July 2, 2007 at 12:16 pm #4370mayoung1Participant
what’s happening on the 7 sisters right now? Are the levels low enough?
MattJuly 2, 2007 at 1:20 pm #28473AdinParticipant
right now the level is 64 cms. i think the highest it ever gets run is around 40. hopefully it will drop some time later this summer.
check http://www.myosis.ca for water levels, have a good one,July 2, 2007 at 11:42 pm #28474JessBParticipant
We were just there today. 3 of my friends ran the last one but it’s definately Class 5. 3 of us walked it.July 3, 2007 at 3:23 pm #28475yuroParticipant
i’m scratching #7 from my "to do" list… only 6 left to go… ” title=”Smile” />July 3, 2007 at 5:40 pm #28476BobbieParticipant
I think a lot of people would call it a class 4+
But I think that’s just dumb…
I like what they’re doing in the US, adding decimal places to class 5. It’s a lot like rock climbing in the 70’s when they didn’t have anything higher than 5.9 for technical rock. Nobody thought to go to 5.10 (y’know it means more decimal places, and you can’t do that ” title=”Confused” /> ) It ended up creating a lot of 5.7’s to 5.9’s that have since been re-graded as 5.10a to 5.10d (Lion’s Head’s ‘Latvian Ledge’ is a perfect example).
To me, that last Seven Sisters rapid is definitely a 5.0 at 65cms…
I don’t think I could tell you what’s a 5.2, though, ‘cuz I don’t think I’ve ever run anything higher than a 5.1.
Obviously it’s always water level dependent… For instance, I’d say Fowlersville was a 5.0 at the level of Moose Fest last year, but I’m sure it’s a 5.1 or 5.2 at high water (I hope it’s the same level this year )
Anyways… I just thought I’d post that preemptively, before somebody says, "that’s not a class 5, it’s like a big 4…"
I think this is an important distinction, because you see a lot of people at Latvian Ledge with the old Escarpment Guidebook who drove all the way up because they thought, "Hey, awesome… It’s 5.7 sport climbing!" And then they totally get totally sketched out, and have a terrible day…..
BTW: While we were up there somebody said that Corran Addison ran the whole thing with his posse at 65ish, and a dude at one of the rafting companies said he ran the whole thing at 95cms :” title=”Question” />July 3, 2007 at 7:20 pm #28477stefanoParticipant"Bobbie":2o5qk128 wrote:Obviously it’s always water level dependent… For instance, I’d say Fowlersville was a 5.0 at the level of Moose Fest last year, but I’m sure it’s a 5.1 or 5.2 at high water (I hope it’s the same level this year )
This is the big failing of the class 1 to 5 system though… One number doesn’t accuratly describe both difficulty and consequence.
For example, I’d argue that the normal Fowlersville line doesn’t require class 5 ability at low or medium water like last Moosefest (really, you paddle in a straight line and hold on as you hit the steep part of the drop), but it certainly is a class 5 hole at the bottom. What do you use to classify a rapid – consequence or difficulty – they’re quite often not the same thing.
I guess it doesn’t matter though, it’s been talked about before and hasn’t changed – don’t see it changing any time soon either.July 3, 2007 at 7:25 pm #28478andriyParticipant
Those climbs aren’t sandbags (ok, maybe slightly stiff ” title=”Wink” />; they’ve just been purposely overgraded to minimize the "oh, I can climb 5.7, let’s go climb all day at Lion’s Head" trips.
I would argue that paddling should keep it’s slightly ambiguous grading scheme, just like in ice climbing, where it’s a fact of life that conditions, and hence difficulty, change day-to-day (heck, even morning to afternoon). With such broad grades that include such a wide variety of difficulties, the number of inflated egos is minimized, and fosters an attitude for which one paddles (or ice or rock climbs) for the pure joy of it!
