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James
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 12 Aug 2009 at 2:30pm
I disagree... I think it is important.

And since JP is callin me out over and over I will reluctantly admit; I was one of the Class VI naysayers. I always thought that class VI was defining an unrun feature. Then once it was run it was downgraded to a V.X rating. I will gladly change, but I think its important to realize another interesting fact. The majority of a groups opinion while not making something right or wrong can in fact add value to it.

Example: Just because American Whitewater makes a rule does not apply that rule to everything and everyone. Europe to my knowledge in several places uses a grade 1-10 scale and they being diverse in borders call it the "international scale" which might be very true since many countries there adhere to it. On american whitewaters page it says "VI. International Scale of River Difficulty This is the American version of a rating system" Don't get me wrong other countries use the "American Scale" also, like canada and mexico. But guess what ... we might piss off a bunch of Buryats if you said all the gnar they run is not grade 9 because we made an "offical" decision for the world of paddlers on rating.

Simple where you go is what its called and you should do your checking up before accepting or passing on the details. As far as AW's system goes, I concur and will adhere to it in hopes that it is the majority round these parts, but you won't catch me in Siberia telling a group of paddlers to change for the sake of a world standard, maybe we should be the ones changing...... No?! 

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  Quote up4air Replybullet Posted: 12 Aug 2009 at 3:34pm
I go back and forth on ratings being in an aquatic sport rather than a nautical one, in that my other riverboarding buds tend to downgrade rivers based on the fact that riverboarding is way easier than kayaking.

However.

I must say that V8 has a ton of sodium. Read the label! Not that healthy. Better to eat your veggies raw and enjoy the fiber. I also don't think I'd ever run a V.8 ...
More water, please.
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  Quote fiddleyak Replybullet Posted: 12 Aug 2009 at 4:31pm
I disagree.
I don't think using VI is useful. The way you describe it JP you'd keep having to redefine what "VI" is. That's the whole reason an open-ended system is useful, it doesn't have to constantly be altered to the times.
There is a big difference between "unrunnable" and "unrun". Just because no one's stepped up and run a rapid doesn't mean it's unrunnable or Class VI.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 12 Aug 2009 at 9:58pm
Just got off the phone with a friend... he refused to share his witty response online in fear of ridicule ... (I think hinting that we need hugo back to control the gomers) his response was this.

"Could someone... anyone please tell me what the fuck unrunnable is or means?"
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  Quote rainpaddle Replybullet Posted: 13 Aug 2009 at 3:38pm
JP,
 
the article was in the AW mag called the art and artifice of rating whitewater. Good read and it's online at the AW site.
 
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  Quote SupaSta Replybullet Posted: 14 Aug 2009 at 3:40pm
Originally posted by James

..."Could someone... anyone please tell me what the fu*k unrunnable is or means?"
 
IMO, "unrunnable" means that 'as of today', no one has attempted or been able to run it clean.  Where "clean" means still in your boat at the bottom with a smile on your face.
 
I don't see the problem with changing drops from (U) to (VI) when some yahoo successfully runs them.  So the number of class VI drops will increase with time, why is that a problem?  For example, if Leif runs Snoqualmie falls, it gets downgraded from class (U) to class VI.  That doesn't mean Eagle falls is now bumped from class V to class IV, or that Boulder drop is now a III-, it just means there's a new class VI rapid in the mix, nothing else should be affected.  Does that make any sense to anyone besides me?
 
Dan
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  Quote huckin harms Replybullet Posted: 16 Aug 2009 at 10:55am
dude, u callin McGibbon a yahoo?! lol
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 16 Aug 2009 at 12:07pm
So what your saying Dan is that a class II riffle in the middle of the mountains that has never seen boats is therefore Unrunnable?

Has anyone kayaked on the duwamish down by harbor island, or Is that unrunnable? What about the section of the cedar river up past the gates where it is class II-III but behind barbwire unrunnable?

There is a big difference between unrun and unrunnable, its the implication that it can never be run, not that it has never been run.

oops just echoed what ben wrote .... echo echo


Edited by James - 16 Aug 2009 at 12:08pm
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  Quote SupaSta Replybullet Posted: 16 Aug 2009 at 11:12pm
Originally posted by huckin harms

dude, u callin McGibbon a yahoo?! lol
 
Yeah, I'm waaayy out of line on that one 
 
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  Quote SupaSta Replybullet Posted: 16 Aug 2009 at 11:27pm
Originally posted by James

So what your saying Dan is that a class II riffle in the middle of the mountains that has never seen boats is therefore Unrunnable?

