Accident Database

Report ID# 1108

  • Impact/Trauma
  • Physical Trauma
  • Other

Accident Description


On April, 29, 1994, an unnamed kayaker was paddling Smith Creek, a tributary of the Cowlitz in Washington state, by himself. He was scouting a very steep drop about one mile below the put-in when a boulder rolled on top of him, then slid into the river. The rock dug into his thigh, cutting him to the bone and causing ligament damage. He crawled back to his car, then drove to the main road where he flagged a passing motorist for help.

SOURCE: Jed Weingarten

EDITOR’S NOTE: Not all river-related accidents are preventable, and falling rock is especially capricious. This sort of “objective danger” is very much a part of backcountry travel; being alone increases the risk. If this kayaker had been knocked unconscious or pinned by the boulder, he probably would have died.

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