my two cents…
(if it wasn’t the reference to climbing, I may not have said a thing…)
andriyJuly 3, 2007 at 8:02 pm #28479harrisParticipant"andriy":2myfsznw wrote:I would argue that paddling should keep it’s slightly ambiguous grading scheme, just like in ice climbing, where it’s a fact of life that conditions, and hence difficulty, change day-to-day (heck, even morning to afternoon). With such broad grades that include such a wide variety of difficulties, the number of inflated egos is minimized, and fosters an attitude for which one paddles (or ice or rock climbs) for the pure joy of it![/quote:2myfsznw]
I’m more with Bobbie in that the ratings (should?) serve more of a general purpose for people looking for places to paddle but not get in way over their heads (or inversely disappointed by lack of difficulty). To accomplish that you need a more granular scale to some extent. Sure when you get there you need to be able to determine for yourself where it is on your own personal scale of runnable… but to me theres enough ambiguity in the system without making it deliberately so.July 3, 2007 at 10:05 pm #28480BobbieParticipant"stefano":1ywta90m wrote:This is the big failing of the class 1 to 5 system though… One number doesn’t accuratly describe both difficulty and consequence.[/quote:1ywta90m]
I agree, but I also disagree… I think having one number to describe both consequences and technical difficulty is a GOOD thing… It gives a sense of overall skill level required because I’m learning that a big part of paddling is how consistent you are at making lines, not just whether or not you can make a line one time if it happens to be a good day for you"andriy":1ywta90m wrote:I would argue that paddling should keep it’s slightly ambiguous grading scheme….. fosters an attitude for which one paddles (or ice or rock climbs) for the pure joy of it![/quote:1ywta90m]
I have a logical mind… For me, the pure joy of it is when I scout a rapid and imagine exactly how I’m going to paddle it… Every paddle stroke… Every surge of water hitting my face… Then I go out and the run is just like I imagined, almost so I can’t remember which was which, the real run, or the imagined run… For me that’s like a religious experience….. Coming up with an accurate grade is like another way to remember that experience….. The run might take only 20 seconds, but the memory can last a lifetime…."harris":1ywta90m wrote:ratings (should?) serve more of a general purpose for people looking for places to paddle but not get in way over their heads (or inversely disappointed by lack of difficulty).[/quote:1ywta90m]
…and it’s not fair to open-boaters to call stuff class 4+"andriy":1ywta90m wrote:Those climbs aren’t sandbags (ok, maybe slightly stiff ” title=”Wink” />; they’ve just been purposely overgraded to minimize the "oh, I can climb 5.7, let’s go climb all day at Lion’s Head" trips.[/quote:1ywta90m]
They might not be 10’s, but those ain’t no 7’s… 5.7’s are jug-fests with easy clipping… Anywhoo… Even if you think those are only stiff 5.8’s, try some of Shawn Parent’s sport 5.7’s up in Thunder Bay sometime (The ones he graded in the late 70’s.) I mean, it’s not like they’re 5.11’s, but they give ‘exposed runout’ a whole new meaning Also… elitism in climbing is f*cking annoying, man… Crags get too busy, yes, and maybe there’s no answer to fix that, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s hugely irritating when people think other climbers are losers if they can’t climb 5.12+… I’ll probably never climb higher than 5.12a, but I still enjoy climbing….. My favorite climbs are all low 10’s… Sure there are some elitist paddlers like that, but from my experience most paddlers are happy to have nice people come along for a run even if they walk some 4’s while others in the group are running the 5’s….. I’ve actually noticed that bouldering tends to be a bit more like that….. Bring a pad and learn to spot, try some stuff, and have fun!
How’s that for a rant?
R.July 3, 2007 at 10:48 pm #28481HipnaziParticipant
I think ego, elitism and a general misunderstanding of the rating system all contribute to a high degree of varibilty in peoples assessment of whitewater.
I also think we have enough info, collective experience and definitions to create a much more reliable and stable rating system.
One huge area of confusion is comparing Gull river type water to Ottawa river type water. Both are generally in the Class 3 range with some variabilty up to even Class 5 on both. Garvins being fully Class 5 at most levels and the Gull approaching that when we get flood run off in the 50 CMS range. Yet they are totally different.
Seems to me we need a qualifier for volume relative to base levels.
We need a technicality rating.
We need a concsequence rating.
And we need a skill comparison that connects to these ratings.
Finally we need a way to express all that in a few numbers or with a handfull of well known accepted words.
A great example of how ratings fail on an epic scale is the Elora Gorge.
Summer common level can be floated in a tube.
Mid levels in spring or fall are OK for strong Novice paddlers.
