Monday, November 1, 2010

Utah rafting. Leave it to the pros?!?!

So I was with a climbing buddy today that said something that really hit home. He was relating a story about how he had taken his family on a multi-day river trip despite the fact that he's never been rafting before. He was invited by someone with "experience" that would lead the trip. The section, Desolation Canyon, is considered to be easy/moderate so he thought, no problem.

Long story short was this. There were a series of mishaps and miscalculations that ranged from producing minor discomfort to life threatening circumstances. The culmination being a pinned and badly torn raft and having to be assisted by a commercial river company. Specifically by a women that has worked for Red River Adventures for years. At the time, shortly after her trip she related the story complete with details that included the absolute certainty of the trip leader in his abilities despite the fact that they were clearly out of their league.

This friend of mine is an especially gifted rock climber and endurance athlete, someone I consider to be savvy and knowledgeable.

The thing he said was this "rafting is like high altitude climbing though more accessible. You certainly hand someone an ice axe and rope and say have at it. Yeah that was stupid."

I constantly get calls asking about renting equipment and for information about the river sections we run. Some from folks who understand what running desert rivers entails, most from folks who shouldn't be .5 miles from a car in the desert and certainly not 60 miles from any rescue. The rivers of the southwest in summer are some of the most inhospitable, remote places that a person can go. Yet because you can float in on a glorified inner-tube folks thinks it's a walk in the park.

It's not!
Our river guides make it look easy, that's their job and they excel at it. Don't be fooled. These folks are professionals most with years (literally years, 365 day years) of experience.
Tiger woods (pardon the reference) makes hitting a golf ball look easy but none of us think for a second that we can do what he does.

Perhaps we should leave somethings to the pros.