quote Basspro69: "quote Grandma L: "Bat S**t Crazy, is a term that is fairly new to my vocabulary. I think it applies here!"LOL a very accurate description !"
On my trip this summer we watched one guy paddle his canoe upright around a bay of Disappointment Lake in front of our campsite standing up solo like he was on a paddle board. And of course, no PFD. It was not calm, and in fact, the wind was 5-10 mph. The guy was good, but occasionally he jerked here or there like he almost lost it. Several of my party were tense, and angry, as we were bone tired from a long day of paddling from the interior. A debate ensued as to whether we were morally bound to rescue this guy should he flop. Consensus was of course, we should, but it was not unanimous.
So my point is, for the daredevils of you out there reading this: please consider also the dilemma you put those strangers out there watching you do this, in. Some of us are a little older and less able and it might be a tough and forever haunting choice to try to rescue you while putting our own lives in danger.
Sorry for the cold water on the fun. Don't want to be a killjoy.
The problem I see with the swim deep and pray method is that once you get caught in something like this, is that you don't know which way is up. So you are banking on luck at that point! The son that followed his father through this hydraulic, almost didn't make the "gap", scary as hell to watch this go down! I used to surf and boogie board in the ocean when I lived out west, and I have been held under in waves before, extremely frightening from my point of view.
I only posted this because I wanted people to think twice about doing something so risky when you are so far from help. The problem I see with this kind of "fun" is the "what if" scenario...what if things don't go as planned...I'm sure this kind of thing is a blast under the right circumstances, but to me it seems like these guys were taking a risk they shouldn't have, so many miles from help if something did go terribly wrong. I'm very happy that this foolishness didn't end in someone losing their life...that would have been hard to stomach for my group, let alone the others that were with the risk takers.
in the basswood falls photo you see the hydraulic at the base of the drop as an almost straight line, no opportunities to swim out if things go bad, the hydraulic can hold an object for a long period of time. including bodies. stay away from anything that looks like that. the curtain falls photo shows a hydraulic, but this has strong downstream currents at both ends offering a chance to swim if you get stuck. so not quite as dangerous, however looking at your photo i would agree that this wasn't the best idea, actually a bad idea. if someone was around trained in water rescue and equipped with throwing rope it still looks too risky. when we swam there we started below those rocks.
if you happen to get stuck in a hydraulic (don't) sometimes the only option out is to swim to the bottom of the river, downstream currents may be stronger there, the current may wash you out. in desperate situations sometimes the only way out of these is by taking off your pfd and swimming deep and praying.
i've been stuck in a huge hydraulic in Nunavik on a canoe trip long ago. i had plenty of time to pray. i got lucky and god actually listened to me for once.
And the base of curtain falls is different?
Second photo is the beginning of what these guys went through for "fun"
I have to believe there's a bit of undertow in there...
basswood falls, you don't want to anywhere near the base of these falls, very dangerous conditions.
quote WhiteWolf: "At least they have there PFD's on..... :O)"
In 2002 two people wearing PFD's at Upper Basswood falls were captured by the undertow and drowned. People on site were not able to pull them out even using ropes. Moving water is a powerful force.
Yup I'm not someone who takes risk lightly, especially for thrills. No cliff diving, no swimming in falls, etc.
I recently paddled Blake Point on Isle Royale and that was about all the excitement I care to have for one summer and I was pushed into that decision only because my water taxi didn't show and the thought of missing the ferry to the mainland was unacceptable. Now I understand why it has such a foreboding reputation.
I am reminded of a T-Shirt I seen this past weekend >
"That's a HORRIBLE idea"
from the photo it looks like these two know what they are doing. the guy furthest from shore has caught the current he wants by holding the correct angle to the river. he is positioned with his feet downstream, butt down and positioned to swim between the two obstacles. the other swimmer is using the calmer waters in the eddy to get into the same current. this is really no big deal, i don't understand all the clucking. swimming rapids is super fun (addictive even), and if you are a whitewater canoeist a very important skill as whitewater canoeists swim way more often than they would like to admit.
also, the water was fast enough that they were not able to control themselves going through. They were bobbing up and down like a bobber with a fish on. Kind of a now you see them, now you don't thing. As for feet first , they also seemed to have no control over that either. These guys had a screw loose.
I think I may not have been clear about the location of the people in this photo. This picture was taken from the top of the falls. These nut jobs are right below the main part of the falls, not down by the portage, where the water is still rather swift. The picture just barely cuts out the upper portion of the falls.
Great walleye fishing in the pool below the falls. As one who has taken a swim below the portage in early May 2012, I felt first hand the power of the current far below where these guys are. I keep land kinda close when possible and when I flipped I was pulled far from it. So I can't imagine doing what these guys were doing so far from help. I'm with Grandma L.
