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    I am an 18 year professional guide on the snake river in wyoming and I have a problem. There is a feature on this river called three oar deal it is an unrunable river hydrolic. Over the years I have rescued at least 6 boy scout troops from almost certain death. There have not been any until yestersday. A boy scout leader took his troop into this hole and killed one boy there would of been more but we luckily floated by just in time. I personally have risked my life numerous times trying to prevent a fatality because of the GROSS negligence by the leaders that have taken there kids into this feature. WHAT THE HELL is going on with these so called leaders. Every one that I have helped does not even know what a hydrolic is. Who in the hell would take the lives of kids in there own hands without the proper training. This needs to stop! Is there a Leader on this forum that will take this seriously and take action. Please address this problem NOW! Before I have to give cpr to another little kid!!!!!!!!!!

  • #2
    Thanks for the info. I've been looking for a news article on this but cannot find one. Can you share more info regarding the accident?


    • #3
      Part of trek safely suggests that you need to know when you don't know. There is no shame in it, lets face it I am kinda rusty on brain surgery, so I leave it too the experts.

      A lot of scout masters are to full of ego to admit they don't know and boys, adults and leader often have to pay the price.


      • #4
        Aren't most rivers where there's whitewater listed in guides are published or accessible online? I would think any leader taking a group into whitewater would check out the river. A hydraulic like this would certainly be noted with a lot of warnings.


        • #5
          It is listed on the Bridger-Teton National Forest website ( as a Class 5 rapid at high flows. At those times it is described as the most dangerous on the river and the site of a number of drownings.

          That was easy to find. I have not been able to find any reports of the incident described by the OP. Waynejh, can you give us any further details?



          • #6
            I know your frustration....after my stint at summer camp lets start shooting emails to each other, as well as to other professional river guides within our ranks,and do something that National has elected not to do, which is to create a Registered BSA River Guide position which serves at the Council level...what say you?


            • #7
              Yah, I think da OP is dealin' with the aftermath and reaction from an incident which must have occurred today, eh? I reckon he needs to get with some folks tonight and in the comin' days to work through that. Anybody who's ever worked EMS knows what he's goin' through. Hurt kids are the worst.

              Snake River at Alpine is runnin' 19,000 cfs. That's good excitin' high water. Been quite a while since I paddled out that way, long enough I don't remember that stretch well or what I level I paddled it at. It's mostly Class III stuff, but it's big water.

              Three Oar Deal looks like one of those Class II rapids with Class V consequences if yeh blow the move. That kind of feature can cause a lot of grief. It's described as a symmetrical hole comin' off a shelf river left in the main current, with a sneak route right. They might not have known about it, or they might not have been quick enough to make the move. At 12,000 cfs it's described as a potentially deadly keeper hole. At 19,000 cfs it's gotta be grim.



              • #8
                Basement Dweller is right. Unfortunately the macho male ego will overrule common sense everytime. They think they're invincible, and PREPARED in their own mind, and it will never happen to them or their fare, until it is to late, like Friday.

                My heart goes out to you. It's hard dealing with idiots who just don't get it.

                Four years ago I was in a simular situation on the Yough. in W.Virg. The SM set up an unguided trip as a non-scouting event. We had several years experience running this river, and I have Swift Water Rescue training with the FD. I've never been thrilled with taking scouts on any unguided trips.

                I was asked to take an adult sibling of one of the scouts in our raft. NEVER AGAIN!!! We found out to late that he was to arrogant to listen to what he was told to do. Everything was funny and a joke.

                At Dimple Rock, a double hydraulic known as the Body Catcher, he didn't follow directions again and managed to wall us on the far rockface, swamp the raft catapulting it over.

                The wife managed to come up under the raft, hold on and be pulled through the rapid.

                SOB managed to somehow float out and down river.

                My oldest, a four year Varsity lettermen and open water swimmer was pinned underwater against the rock face with his paddle for 30-45 seconds before he managed to extricate himself.

                I was pinned under Dimple for 90 seconds and could feel the rocks V'ing behind me. Quite an unnerving feeling. I was POed that I was in this situation, was to the point if exceping the inevitable outcome, and yes, your life does flash before your eyes. I was thinking how POed the wife was going to be, and how long it was going to be before they found me. Somehow I managed to get pushed onto the bottom and feel my foot push down under a rock, the next "Oh Sh#*, not this too" feeling. I reached down to try to pull my foot free, and must have turned just right, and was popped out back into the main current.

                I ended up bruised down the whole left side from the bottom of the ribs to the ankle, had a torn quad. muscle (the only thing that kept me from kicking SOB's you know what, because I couldn't have an extra leg to stand on), and several abrasions and lacerations.

                The troop and former SM haven't been happy with me because I refuse to be involved or let the troop be involve in such an outting if it is unguided, and there are scouts under 15 on the trip, guided or not.

