Conwy falls rescue

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Notters
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Conwy falls rescue

Post by Notters »

Ok who's owning up to this one then?

http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2013/1 ... onwy-falls

Having never paddled in Wales, is it an easy eddy to make in reasonable flows as is described in the article?
Good on the MRT being allowed to exercise there skills as opposed to the fire and rescue service taking over.
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by banzer »

Notters wrote: is it an easy eddy to make in reasonable flows as is described in the article?
yup
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Jim
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Jim »

Notters wrote:Having never paddled in Wales, is it an easy eddy to make in reasonable flows as is described in the article?
By all accounts it is easy to make, but not very obvious and once you see the bridge it is too late. Definitely one to scout before paddling, and mark if you aren't sure.

Just thinking, some higher end hand held GPS units have a facility to set a proximity alarm. Mark the takeout when you scout it, set say a 100m proximity alarm and as you approach you will get an audible warning that you are nearly there....

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Notters »

Thought that might be the case,
Jim, they sound awfi fancy and expensive. Would you be able to hear it over the river noise from inside your dry suit or waterproof case tho?
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark R »

...or just don't go around any blind corners without checking.
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Jim
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Jim »

Notters wrote:Thought that might be the case,
Jim, they sound awfi fancy and expensive. Would you be able to hear it over the river noise from inside your dry suit or waterproof case tho?
My dad's was quite loud. After an argument about navigation on a sea kayak trip where he wanted to lead us to Gruinard Island (officially safe but used for biological weapons tests in WWII so best avoided) due to a compass reading error (this was on the beach!) I decided to set a proximity alarm at a km out or something. I forgot all about it but then a couple of days later we passed about a km from the north end and he nearly soiled himself when the alarm went off :-)
Not used proximity on mine, tried the anchor drift alarm on a yacht once but didn't work out how much drift I needed and it went off prematurely so I cancelled it in order to get some sleep!

Mark's plan works too - and if you jump out too early and see another eddy you can always get back in and paddle down to it.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by DaveBland »

Think I read it on here, but glowsticks are great for marking get-outs... they are my new default markers, having taken over from brightly coloured frilly undies - as they work better when the light fades. Nearly as readily available on most paddling trips and fit nicely into boat or BA.
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark Dixon »

Maybe a good time to have a Skull and Crossbones sign by the exit point like the Oetz Weir approach, shouldnt happen then?

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Tea Boy Tom »

Or,as Mark points out, avoid paddling round blind corners...

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by scottdog007 »

Many signs have been put there at one time or another. Wasn't there a big rock painted pink, probably now mildew green. There was a painted post put there a couple of years ago as well.

When I last looked, it looked like someone had reckied it and tied a couple of bin bags to tree branches, good idea.

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kevinf
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by kevinf »

Or,as Mark points out, avoid paddling round blind corners...
Like none of us have ever done that before, or dropped into gorges on rivers we have never boated in distant lands and had to make a desperate ferry or eddy or have had to extract ourselves with some clawing at cliff faces, fancy rope work etc.... I thought that was part of the adventure ;-)

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by evolvedlight »

It almost looks like the (male) rescuer on bottom left is wearing girls kit! How embarrassing for him.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by banzer »

kevinf wrote: Like none of us have ever done that before, or dropped into gorges on rivers we have never boated in distant lands and had to make a desperate ferry or eddy or have had to extract ourselves with some clawing at cliff faces, fancy rope work etc.... I thought that was part of the adventure ;-)
True, and we're not necessarily proud of getting away with such things, however these remote gorges probably weren't (a) marked with bright paint or (b) warned about extensively in guidebooks / internet forums?
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Jim »

Mark Dixon wrote:Maybe a good time to have a Skull and Crossbones sign by the exit point like the Oetz Weir approach, shouldnt happen then?
So where does the nanny state end and paddlers have to start taking responsibility for their own actions?

If you choose a section with a critical takeout above a heinous fall it is your responsibility to make sure you know where to stop and/or temporarily mark your egress. I don't think the national park needs any more idiot signs littering it's beuatiful wild places.....