Going down rapids in a PFD can be a lot of fun...and safe, too, if you've scouted the rapids and know what's up. I've done it a few times and lived to tell the tale. Usually it's shortish, straightforward drops with plenty of depth and not much in the way of impediments. Big wave trains can be a lot of fun. Good exercise getting to shore and back upstream, too. I'd much, much rather float down a safe little rapids than jump off a cliff. :)
There's a fun one at the north end of Kawnipi where the lake/river takes a turn south down towards Sark/Keefer (in high water, anyways). A few in southern Wabakimi, too. I can't think of any good ones in the BWCA that I've done--or would do.
That's nucking futs! I would never do that at Curtain. Some people are just way to crazy. I've seen the water at Curtain at high levels and low and I wouldn't get in that water in either condition. By the way, nice job getting up there in one day, that's a lot of paddling. I've done it in one day on the way out but only because the weather was turning so we were high tailing it for the EP.
high water below curtain falls, october trip. not for swimming at this level even though it is clear. too much current
Speaking as a certified level 5 ACA swiftwater rescue technician and having never seen curtain falls, only this picture. It looks pretty tame as far as whitewater goes. Feet first, and butt down is the rule, add a helmet, pfd, a bit of scouting, maybe a rope thrower onshore and your good to go.
I saw people doing this below curtain falls during high water in the past. They were wearing "banana suits" I think they called them. An upsidedown pfd on the bottom in addition to the one on the top.
Never tried it, but it was fun to watch them.
i have swam these rapids many times when i was younger. yes, avoid the falls but the river downstream is usually free of souse holes. check them first, always swim with your feet pointed downstream, don't try to stand in fast moving water, and for crying out loud wear a pfd. this is really less dangerous than driving on a freeway full of people texting on their cell phones.
my son about to punch through a small souse hole, not big enough to hold a canoe. i'm on shore with rope and canoe ready.
I have swam in some of the side pools and eddys of Chatterton falls on the south side of the falls out of the main current. It was August and water level was lower. There was some current where we swam but I didn't feel it to be dangerous. Also we rode the rapids coming into Fern Lake (Q) with our life vests on. It was a lot of fun except I bumped my butt on a few rocks.
I haven't seen people do that in the BWCA but I have seen people do that out west on some different rivers. When I was out in Washington state we did some white water rafting and we saw people going through some rapids with just a PFD on. I talked to the rafting guide in our boat and he said its pretty common and that he and the other guides would do it and that it helped them learn the river and that its a lot of fun.
Now the guides were doing it on a river they were familiar with and in an area where help was easily accessible. But its plausible that perhaps these 2 know a little about what they are doing.
quote Grandma L: "Bat S**t Crazy, is a term that is fairly new to my vocabulary. I think it applies here!"
Thanks to Muddy for bringing that term to the top of my vocabulary list as we were chatting one afternoon after the Voyageur Challenge. See what great things those young guys can teach an old lady!
They are either ignorant of the dangers or thrill seekers.
For those who don't know, the base of waterfalls form a plunge pool and can have vicious circulating currents that could easily pull you under the water.
quote BasecampMom: "quote Grandma L: "Bat S**t Crazy, is a term that is fairly new to my vocabulary. I think it applies here!"
Agreed, BSC is the proper diagnosis!
At least they have there PFD's on..... :O)
Darwin would be proud -- this is an example of Natural Selection!
lol. I agree. This is as close as I've gotten deep in the BWCA. Cool water on a hot day. It was fun until I found out about the leeches.
Some people just need to be closer to the grave to feel alive.
kindof like the way Canadian drivers we experienced on the way to Alaska..... those solid yellow lines just present a challenge to some of them.
Okay, so it's not just me!
Yep...Guano Goofy, sez I!!!!
Bat S**t Crazy, is a term that is fairly new to my vocabulary. I think it applies here!
Last Wednesday I made it to curtain falls on a day trip. What a magnificent sight! So, as we were sitting there having lunch, we saw two people below the falls, just above the large hydraulic, beginning to get into the very turbulent water! To our amazement these two people swam out and went through the lower portions of the falls!
This strikes me as insane! As you cannot tell what is in the water, such as large rocks/ trees/ whatever. Am I being overly cautious or were these people off their rocker? I thought I was going to have to use the SOS button on my inreach. Luckily for them, they made it through unharmed...
If you can see the two colored dots in the picture, that is father and son in the very swift water just below the main falls. Is this a common thing? I have never been to curtain falls before so I guess I wouldn't know.