                The only thing slightly comical that came out of it was when I resurfaced, I had to play Rupert from survival, and use my tee shirt as a kilt, that was until SOB offered me his swimsuit since has also had on a wetsuit. Now I sport a "NUDE RAFTING PUTS COLOR IN YOUR CHEEKS" bumpersticker on the car.

                Le Voyageur, I agree. Let's pressure National to make WWR trips a mandatory guided trip if it hasn't been done already. Also institute mandatory minimum age requirements and Swimming MB as prerequisites.That's the only way to get the macho egomaniac SM's to comply.

                Let's also push then to incorperated Shift Water Rescue techniques into the Whitewater MB, as well as in your BSA River Guide program idea.


                • #9
                  Agree with le Voyageur. I would add the position cover ocean beaches where applicable. There have been other river rescues this spring:
                  - June 14 Brandywine River in Chadds Ford, PA, 15 scouts rescued by firefighters
                  - May 17 James River,VA which was discussed previously here

                  Some outdoor groups require incident reports where there was injury/death/rescue involved. The outdoor leader is required to list experience and training. An outdoor leader may find he/she is no longer an outdoor leader (in the two rescues above I wonder if the adult scout leaders faced consequences by either CO or Council). The problem is making this information readily available to trip planners. AMC publishes recent incidents in Appalachia magazine. This forum is one of many planning resources for me.

                  But realistically, I think we will soon be required to hire professional guides and outfitters for all high adventure activities for these reasons:
                  1. Safety
                  2. National would love to off-load liability.
                  3. National will soon restrict who can participate with the new health form.
                  4. BSA outdoor trek training is inadequate (I really sugar-coated that).
                  5. Some scout leaders lack expertise and experience. Maybe a recognized problem from the "attracting qualified leaders" reference in strategic plans. Hard to tout "leadership training" for recruiting when incidents like these create a negative public impression of BSA leadership.
                  This would likely not apply to BSA high adventure camps like Philmont where that expertise exists. If this happens then the Council Register River Guide becomes the Register Guide who qualifies area guides as acceptable for tour permit sign-off.

                  My $0.02
                  (This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)


                  • #10
                    having very limited WW experience, and the knowledge that I don't know anything, I would love to see a BSA River guide or similar position come into existance. However, this position should be accessible to councils/units that plan to travel to another for WW. Our council really has very little WW.. some class II shoals and that is about it, we are generally home to slow flat moving water (except during flood times). There are several WW rivers within a couple hundred miles, that have lots of professional guides, but it would be nice to have a Scouter contact to help find the way through all the promises you find on-line from those guide companies.


                    • #11
                      It all comes down to having/hiring an experienced and competent WW riverguide to eliminate all of these problems, a council position is not only a bad idea but an expensive luxury few councils could afford. IMHO, anything over a Class 3 should require the unit to have a licensed guide accompany them.


                      • #12
                        Once again, we need to reintroduce "Mr. Common Sense". What makes so many of us think that we are qualified just because we did it, or read about it, or took a beginning course, then participated with a certified group leader? I took "climb on safety" at camp a couple of years ago. So, technically I should be able to lead a climbing outing; right? Wrong! I may know the basic precautions, but I am not really qualified and would not do it unless I had someone truly certified to do the real experience. I have been swimming all my life and earned the life-saving merit badge. Have taken CPR numerous times, as well as first aide courses. In an emergency I know more or less what to do. Am I qualified to teach swimming or life-saving or first aide and CPR; not really, though I could assist. Point being, we need to not let that "little bit of knowledge" cloud our "common sense" judgment as to our qualifications for many activities. Safety is, or should be the absolute qualifier. If that means not going because we have not found the truly able person to do it, then so be it.



                        • #13
                          As of 8 PM on 6/28, there is still no information available from news organizations on the web about this reported occurrence. Has anyone been able to obtain verification on the facts?

                          Having had some hairy whitewater experiences myself, I concur that a Scout leader who takes a group out on true whitewater without a guide is courting disaster. Even though you have run a particular stretch of river before, every day and every change in water level presents new challenges. Finding a trained guide, with knowledge on that particular river, should be the first step in a trained leader's planning for safety on any whitewater trip.


                          • #14
                            try this link for info


                            • #15
                              Just came across an article talking about the incident Wayne was involved in. Craig McHouston, 48-51 y/o, of Rexburg, Idaho was two scout leaders thrown from their raft on Friday at the Three Oars Rapids on the Snake. The other leader managed to swim to safety.

                              State officials state the flow was between 17,500 to 18,000 cubic feet per second, 4000 more then normal.

                              I guess if your live by the sword, you die by the sword, in this case macho stupidity. Thank God it wasn't one of the scouts.

                              My heart does go out to the family and troop.