Experienced trampers swept away in river crossings.

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Experienced trampers swept away in river crossings.

Postby wayno » Sun 18 Feb, 2018 8:39 am

Te Araroa Trail
from a NZers perspective too many foreigners dont practice safe river crossing techniques with mutual support or dont even bother to stay near each other and offer support if needed, they seem happy standing and taking pictures when someoe is struggling...

and the foreigners keep saying it wasnt that dangerous
most NZ trampers have dealt with numerous difficult river crossing and its a fine line between being a safe and unsafe crossing and expereince can make you complacent and blase as you think you can keep ramping up the difficulty of what you can take on if you havent had adverse events.

"Quite a ways from the rapids I found what looked like quieter water, still very swift, but no rocks creating turbulence to get tangled up in, so I started across. The water was silty and I couldn’t see the bottom, but it felt nice on a hot day. But it got deeper and deeper as I progressed and the power of the current against my form grew with every inch of depth. Eventually, within 15 feet or so of my goal, the water rose over my waist and I was leaning so steeply into the current that I couldn’t make the next step. When I tried it, I was swept away."
I’m a good swimmer, or I’d never have attempted the crossing in the first place, and I swam like mad for the shore. My pack was buoyant and I was making good progress, when I noticed my water bottle floating ahead of me. I grabbed for it and then felt my right hand pole strap slip off my hand and the pole was gone. Forget the water bottle! I started flailing about wildly in the water grabbing at anything trying to find that pole, as I can hardly walk without my poles. Hell, I’m a geezer! I felt it bump against my shin and shot my hand down and got it.

At this point it took just a few more strokes to reach shore and I got out looking a bit like the drowned rat I felt. "

then it talks about a lady who was crossing seperately as well and got swept away as well

Analysis from an experienced bushcraft instructor

There was a bridge a few k’s down stream which the blogger knew. "A sign pointed to a bridge some miles downstream. I was way too tired to do that, and although I could see several people on the far bank with all their gear laid out drying in the sun, it looked crossable, so I’d just hunt out a better spot."
There are several psychological factors going on here.
"I’m a good swimmer, or I’d never have attempted the crossing in the first place". Ie it is ok for me (but not others). No matter how good a swimmer the blogger is, it won't help if they get caught in a strainer, recirculation or foot entrapment. If you think you are going to need to swim don’t even try.
Homeitis was at play near the end of the crossing "Eventually, within 15 feet or so of my goal, the water rose over my waist and I was leaning so steeply into the current that I couldn’t make the next step."
I wonder what the blogger has taken from it? Have lessons been learnt or has this validated their belief that they was ok to do it? Next time will they think - this is like the Ahuriri and that worked ok.
Always remember … IF IN DOUBT KEEP OUT."


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