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Rufus Island Crossing

 
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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
296 Posts

Obsessed

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PostWed Jun 14, 17 9:44 am    Rufus Island Crossing Reply with quote

Last night I attempted to help a fellow kiter cross the last island back to Rufus.

A few lessons learned.

1) Once he made it over to the Eddy he was able to walk along the brush. I was concerned the river might be too high and he would not be able to touch (thus be in a dangerous spot of having the current push him into the brush). This was not the case. He reached brush about 1/2 way in the Eddy area. I don't know if the bank height changes further down.

2) We started out with me dragging him out with my kite while he hung onto my harness strap in back. We got out about 1/2 way and the current was too strong. I had to power my kite too much against the water and he couldn't hang on. He ended up swimming from there and was able to safely make it to the Eddy.

3) We had discussed having him hook his hook into my back harness strap, but in the end decided not to do so. I think this would have worked and I could have taxied him all the way to Rufus land safety. I have seen videos of Patrick Rebstock saving a girl in the ocean utilizing such a technique, but have never tried myself.

I am attaching a diagram of the river along with a graph of river levels at the time of the incident.


   Rufus Island.png 
   Rufus River Height.png 

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
296 Posts

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PostWed Jun 14, 17 10:08 am    Perhaps a better indicator of river height Reply with quote

I can't find a good graph for river height at Rufus. Upon reviewing past history of the graph I previously submitted I don't think it is a good indicator.

The best indicator I can find is river height below The Dalles Dam. As can be seen from the below graph the river is over 2 feet lower than it has been in previous months.

I think it is possible that when the river is higher that you may not be able to touch as you are attempting to walk up the shoreline next to the brush. Which could be dangerous. Be sure to plan for a backup solution.


   Gauge Height below The Dalles Dam.png 

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mamann

Since 16 Jul 2007
37 Posts
Goldendale
 



PostWed Jun 14, 17 11:07 am     Reply with quote

Here's the graph for Rufus for the last week:

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/graph?agency_cd=USGS&site_no=454249120423500&parm_cd=72147&period=7

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luke

Since 06 Jul 2005
350 Posts

Obsessed



PostWed Jun 14, 17 1:17 pm    DANGER !!! Reply with quote

Good job bigjohn on the rescue and posting up the great information.
I would like to share again one of the scariest kite mares witnessed in the past 25 years.

A few years ago, Jason W. from Big Winds and I were trying to help a strong fellow kiter that had landed on the island just west of Rufus proper. Early summer-time river current was flowing. We were standing on the furthest west point of Rufus and the kiter in need of help was standing on the island to the west and closest to us. The kiter pulled the release on the kite and it fell gently into the water in-between the island and Rufus, right about at the tails of the large red arrows in bigjohnís diagrams.

The lines were slack and all of a sudden, the fully inflated kite was sucked under water. Completely. Gone out of sight with only the lines coming up out of the water. We all took a step backwards away from the waterís edge, waiting for some evil demon to burst from the murky depths with the kite in its mouth. About 5 seconds later the kite popped back up and drifted slowly east where we were able to retrieve it. The kiter, then realized that the best way back to Rufus, was to walk west and south on the island for 100 yards, then swim south across to the freeway, then walk back along the freeway to Rufus.

Please under no circumstances try to swim directly between the island and Rufus. The eddy that exists is arguably one of the largest on the planet.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
296 Posts

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CGKA Member


PostWed Jun 14, 17 3:02 pm     Reply with quote

mamann wrote:
Here's the graph for Rufus for the last week:

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/graph?agency_cd=USGS&site_no=454249120423500&parm_cd=72147&period=7


Thanks for the link. I have book marked it for future use.

Looks like last night around 6:00pm the river height at Rufus was about 17.3 feet

Back in April it was well over 20 feet. 2 feet higher...

see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/or/nwis/uv?cb_00010=on&cb_72147=on&format=gif_stats&site_no=454249120423500&period=90&begin_date=2017-06-07&end_date=2017-06-14

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ezryder111

Since 24 Dec 2012
87 Posts
SE Portland
 



PostWed Jun 14, 17 11:09 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the info, everyone. I did not know about that eddy Shocked Glad to bump this thread as well. Hope to hit it this weekend!

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
296 Posts

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PostThu Jun 15, 17 5:23 am    update images Reply with quote

So,

I took into consideration what Luke said. Also, decided to add some different perspectives (an overview perspective as well as a different angle at Island 1). Plus I resized my oversize photos to fit.

I figured I would put everything on one post for clarity.

Not sure if I have an answer for the best way to cross the islands but I think it is important to at least know what's below you if you are in the situation where you have to cross.

In high water I think a person might be able to climb the steep rock face to the highway, but be prepared for a touch climb. Especially if you are attempting to haul gear.


   Rufus Overview.png 
   Rufus Island - resized.jpg 
   Island 1 different perspective- resized.jpg 

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
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PostThu Jun 15, 17 5:42 am     Reply with quote

In looking at my own pictures I realized there is probably a 2nd Eddy in the area Luke was describing. Looks like a good possibility for an out.

   Rufus Potential Eddy 2 - resized.jpg 

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MasPedos

Since 05 May 2017
19 Posts
Hood Liver
 



PostThu Jun 15, 17 5:58 am    The board was got, right? Reply with quote

I left the board right at red marker. I was considering trying to get it, but I'm glad I didn't.
That current and eddy are a mean machine.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
296 Posts

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PostThu Jun 15, 17 6:15 am    Re: The board was got, right? Reply with quote

MasPedos wrote:
I left the board right at red marker. I was considering trying to get it, but I'm glad I didn't.
That current and eddy are a mean machine.


I went down to retrieve the board, but instead attempted to help a fellow kiter.

