Incident:Near Drowning in Cussed Hollow 2023/05/20

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Incident:Near Drowning in Cussed Hollow 2023/05/20
Date 2023/05/20
Location Cussed Hollow
Severity No loss
Canyoneering-related Yes
SAR involvement No
Navigation problem No
Environmental problem Yes
Communication problem Yes
Planning problem Yes
Skills problem No
Body movement problem No
Rigging problem No
Rappel problem No
Insufficient gear Yes
Gear failure No


R4 is quite the bite when going into the biggest pool in the canyon. It needs respect. During this trip we needed 2 rescues. First came in the form of an attached rope bag to someone getting off rappel and into the pool. The pool was all whitewater and sucked the canyonero back to the falls. They were able to detach the bag and swim closer to the edge where another person jumped in and grabbed them out.

The next came when a canyoneer was on the edge and tried to jump down canyon to the next landing. There is a small alcove that pushes the main flow into it. Very challenging at whitewater flows. Canyoner jumped and was unable to make it pasted the alcove and was unable to breathe for 20+ seconds and another canyoner was able to pull them to safety. No SAR was needed and we were able to ascend out of the canyon and finish the day.

What could’ve made these situations? Better communication, gear accessibility as the rope bag was temporary lost, better understanding that when high flows are on the table that the margin error is much smaller. All parties are well seasoned people and the flows were just a bit too high to be successfully navigated.