Andrew Palmer. a second-year paddler, attempted the "Goldern Gate" run of the South Fork of the American on April 4, 1987. This is a hard class V run, so named because an early guidebook author thought it would be a novel substitute for jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Times have changed, and the river is ften run by experts. Even then, portages may be required.
The first boater over a steep ledge hit bottom and pinned momentarily. He warned the others off, but Mr. Palmer, who his friends described as young and inexperienced, ran anyway. He hit the bottom even harder and pinned solidly, his body completely under water. Rescue attempts were futile.