View topic - POLL: What class rapids do you run

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Highest class typically run
1 4%  4%  [ 3 ]
2 30%  30%  [ 20 ]
3 42%  42%  [ 28 ]
4 10%  10%  [ 7 ]
5 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
I have no class 10%  10%  [ 7 ]
Total votes : 67
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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 1:28 pm 
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What's the highest class you'll normally run on a trip? Not including playboating etc. In the wilderness, with rescue not available, what will you run? My skills are lacking and anything more than class II is almost always portaged. I have plenty of other bad habits to kill myself without drowning in a class 3 rapids, how embarassing :wink:

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 2:11 pm 
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Sounds like the best skill (aka smarts) are working fine GWA
we've run 4's....well the map says 4 we say big 3
and I've walked 2 simple because my kid asked to.....
it's tripping, do it your way
oh, one of our tripping boats is a Caption, that kind of changes the perspective :wink:

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 2:45 pm 
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I voted II but now that I think on it some a lot of northern rivers are gradient and require abilty to back ferry and pick a route on the run so I say they are IIIs Add the wildernesss quotient and what do you get III+?
These rivers in some cases just don't have a portage per se and lining through bolders is more dangerous than paddling on some stretches.

Hugh

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 2:59 pm 
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And sometimes you have a really good class III day.

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 3:14 pm 
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I take this whole "class of rapids" stuff with a huge grain of salt. Especially for the purpose of Internet discussion. Especially related to tripping.

Within "class II" or "class III" rapids there is such a huge range of difficulty/risk. And that's not even including other factors like weather, water temp, and trip dynamics.

I especially hate "class II rapids"! Such a major percentage of ww canoe tripping takes place on "class II" rapids, but within that - at the easy end of the spectrum just about anybody in a canoe can get through a class II rapid, but at the difficult end, a long, wet class II can risky for a skilled team.

In fact, the whole poll could likely only include class II and class III (I'd argue that class IV and beyond is almost always playboating, and not something typically run while tripping; and that class I isn't worth a mention as whitewater), and with the majority of people who will respond "class II" there'll be a huge range of skills and experience from total novices to advanced paddlers.

And within different regions and different groups of people the terms tend to be used so differently that it's a relatively useless metric. You pretty much need to have paddled with the person to interpret what's being said. As I said, big grain of salt. River volume and water levels can also complicate things.

I've seen people say they run "class IV" (e.g. over a short-but-dramatic warm drop into a pool), but I wouldn't get in a boat with them for even a moderately complex class II that's cold and continuous!

So, the class of the rapid per se doesn't really determine whether I'd run a rapid: it's rapid-specific, group-specific, and day-specific.

2 cents from cold-water Vancouver, from a guy who hasn't been on an actual wilderness trip in way too long.

PY.

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 4:16 pm 
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I'd agree with most of your points Big P......I'm one to look at each feature and go yes yes, mabe but it's going to take a major but pucker to pull it off..... and go down the obsticles that way.....

BUT.... you need a clasification system in order to decide if a river is something within your groups skills
lenght and class helps.....sure the range in water levels
subjective of course......
it's about achieving the ultimate relax yet alive feeling......
I've done a k of class 3 ..... it requires boat scouting...... good to know beofe you head out
it's a place to start right?
right now I'm at must run class 4 as my cut off.....won't take a river on with it

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 5:46 pm 
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Some good points made so far.

I voted 3, because there haven't been too many three's that I haven't just scouted from boat as the rapid was run.

This subject is so subjective. Too bad we can't pick a river or rapid that everyone can relate to in order to draw comparisons

I've run some rapids that guide books have described as “do not run”, looked back up at the end and thought, "what's the big deal with that one?". On other occasions I've run a class 2/3, looked back up at the end and thought "That was close, I'm never doing that again".

The first time we went down the Moisie, the rapid above the trestle was rated a 3. The second time I had different maps that rated the same rapid a 4. The rapid didn’t change, so I suspect the guy who rated the rapid on the first map had a clean run and called it a 3, the next guy perhaps not so successful and classed it a 4. A class 3 to me might be a class 2 to you or vice versa

I've also run rapids in my solo boats on trips without issue, where I know I would have had to really think about running it if I had been paddling tandem.


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PostPosted: April 30th, 2009, 9:29 pm 
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I selected 3 based on the following.

I'm reading a trip report/guide where I have some confidence the ratings are in the ballpark or were when the writer was present.

I do not know the person who is reporting

I've never been on the river

There are really to many other caveats to really provide a meaningful answer with a single number.

