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Old 08-28-2011, 08:05 PM
 
37 posts, read 37,377 times
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Two things that attract me to whitewater kayaking more than the other activities listed are 1) The closeness in proximity to the water...you're right on top of it, even more so than in a raft, although a one or two person inflatable kayak might be an option for me once I learn more about the advantages of them, and 2) The greater challenge of more actual paddling skill being required on your own, compared to what's required in a group of 5 - 7 people.

Since this seems to have turned from a 'where should I live' thread to a whitewater thread focused on water forces, risk, and not biting off more than one can or wants to chew, I noticed that in those fatally stories, they seem to focus on cfs statistics. Red flags appeared as I read those, and I want to make sure I understand the concept. I'm no physics expert, and all I've found so far from googling was the definition, plus one example given regarding the Mississippi river as follows....

"Imagine a creek in your yard that is one foot wide and one foot deep. You place a string across the creek, drop a cork on the surface at the string, and one second later mark where the cork has reached downstream. Let's say it traveled one foot. During this one second, the amount of water flowing in your creek past the string was one cubic foot (remember, one foot wide, one foot deep, and it traveled one foot distance), so the flow rate is 1 cfs. The Mississippi River is much bigger! Its annual average flow rate during the year varies from a high of over 700,000 cfs to a low of around 200,000 cfs."

I read this and thought, 'but the Mississippi is lazy and doesn't move that fast to support such large numbers, and it certainly isn't whitewater...so what good are such large statistics to the kayaker?'

Then I remembered the concept of MORE water volume being equal to more water pressure, which results in increased force and speed. They're all related, right? i.e you have a large beverage container with a spigot at the bottom. The fuller it is, (volume), the more force above the spigot, and the faster you fill up the glass you're holding under it. That's why I questioned talking about river height instead of river speed, cause it seemed like an indirect, round about way of getting to the point. But if river height means MORE water volume, and therefore more FORCE, then I see the point better now. Cfs must be affected by the sheer physical size (width and depth) of each part of a river at any given point in time, with or without whitewater, and regardless of how 'calm' it appears.

So correct me if I'm wrong, but you could have two rivers, A & B, both traveling the same SPEED if all you did was float a cork on the top of them and time how long it took the cork to travel 100 yds, and they might time out the same, but because river B is 10x as large as river A (i.e. height and depth wise, like the Mississippi vs. a creek), the cfs rate on river B would be much larger, and the force behind the current would be stronger if someone/something gets trapped. Right or wrong?

That point of all this is, I'm wondering if the cfs stats that somebody comes up with for segments of rivers at any given point in time can be used for someone's personal limits? i.e. If most or all reported casualties or neck breakings have been when the cfs rate was advertised as being over X amount, then my odds for safety are greatly improved, and I can still have fun, if I filter out spots by simply not going when the numbers exceed what has historically been too much for other people, in effect, learning from their sacrifice.

Can you give me an example of a 'river guide book' that warns you of all the more hazardous points along the way, and where to buy it? I found some by googling, but I'm not sure that's what you're speaking of, cause I don't know if they're specifically written for paddlers vs. sightseers driving along the banks. Do they have things as detailed as rock diagrams and suggested paths through the better known potentially hazardous segments of each river? When I see that people have gone to the trouble to actually name big rocks, then that wouldn't surprise me. Tourists on the banks don't care about the names of rocks in the middle of the stream.

The aeronautical equivalent (maps) for pilots aren't found just anywhere on amazon. You need to order them from a specialty place, or at a pilot shop at an airport. Are there similar paddling guides with maps and/or rock diagrams for hazardous segments, so specific and detailed, written by paddlers, for paddlers, only to be found in local specialty stores, or is what I find from googling, (the tourism looking 'river guides') all there is?

