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#213878 - 12/29/10 10:32 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: Teslinhiker]
bsmith Offline
day hiker
Addict

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 589
Loc: ventura county, ca
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Originally Posted By: dweste
How about this:
At the waters edge, by lashing, build a semi-rigid "pole" of roughly harvested trees longer than the river is wide. Use as few trees as you can to minimize the number of lashings. "Hinge" the pole solidly at the downstream end with whatever you have or make. Make yourself as buoyant as possible to insulate your core as much as you can. Push off on the upstream end of the pole and the current will rapidly "close the door" by pushing the upstream end of the pole across the river - where you better get off pretty quickly before the river destroys the "door."

What TV show did you get this ill conceived idea from?

it seems the fellows that died in zion were would-be contestants:

Zion National Park (UT)
Two Rafters Drown In Virgin River

On Sunday, April 25th, rangers received a report of an overdue party from a float trip down though the Virgin River Narrows. Investigation revealed that two 23-year-old men from Las Vegas had hiked into the Narrows with the intent of constructing a log raft and floating approximately 50 miles through the Narrows to Hurricane, Utah. The men were not equipped with wetsuits or PFDs, did not have whitewater rafting experience, and had limited camping experience, little food and no overnight gear. They told their father that they intended to record their entire trip on video camera as an entry into the “Man vs. Wild” competition. The SAR operation concluded on April 26th when both bodies and a small amount of personal gear were recovered from the river.

ps: At the time, the north fork of the Virgin River was running about 250 cubic feet per second with water temperatures of 40 degrees.


Edited by bsmith (12/29/10 10:40 PM)
_________________________
“Everyone should have a horse. It is a great way to store meat without refrigeration. Just don’t ever get on one.”
- ponder's dad

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#213879 - 12/29/10 10:36 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: dougwalkabout]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Quote:
Sorry, this may apply in winter in some places, but in the northern half of North America it's foolhardy at best. Immersion in ice water shuts down the human body with frightening speed.


The Broughty Ferry dook is in the River Tay in Scotland and the video was shot in January this year during a very cold winter spell, the water in the harbour was about 2 degrees Celsius.

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#213880 - 12/29/10 11:00 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: Dagny]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
If you have a Tarp, Basha or heavy duty Poncho to hand then you should be able to construct a coracle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coracle


Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (12/29/10 11:02 PM)

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#213885 - 12/30/10 01:25 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: dweste]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Proof-of-concept test successful today.

A small payload wrapped with, but not sealed inside, a zip-lock bag was tied to the upstream end of two 10 foot long branched. The branches were overlapped 3 feet and lashed in three places along the overlap.

The downstream end of the lashed branches was tethered to a small bush. When the upstream end and payload were pushed into the current of a 12 foot ditch filled with fast flowing water, the current relatively rapidly swung the floating "pole" across to the other side, as the downstream end stayed in place and "hinged" on its tether to allow the door-closing effect.

It appears to me this is a relatively low energy, low risk strategy compared to swimming or rafting.

The lashing was probably disproportionately heavy compared to paracord and small trees. If I can find the right place to try this full-size in warm water I expect the strength of paracord lashings to become a problem.

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#213900 - 12/30/10 03:31 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: dweste]
EMPnotImplyNuclear Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 354
Originally Posted By: dweste
It appears to me this is a relatively low energy, low risk strategy compared to swimming or rafting.

you don't even need rope, all you need is to float downstream and stretch out an arm towards the bank you wish to reach

this of course need a suitable length of river, no twists/turns, and of course you want the banks to be low and not undercut, so you can stand up and get out easy

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#213906 - 12/30/10 04:05 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: EMPnotImplyNuclear]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Originally Posted By: EMPnotImplyNuclear
you don't even need rope, all you need is to float downstream and stretch out an arm towards the bank you wish to reach


If I understand you correctly, this would expose you to river water for a much longer time - an outcome not desireable in a winter scenario.

By tethering the downstream end of the pole / door in the right place, hopefully you ride the "closing door" pole to the place of your choice on the other side of the river - near your vehicle in my scenario - relatively quickly. And if you successfully rig a small float/ raft to ride across you may not expose your core to the water much if at all. Then into your waiting vehicle with its winter kit of change of clothes, food, heater, etcetera.

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#213912 - 12/30/10 05:56 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: dweste]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
'When the upstream end and payload were pushed into the current of a 12 foot ditch filled with fast flowing water, the current relatively rapidly swung the floating "pole" across to the other side, as the downstream end stayed in place and "hinged" on its tether to allow the door-closing effect.'

So how did you cut a 50' tree down with the contents of your PSK???

I did something like that when I was about 12, but I was the payload and I didn't use a tree. I tied a clothesline rope to some roots that were on the edge of river, the other end around my waist, and tried to get across the San Gabriel River (CA) in the water like Tarzan would swing from a tree. The riverbed was maybe about 5-6' deep in the center.

The force of the water swung me to the center of the river just fine, but there I stayed. It felt like the water coming down the river along the opposite side was trying to force me back to the original side, both sides pushing against each other, holding me in the middle -- I wasn't going anywhere but I remember the rope getting tighter. I called to my sister to pull the rope. I MEANT her to pull on it while it was still tied. No, she untied it and it was pulled out of her hands. So I went with the current down the river. The water was faster in the middle than it had looked from shore. Too fast to stand up or anything like it. I tried to float, but one foot got hooked on a branch or something and I spun around so I was going down headfirst instead of feet first. Then I slammed into a boulder and some big branches and came as close to being knocked out as ever in my life. Then a man grabbed my arm and dragged me up on the rock, gasping, choking, crying and trying to vomit. The nice Mexican man just patted my shoulder and said something in Spanish. He said it kindly, but he could have been saying I was an incredible idiot and he hoped his kids would never be that stupid.