For planning purposes I assume I will be running the 3's (scouting from the boat) and scouting the 4's for sneak routes.

In the real world I've run lots of 4's (and a few 5's) but my line and/or water levels may have reduced it to a class 2.

On the type of rivers I mostly trip on it's often Class 2's that are the most dangerous.

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 7:00 am 
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I'm with the rest. The River Classification System isn't without it's faults, and is subjective, regionally varies, changes with river stage level/discharge. I find that it's not the river rating on the map, or in the guidebook, or even what I judge the river as that determines whether I port. It's a feature in the river, or the boat I'm paddling, how it's outfit, how much gear I have, what the river looks like below the rapid, and many other things that determine whether I port or not.

PK


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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 8:30 am 
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I agree.

Also, a skilled paddler can make a C4 seem no more difficult than a C2. However, a mediocre paddler can also make a C2 seem like it was a C4.

regards
dave

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 10:55 am 
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Ok, let me put it this way: what's most likely to make you port a rapids

1) Inability to scout it because of length, vegetation, etc.
2) Sweepers, rocks, technical moves
3) Volume of the river
4) Wave height
5) Who is traveling with you i.e. kids or inexperienced types
6) Other?

For me it's the volume of the river/wave height. I don't have enough sense not to charge into something blindly as I've proven uncountable times, but big standing waves scare me even if it's a clean run. I don't take kids along, and my normal river partner is more experienced than me.

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 11:54 am 
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GWA wrote:
Ok, let me put it this way: what's most likely to make you port a rapids

1) Inability to scout it because of length, vegetation, etc.
2) Sweepers, rocks, technical moves
3) Volume of the river
4) Wave height
5) Who is traveling with you i.e. kids or inexperienced types
6) Other?

Yes to all. These are all good considerations. Not to mention boat type, covered or not, remoteness, and intoxication level (j/k).

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 12:04 pm 
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(1) as long as I have 2 achievable eddies beyond my target Eddy that will allow me egress then off we go

(2) Sweepers- is the flow of the river directing me there; how much of the river does it cover; what is the skill level required to miss it
rocks.....no but undercuts give me the hebie geebies...since we are talking tripping, my parter is a 10 year old...undercuts I walk Technical moves- whatever the 10 year old is comfortable doing....if it's well within her skill and she says "no" she has to vebalize why (I 90% of the time accept)
(3) volume....what's my mood....I'm lazy and if it's big that I'm going to cause myself more work gathering up yard sale than lining or potaging and I got a long day ahead? maybe....if it's hot and I'm sue for a swim and the kid is game....sure
volume usually has to be in concert with something else, like length, rocks and concequences
(4) not fond of side surfing a loaded tandem...but again it's additive concequences meets kids approval...clear line big waves are usually fun
(5) as stated Yupper..... hubby and I will sometimes run boats if possible when the kids don't want to
(6) other....sure....like you are tired, not feeling on or you know what, you just migt not want to......and that's just fine.....usually there's always someone who wants another crack at it if it's short enough and you can just marvel at the dappled light on the portage trail.....it's all good!

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 1:31 pm 
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Quote:
Ok, let me put it this way: what's most likely to make you port a rapids


For me it's the consequences of not making a clean run. Are there "must make" moves that I might not make? If I tip, is it going to be a swim or is there a good chance me or my boat might get hung up part way down the rapid, or swept too far down river.... what's waiting down river?


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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 1:42 pm 
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The River Classification System appears subjective until you suddenly realize someone has ignored the language of the system and downgraded rapids because they have become subjectively easy.

On Boatertalk, we have seen people wanting to classify the famous Lesser Wesser as a class 2. Patton's Run, also on the Nantahala, is now routinely called class 2, even though it has killed people who could not read it on the run and spills boats and paddlers all over the river on a routine basis. Several other rapids on the Nantahala cannot logically be described as class II unless one ignores the language of the classification criteria.

This tendency to downgrade rapids from class 3 to class 2 is most often seen amongst the more experienced whitewater paddlers who frequent Boatertalk and similar sites. But it is common in all circles, and I don't think it can be reversed. Why? Because people see classification as "subjective." It is a poor sort of classification system, but it is based on language capable of objective application. Ironically, the language for class 2 is somewhat more specific and objectively based than that for the higher classifications.

Does it make a difference? Yes, in this way. It is not the experts who need a good rapid classification, it is the masses of beginners, novices, and intermediates who still find unfamiliar class 1, 2, and 3 rapids a challenge. By shoving class 3 rapids down into class 2, and class 2 rapids down into class 1, our "experts" put a large number of less competent paddlers at risk.


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