Has anyone kayaked on the duwamish down by harbor island, or Is that unrunnable? What about the section of the cedar river up past the gates where it is class II-III but behind barbwire unrunnable?

There is a big difference between unrun and unrunnable, its the implication that it can never be run, not that it has never been run.

oops just echoed what ben wrote .... echo echo
 
I thought we were talking about stuff at the bleeding edge of the sport.  Class II riffles in BFE hardly count as such.
 
Of course, unrun and unrunnable are not the same thing, and I think you've got all the gear you need to prove it. 
 
Dan 


Edited by SupaSta - 16 Aug 2009 at 11:32pm
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 19 Aug 2009 at 12:17pm
James, I'm not "Calling you out" about this subject, I just happen to like V8 (probably because of all of the sodium in it!), and I like the many graphic aids you provide from time to time.
 
It just seems that on a website devoted to whitewwater kayaking, if people stop arguing about classifying this or that, something is wrong. I just wanted to stir it up, and it seems to have worked!! Ha!
 
Of course I have an automatic "Disagree With Ben No Matter What" policy.
 
seriously, The rating system is something that I think is healthy to debate and think about. What really amazes me is how we could go so long without a better standard.
"The American version of an International system" WTF does THAT mean? sounds like a cop out. Like, Feet and Inches are our version of the Metric system or something. Lame.
 
Fukkit. I know Unrunnable when I see it,Hope y'all do, too.
I can see a horizon line, and I can catch a mean eddy. Hope y'all can too.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 03 Feb 2010 at 12:12pm
Originally posted by tiziak

I know this is almost off topic now, but the way I had the V.1, V.2 etc, scale explained to me was that the difference in a creek or river that is V.1 is proportional to the jump in difficulty or danger as class IV is to V. So a V.3 rapid would be 3 stops or grades (?) higher in difficulty or danger than a normal class V drop.
 
- I've also heard that explaination for the point system. But I have three main problems with it that make it confusing and therefore invalid:
 
1) Ben Hawthorn seems to be the only person I know who seems to understand it, and I sure a shell can't trust his opinion!  just kiddin- my real point is that it seems to come out of California, like Ben. But he's pretty much the only Cali Product I know of, so I don't know of anyone else using the point system, and it remains cryptic to me.
 
2) I think that whole "let's slice the Class V rating up into a bunch of tiny peices" approach only allows more room for confusion. If V.2 is a whole class harder than class V why not just call it class VI? Call V.3 class VII then. But The Cascade sure as hell ain't no class VII. What would that make the Carbon and the Ohanepecosh (go take a quick peak at the rivers page)? Class VIII?  Not to mention the fact that I've had days on Robe that felt like I was paddling class IV and other days at the same flow where it felt like V. Subjectivities are here to stay, my friends. Better to just leave the system vague and live with it.
 
3) Corran Addison had his own scale where he attempts to rate difficulty, consequence, and access (like, he'd probably cll the Cascade a IV.3b or something.) while this is noble to try to imrove a rating system that is left wanting, it fails becuse there are too many people using the existing system and his method doesn't corresponfd to it. All it will do is add confusion. That's why I just go back to AW and the Bennett Book (because it's a local guidebook and we're talking about local runs)
 
I guess until AW makes some huge campaign to refine or revamp the existing system, I'm going to continue using it as it's been traditionally applied. Knock on wood, but It's served me well enough over the last three decades.
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  Quote slickhorn Replybullet Posted: 03 Feb 2010 at 12:20pm
Originally posted by jP

 
2) I think that whole "let's slice the Class V rating up into a bunch of tiny peices" approach only allows more room for confusion. If V.2 is a whole class harder than class V why not just call it class VI?



if the difference between 5 and 5.1 is the same difference between IV and V, are you really "slicing the V rating up into a bunch of tiny pieces?"  I'd argue that right now V spans a range of difficulty broader than that contained in the III-IV+ range.  So, the pieces aren't tiny, in fact, pieces are needed.  It seems consensus has left class VI as an invalid rating, even though VI is by definition runnable. 

How does one try to rate Palouse Falls?  Alpine Falls?  V? V+? VI?  5.3? One is easier than the other, and the other is more dangerous than the one.  But just calling them V's would indicate to me they are no more difficult than Big Brother, which is of course rubbish. 

