Keep from Drowning when Crossing Rivers

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crossing river

If you are crossing a river with a group of people there are a few ways to do so. These methods are:

    1. Rope Crossings (which you CAN do by yourself as well using rappel rigging)
    2. Chain Method
    3. Pole Method

 

Crossing with a Rope

One method for crossing, and the best method if you can do it is crossing with a rope.  Follow these tips.

  • Choose a rope 3 times the width of the river if available. Do NOT tie the rope off on the first bank, just wrap around a tree so you can retrieve it later.
  • The strongest person will cross first while being tied to the rope. Don’t give too much slack, but just enough for them to continue to move across the river.
  • Once across, the first person ties off the rope on the other side.
  • Then each other person will cross. It is best for everyone to be clipped onto the rope with a carabiner.

Stream Crossing Using a Handline

Chain Method

If you don’t have a rope, you failed, but you still have options. Use the chain method.

  • Each person lined up so that the lightest person is breaking the current for the others and the heaviest is the downstream anchor.
  • Everyone interlocks their arms.
  • This method gives more friction on the bottom and less chance of current being able to catch you.
  • Small calculated steps.

Chain method for stream crossing

Pole Method

Similar to the chain method, the pole method will reduce the currents ability to overtake you and raise your friction on the ground.

  • Hold the pole parallel to the current
  • Lightest man upstream
  • Heaviest man downstream to act as the anchor for crossing.
  • Small calculated steps

swift tremendous stream

Avoiding Crossing wide Rivers is Better

You need to learn to navigate and learn how to read topographic maps. As you look at the topographic maps, you can easily choose the easiest and fastest methods for traversing terrain.

If you would like a free PDF for learning how to read topographic maps just click the link. I will also send you info on using a compass as well.

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