Accident Database

Report ID# 1106

  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Near Drowning
  • High Water

Accident Description

A Swim in the Hydraulic at Crack-in-the Rock;Water level 2.1’

I mistakenly ran the right crack straight on instead of right to left to avoid the sticky reversal below. I also failed to boof the drop, so when I went over the ledge I was quickly drawn back into the hole. After side-surfing and trying various escape techniques, I was left with no option but to swim.

I swam for the left corner of the hydraulic, where I was able to get hold of the rock and pull myself out of the water. Until then I could not get a breath of air. I looked downstream to see everyone else just sitting in an eddy watching. One person offered this excuse: “There’s no good place to get out to throw a rope from.” For those unfamiliar with the strength of  this hydraulic at 2.1’, it pulled my paddle back to me when I threw it about fifteen feet downriver!

This was a case in which the people were knowledgeable and properly equipped, but did not recognized the need for assistance nor their ability to give it. As a rule:

1.      Go on the assumption that a swimmer always needs your help. Never assume someone else will provide it.

2.      Rapids aren’t always the same at different levels. Be sure you know what to do.

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