I'm wondering if kayaking is more of a paddler club, or who-you-know-who-wants-to-go group event that outfitter schools just don't cater to cause they don't know tourist's skill levels and/or willingness to rescue someone. I can't help but believe there are people like me who have watched whitewater videos on youtube, then call up such places saying, "That looks like a blast, take me kayaking" and they want to be placed with a group of people, just like with rafting, with a guide whose going to take care of everything, including rescues. (Assuming they're even thinking about rescues). I'm also wondering if they have anyone manning the phones who actually take the time to explain to people that it's not that simple, and why. So I'm guessing if you do find a 'take me kayaking' company, it's on a river or lake where you'd have to TRY to tip over...otherwise, the outfitter has to get into an interview situation, such as 'what experience and training have you had?' before taking the person anywhere. And hope they're telling you the truth with their answer.

I'm also wondering if there's any market for educational classes before people go out in rafts, even if it's just 30 minutes. i.e They put you in a room and educate you on various aspects of currents and the WHY behind what you're doing, instead of just blindly waiting til the guide says left, right, or straight, without knowing anything about what he's seeing to make his calls. That's definitely something I'd be interested in as a customer if the price is reasonable. (The latter is what happened to me. The extent of our knowledge and skill was to 1) Don't fall out, and 2) when the guide says 'go, go, go, go, go' you paddle like mad to attack a minor drop off before everyone gets wet and thinks they did it right but don't have a clue why they did it.) An outfitter could print up brochures or put such classes on their websites in case there's a group of say, 5 or more who want to do that (instead of just standing around like we did for an hour or more, waiting for the bus to load up and depart). An on-call person could even go around between outfitters as the need arises, taking a cut of the revenues for their trouble. It's a no lose for any outfitters who have even a small extra room, some chairs, and a dry marker board. Just a thought that they've probably already thought of.

Last edited by sax6272; 08-28-2011 at 09:22 PM..

 
Old 08-28-2011, 11:17 PM
 
3,794 posts, read 3,984,910 times
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I leave the cfs discussion to you and others or other resources.


I am not sure how available commercial kayak trips are in Colorado. I would think there are some (including some thru big travel tour companies who offer a variety of trips) and they would ask if you had enough experience for them to take you out on a certain water. You could check here http://www.croa.org/site/explore-col...sas-river.html The commercial kayak business is probably a small fraction of the rafting business. There probably are local expert kayakers who lead some non-training trips to help pay for their habit but you'd have to dig deep on the net to find them... or just ask around at a local store or club.


Most kayaking is private or thru organizations, kayak specific or broader outdoor groups. If you own all the equipment many might not want to pay a guide often, even though sometimes it might be wise on rivers new to you or ypiur group or a step up in difficulty.

Here are some links to Colorado kayak clubs:
http://www.allaboutrivers.com/boater...s-ty3-s15.html
http://peteandedbooks.com/cclubs.htm
http://coloradowhitewater.org/




A lot of local parks & recreation departments and / or the YMCA will have at least beginning white water kayaking opportunities and some stores sponsor training classes to sell equipment and promote responsible river use. Sometimes colleges will too and some allow registrations from the general public (others do not). Check around in your area. Often they start out teaching in local pools then move to the river when students understand the basics.

Here are a few links for classes in Texas:
http://www.kayakonline.com/texas.html
http://www.texasoutside.com/kayaking/index.html

and the general google list
http://www.google.com/search?&hl=en&q=texas%20kayak%20classes


Yes, river guides would have detailed maps and pictures noting obstacles and guidance of what lines are good and bad and where you can put in and get out and where you may or should portage around a extreme section, mileage, typical water conditions by season, etc. I gave you a link to a guide to the Arkansas river but I don't know how good it is. There might be others if you root around. I would think that river would have several and most good kayaking areas are probably covered in some locally written and distributed guide or described on a website.


A few more stray links:
http://www.rmoc.com/inflatable-kayak...p?section_ID=8
http://www.ripboard.com/community/whitewaterpark.shtml

Last edited by NW Crow; 08-28-2011 at 11:59 PM..
 
Old 08-29-2011, 02:39 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,182,783 times
Reputation: 14904
Quote:
Originally Posted by sax6272 View Post
(snip)
2) The greater challenge of more actual paddling skill being required on your own, compared to what's required in a group of 5 - 7 people.