Medium / High spring levels require strong intermediate skills and high water ranges from advanced skills at the 100 cms level to expert skills for the occasional 200 plus levels that occur.
Still it rarely could ever be classed above 4 in terms of technicality or as related to skills but if you mess up at high water you had better be seriously ready for hardcore rescue and concsequences.July 4, 2007 at 3:19 am #28482BoydoParticipant
Oooo.. I like this topic, I think I will jump in…
Gary just touched on the different variable in type sof rivers… big volume vs shallow rocky, vs tight technical… you can have a class IV of each, but you take someone who paddle predominantly tight technical stuff and put them in the big water, and they will be like a fish out of water.
Bringing Bobbie’s obsession with climbing comparison into the mix… it is the same scenario, there are different kinds of climbing… face, slab, crack etc. all can be rated 5.10 but you take a face climber and put them on slab and they will get there ass kicked (I have first hand experience).
Coming back to kayaking… it really all depends on your experience level and what you are most experienced paddling… those that have the experience and skill can make any class V look like a class II when they run it…. usually with a bit of grace/style. Those not quite as experienced will look about half a paddle stroke off the whole time, may not look as pretty.. but usually still make it, and lastly those who are in over their head usually end up in the Class V consequences, or get really lucky and find themselves on line. A great illustration of this is the video that has Billy, Dale, and Ben running Ragged falls for the first decent… Billy and Dale, both very experienced with high skill level run the drop with relative ease and style, whereas Spicoly, who is a good boater in his own right but not at the same level as Billy and Dale, is doing unintentional 360’s, almost gets stuck in holes, and gets his boat pinned at the end. All 3 ran it, just not with the same degree of ease.
The big difference between the climbing and the kayaking is, that you physically have to have the strength and skill to pull yourself off the ground to climb the higher grades, whereas in paddling, anybody can float into and out of a Class V set. However it is having the skill to be on line and make it look easy vs. the woop woop who throws himself in and hopes for the best because he wants to be cool and paddle class V.
All the Class IV/V’s I have come across have been legitamite in my mind, as they all have the line I want to be on, and the line I definitely don’t want to be on, and if I can’t see my class II line through the gnar gnar then I will be a walkin.
It all depends on what you know you are capable of, and how good you are at predicting what the water will do.
I hope this made any kind of sense… I am tired.
BoydoJuly 4, 2007 at 11:29 am #28483The Great GonzoParticipant
A) Rapids I run without a worry and without scouting.
Rapids I run without a worry after scouting.
C) Rapids I run while worrying after scouting.
D) Rapids I walk after scouting.
This is obviously a floating scale, the 2 big drops on the Upper Black for instance have moved from D) to or C), dependent on level… …
I really like the idea of the 3 part rating system, however I think it will never really take oiff, as it’s quite complicated and since ratings always have and always will be highly subjective, whether we like it or not. It’s also very hard to compare the difficulty of different types of rapids, like really steep low volume and rocky stuff with high volume big water. The hazards and the skills to paddle them are quite different.
I think any rating system will never be more than just a rough guideline. I think the big difference with climbing is that the river is a dynamic environment which is much harder to rate that the much more static environment of a climbing wall or cliff.
TGG!July 4, 2007 at 1:22 pm #28484markpospisilParticipant
REgarding volume inpacting the "rating" scale, as I have said b4 on the site, I pretty much go by consequences of a swim and that alone to rate a river, thats the way I was tought so its habit, I like the idea of a double system. But volume doesn’t always increase the consequences, I find that it may make it more intimidating and make the river look more gnarly, but I find that once on the water its just faster and usualy, if not always deeper at higher levels, taking away many of the low water hazards of impact with the bottom.
People shouw note that low water can also pose great risks, if not pose higher risks than high water, a simple role in low water can turn into a quick headshot>>>>being knocked out cold>>>>drowning/rescue, where as in high water this may be avoided as the headshot might not have happend, if a role wasn;t acheived, the person would likely swim, be pushed through the rapid and into a ‘safe’ area….but perhaps at high water there maybe more holes and the swimmer could get stuck and screwed.
Its a tough system….I think we all need to trust ourselves day to day, conditon to conditon. I also feel the biggest problem we have here in Canada is access to accurate river info…its like finding UMMMM, well you cant really find any fully reliable Beta on one easy to use site. Boatwerks does a good job with Whats Running, but compared to AWW its nothing.