I was thinking about this earlier.
I once made a serious error of judgement on the Orchy, at the lead in to Eas a Chataidh. The problem was not overshooting the eddy because I didn't know where it was, it was underestimating the very high level such that as I ran the last little wave train to the normal egress eddy I got worked by the hole I hadn't expected to find there and spat out on the wrong side of the river. Unable to paddle into the eddy I made a spur of the moment plan to land on the central rock. From there I didn't much like what I saw. The left was big and intimidating but 99% certain you would flush through fine, trouble is there was no way I could get into the left channel from where I found myself. The right channel was certain death, powerful fall, massive towback. The middle channel (this doesn't even exist at normal levels) was straightforward but I would need to land it well and make a left turn and paddle hard to avoid being drawn into the edge of the towback from the right side.
At no point did it ever cross my mind to do anything other than work out how the hell I was going to get myself off of there, in the end I just had to grow some and run the middle line.
Above the roar of the water I couldn't even convince one of the others to get on below as a tethered rescue boat, Pete sat in his boat ready to seal launch if I came by in pieces but from my angle that looked really unlikely, I would either paddle past him or stay in the hole.....

Just wondering what it takes to actually realize that you can't deal with a situation yourself and need outside assistance? I really never even considered there might be any other way to get off that rock - does that make me stupid?

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by merlinslittlefriend »

I guess it comes down to circumstance. Sometimes it takes more guts to admit that you can't paddle something or need help, than to run a scary line. I dont think I would think of calling for help until I had rulled out other options....But I also wouldn't run Conwy falls blind if I had the option of a rescue.

Every time I see this discussion come up I think... that could have so easily been me!....

About 5 years ago I set off down the conwy with a friend, having put a bike at a higher take out above the two grade 5s. When we came near the take out we saw that my bike was being guarded by a certain local, well known to paddlers in the area. After discussion, and bearing in mind the fact that I had paddled the section before, we decided to paddle on down as I was pretty sure I would recognise the two portages and my friend did not want to be left with the angry local and both boats. About half way to the take out luckily we met a uni group and asked if we could join them. I did not know there was a must make take out and I wouldnt have recognised it if it hadnt been for the group we met. It is definitely not obvious you shouldnt paddle round the corner!

When you paddle a river for the first time with little information you are naturally more cautious. I think in a way the fact that it is such a well known river makes it more likely that people will assume its ok and take a more relaxed attitude. Plus not everyone follows paddling media.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark R »

kevinf wrote:
Or,as Mark points out, avoid paddling round blind corners...
Like none of us have ever done that before, or dropped into gorges on rivers we have never boated in distant lands and had to make a desperate ferry or eddy or have had to extract ourselves with some clawing at cliff faces, fancy rope work etc.... I thought that was part of the adventure ;-)
I know Kevin, I know...we have no reason to be sanctimonious. The memory of being led up out of the Unduavi canyon after dark by a four foot tall Bolivian pensioner is seared on my self-esteem forever.

But if there were any river section at all on the whole planet I might be occasionally inclined to check ahead on, it'd probably be this one on the Conwy. No idea why, just a tingling instinctive feeling that it might be a good idea in this particular case...
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark Dixon »

Mark Dixon wrote:
Maybe a good time to have a Skull and Crossbones sign by the exit point like the Oetz Weir approach, shouldnt happen then?


So where does the nanny state end and paddlers have to start taking responsibility for their own actions?

If you choose a section with a critical takeout above a heinous fall it is your responsibility to make sure you know where to stop and/or temporarily mark your egress. I don't think the national park needs any more idiot signs littering it's beuatiful wild places.....


Not all paddlers have advantage of terrific memories and like myself a little bit slower at working things out, I dont see a problem with a sign if it helps people to paddle a section of river they wouldnt normally paddle in case of missing the getout. Many people do not look at forums or facebook for info.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by DaveBland »

It's a fine line. On one hand, a sign is good if it'll maybe save a life, but on the other, it's kind of fundamental to know where the get out is before you get on.
I really like the aspect of paddling that allows for all decisions and actions to be totally independent.
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Joe L »

A sign would probably be a good idea considering the frequency of rescues there.
However it shouldn't be necessary. Lots of rivers have un-runnable sections or dangerous rapids on and people seem to manage just fine not dropping into them.
If you don't know the river/area you should have a look at the takeout beforehand, its pretty obvious you don't want to go beyond it. There's only 3 actual rapids on that run and there all pretty distinct, so even if your not sure about recognizing the takeout once you have paddled the third drop get ready to stop.
If groups are struggling with figuring that sort of thing out they should be questioning whether or not they should be on a class 4/5 run with difficult portages and probably choose one of the (many) easier and less consequential options in the area.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark Dixon »

Its all very well saying you should check your takeout which is correct, but I'll give you an example, I have paddled the Upper Upper Plym about 4 times, it only runs in spate conditions so is rarely on, I know from the guidebook you need to portage just after you see a fence on RR, everytime I have got the wrong eddy and have to get back into my boat and paddle a bit further, yet my lad has only paddled it twice and his 2nd time hit the correct eddy remembering from his previous run some months before. So my reasoning is should I not paddle the Conway cos my memories not that good? Or if their was a sign it wouldnt matter if my memory was poor?

