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Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

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Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

After doing my research, I decided the family (two middle-aged parents, two teens) would enjoy a little exicitement on the Kicking Horse river. That was, until I unintentionally saw the news articles about the rare deaths that have occured on Kicking Horse raft trips. Also noted in a news article was it's not unusual for rafts to flip on the Kicking Horse.

I've been dumped out of a raft once already, and don't want to go through that again. But I don't want to float in a bathtub either.

I don't find death reports for the Kananaskis or Sunwapta rivers. Can someone please suggest a river rafting trip that tops out at level III? The deaths on the Kicking Horse occurred earlier in the summer; we'll be there the third week of August, if that makes a difference.

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Kananaskis Country
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Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

I can't answer your question, but I can provide a little perspective.

I looked up the story again to refresh my memory. First off, only one person (a woman) was killed. The raft trip was at the end of June (June 24); here on the east side of the Rockies, rivers were very high and local authorities were strongly discouraging people from any recreational boating on the Bow River in Calgary ( calgarysun.com/2012/07/02/man-dies-after-raf… ) In fact, the City of Calgary is now looking into stronger measures to keep boaters off the Bow River when it is unsafe.

According to the news stories, the Kicking Horse River was also running high and fast at that time, but the rafting companies decided it was safe enough to go ahead. The accident happened with a very experienced and reputable company. Commercial rafting on the Kicking Horse probably has the longest history of any river in the Canadian Rockies.

Although I'm a news junkie, this is the only commercial rafting death that I can recall ever happening in the Rockies.

Edited: 20 June 2013, 08:34
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Bow River
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2. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

Also a death in July 2009.

I understand the risks are tiny compared to the risk of death in driving to the put-in site. Still, I'm a little hesitant about signing my family up for an acitivity that has killed two people in the past 4 years.

We'd like to go rafting, but something between a lot of wild white water, and a float trip. I'll also call the tour companies closer to August, and find out how high the Kicking Horse is compared to other years.

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3. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

It seems that my memory is not as good as I thought. I also found an item about a rafting death on the Kicking Horse in June 2007. Perhaps August would be a better bet; water levels are normally lower, and the guides have gotten more into the groove of things by then.

4. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

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5. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

Would heartily recommend Chinook Rafting on the Kananaskis river - the river is dam controlled and its a fun trip thats much less extreme than the Kicking Horse - reason to go Chinook is that their raft are self bailing so they can 'surf' into one of the waves, been twice with them and loved both times althoug wouldnt be super exciting for the teens.

Rob

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Chinook Rafting
Chinook Rafting
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Kananaskis Country
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Jasper, Canada
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6. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

Some of the rafting companies here in Jasper advertise that they have not had any emergency situations in over 25 years. I don't remember which companies those are, but the Sunwapta and Athabasca River runs are only class 2 and 3 rapids - and from what I've heard from kayaking friends, the class 3 stuff is only early in the summer when the rivers are running high. Peak run-off is early to mid-July; by the third week of August, water levels are getting very low. I can't remember ever hearing of a rafting death here in Jasper, and I've been living here over 30 years.

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7. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

Thanks for suggestions. Hope you don't read about us (or anyone else).

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8. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

Go with the kicking horse river. Don't cheap out on your company. the kicking horse river has a trip for every one, regardless of your adventure level. late august will be lower water and carnage free. your teenagers might want more of a thrill than just a 2-3 float trip but there are specific trips for younger kids that max out at class 3 available on the kicking horse. have fun :)

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9. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

Old post from June 2013

10. Re: Not Too Wild River Rafting; Freaked by Deaths

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