I dont know if many paddlers do extensive research before paddling but AWW allows for great prep, and also posts any major incidents and the situations around them, which I find valuable because it can show what can go wrong….where and why.
Thats all from me, the usual verbous diareah loaded with spelling errors and grammer mistakes;
Have a great day.July 4, 2007 at 2:20 pm #28485HipnaziParticipant
Lots of personal definitions of how river rating works for the various posters here but the problem remains that even with clear explanations of how one uses the system we’re still speaking more than one language.
For me the present system is clear and I find it works well for me, I take it quite literally, always consider how it applies to all boats not just mine and have made a point of trying to remember the qualifiers it is based on.
Trouble with the system is that some use it only as regards kayaks and base all their judgements on that. Others never consider that there are many types of kayaks and canoes. That in my estimation is where most of the confusion lies. It is then compounded by the facters I mentioned in another post.
Maybe the best way to improve is not so much to start again but just simply rewrite the old system using all the details already there but clarifying as much as possible.
Class I – These rapids are small and have slightly fast moving water. There are hardly any dangerous spots and those that are dangerous are easily spotted and avoidable. The risk to swimmers is small and can be corrected by self rescue. In other words there is nothing to worry about in a class I rapid.
Class II – With some basic training, the obstacles in this class are easily maneuvered around or avoided. The swifter currents of water, channels, and rapids are easily noticed with some forward scouting. Swimmers will probably not get hurt in these rapids. It rarely occurs that someone may need outside assistance to rescue themselves.
Class III – Accomplished whitewater skills and/or training are needed for these rapids. Constant changing rapids, harsh currents, large obstacle, and tight channels are prevalent. Larger rapids and currents can be seen, but not always avoided. Risk to swimmers is still minimal and can be rescued by group or individually.
Class IV – These large and predictable currents require very strong boating skills. Some large waves, holes, and currents may be unavoidable. Quick thinking and fast skills are a must. Depending on water conditions, the risk to swimmers can be high.
Class V – Expert only. These rapids put the boater into extreme danger. Large holes, rocks, waves, and currents are violent and all have an added danger. Rapids are longer and much more intense. Swimming is dangerous and not recommended.
Class VI – These rapids are unpredictable and may never have been run before. These rapids should only be run by professionals in perfect conditions.
I think when you read the rating system thru you’ll see that the definitions get shorter as the water levels get more complex. Not really the best way to describe such dynamic things.
I realize that describing one rapid can become an entire book but it still seems like we just don’t have enough info here to help those that may need the rating the most.
I have read variations of the Class 3 rating that refer to waves that are capable of swamping an open canoe, that is a really easy to visualize and predict. I use that one to help me figure the difference between 4 and 3. For example; the upper and lower Gull, most say Class 3 but realistically the upper section is much harder than the lower, you almost never see open canoes on the top and tandem full size canoes are unheard of. So is it really Class 3? I guess if you take it on it’s own without Whitehorse and the first drop nearest the dam. I say it’s best described as Class 4 based on that and the following; If the Ottawa is mainly Class 3 except Little Trickle is a 4 and McKoys certainly is 4(never mind Garvin’s) how can you compare the two with the same number.Swimming from Earl’s to the Falls could beat you badly, swim the falls and your into stitches and perhaps an ambulance ride. Any of that likely on the Ottawa.
Anyway theres my example of how a bit of detail like the "ability to swamp open canoes" can be valuable. In my example the extra detail could read like this; Swimming is sure to lead to minor injury with serious injury highly possible".
Another example of detail lacking is the last line of the Class 1 rating. Pretty lame really; Class 1 that is very deep can prove very demanding for a swimmer, if it’s part of a gorge the concequences can be extreme. A detail that could be added here is that " Class 1 often preceeds much more serious water and may be difficult to overcome under certain conditions".
A few thoughts.July 4, 2007 at 2:32 pm #28486bealemParticipant
On a slightly different tack – can someone breifly describe the Rouge River to me. I’d like to go paddling there but am not sure if my skills are up to scratch yet. I’d rate myself as a comfortable class 2-3+ (will push some 4 if I feel good) paddler.
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