A packrafter rescue experiment.

As I am about to embark on a paddling trip with some kayakers down the Black Boxes in Utah, I was curious if this method would work to rescue a paddler that lost his boat down an unescapable gorge. It goes like this: paddle my raft with the whitewater skirt at the local wave pool, or a deep class II river with moderate waves. Have a swimmer practice climbing onto the front of my boat, on his stomach with his face at the bow and me as the paddler between his legs. Have them hang onto the lashing on the front of the boat during the paddling descent. I wonder how functional this method would be to rescue someone who had lost their boat in a remote and otherwise inescable river canyon, or to ferry them across a river. It would be a fun experiment anyway.

Definitely try it before you go. IME ferrying would be fine, as long as you had time and space to work with.

When are you doing the BB’s? Looks like they may have already peaked.

We just got back from the lower box. There is a portage right after the first drop. The whole canyon is blocked with rock. There is a 10 foot plus pile of logs that is spinning around . All of the water flow is going under the rocks . Also the next drop has a bad looking hole on the far right . Better to go left the cut right. We managed to climb out of the canyon after that since we had lost a paddle in the first drop .

wow, how was climbing out? I canyoneered through the lower black box with my packraft a few years back, and those walls are pretty high and sheer.

We got lucky and found a good spot to climb out. Not to tricky , we were able to climb out with our packs on. It was the second spot we tried. The first place we tried got to tricky a couple hundred feet up. We found a old inner tube and some bungie cord below the tricky spot. Im guessing they were from this accident. http://climb-utah.com/SRS/lbb1.htm

See our pictures here


On packraft rescue: We use a very similar position for ferrying people across rivers, except usually with the person face up instead of down (minor difference.) It’s pretty stable, but obviously with a pack on front you’d have difficulty, and I haven’t tried getting into this position while in challenging water.

I’ve also rescued someone in minor surf by just having them cling to the bow. Way less efficient, but if the swimmer doesn’t have the strength to get up it’s good to consider.