An appropriate kayak for whitewater travel is certainly a unique craft, and has abilities far beyond and quite different from a large commercial raft. It's not unusual for kayakers to accompany rafters on whitewater trips, because the kayakers can depend upon the rafters carrying capacity to bring along the supplies for the trip so the kayakers can focus upon the water passages. I've watched many a kayaker dance all around the rafters throughout a trip, able to paddle back upstream even in whitewater while a raft is able to only traverse that area one way ... downstream. The skill sets are similar, yet different. The kayaker has much more freedom, manueverability, and independence, so they can "read" a water passage and go through, around, and over it more aggressively than a one-shot raft passage. Of course, the solo kayaker is totally dependent upon their craft and paddling skill/endurance ... and not that of a group of people.

Since this seems to have turned from a 'where should I live' thread to a whitewater thread focused on water forces, risk, and not biting off more than one can or wants to chew, I noticed that in those fatally stories, they seem to focus on cfs statistics. Red flags appeared as I read those, and I want to make sure I understand the concept. I'm no physics expert, and all I've found so far from googling was the definition, plus one example given regarding the Mississippi river as follows....

(snip) Cfs must be affected by the sheer physical size (width and depth) of each part of a river at any given point in time, with or without whitewater, and regardless of how 'calm' it appears.

(snip) I'm wondering if the cfs stats that somebody comes up with for segments of rivers at any given point in time can be used for someone's personal limits?

"CFS" is merely the measurement of the volume of water that passes at a given point of a waterway. It is not affected by the "sheer physical size of each part of a river". What concerns a kayaker (or rafter) by the VOLUME measured in CFS is the hydraulics and dynamics of that water flow through the various locations of the stream. Depending upon the river bottom, the rock formations, the shoreline formations (which can vary greatly at the varying river depths as the CFS changes), and drop per foot of the passage area, the surface of the water as well as the underwater flows vary dramatically. Hence the differences that occur in the streams as to the challenges that present as the CFS changes. Sometimes, a particular stretch will be difficult at low CFS flows and become easier at higher water flows ... and sometimes it can go from being difficult to downright terrifying and difficult. It all depends upon many factors ... some of which an experienced river person can predict, some of which is only learned by experience with a given stretch of stream. That's why training as well as a guidebook for a given stream/river is an important part of your trip.

Can you give me an example of a 'river guide book' that warns you of all the more hazardous points along the way, and where to buy it? I found some by googling, but I'm not sure that's what you're speaking of, cause I don't know if they're specifically written for paddlers vs. sightseers driving along the banks.

The "river guide books" are readily available at the shops that sell kayaks and supplies. Even the mass merchandiser big box stores that sell kayaks have the books for the local regions ... everybody from Gander Mountain to Gart's to a host of others and independent kayaker outfitters have these books. No secret or magic to this ... no more difficult than getting books on sailing from shops that sell sailboats and rigging and boat parts.

The aeronautical equivalent (maps) for pilots aren't found just anywhere on amazon. You need to order them from a specialty place, or at a pilot shop at an airport. Are there similar paddling guides with maps and/or rock diagrams for hazardous segments, so specific and detailed, written by paddlers, for paddlers, only to be found in local specialty stores, or is what I find from googling, (the tourism looking 'river guides') all there is?

You kinda' scare me when you keep coming back to analogies for aviation which don't quite make sense. Are you a PP, do you hold any ratings? Because any pilot, even a wannabe, or a student ... knows that pilots use CHARTS, not "maps", and they are readily available from numerous retailers in the aftermarket as well as sold by many FBO's, or from subscription services. You can go on-line and check out everybody from Sporty's to a host of other retailers selling pilot supplies ... all are happy to process your credit card for a sale and you don't have to be a pilot to buy from them. Aviation information is so readily available these days that it's quite a competitive business.

Not only that, but if you are an iPod user, there's free app's for downloading all of the aviation charts these days. I don't have the need or funds these days to go that route, but I'm sure jealous when my friends at fly-ins show off all the aviation software they've got now. Instant charts on demand for all their VFR and IFR flying, approach plates, everything including overlays with the current weather depiction ... as well as optimized flight planning based upon current weather/winds aloft. You don't need to be a pilot to access this information, you simply need to download the apps from the Apple store and viola ... you have the most accurate up to date aeronautical information available in a few touches.

