Date
Victim
Victim Age
River
Section
Location
Gage
Water Level
Difficulty
Cause
Cause Code(s)
Injury Type(s)
Factors Code(s)
Experienced/Inexperienced
Private/Commercial
Boat Type
Group Info
Other Victim Names
Status

Accident Description


Pine Creek Canyon is a long, violent stretch of continuous Class V whitewater located upstream of The Numbers section of Colorado’s Arkansas River. The water level on June 2, 1996 was a moderate 1340 cfs. On that day two kayakers put in at the Clear Creek access to run the  "Granite" section just upstream. Another party pulled out above Pine Creek to scout; but this pair continued downstream. Both paddlers flipped almost immediately. The victim, Edward Cloose, 25, apparently lost control of his boat in the upper part of the rapid. Then his paddle was torn from his hands above the "terminator" hole. He flipped, ran the hole upside down, bailed out of his boat, and floated helplessly downstream. His partner also flipped and swam. Although he self-rescued quickly could not assist in the rescue. Guides from the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center who were on the river gave chase, but they were washed over a mile getting him to shore. CPR was started, but it was not enough to save his life.

SOURCE: AW President Ric Alesh; CWWA Safety Chair Roger Lynn, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area press release

ANALYSIS:

1. (Alesh) Pine Creek Rapid can be a killer. The water is just screaming through the gorge even when it isn’t “that high.” Swims are long and cold, and self-rescue is very difficult. Maybe we ought to up the rating, especially at high water. I believe that the victim might have hit his head or swallowed water, either of which could have rendered him helpless.

2. ( Lynn ) Although two boat parties are not unusual, this accident should remind us of how dangerous this could be. (Walbridge) Three boats is the minimum suggested by the AW Safety Code, and I like to have 4-5 boats in big water to deal with multiple flips or yard sales.

3. (Alesh) The pair should have scouted Pine Creek rapid before they ran. It might not have made a difference, but it would have provided an additional safety margin.

 

 

Pine Creek Canyon is a long, violent stretch of whitewater located upstream of the Numbers on the Arkansas River in eastern Colorado. The water level on June 2 was a moderate 1340 cfs. AWA Director Ric Alesh and his partner encountered two other kayakers in the "Granite" section above. Alesh and his partner pulled out above Pine Creek to scout; the pair continued downstream. The victim, Edward Cloose, 25, aparently lost control of his boat in the upper part of the rapid and his paddle was torn from his hands above the "terminator" hole. He flipped, ran the hole upside down, bailed out of his boat, and floated helplessly downstream. His partner had also flipped and could not assist . Guides from the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center who were on the river gave chase, but they needed over a mile to get him to shore. Alesh speculated that Cloose might have hit his head or swallowed water, either of which could have rendered him helpless.