liveonearth: (moon)
The previous post about big water rowing strategy for small water boaters has been helpful to a lot of non-boatmen tasked with rowing.  Several friends have asked me to write another with more rowing skills to learn and practice.  In truth, it took me decades to get comfortable with the basics, most likely because I rowed only occasionally.  Really having control of my boat angle, and going for the meat got easier, but the finer points were lost on me.  I've ridden with boatmen who row every day for months and years on end, and been amazed at what they can do.  I've never rowed for a living, so I'm an amateur.  Still, I've had some seasons when I rowed enough that light bulbs went off in my head.  Here are a few of the lessons that made a big difference for me.

Lesson 1: Push More (You Don't Have Pull out of Every Corner)
Read more... )
liveonearth: (moon)
This article was originally written for a group of southeastern boaters who planned to row 18 foot rafts laden with 18 days of food/equipment through the Grand Canyon--without rowing experience. All were strong kayakers, canoeists, or paddle raft guides. Rowing is different. A heavy raft in Big Water requires new strategies. So this is my explanation, for that gang, of the nuts and bolts for getting down the Canyon.

Lesson 1: How to Punch Big Waves and Holes
Read more )
liveonearth: (moon)
Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon
by Tom Myers and Michael Ghiglieri

This book logs all the mistakes you can make at the Grand Canyon.  There's an interview with the authors here.  There have been some changes since the first edition.  There are more environmental deaths, climbing deaths down in the canyon, and suicides than when the book was written. There are fewer deaths overall and fewer falls from the top of the canyon. Perhaps the park has improved safety and access to cliff tops to cause this change.

Q: What are common risk factors for death at the Canyon?

A: "Men, we have a problem," Ghiglieri said to an audience at NAU's Cline Library this winter, displaying a graphic with a skull and crossbones.

Being male, and young, is a tremendous risk factor, he and Myers found.

Of 55 who have accidentally fallen from the rim of the canyon, 39 were male. Eight of those guys were hopping from one rock to another or posing for pictures, including a 38-year-old father from Texas pretending to fall to scare his daughter, who then really did fall 400 feet to his death.

So is taking unknown shortcuts, which sometimes lead to cliffs.

Going solo is a risk factor in deaths from falls, climbing (anticipated or unplanned) and hiking.

Arrogance, impatience or ignorance also sometimes play a part.

liveonearth: (moon)

Kayaking on this class V section will be permitted, and the management team there sounds quite reasonable about letting management evolve along with use. The use of this river section can be revoked if there is any paddling on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, where boating is banned.

The run will start at Pothole Dome below Tuolumne Meadows and end at Pate Valley. Exact details about put-in, take-out, portage trails and landing/no-landing zone locations will be determined in the near future in consultation with the boating community, tribal interests and National Park Service resource experts. Boaters making the run will be required to carry their boats 3 miles to the put-in, and carry them 8 miles from the take-out at Pate Valley to the White Wolf trailhead.

Carrying your kayak 11 miles is hard. The info does not indicate that this section of river is a series of long slides over domes of granite. I do not know if anyone has been running it lately, but I do remember that Lars Holbek carried his boat most of the way and didn't want to do it again. I have HIKED down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne on a 3 day backpacking trip, and it was spectacular. A backpack trip might be a good way to scout the whitewater before committing in a boat. Though it is possible that those California boaters think nothing of this stuff. Looks hair to me.

liveonearth: (sexy tits)
I am a river runner. From way back. My father got me started, in canoes first. When I was very small he would put me in the bow of the canoe, tell me to paddle, and surf the canoe in river waves. We used to camp by creeks up on the plateau, and he'd let us take the insulite pads that we slept on and go hiking up the stream to float back down on the thin beige mats. I got my first kayak when I was 11. It was a cut-down Mark 4. I was already too big for it, or at least, it was uncomfortable and I always got fiberglass in my arms and legs when I used it. I only used it a few times, once when I got hypothermic on the Nantahala and had to be plowed to shore by my dad's canoe, and once when I got tangled in vines on the Green and completely panicked. I didn't paddle for several years recovering from these experiences.
ruminations provoked by another woman's story of becoming a guide )
liveonearth: (Default)
It was boring! Boring.
How could it be anything else?
You can't see out from the bottom of a canyon.