Anyway, the short sweet simple answer is that there are "paddling guides with maps and/or rock diagrams" for the entire water passage, not just the difficult areas. And yes, they are written by experienced rafters/kayakers and sold to anybody who wants this information. Again, readily available at your favorite kayaker's supply store.


So I'm guessing if you do find a 'take me kayaking' company, it's on a river or lake where you'd have to TRY to tip over...otherwise, the outfitter has to get into an interview situation, such as 'what experience and training have you had?' before taking the person anywhere. And hope they're telling you the truth with their answer.

Rafting guiding companies are in the business of guiding folk down the rivers/streams that they are operating on. Many rafting companies will be happy to guide kayakers along with the rafts on a trip. Again, the rafts carry the supplies for the kayakers, freeing up the kayakers for the sole concerns of making the passage. Have no fear, the experienced professional guides can tell in a matter of a minute or two on the water what your skill level is ... this is a case of experience and knowledge comes to the fore, and BS goes swimming. If there's any doubt, a competent guide will ask you to demonstrate your safety skills at the put-in before heading out. Most pro guides will allow you the exposure to all the water that you can handle ... in their opinion ... and require you to tie up your kayak to one of the main rafts in a timely manner and ride through the sections considered beyond your abilities until those are passed. Few people will reject that direction when faced with some portions of a trip with whitewater clearly beyond their skill level; many will recognize that they're fatigued or overwhelmed and request the break from the kayak to rest on the raft, even on more placid sections of a passage. The guides I know will talk with you before you are even on the water and advise you at which points of the passage they will want you to join up with the raft if you aren't up to the passage ahead, or if you need the break and rest to ride out a passage on the raft. A smart kayaker will have a chart reminding them of the decision points along the passage so they can be pro-active about their safety for the trip.

The bottom line is that river safety is a prime concern, and staying with your rafting guide group is a big part of that safety. You, the kayaker, don't want to be left behind because you weren't able to keep up for whatever reason presents. Nor does a rafting guide want the responsibility of your non-cooperation toward that goal. You agree in advance to follow the guide's directions for your safety, in writing. You may not necessarily agree with a guide's decision on the water, but you have obligated yourself to accept and follow their directions. And more than once, I've seen a guide pull over to the side of a passage and order a kayaker who clearly wasn't capable to load up and finish a trip on the raft ... the last time I saw this, the kayaker was told at the first overnight of a multi-day trip that he was finishing the trip on the raft. It wasn't a pretty scene, but that kayaker was clearly incapable of handling his craft in the conditions of the river that week and needed to be transported out ... he'd held up the raft group several times the first day. Most folk are pretty thankful that they've got the option when it really can come down to a matter of personal safety ....



I'm also wondering if there's any market for educational classes before people go out in rafts, even if it's just 30 minutes. i.e They put you in a room and educate you on various aspects of currents and the WHY behind what you're doing, instead of just blindly waiting til the guide says left, right, or straight, without knowing anything about what he's seeing to make his calls. That's definitely something I'd be interested in as a customer if the price is reasonable.
There is such a market, and those classes have long been a staple part of the kayaking industry. Classes are run at many levels, including retailer shops as well as within the industry. Anybody with a serious interest in kayaking can access many of the classes and learn about how to handle their craft as well as "reading" a river passage.

The typical river guide wants you to have a good time for your trip. Knowing how to read and safely transit a river is beyond your needs for that purpose. Paddle at their direction and enjoy the trip ....

From the tone of your postings ... I'd gather that you have not actually set foot in a store that sells kayaks or are a member of any group that does whitewater travels. There's a few disconnects here that maybe I can clarify for you:

1) Many popular streams or rivers for whitewater rafting/kayaking are regulated by permits. You cannot just show up and put in, you must have that permit. Some passages have multi-year waits for a permit to be issued, and you don't know what the conditions of water flow (CFS) or weather will present for your alloted permit; you have to deal with whatever conditions present for your trip time. If the conditions are bad, too bad; you have the obligation and responsibility to make that decision for yourself and not do the trip if you determine it's beyond your skill level. Typically, a regulated river will have a greater number of commercial/professional guide permits allocated, and then a smaller number of private parties permits. A private party will have a limit to the number of people that are permitted to be on the water, which will effectively limit the number of craft for the trip. Typically, a private party will get in touch with their rafting/kayaking buddies and max out their permit allocation for the mutual benefit of all ... next time, when you don't have a permit, maybe your friendly group has one and the space to accomodate you. This is why most people on popular rafting trips are there with professional guided rafting companies ... you don't just decide to do the Green River or a Grand Canyon rafting trip (or many others) and drive on over to the put-in ... you must draw a permit. I know folk who haven't drawn a permit to a river in years, but get on the water because they have a large enough group of friends (club) that they always seem to have another raft trip that they're going on during the season. When you get that opportunity, you go if at all possible because otherwise, you're not going.

I don't own a raft or kayak, but I've got enough friends that do that I've been on just about every stretch of whitewater in the Rocky Mountain region that I care to have been on ... because those friends applied for permits and got a few almost every year. Note: they didn't get permits every year, so some years the people that weren't a high priority ... that's me ... didn't get an opportunity to go whitewater rafting. I've applied for permits for a few years and never got one, but if I had, I'd have had a whole group of people thanking me for the opportunity and bringing all the equipment. Given my physical abilities and advancing old age, I'm perfectly happy to be one of the paddlers under the direction of a friend who is a highly experienced guide. My time in a whitewater kayak has been limited to those few hours when a friend wanted to rest on the raft and allowed me to use their kayak for awhile ... and on a relatively tame stretch of a river. I was pretty happy to return the kayak to the raft after not too long.

The permits are very specific about the time that you can put in and must subsequently be off the water. Experienced rafters/kayakers will know how many miles they can do in a day given the prevailing conditions and will plan in advance for a trip. They know that they must make certain distances each day so as to be at the end of the trip and out of the water at the allocated time, with some flexibility as to where they may camp out each night as they travel if it's a multi-day trip.

2) A kayak is not a kayak is not a whitewater kayak. Just like cars, motorcycles, boats, bicycles, and aircraft ... there are radically different kayaks available for different specific purposes. The typical whitewater kayak is not a touring kayak capable of hauling a lot of supplies or a fishing vessel. It's a much smaller craft, purpose built. Lighter, more maneuverable, with minimal draft. I've paddled baidarkas which were superb ocean bay passage making craft (whale watching), but you wouldn't want one of these on a whitewater passage with a load on it ... it's kinda' like taking an off-road racing jeep to a formula one race, not the right piece of equipment for the job.

Last edited by sunsprit; 08-29-2011 at 03:39 AM..
 
Old 08-29-2011, 06:28 AM
 
1,181 posts, read 2,571,620 times
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Not specific to the Colorado River BUT...
could be good info to know..... The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the couple swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. "I think he thinks you’re drowning," the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. "We’re fine, what is he doing?" she asked, a little annoyed. "We’re fine!" the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. "Move!" he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, "Daddy!" How did this captain know – from fifty feet away – what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten?

Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, "Daddy," she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.

In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this: Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick.

Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs. (Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14)) This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water: Head low in the water, mouth at water level Head tilted back with mouth open Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus Eyes closed Hair over forehead or eyes Not using legs – Vertical Hyperventilating or gasping Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway Trying to roll over on the back Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder. So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, "Are you alright?" If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.
 
Old 08-29-2011, 08:56 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,182,783 times
Reputation: 14904
Great information, skelaki ... points for you ...

all the more significant because here in the Rocky Mountains, the waters run very cold

which adds the concern for hypothermia ...

some waters are cold enough that this can set in within a minute of full exposure in the water.

Given the physical exertion/exhaustion, constantly changing water dynamics, and being tossed about ... folk are yet more susceptible to drowning in the whitewaters. Going overboard from a raft, or out of control in a kayak doesn't give one much time to react/respond and bring someone to safety.

Many folk who are not aware of this combination dress for a day on the water thinking it's all about sun and a beautiful day, and put their PFD on thinking that it will be more than adequate for personal safety and comfort while exerting themselves on the water. Most experienced folk will be wearing at least a shorty wetsuit when they're on the waters here in a craft where they will be exposed to a constant spray of very cold water and the possibility of full immersion on a normal day.
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