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark R »

Mark Dixon wrote:So my reasoning is should I not paddle the Conway cos my memories not that good?
Erm...surely that just means you always check when unsure.

Incidentally...I've never portaged on the Upper Upper Plym...not sure where you mean?
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by banzer »

So has anyone taken on the syphon-y rapid under the bridge at higher water than this:
http://www.flowfree.co.uk/wp-content/up ... 010016.jpg

and linked up the last piece in the jigsaw? It's only a couple of pourovers to the Machno confluence, then immediately Conwy Falls and medals? (I'm not volunteering btw...)
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Joe L »

Entirely different style of river. The Conwy is pool drop with 3 rapids where as the Upper upper Plym is fast and continuous.
The takeout is pretty soon after the third rapid. If you are that unsure you could, run that and then eddy out you could either walk from there or eddy hop slowly down.
It is a group responsibility as well though if someone has a poor memory for river features then they probably shouldn't be the one entrusted with remembering/finding the must make eddy.
The problem with a sign is it can be missed, removed, vandalised or overgrown and if people are relying on it that much theres a reasonable chance if it goes missing someone will float past waiting for a sign that is no longer there/visible.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark Dixon »

Just pointing out that a sign should not be totally dismissed. If the sign was vandalised or taken down then you would see that when you checked the getout.

The portage on the UU Plym is about 200 yds above the slot drop Mark, trees in left channel, there is a channel RR but its blind and for 25 yds of river its simply not worth risk.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by DaveBland »

The issue with a sign is that if you are not familiar with where the sign is, you still need to go check it out before getting on so you know where to look to see the sign!
And as Joe says, if it's not there for some reason, it's worse than not having one.
I still advocate tying a pair of your pink frillies to a tree before you get on...
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by morsey »

People have made this mistake on the Conwy, when they have paddled the river before! People have made this mistake on the Conwy, when they have been present at a previous incident on the river! That and many repeated incidents says the take out is non descript, and is easy to mistakenly paddle passed. Nothing short of a sign will stop these events. I'm not really in favour of a sign, but frequency of events at this one point suggest it might be warranted.

I'm with Kevin on this, it's easy to point the finger whilst, conveniently, forgetting our own transgressions.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by TheKrikkitWars »

Joe L wrote:A sign would probably be a good idea considering the frequency of rescues there.
Yes. That.

Arguments about self-sufficiency and group preparedness and so on aside... It's more than beginning to take the piss that more or less annually the paddling community is causing predictable, easily preventable MR Callouts (and in at least one case injuries to an MRT member); It's just not cricket.

In principle, I agree that people should be prepared and aware of what they're getting into; In this specific case however, that apparently is not proving sufficient.
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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by morsey »

Notters wrote:Ok who's owning up to this
Dislike. UKRGB has always allowed people to post or not post about incidents, in their own time and in their own way. That has been one of the most admirable qualities of members of this forum. It shows respect, compassion and understanding and support.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by clarky999 »

Mark Dixon wrote: So my reasoning is should I not paddle the Conway cos my memories not that good? Or if their was a sign it wouldnt matter if my memory was poor?
Memory is a skill like anything else.

If you don't trust your skills enough to avoid/portage/run a dangerous rapid that you know is on the river, then no, perhaps you shouldn't paddle it. Presumably you wouldn't paddle any other river where you don't feel you can safely navigate it, so why this one?

Or just check the eddy and mark it on the day before getting on, or paddle with people who know it, etc.

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Re: Conwy falls rescue

Post by Mark Dixon »

clarky999 wrote:
Mark Dixon wrote: So my reasoning is should I not paddle the Conway cos my memories not that good? Or if their was a sign it wouldnt matter if my memory was poor?
Memory is a skill like anything else.

If you don't trust your skills enough to avoid/portage/run a dangerous rapid that you know is on the river, then no, perhaps you shouldn't paddle it. Presumably you wouldn't paddle any other river where you don't feel you can safely navigate it, so why this one?

Or just check the eddy and mark it on the day before getting on, or paddle with people who know it, etc.
As people have said there is only 3 rapids on there so I would be able to trust my memory on this 1, but I am more trying to point out that a sign is not a bad thing. The news clipping described the paddlers as "experienced" so what went wrong? For me an experienced paddler would have checked the takeout and make sure they had a mark to look out for, yet this happens time and time again with experienced paddlers, so as I said similar to the Oetz Weir what is the problem wih having a sign to remind people if you dont get out you risk death?

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