The Addison scale is intriguing, but no one seems able to keep the various factors straight.  We already argue about +/- version of the ratings, can you imagine the carping about a three-variable rating?  lol it'll never fly.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 03 Feb 2010 at 12:50pm
I still like the decimal system myself. The factors and letters to me just start complicating things. I mean a rating is meant to be a simple explanation for how difficult something is. If you need the greater details you get beta, talk to sources or read a TR. Don't try to pack all the detail from those sources into a difficulty rating because your going to end up with a complex equation that most people will find takes more time than just reading the TR.

Unlike climbing boating does need a top end. A definitive symbol of doom. As in sure it might be run someday but until then, beware. Climbing is backed up with safety that boating does not have. So you can describe a super wicked route, but going to check it out is not going to put your life in un-reverseable danger.  Boating is different. A run with an unscoutable, un-portable class VI and was spotted from a video capturing whitewater homing pigeon on a mission to ruin obscure runs by posting beta to the internet is good details to have. Ok I just lost myself...
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  Quote huckin harms Replybullet Posted: 03 Feb 2010 at 5:42pm

two cent chime in:

For my part, old school is as easy to understand as a system of quantifying can be.  The current system is simple enough to comprehend even for a non-boater.
If there were changes, I'd keep'em to how a 'run' is rated as opposed to how individual rapids are rated.  There seems to be plenty enough subjectivity in this 'sport' as it is, and complicating ratings only makes for more confusion or contention. 
 
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  Quote franzhorner Replybullet Posted: 03 Feb 2010 at 6:39pm
Here's my rating system:

Relate it to another river.

Maybe on our Rivers page there is a spot of how a river relates to another river. We could maybe have 5 rivers that a lot of people have run that are compared to each river. (damn my science/statistics brain!)

Another approach might be to have a spot that lists the MOST comparable river......

I guess there could be some variation in people's opinions, but I'm not convinced it would be anymore than our current system of labeling the river with a label-number.

Conversation is the best way to relate the classification. Here's a scenario:

1: What class is the Nahatlach Canyon? I'm from Europe.

2: What have you run in the area?

1: I ran the Cascade last weekend and it was a blast.

2: The Nahatlach Canyon is a lot shorter than the Cascade and is a little easier. If you had fun on the Cascade you should have fun in the Nahatlach canyon.....

Its important that folks know to consult forums like our own for most recent and modern classifications and warnings of hazards.

I'm grateful for what James has given us....
MORE RAIN PLEASE
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  Quote dave Replybullet Posted: 03 Feb 2010 at 8:36pm
Heres my rating system:
 
If it looks like its going to kill me, I am not going to run it...
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2010 at 3:36pm
I use the "Drunken Tuber in Jeans-Shorts" scale to rate rivers. E.g.- Imagine a drunken tuber in the said attire drifting towards a rapid, then contemplate what's most likely to happen to him.

Class I - Stays asleep.

Class II - Wakes up but spills beer.

Class III - Wakes up. Beer spillage rate of 50% or higher likely. Potential to fall out of tube and cling to it with one arm while giving the "rock-on" wave to observers on shore. 50% or higher.  High potential to retrospecitvely describe experience as "bitchin."

Class IV - Wakes up. Beer loss of 100% with probable loss of container. Probability of de-tubing 80% or higher with permanent loss of tube high. Clinging to tube with both arms likely if tube retained. Possibility of giving "rock-on" wave to onlookers dramatically reduced and approaching zero in many cases. Probability of serious injury or drowning high but not certain. Permanent aversion to circular rivercraft likely upon reaching shore. Subsequent description of events transpiring in the rapid likely to include words "F*cked" and "Up" for many years afterwards.

Class IV+ - Near instantaneous de-tubing upon entering rapid with immediate loss of beer and container. Probability of life-threatening injury or death a near certainty.

Class - V: Death. 
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  Quote SupaSta Replybullet Posted: 04 Feb 2010 at 7:25pm
That is the best rating system I've ever heard! 
 
I say we all switch to the "Drunken Tuber" system immediately
 
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2010 at 3:52pm
 Yeah, I'm totally an adherent to that system as well!
 
But Brian, I have to respectfully disagree with you:
Pieces may be needed as you say, but how do you split hairs that finely?
 
I feel really confident calling both Sunset Falls and Palouse Falls class VI drops. Regardless of what either of the paddlers who ran those drops has to say about it. That's right. I said Regardless of what either of the paddlers who ran those drops has to say about it.
 
Both drops fit the definition of a class VI. I don't even see how one could dispute this, unless they haven't read the definition of class VI.
 
Back to the point system though: To this very moment, despite me asking the question of how to define the verious "points" along the class V spectrum, no one on this site (or anywhere else) has been able to define it for me in any satisfactory manner. So how can it hold ANY validity? I've been told that each point represents the same scale of steps as that between IV and V. But what does that mean? Not much. How many numbers are in there? V.1-V.3?
V.1-V.5?
V.1- V.9?
Or V.1-V.13?
 
