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fyodorova
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 7:12 am 
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Another tragedy at Rainier. I didn't know the victim, but he always had gorgeous photos of Rainier on Flickr. Rest in peace.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/mount-rainier-national-park-rangers-find-body-in-river-remind-public-of-hiking-safety/

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Park rangers recovered the body of a 74-year-old man in a Mount Rainier National Park river Wednesday, after he went missing during an overnight hike, according to a statement from the park.

Craig Goodwin, of Black Diamond, King County, left for his hike Tuesday afternoon, the Thursday statement said. When he didn’t return, his family reported him missing.

On Wednesday morning, search teams found Goodwin’s car at the Paul Peak trailhead, and focused on looking near Golden Lakes, Sunset Park and the South Mowich River trail crossing.

Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, searchers in a park helicopter spotted Goodwin’s body on a gravel bank downstream of the South Mowich River, the statement said.

“River crossings can be extremely hazardous this time of the year,” said park deputy superintendent Tracy Swartout in the statement. “The park’s cold, swift-flowing waters require a high level of caution, even for hikers with extensive experience, knowledge and skills.”

After finding Goodwin’s body, Mount Rainier National Park officials reminded hikers to use extreme caution and scout the area — by looking for waterfalls or log jams — before crossing streams.

“It’s a good idea to unfasten the belt of your pack so that you can separate from your pack should you fall into the water, and carry a sturdy stick to maintain two points of contact with the ground at all times,” officials said in the statement. “Always listen for the sounds of large rocks and boulders getting moved around in the river, as this means the water is strong and fast.”

For more information about hiking safety in Mount Rainier National Park, park officials recommend visiting their website at www.nps.gov/mora.
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Gil
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 7:27 am 
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So sad. But a good reminder of the dangers of river crossings, especially if we have to cross the same spot in morning and afternoon.

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JonnyQuest
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 8:43 am 
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RIP.

Gil wrote:
especially if we have to cross the same spot in morning and afternoon

That's a salient point.  IMO more so than the ranger's public comment of "river crossings can be extremely hazardous this time of year".  Maybe I'm reading that wrong, but that seems to imply river crossings are especially hazardous this time of year.  PNW river levels, even those that are glacier fed, are at their lowest in late summer / early fall.  A quick look at the hydrographs for that basin validate this.  Other than two very brief dips in levels this past winter due to cold, dry spells, river levels in that basin are now at their lowest of the year.  And that includes the late afternoon / evening spikes in level we see with the diurnal melt cycle.  Without going into the detail Gil shared, a better statement might have been "River crossings can be extremely dangerous".  Period.
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80skeys
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 11:26 am 
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Gil wrote:
So sad. But a good reminder of the dangers of river crossings, especially if we have to cross the same spot in morning and afternoon.

And a reminder that it can be good to hike with partners. Having more than one person involved in the decision to cross a stream or not. Having another person around in case someone gets in trouble.
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 11:31 am 
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This has been a bad week for hiking on Rainier.   frown.gif
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Ski
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 3:56 pm 
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Johnny Quest wrote:
"River crossings can be extremely dangerous".  Period.

Correct, sir.
All rivers. All year long. All day long.

The streams I've fallen in were not much more than ankle-deep, and not moving quickly. (The Sams comes to mind there.)
In late summer, that slippery goo that grows on the rocks seems to be in full bloom. Slipperier than deerguts on a doorknob - toss you right on your ass.

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nordique
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 4:43 pm 
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Great simile!  That's a new one for me!
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Brian Curtis
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 5:08 pm 
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This one hits home because I was supposed to make that same river crossing today. We had a three day trip planned, but shortened it to a two day trip with the bad weather. So I'll be there tomorrow. According to the MRNP website the bridge over the South Fork Mowich is in. That makes it seem like this may be a case where he fell off the bridge instead of falling while wading.