Anyway, there is a difference between floating and being the anchor...

But I must say that you kept me entertained for almost four boring hours on I-5 last night! Thanks!

I thought of every survival scenario that could be on my side of your river, and compared each one to the dangers of crossing the river.

1. Avalanche. Die under the debris, or drown in the river under the debris? A: Try to get downhill ASAP and wait for the debris flow to settle. Maybe there was enough debris to fill the river and plug it, and I could walk across.

2. Blizzard. If I’m dry, it would seem that that would be an advantage over getting wet in a blizzard. A: Break off as many conifer branches as a I could and pile them over me.

3. Earthquake. There might be trees and moving debris coming down the river. Getting in the river could be like a really bad game of pinball. A: Wait and see if anything happens that could improve the situation.

4. Fire. Here, the river might be my friend. A: Sit/lie in the shallow edge of the river, away from the trees and hope the fire burns out/dies out really soon. If it jumps the river and sets my vehicle on fire with all my gear in it, I’m probably screwed anyway.

5. Thunder/lightning Storm. Visualizing being struck by lightning in the river doesn’t sound good. A: See #2 above, try to insulate against a lightning strike, too.

6. Flash flood. The water is getting higher, faster, and has more chunks of debris in it. A: WHAT options?

7. Hail. Getting brained in a torrent seems stupid. A: See #2 again, pile them up at the base of the biggest oak tree.

8. Heat wave. Over exerting is just begging for trouble. A: I’ve got shade and water, what more do I need? The other side is just as hot!

9. High winds. With my luck, I'd be blown downstream into those willow 'strainers' that catch and drown bodies. A: Look around for some large rocks or a soil mound and lie on the leeward side.

10. Freezing temps/ Ice Storm. Dying of hypothermia sounds bad. A: See #2 again, wait for the river to freeze, then walk across.

11. Volcano eruption. Lahars and lava roll down the rivers… and I want to be in the path of a 15-ft high mass of boiling mud, trees, boulders, vehicles and dead cows? A: Stay away from the trees. Maybe I should get religion...

12. Wild-animal rampage. A: Hide in the trees and maybe they will all run into the river and drown.

13. One of those really big power line towers falls and the wires are sparking and electrifying the river! A: Hmmm... do I have my cell phone? Can I call the power company and ask them to turn off the juice so I can use the tower as a bridge?

14. Ted Bundy’s psychotic twin brother is coming over the hill with a butcher knife in hand. A: HA! FINALLY! Someone to vent my frustrations on, and it could all be chalked up ‘self defense’! Leave him in the sun after killing him, let him start to ferment, and use him as a flotation device to cross the river!

Dweste, the problem with this scenario is that your river is the worst of the problems!

Sue

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#213914 - 12/30/10 06:16 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: Eric]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
Boy, I guess the residents of ETS aren't in a play-along mood these days!

While I don't have a good answer to the problem, I think this one has the most promise:

Originally Posted By: Eric

-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.


Not that I think felling a tree with fire is a good approach, but it seems possible to find a tree tall enough and close enough to the river to provide a bridge.

Optimally located in a spot where the fallen tree would span, but not be *in* the river, lest the river take the tree while you are crossing.

The trick then becomes falling a 100' tree semi accurately and semi safely with what you have, which still is a fair quandry.

I suppose it would be *possible* with my RSK, but it would probably take a couple of weeks. :-)

-john


Edited by JohnN (12/30/10 06:20 AM)

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#213915 - 12/30/10 07:28 AM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: Susan]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
'When the upstream end and payload were pushed into the current of a 12 foot ditch filled with fast flowing water, the current relatively rapidly swung the floating "pole" across to the other side, as the downstream end stayed in place and "hinged" on its tether to allow the door-closing effect.' [Yes, it did.]

So how did you cut a 50' tree down with the contents of your PSK??? [Perhaps it was not as prominent as intended, but the pole is to be several tree trunks lashed together for length. I EDC in the woods a combo-knife that includes a substantial bi-directional saw blade. My PSK does include a small wire saw that might help things along also. It is more than sufficient to cut down and trim small diameter, but tall trees, plus the scenario mentioned riverside debris that might include suitable pole material. The scenario said you had 50 feet of paracord plus the skill to make cordage, which would permit lashings.]

I did something like that when I was about 12, but I was the payload and I didn't use a tree. ... Anyway, there is a difference between floating and being the anchor... [Your adventure is significantly different than the solution suggested. The current leverages the pole against the pivot so current pushed it goes all the way across. You want to stay on the upstream side of the pole, I think.]

But I must say that you kept me entertained for almost four boring hours on I-5 last night! Thanks! [Welcome!]

I thought of every survival scenario that could be on my side of your river, and compared each one to the dangers of crossing the river.

.. Dweste, the problem with this scenario is that your river is the worst of the problems!

[What kind of wimpy scenario would it be if there was a clear, easy solution? And yes, the scenario solution must significantly reduce the threats of the river, even turn the river to your advantage. As much as possible tilt the odds in your favor of getting across relatively quickly to reduce exposure to river risks. I just made crossing the river a condition of the scenario because that is what I was interested in.]

[I appreciate your post as always, Sue. Maybe this one will spark another?]

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#213922 - 12/30/10 01:52 PM Re: Crossing a small flooded river in winter [Re: Susan]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: Susan
I called to my sister to pull the rope. I MEANT her to pull on it while it was still tied. No, she untied it and it was pulled out of her hands. So I went with the current down the river.

Sue



Sounds like something my little sister would have done, thereby inheriting my Barbie collection.





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