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ccwalbridge, Author at Charlie Walbridge ccwalbridge, Author at Charlie Walbridge

ccwalbridge

Posts by ccwalbridge

Tubers on Clear Creek River in Colorado

A Rescue Arrested – How It Happened and What We Can Learn

A Rescue Arrested – How It Happened and What We Can Learn Although outfitters know how to deal with anything from a routine swims to a life-threatening pins, few are prepared to work with Emergency Responders. When police, fire, and rescue personnel arrive, the dynamics of a situation change. Search and rescue (SAR) professionals are
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Kick Back in a Failed Z-drag

Catastrophic Failure of a Z-drag Z-drag haul systems create a tremendous amount of force and can put a major strain on your equipment. You always count on it going right but what happens when it goes wrong? Here is an example I do with my students to get them to understand kick back.  

Racing Through the 70’s

During the late 60’s and early 70’s whitewater kayaks were hard to find and kayak schools didn’t exist. You learned to boat from the guys at the local paddling club if you were lucky, or by trial and error if you weren’t. If you were serious about running hard whitewater, you raced. My buddies and
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Charlie Walbridge using throw bag.

Near Miss in the Watauga Gorge

The Watauga River west of Boone, North Carolina is one of the best technical river runs in the Southeast. I’d been down it a few times before, and except for a rather eventful first run with Jack Wright in the mid-70’s, had always found it enjoyable. The two previous trips had been in the company
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Charlie Walbridge raft guide

Working for NOC in ’74 – A Yankee Paddler Goes South

In the winter of 1973 I found a help-wanted ad for river guides and kayak instructors in the American Whitewater Journal. I sent my application to a place called the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina and in due course was offered a job. Being a Northern boy, I remember being apprehensive as I drove south the
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Cheat River

The Glory Days of Cheat River Rafting

In the 1970’s, long before anyone was a sponsored paddler, the only way to make money by paddling was to be a river guide. Unlike the west, where commercial and private paddlers formed very separate groups, back east, we were all part of the same community. Since there were very few skilled whitewater paddlers around,
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Gauley Season- The First Ten Years

I’ve always enjoyed other people’s stories of their first runs of the Gauley River, but they’re very different from the early days I knew. John Berry tried to run the river in open canoes sometime before the dam during the mid 60’s and Sayre Rodman made the first successful run in rafts in 1966. The
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Charlie Walbridge Swifwater Rescue Instruction Whitewater Consultant Ohiopyle, Youghiogheny, Cheat Big Sandy, NRS Salesman

Getting Started Paddling (True Confessions of an Old-Time Boater)

Nowadays it’s easy to run down to a store, buy a kayak, or take classes at a local kayak school. But years ago starting out was different. This is my story. It’s the summer of 1962, I’m a 14 year-old at Mowglis, a boy’s camp in New Hampshire. We’ve been floating down the Saco River for a day and
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Yough Coroner’s Inquest Report

On November 28th I attended the coroner’s inquest into the three drownings that occurred on the Lower Youghiogheny at Dimple Rapid this past summer. Dr. Philip Reilly, the Fayette County Coroner, has examined other Yough river deaths with an eye towards improving safety on the river. This past summer he stated that he thought it would
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The Dynamics of Pinning

Hitting rocks and boulders of all sizes and shapes is a part of river running. Modern boats can take the punishment, but how should the boater deal with the real risks of pinning and entrapment? Water flows around rocks, not through them. Beginners learn quickly to continue trying to avoid them even when a collision
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