of how out of the norm and unaccording to the rest of the boating community these events really are. If you feel you simply must choose between imposing regulation or not have boating I will be happy to chime in with suggestions on how to regulate and qualify boaters before risking not being able to boat such a grand place."
I live here. This is one on the list that had we not had a new baby, I would hve been down there. Before I fire off a letter saying why this was an anomoly, I would like to know the facts. can anyone even give a second hand account of what the heck was going down. 4-5 parties in a dessert canyons indicates something weird was going on. Were they all just late on the river, (easily correctable). Was the water just too low? also easily correctable. Were the boaters ill prepaired (Easily correctable) and inexperienced (tougher to address).
someone PM'd me that they are going to give all of us an account of what happened. Before we make the rangers mad by blasting them or the boating community, lets hear the facts so we can address this with a reasoned and uniform approach.
I agree with d.e.'s comments. Although the new testament rates it rather low, it's got some serious commitment with serious consequences. I grew up in the area and knew some crews, very experienced expedition boaters, that went in there and had spikes in levels when they were in there and things turned into a late night epics, and they said they wouldn't quickly go back. Plus, every year there can be new log jams and what nots that pop up. Definitely a place one doesn't want to be with out a solid crew.
I'm very curious as to the story. Please share if you hear more.
My Dad worked pretty tirelessly there in the late 90's to secure boater rights in the Zion Natl. Park when they were redoing their river regulations due to the tubers and originally had banned all watercraft, including kayaking. So, there are some people with relationships with the superintendant that can communicate things . Let's not blast him with all of our thoughts at present.
We'll see what the groups say, but we ran it on Fri. Water level was low at the put in and only has gone down since then. According to the gauges, there have not been any spikes in flow. More than likely they didn't anticipate (or listen to the rangers) that it can realistically take six hours to get to the confluence with Deep Creek. It took us approx. 6.5 hours to get there at the higher level on fri. (we spent about an hour at the falls gettin' some laps there). By the time we were out it was almost a twelve hour day on the river. At the even lower flows i'd imagine that it probably took them even longer. If they didn't put in first thing in the morning then they easily wouldn't have made it to the confluence before dark (especially in a tall narrow canyon).
As for the log jams- all were very visible for a distance upstream when we ran it. It's possible that more showed up at lower flows but but not very likely. Only one strainer showed up mildly quickly once we were in the flow and even that one gave you about 200' as you came around the corner to eddy out.
Previous posters were right about class. I'd say everything there is III+ or at the most IV- (not really). It is a class V commitment because of the challenge of rescue and the possibility of flash floods.
I'm not sure why the park would be confused as to why there were more requests for permits right now. This is when it runs.
I really hope that the park does not make a poor decision based on other people's poor decisions and ruin it for all other boaters. If that does unfortunately happen I'm glad we got in there. It is amazing. Just hope it will be runnable again.
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