--Floyd Dominy 

(Dominy died in 2010 at age 100)
liveonearth: (Default)

She probably had even less fun than the guides who took her down the Colorado on a motor rig.
FYI: "Left Brain" is her husband.
liveonearth: (Default)
Flows and lake levels in the Colorado River drainage have been lower than predicted for years now. Lake Powell has been so low for so long that the river has dug itself a new course. A new rapid has been formed.

The road that used to go to the Pearce Ferry takeout now ends miles from the water. The outfitters are upset because they can't get their boats out of the water at the old takeout (Pearce) and it costs them time/$$ to run the boats the extra river miles to South Cove. So the river outfitters (including the Hualapai tribe) have approached the US Park Service offering private funding to build the road extension--under park auspices. So it will be done. Here's a slide show of the intended road route:
And here's a side show of the new rapid:
liveonearth: (Default)

The latest Sierra Club project to cross my email is a petition to stop anyone from mining the uranium claims that are inside of 5 miles of Grand Canyon. They say it will cause radiation contamination to the river and everyone downstream. They don't mention how polluted the river already is, or the fact that the radioactive materials leak out of the ground with every rainfall. I wonder if there is some new corporate effort to extract the uranium, or if the claims are in private hands. I'm not saying I agree with the Sierra Club--not enough info yet--but here's what they have to say:
more )
liveonearth: (Default)

I learned of his passing from a friend on facebook. He was airlifted out of Grand Canyon last October with acute abdominal pain, and died last Friday night (3/13/09) of pancreatic cancer. Lars was a California boater, a formidable athlete, and a down-to-earth nice guy. Handsome, too. I met him only in passing, but among river runners he is a Legend. He is the only person I know of that has run he Grand Canyon of the Toulumne in Yosemite National Park, and also I believe he paddled the gnarly drops where the Merced River exits Yosemite valley and cascades through a morraine. Lars Holbeck took paddling to a level that few others could imagine, much less accomplish.
more )
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I slept well for the early part of the night, then my mind got stuck thinking about going on a Grand Canyon trip. In my dream I am invited on an 18 day GC adventure by a dear old friend (Renee). I want to go. The hitch is that I have less than one day to get ready. I have lists and I own all the appropriate gear, so it should be no big deal, but for some reason I stress about it. A lot. I pack and repack but I am still not sure I have what I need. I can't find my master list on my computer. I finally go to the library trying to print my list so that I can then check things off. I wake up, feeling stressed about a trip I am not even going on.
my thoughts about why I had this dream, and the GC master list )
liveonearth: (Default)
We had already heard about No Country. Sam walked out in the first 15 minutes. Everyone else who told us about it said it was kind of a bummer, especially the ending. But we decided to check it out anyway because it won so many Oscars.
more )
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Yep. The fastidious longterm Lee's Ferry ranger has tied the knot, with a lawyer that he met through the Steve Savage prosecution. (Savage was running pirate trips using permits issued to dead people. It's not just for voting anymore.) Anyway, Dave Chapman and Camille D Bibles eloped on Monday. CONGRATS to them!
liveonearth: (Default)
has been in the Grand Canyon river outfitting business at PRO. Here's a look at what PRO's customers do with the rental rafts:
liveonearth: (Default)
In case you weren't aware of the severity of the drought that is already happening in the desert southwest, here's a little info (through "Riverwire" on June 6, 2007) about the situation with the lakes in the Lower Colorado River:

Upper Colorado River Basin Hydrology )
liveonearth: (Default)
All five of the river runners busted at Lee's Ferry were charged only with misdemeanors and released, in spite of the Patriot Act and the fact that amounts over an ounce can be a felony charge. The rest of the group is headed up to Lee's Ferry again today, to launch tomorrow. They went through congress to gain an exception to the new GCNP river trip lottery rules.
Read the Riverwire )


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