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Washington Kayak Club
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River Discussion

Where not to be in Boulder Drop
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Thanks for sharing, Rene!

I got thrashed in that hole in early October at a similar level (think it was rising from 1800-2000). It was my first Boulder Drop run in 10 years and I got the line wrong (we didn't scout since I was with 7 or 8 other local paddlers who run it frequently). I went through Ned's and everything was smooth sailing, but then I went right where I saw two other boaters already in an eddy. I casually dropped into that hole, so I was going slow and not acting decisively; I just sort of came upon it. I hit it right in the middle facing straight downstream, and it pulled me back in and flipped me fast. I couldn't get any purchase with my paddle to roll. I ended up coming out of my boat, which felt like it just disappeared as I came out of it. I wasn't able to hold on to the boat, and lost the paddle trying to grab the boat. Doh!

Once out of my boat, it was really hard to get air and I was getting seriously maytagged; I couldn't tell which way was up or when to even try for air. I managed to get just enough air on a few of the cycles, but couldn't see out of the hole. I realized I was probably have to swim out underwater, and it took me three attempts to swim down to the bottom to catch enough current to get spit out (maybe it took three attempts because it was hard to time it given the thrashing).

Once out of the hole, I swam to the right of house rocks, got a boat rescue and made it to an eddy on the right. Luckily a couple other boaters (you know, those guys that were in the river right eddy who I saw and thought "hey, I'll try that line"...) cleaned up the yard sale and I went on my merry way. This was the worst swim I've had in 25 years of boating. I won't be going right after Ned's in the future, at least without a clear plan. What a ride!
 
This link is for Irene Nash's blog where she describes a tough day in Boulder Drop this past weekend. There is a keeper hole in Boulder Drop that I discovered as a swimmer in 2007. It took two class V paddlers to get me out after a 3 minute retention. My experience was at 1250 cfs and I was able to keep my head above water.

Irene's blog indicates that the culprit hole came into play this past weekend around 1800 cfs and the victims didn't always have air.

The hole has proven itself over again to be a serious keeper, if you paddle Boulder Drop, it is worth understanding where to avoid. You can not get to this hole with a rope from the side. Irene provided some great information about their experience.

Irene's blog http://www.ireneskayakingblog.com/paddle-trips/where-not-to-be-in-boulder-drop-at-around-1800-cfs/

There is also discussion on Professor Paddle, forum post called Vagabond Christmas Potluck. You can get to Irene's blog from here too.
 
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