The board got moved to the tip of Island1.

After the other kiter was safe across to Rufus I attempted to take the board and other gear back to rufus, but felt I was beyond my skill level. Just getting on your board in that wicked current is challenge enough. Attempting to control another board was too much for me. I probably could have walked down the island a bit to a less difficult area but by this time I was the only kiter left and the wind was a bit flukie.

I dropped the board owner's kite off (he is a neighbor) as yet another fellow kiter had retrieved his kite and given to me.

The board owner retrieved his own board and the other kiter's kite the next day.

All in all everything worked out. Everybody is well, and everybody got their gear back.

Rinse and Repeat!!!! Kiters looking out for kiters!

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mowing the river like Jack Nicklaus was comin to town.

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MasPedos

Since 05 May 2017
19 Posts
Hood Liver
 



PostThu Jun 15, 17 8:04 am    Yup, yup, for sure. Eyes wide open. Reply with quote

When I grabbed his board I was having trouble keeping my little 6 powered. I was being really careful to not drop my kite, no droppy kitey, is what I was thinking. Drop your kite and it's just too much going on in that strong current.

I'm glad that you were able to help another kiter.


I do like the idea of having an extra leash on the back of the harness to pull with. As long as everything goes as planned and the person behind you knows what to do.

**I think that Respecting the Current is a good idea. ***

All is well that ends well,

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Sella

Since 21 Apr 2007
1640 Posts
Doin' The Dalles
FLY'IN HIGH PIE GUY



PostThu Jun 15, 17 8:23 am    Re: The board was got, right? Reply with quote

bigjohn wrote:
All in all everything worked out. Everybody is well, and everybody got their gear back.

Rinse and Repeat!!!! Kiters looking out for kiters!

Solid effort in safety as always John! One of the kiters you assisted is in town working with me on a project so we thankfully recapped/laughed about his experience and how his Gorge kite initiation has officially started when Big John is dragging you out at Rufus. Thumb's Up Beers and steak on us up at the house soon.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
296 Posts

Obsessed

CGKA Member


PostThu Jun 15, 17 8:52 am    Re: The board was got, right? Reply with quote

Sella wrote:
bigjohn wrote:
All in all everything worked out. Everybody is well, and everybody got their gear back.

Rinse and Repeat!!!! Kiters looking out for kiters!

Solid effort in safety as always John! One of the kiters you assisted is in town working with me on a project so we thankfully recapped/laughed about his experience and how his Gorge kite initiation has officially started when Big John is dragging you out at Rufus. Thumb's Up Beers and steak on us up at the house soon.


I'm always up for a good BBQ!!!

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deminimis

Since 15 Jul 2014
263 Posts
On the Rocks
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PostThu Jun 22, 17 12:22 pm     Reply with quote

Not sure why The Corps decided to open up the space between Rufus and Island 1. Used to be able to drive over to the island and sail out of there when Rufus started getting more crowded (of course, we're talking 20+ years ago). My own private Idaho (well, island)

Anyway, if you find yourself in trouble between the island and Interstate, don't fret. The current slows a lot and there's a shallow bar between the Interstate and island, humm, 3, I think. I was back there on a Waverunner a few weeks back looking for something (when it was really, really high and flowing) and even then, all is not lost if you find yourself back there. Wouldn't want to be there, but not the end of the world.

If anyone ever has a problem down there, but is not in danger, give me a call and I will try and get down there with my Waverunner if I'm around (lost board, stuck on the island and don't want to make the swim, good beer that you can't finish, etc. PM for my number if you want). It might take an hour, but I'm happy to help out if I can. If I ever become Rufus worthy (kiting), then I'll always have a Waverunner there (but that may take years at the rate I'm going). A good investment, by the way. However, if someone is in trouble, call the Sherman County SO (541) 565-3622 (or 911, but if during weekday business hours, you might try calling the SO direct). If not on the John Day, the SO's boat is stored in Rufus, so response will be considerably quicker (again, if life or limb is at risk, not for a lost board).

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BioDude83

Since 22 Aug 2015
22 Posts
Portland, OR
 



PostSat Jul 01, 17 2:25 pm    Re: The board was got, right? Reply with quote

bigjohn wrote:
MasPedos wrote:
I left the board right at red marker. I was considering trying to get it, but I'm glad I didn't.
That current and eddy are a mean machine.


I went down to retrieve the board, but instead attempted to help a fellow kiter.

The board got moved to the tip of Island1.

After the other kiter was safe across to Rufus I attempted to take the board and other gear back to rufus, but felt I was beyond my skill level. Just getting on your board in that wicked current is challenge enough. Attempting to control another board was too much for me. I probably could have walked down the island a bit to a less difficult area but by this time I was the only kiter left and the wind was a bit flukie.

I dropped the board owner's kite off (he is a neighbor) as yet another fellow kiter had retrieved his kite and given to me.

The board owner retrieved his own board and the other kiter's kite the next day.

All in all everything worked out. Everybody is well, and everybody got their gear back.

Rinse and Repeat!!!! Kiters looking out for kiters!



THANKS AGAIN FOR THE RESCUE JOHN!

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MCD

Since 24 Feb 2014
30 Posts

 



PostSun Jul 02, 17 9:21 am    Rufus Reply with quote

A few rescues yesterday. Lost my kite, board at the wall. Windsurfer stopped my board until I swam up. Thanks, bud! Swam to Islands and fisherman ferried me back to Rufus.
Long, long swim. Learned to check both ends of safety leash, obviously my clip in on the back of harness was not secure. Kite drifted in to rocks on WA side and saved by Windsurfing kiters from Ottawa. Thanks friends!
No real danger but pace yourself and don't panic. It might take an hour, but you will make it.

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