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Thread: Crossing Rivers

  1. #1
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Crossing Rivers


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    Quote Originally Posted by oakman View Post
    Interesting article. Thanks for posting.
    Certainly agree with undoing the the waist belt if being used. Certainly have a much different approach to a number of other things advocated. This should be an interesting and informative thread.
    Joe (Ak)

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    A couple of other suggestions from my experiences would be that if you are wearing chest waders, make sure you have a waist belt cinched down to keep water from immediately filling your waders if you slip. Be careful though that you dont have a lot of air trapped in your waders cause that can add to your bouyancy and you need all your weight to stay anchored to the bottom.

    Personally, I like to stand with my waist so the narrowest profile is in the current and walk just slightly downstream as I cross. That way you are not fighting the current when placing your feet. I agree with crotch high max in strong current, even that can be disconcerting on a slick bottom or with larger rocks underfoot.

    The other thing I do differently from the article is that I use a long ski pole and anchor it down stream of me to brace against the current, I cant imagine how much good it would do to have the pole upstream of your body if you mis step.

    Thanks for posting the link. Good stuff to think about...

  4. #4

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    We always cross with the current facing down stream. The stronger the current the longer the line of travel to cross. Always pick the exit point on the opposite bank and if there is a potential problem in crossing have the arch back to starting bank planned. If possible plan on exiting above the inside curve. One person crosses, then positions them self to help the next person crossing if needed.
    If someone is using a waist belt or connecting strap for the shoulder straps they are unbuckled before crossing.
    If rocks are rolling - we don't cross; if someone goes down they are advised to shed their pack and face the current (up stream) so they can stand. We keep the shoulder straps on both shoulders when crossing.
    There's a lot more - but hopefully that will be of some help.
    Joe (Ak)

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Here's just a tip I learned, Were a pair of rain pants over your hip boots.

    Most people will freak out when the water is up over the knees, but its just the currant that is causing the affect. The water level is a lot lower than that and you will find that it probablly is'nt any deeper than what you thought it was.

    This is just when you have to jump out of the boat and have to pull it over the riffle.

    It works when you are crossing a river, but you have to know your limit based on your weight.

    If you try to cross something that is moss covered on the bottom with a little currant, then you'ed better think about getting wet. lol

    I've been in the drink so many times, and it soon became a thing you wer'nt moose hunting if you wer'nt wet and frozen by the time you got back to camp.

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    Just think of being "wet" as a temporary condition.
    Joe (Ak)
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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    There arnt no boot dryers out there Joe, lol. Once you fill them up, they will be like that til you get back to where you started from. You can try some bread bags over your socks after the fact, but once the boots are wet????? lol

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    There arnt no boot dryers out there Joe, lol. Once you fill them up, they will be like that til you get back to where you started from. You can try some bread bags over your socks after the fact, but once the boots are wet????? lol
    No boot dryers?!! - Those river bars are made of "millions" of boot dryers. Just have to heat them up before putting them in the boots for drying. Just make certain they aren't too hot!
    Joe (Ak)

  9. #9

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    Have spent a lot of time crossing many creeks and rivers. Chest deep was the deepest and didn't make it through. Alot of waist deep crossing. Kind of angle down stream and try to keep balance at all times. Have lost footing a time or two and floated a bit.

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    Default ATV crossing water - have a Plan B

    Quote Originally Posted by wantj43 View Post
    We always cross with the current facing down stream. The stronger the current the longer the line of travel to cross. Always pick the exit point on the opposite bank and if there is a potential problem in crossing have the arch back to starting bank planned. ...
    This last week I was in a position to have to cross bigger water than I would wish to; so much rain lately caused the water to rise drastically.

    I ran across a guy pulling a trailer and offered to show him where we had just crossed successfully - though it was tense - he stopped me. He said he'd been crossing that water for 17 years now and could find his own way just fine, thank you. He was making multiple trips way back in to stock up for a very large moose camp; likely for an outfitter. He offered to haul some of our gear out, since we were dragging a dead ATV along behind and had too much to carry; great guy.

    Then he offered me some advice on crossing, that sounds a lot like your advice for manual crossing Joe.

    - Never fight the current. Go downstream while crossing always.
    - Of course choose a quieter crossing, more braided is better, no apparent obstructions under, etc..., all the obvious stuff.
    - Then he told me something similar to your arc back suggestion; only he said to choose a place where if you goofed and it got too deep, you could just turn downstream and go with the current and end up on a gravel bar not too far down. Basically, have a Plan B in mind because after a certain number of crossings, you'll need a second way to choose to go, and you'll know only after being halfway across the water.

    Good advice I thought. I hadn't been doing that last one. No plan B.

    This guy was crossing with a trailer, going farther back than most people, while two other ATVs without trailers biffed it and had to be dragged out dead; this was a tough to handle water then. This guy did know what he was doing.

  11. #11
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I've always used the "tripod" technique. My typical routine is if the creek is really shallow I just walk across carefully. If it is much more than ankle deep, I will first look for a good place to cross. In the past I haven't considered what is down stream of me as much as I probably should have. When I find a good place, I'll unbuckle my pack (sometimes I'll take it off and wander out to test the waters). From there I'll face up stream, keep my poles in front of me and put some weight on them. I'll always keep 2 points of contact. Either both feet or one foot and my poles. Never cross my feet and usually use one pole to check where my next step will go.

    One idea I like from this artilce is the idea of keeping some air in my dry bags in my pack. As long as I have some room, a little extra flotation wouldn't hurt.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wantj43 View Post
    If rocks are rolling - we don't cross;

    Joe (Ak)
    Yep, I live by this one as well. I've only done one fly-in sheep hunt, and I came home without a ram on that trip because I could not (or would not) cross a single river that was standing between my partner and I and a mountain holding at least one legal ram. It was a difficult decision to make, but we could hear rocks just rocketing down that river, and we could find no safe alternative short of a day's hike downstream (which we did not have time for, unfortunately). It was a difficult decision to make at the time, but no sheep is worth my life.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Yep, I live by this one as well. I've only done one fly-in sheep hunt, and I came home without a ram on that trip because I could not (or would not) cross a single river that was standing between my partner and I and a mountain holding at least one legal ram. It was a difficult decision to make, but we could hear rocks just rocketing down that river, and we could find no safe alternative short of a day's hike downstream (which we did not have time for, unfortunately). It was a difficult decision to make at the time, but no sheep is worth my life.
    Another consideration with fast moving water is that when the stream bed is made up of small gravel/sand the current literally creates a "hole" under the foot as the pressure of the step disturbs the material. So rather than being 30" deep by the time the foot stops settling the depth is 36".
    Joe (Ak)

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    Just turned back from a good sized black bear with a buddy because we thought better of crossing peters creek...sometimes it's just not worth it...

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