Fate of Dimple Rock on the Yough

-- Last Updated: Apr-05-06 1:46 PM EST --

Click the link below the picture for descriptions of the proposed changes.

Don’t know the precautions
the State is going to advise be put in place but;having rafted with Laural Highlands 3x on this river I agree with the last sentence.

People need to understand the Yough isn’t like an amusement park ride.

Sounds like a lot of folks studied all options and decided-for once- to leave nature alone and concentrate,instead, on the human factor.

Ever since summer 2000…
the State revists this the beginning of each season on the Yough. I don’t think that the State is ever going to alter the river in any way. If they do alter dimple or the river, suddenly they ARE liable for any mishaps. I think the DCNR will close the river before they change it’s flow. I really feel for the families that have lost loved ones, but as previously mentioned, whitewater is NOT a amusement park and nature can be dangerous.


PA ignors main human factor…
Ohiopyle’s business model is pretty much the cause of most fatalities on the Lower Yough. You can have as many safety videos and warning signs as you like, but as long as the outfitters continue to make $$$$ by sending tens of thousands of unguided novices down the river, there will be deaths.

Pretty much every time I’m on that run during the tourist season, I wind up pulling a bruised/bloodied raft customer out of the water below Dimple. On a summer Saturday, you can eat lunch at Swimmer’s (playhole a couple hundred yards below Dimple) and watch a steady stream of raft paddles, empty rafts, and bug eyed swimmers drift by on river right. Or if you’re into carnage, you can eddy out across from Dimple and watch all the raft and duck flips.

It’s not the rapid’s fault - it’s a straightforward class 3 move. It’s the fault of the outfitters whose idea of a ‘guided’ trip is 30 rafts with one guide in the lead boat who stops at each drop, stands on a rock, and pantomimes directions to the clueless passengers.

In a way, it’s a testament to how forgiving that run really is that more tourists haven’t died there.

I have not been up there in
about 30 years, but thats exactly how I remember it, except we had a guy in kayak in the lead doing the pantomime. Inexperienced touristas think they can’t get hurt in a raft and generally pay no attention to pre launch saftey talks to boot.

There are…
There are inherent risks & possible natural consequences for those who engage in whitewater paddling of any sort, be it canoe, kayak, duckie or raft.

Signs, videos, assumption of risk waviers & verbal/written warnings will not stop the flow of moving water, nor will they stop the flow of tourists looking for cheap thrills in rafts.

The ones I really hate to see are the family groups in rafts on class 3 & class 4 whitewater with little kids. Some of the rafts are self guided & Dad “doesn’t have a clue”! Will never forget the look of terror in the eyes of kids I’ve pulled out of the water after their rafts had capsized, and dads & moms were barely able to help themselves, much less the kids.

Some people “just don’t get it”.


I have intimate experience at Dimples
I guided in the '70s, hard-boated, and now occasionally raft with friends (and former guides).

I helped evacuate a drowning victim from Dimples - this was before the days of the rail-trail and easy access. This victim was in a group of experienced private rafters, and she simply rolled off the upstream side of the raft as it tipped against the pillow.

Two summers ago I watched in horror from river right as a commercial group ran the rapid. Back in the day, we metered out the customer’s rafts, with a guide standing on Dimples giving hand signals and standing by to physically push rafts off the rock. A safety kayak stood by just downstream and another guide was down at Swimmers. But this particular company simply let all the rafts go at their own convenience. The result was a monumental pile-up, throwlines everywhere, at least a half-dozen swimmers, and tragically, one customer suffering a heart attack and death. While the death was not directly due to the poor guiding practices, one wonders if the guy (who was over 400#) had not been thrown from the raft if he would be alive today.

But I agree that doing nothing is the best alternative.


Maybe things hsve changed…
But during the summers of '96, '97, and '98, I ran a program out of a local Boy Scout camp and ran the lower Yough every Thursday for 9 weeks each summer. I was always gone on a “guided” trip with one of the local outfitters. This usually meant about 25-30 rafts (4-5 people per raft), maybe 5-6 guides in kayaks, 2 guides each in a shredder, and 2 guides in rafts with other paddlers. We entered Dimple exactly as Jim described it. One guide let boats go one at a time, One guide on Dimple rock giving hand signals, and pushing off wayward rafts. Many guides on shore with throw lines, and many kayaker guides in water below the rapid. Yeah, one or two rafts always flipped. This was usually people not willing to paddle hard. Dimple is a finese rapid in a raft. You can’t paddle too soon or two late. You have to enter the rapid with your raft a 2:00 until you hit the channel right infront of Dimple rock, then paddle like hell past it turn left, paddle like hell again, then turn right. I have never witnessed a guided trip that just let boaters run Dimple, but it has been 8 years, things may have changed. Now, outfitters also just rent equipment to boaters to just go down on their own. Who knows how well these people know how to paddle. I think a lot of people go on a guided trip, then think they can just raft it on their own the following summer. Usually not the best idea. Dimple is tricky but there is a fantastic portage on the left hand side and no lack of warnings (one at the outfitters, a video at the put in, and signs on the river). Paddle at your own risk.