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Pyrites
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PostFri Aug 21, 2020 5:26 pm 
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I don’t know about all crossings, all the time. As noted above the Mowich is especially diurnal. I spent a night listening to it rolling the big rocks in a channel relocating night. The next morning I crossed with ease, and went back and returned again to grab partner’s left behind sweater. All without effort.
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80skeys
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 9:04 am 
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Usually I plan my backpacking trips to Idaho for after the spring runoff subsides mid-July.  So this is interesting hearing that the streams in Washington are still swollen this late in the season?? Why is this?

Problematic rivers is what ended up being the demise of that guy from Into the Wild. He crossed early in the season before the waters were high. A couple months later he wanted to return but found the river uncrossable. Ended up starving to death because he couldn't get back to civilization.

Fly fishing in the Rockies in all seasons has made me wary of rivers. Many dangers in any season.
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coldrain108
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 9:29 am 
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80skeys wrote:
streams in Washington are still swollen this late in the season?? Why is this?

Glaciers. There are none in CO or NM or ID.  Once the seasonal snow is gone that's it for water sources in the south central Rockies.

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80skeys
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 9:43 am 
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coldrain108 wrote:
80skeys wrote:
streams in Washington are still swollen this late in the season?? Why is this?

Glaciers. There are none in CO or NM or ID.  Once the seasonal snow is gone that's it for water sources in the south central Rockies.

Ahhhhh.... that makes sense. Thanks.
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Joseph
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PostSun Aug 23, 2020 9:23 am 
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Brian Curtis wrote:
This one hits home because I was supposed to make that same river crossing today. We had a three day trip planned, but shortened it to a two day trip with the bad weather. So I'll be there tomorrow. According to the MRNP website the bridge over the South Fork Mowich is in. That makes it seem like this may be a case where he fell off the bridge instead of falling while wading.

We will be crossing the S Mowich soon, coming from Golden Lakes camp, and it has me a bit worried.  The recent photo I saw of the bridge is that of a log and railing (i.e. typical park bridge), but with the end of the log, maybe 7 feet or so, with no railing and the river splashing over it. Skinny log, too.   I am told there is a wider log across the river about 150 ft upstream that might be safer to use. 

Pretty much all downhill from Golden Lakes so I hope to get an early start and maybe get to the river early enough before the glacial melt increases the flow.  Thoughts?

RIP to the man who fell in and drowned.
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Brian Curtis
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PostSun Aug 23, 2020 10:27 pm 
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We did end up making that crossing both yesterday and today. The bridge is exactly as you describe, Joseph. It was not a safe option. Flags lead upstream a bit where there is a big log. But I didn't like it much, especially when it was wet on Saturday morning. The part without bark looked slippery and the bark looked like it might be at the point where it will start releasing. It didn't look quite as bad to me when it was dry this afternoon. But we still opted for a third option both days. Right next to the large log most people use there is a good sized cedar that spans the river. It came down with a smaller tree that makes a very nice natural railing for most of the distance across and its nice fresh bark was not slippery in the slightest.

Coming from the Golden Lakes direction the biggest problem with the cedar, if you decide to use it, will be figuring out how to get off. It is well off the ground and you have to walk over a fair bit of land before you'll see a horizontal alder stem you can climb down to.

We had no problem at all crossing the river late in the afternoon today. You don't have to worry about getting an early start from Golden Lakes.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Brian Curtis
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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 7:12 am 
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Replying to my own post to add visual aids.

South Fork Mowich River Bridge
South Fork Mowich River Bridge

The bridge across South Fork Mowich River on Saturday morning 22 Aug 2020. The river is high from rainwater runoff from a storm the day before. It was lower when we returned on Sunday afternoon.

South Fork Mowich River Big Log
South Fork Mowich River Big Log

The big log (reverse angle). I didn't like the section only half covered with bark where it looked like a section may have recently sloughed off.

South Fork Mowich River Cedar
South Fork Mowich River Cedar

The cedar log that we ended up using sits right next door to the big log. It had a natural handrail for most its length and was not slippery in the slightest.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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