Look, as imperfect as the rating system is, at least you can say one thing: It is written down in an attempt to try to define itself. And just like the Constitution, or the Bible, it is subject to interpretation and it's meaning will continue to be debated. But at least it is writtin down. So what are the written definitions for each decimal point? saying each decimal is like a whole class in and of itself isn't enough. You have to define what each "class" is. Here's where paddlers roll their eyes if they haven't done so sooner. But then, are you serious about understanding how sh*t is rated? Rob don't give a F*ck. He just paddles the sh*t whether it's V or Vi, he doesn't stop to wonder. Me? I just like to ponder it. That's all. The existing system doesn't give me any problems, nor do the added ambiguities of the so-called point system.But I've been paddling long enough to feel confident that I can go into a canyon and at least stay out of trouble (usually! ).
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2010 at 3:56pm
My last few comments, and then I'll shut up for awhile- i promise.
 
Paddlers got no business trying to patch and peice-meal some jacked up half concieved rating system if they aren't willing to adequately define it.  A half assed  "improvement" is worse than no improvement at all. It takes an imperfect rating system and makes it totally worthless if it's inconsistant.
 
Class V boaters will say here: "Well if you're paddling Class V you should be able to just deal with it" . Well I agree, but clearly others don't.
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  Quote slickhorn Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2010 at 3:57pm
jP,

Not quite sure what you are disagreeing with.  To me, the difference between the VI drops you list a benchmark V like say Big Brother is considerably bigger than the difference between IV and V.  Maybe I said it badly, but my point was the the V rating spans a much broader range of objective difficulty and hazard than any other single rating.  Thus, it is not hair splitting at all. 

Also, I always thought the 5.x system was open-ended, which never made sense to me, because where does VI fall in that scale? 

-b
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  Quote slickhorn Replybullet Posted: 05 Feb 2010 at 3:58pm
Originally posted by jP

 
Class V boaters will say here: "Well if you're paddling Class V you should be able to just deal with it" . Well I agree, but clearly others don't.


your statement works fine ... for V boaters.  The problem is for those aspiring V boaters-to-be.  and I can speak from experience ... painful painful experience lol
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2010 at 3:14pm
hey sorry to resurrect this.. (I'm under the assumption that this thread is one of those ongoing subjects that can go on and one, so every so often the posts wil continue to grow a bit more...)
 
Yeah I hear ya. I think we all agree that the V rating does span that broader range- My opinion is that due to the subjectivity, it's very hard to accurately define all of those little incremental steps.
 
And the statement you quote, just to clarify where I stand with it, was meant to point out the prevailing sentiment among my peer group. I don't necessarily agree with that attitude myself, but perhaps somewhat.
 
I guess I feel like a lot of the IV+ runs in the Bennett can feel like light V's. It'll always be hazy no matter how you try to define it. So IV+ boaters venturing into class V need to be going there with people who they can trust, get beta they trust, and go from there. A suggestion fo those people on the cusp of the Gnar would be for them to make the rounds on all of the popular, more often run V- trips first until they get their footing. If you want to do exploratory class V, let's face it: you need to be prepared to find V+.
 
"Splitting hairs" can't ever work too well due to the vague subjectivities-the nature of the beast. It's like sizing a guy up for a fight, or sizing up a woman you want to pick up- you don't really know until you get into it.
 
Taoists say "The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao" But the Tao Bergman that can be named is... well, Tao Bergman. (Two different Taos here and the statement of course refers to the acient eastern philosophy Taoism, based on the Tao Te Ching)
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  Quote water wacko Replybullet Posted: 02 Mar 2010 at 5:26pm
JP, maybe it'll help to define further diffeent types of class V and in that way, as all of this becomes more defined so it is. Here are a couple: waterfalls, pool and drop, boulder gardens. I've also noticed that some runs have much more powerful holes and standing waves/cross-currents than other runs. Top Tye has some big holes at the bottom of some of those drops. Maybe that's a style also, or at least a characteristic of class V that can be thrown in the mix. Maybe eventually all runs will be so defined they will have multiple letters signalling these different characteristics as a rating. Don't like PAD (pool and drop)runs, so much? Try Jefferson, it's a CBGB (continuos boulder garden) run. Maybe it starts PAD turns FALLS, then CBGB like the Truss. Or maybe it's a BCT (box canyon time) run like the Carbon. Who knows.
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