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#213769 - 12/28/10 07:59 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: hikermor]
raptor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/05/08
Posts: 284
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Mcgyver was a TV show, not a training film, right?


"Thinking like McGyver" is just a metaphore. It has nothing to do with the TV show or movies and comparing it to real world situations.

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#213770 - 12/28/10 08:08 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: speedemon]
raptor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/05/08
Posts: 284
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: speedemon
If possible, throw something attached to a rope to the other side and see if you can snag something.

Yeah, that's pretty good idea, at first I thought about that too but eventually rejected the idea. But it could work depending on the terrain and luck.

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#213771 - 12/28/10 08:11 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: dweste]
Eric Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 323
Loc: Iowa
Hmm, having read thru the responses so far I am going with stay put or work my way upstream. Option 2 would be not get into this mess in the first place by being better prepared, including aware of weather and stream conditions.

I really can't imagine a set of circumstances / improbable events that would lead me to such a poor set of available choices.

In the spirit of "playing along" just to keep my McGyver credentials here are some all out acts of desperation that fit this overly contrived scenario. (note - many of these are about a realistic as the TV show was).

-Use my EDC/PSK to start a good fire at the base of several of the nearby large trees, causing them to fall and provide me a handy improv bridge to the other side.

-Similar to above but use fire as a signal. A 50' Pine makes a great signal fire. This might actually also force the issue about crossing the stream in a rapid fashion smile

- Staying in place is not an option but no other time constraint was listed so use my EDC/PSK and provided paracord to start building a pier / bridge to the other side. Drag good sized timber (limbs, trunks etc.) to the water and start pounding some posts in (there should be rocks or bigger chunks of wood around, right?) as far into the water as I can reach while staying dry. . Advance slowly to the other side by constructing a narrow walkway of branches supported by the posts. Might take a while and water will probably drop back down before I finish but at least I'm not just staying put.

Hmm - well I tried but the only reasonable answers seem to be stay put or don't get into this scenario.

- Eric
_________________________
You are never beaten until you admit it. - - General George S. Patton


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#213772 - 12/28/10 08:22 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: speedemon]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Quote:
If possible, throw something attached to a rope to the other side and see if you can snag something. If so, and you hang on to that rope, the current will swing you to the other side rather quickly without you having to do any paddling.


The average rescue throwline is around 7/16ths (11mm) and has a mean breaking strength of approximately 4450 lbs. Having been tethered in swiftwater before, I have my doubts that 550 cord (per scenario) will stand up to the stress.

Pete

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#213778 - 12/28/10 10:02 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: Teslinhiker]
BigToe Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 81
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Many times, the best solution is to not cross the river in the circumstances you envisioned. For anyone who has done river crossings, has the experience and knowledge to seek out alternative locations that are much safer and easier. Case in point with a couple of my photos below which depict a river (in summer) but the same circumstances can apply in winter.


Well put - wasn't this exactly the mistake that Chris McCandless (Into The Wild) made? He could have hiked upstream a short way and found a reasonable crossing, instead he retreated to his bus and his subsequent demise.

Interesting news item and video at http://outside-blog.away.com/blog/2010/08/hiker-dies-trekking-to-into-the-wild-bus.html - this year a tourist to the famous bus drowned at the same spot McCandless tried to cross...

Found a link about the safer crossing: http://www.gradesaver.com/into-the-wild/study-guide/section8/
_________________________
Men have become the tools of their tools.
Henry David Thoreau

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#213780 - 12/28/10 10:26 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: hikermor]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
It is an immutable Law of Nature that streams become smaller as you ascend them (eventually)....


Which is why the scenario rules that option out.

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#213784 - 12/28/10 10:58 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: BigToe]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1379
Originally Posted By: BigToe
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Many times, the best solution is to not cross the river in the circumstances you envisioned. For anyone who has done river crossings, has the experience and knowledge to seek out alternative locations that are much safer and easier. Case in point with a couple of my photos below which depict a river (in summer) but the same circumstances can apply in winter.


Well put - wasn't this exactly the mistake that Chris McCandless (Into The Wild) made? He could have hiked upstream a short way and found a reasonable crossing, instead he retreated to his bus and his subsequent demise.


I recall that from the movie and depending on many variables, sometimes it is better to head upstream or head downstream where the lay of the land may level out and provide a safer location to cross, thusly enhancing your odds of living another day.

For example, in the photos I posted, the river eventually slows, narrows and shallows significantly (knee deep in winter) a few miles downstream on relatively easy hiking terrain at which time, a winter crossing of the river is a very viable option...Albeit there is always still some risk involved.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#213790 - 12/29/10 12:33 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: Teslinhiker]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
[quote=Teslinhiker][... sometimes it is better to head upstream or head downstream where the lay of the land may level out and provide a safer location to cross, thusly enhancing your odds of living another day. [quote=Teslinhiker]

One of the "outs" in the scenario was to only rule out going upstream.

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#213796 - 12/29/10 01:57 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: dweste]
Montanero Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1404
Loc: North Carolina
Unless there is a reason for getting across that is worth your life, find another site or wait.

There are techniques for swimming rapids, but they are for survival situations when you can't avoid going into the water. Basically swim diagonally across the stream with the current. If you are not alone, the 550 cord might help; they can hold it while you swim and pull you back if you don't make it, then you pull them across. Again, in life or death situations.

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#213797 - 12/29/10 01:59 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: paramedicpete]
speedemon Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 98
Originally Posted By: paramedicpete


The average rescue throwline is around 7/16ths (11mm) and has a mean breaking strength of approximately 4450 lbs. Having been tethered in swiftwater before, I have my doubts that 550 cord (per scenario) will stand up to the stress.

Pete

Probably not, but since we're in MacGyver land here its worth a shot (he said something about making your own cordage too). Myself, I usually carry 7/64" amsteel instead of paracord (might not be as convenient as paracord, but its stronger

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