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Author Topic: Friend had a close call yesterday  (Read 1744 times)

Offline Caribou

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Friend had a close call yesterday
« on: January 09, 2017, 07:18:20 pm »
Hi Folks,

A colleague had a close call yesterday while hiking with a friend on a local frozen river. The river is mid-sized and has a fair amount of current throughout its length before entering the Ottawa River. They were on foot (no snowshoes or ski's) and encountered a 'sweeper' (i.e. a tree fallen across the river). Her friend hugged the bank to get around the tree but my colleague opted to cross the tree mid-way across the river. She put her right foot up on the tree to cross and her left foot went through the ice; she then stepped back with her right leg to recover and totally broke through and plugged right up to her waist but was able to grab the tree as she fell through. Fortunately her adrenaline got her out even though she could feel the current dragging her legs under the tree/ice. She did not feel the bottom so it was probably deep.

Even though it was cold here yesterday (-20C) they were able to get to the safety of a nearby home relatively quickly.

A frightening event but an important lesson. She realized afterward that they should have tested the ice depth better or carried a sounding stick/staff (or avoided it altogether). Another mistake was crossing the tree mid-river and putting weight on the ice close to the trunk where increased current would weaken the ice. 

Things would probably have been quite different if she had been wearing snowshoes (she is an avid snowshoer). Not a pleasant thought but snowshoes can act as parachutes if you fall through the ice and drag you under if there is any current. This is why some river-travellers often prefer lamp-wick bindings for their snowshoes so that they are more apt to slip off the boots in the event of an accident.

Not a pleasant topic but I thought it was worth sharing.

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 07:40:33 pm »
Scary. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad everyone is alright.

Offline TZBrown

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 07:58:38 pm »
Another, glad it turned out OK

And a reminder for all to check the ice
Life's A Journey
It's not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body,
But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
Woo Hoo!....What a Ride!

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Offline mewolf1

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 08:22:55 pm »
Glad nothing bad happened!!

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 09:07:10 pm »
Happy to hear that your friend is fine.

I've noticed that even overhanging trees seem to create enough of a microclimate to create a.patch of thin ice.
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Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 10:23:36 pm »
Good info, and good report of a scary incident. Glad all are well. I went through the ice once in full xc ski gear... Luckily it wasn't really deep, and I walked out... But we aren't always that lucky.

Offline mewolf1

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 11:02:24 pm »
Well said. I didn't know how to word it, but anything in the water when current is present, makes for an iffy situation IMO. They may well have been on 8-12" and thin only by the tree.
Happy to hear that your friend is fine.

I've noticed that even overhanging trees seem to create enough of a microclimate to create a.patch of thin ice.

Offline kiggy

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2017, 11:14:04 am »
Well said. I didn't know how to word it, but anything in the water when current is present, makes for an iffy situation IMO. They may well have been on 8-12" and thin only by the tree.
Happy to hear that your friend is fine.

I've noticed that even overhanging trees seem to create enough of a microclimate to create a.patch of thin ice.
even without current - any rocks, fallen trees, docks will have thinner ice around

Offline Dave Hadfield

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 12:06:21 pm »
It's easy to mis-judge. Several times I've come across moose frozen in the ice -- you'd think they were pros...

Moving water is unpredictable under ice cover. Also, in swamps, decomposing plant material can create heat, which can thin the ice above -- and in there is usually one channel of moving water which is dangerous for that reason.

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2017, 12:58:53 pm »
Even on deep lake, where ice is sometime 3feet thick up here, you will find thin spot, usually spider web spots!!

Offline Undersky

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 03:09:07 pm »
At the risk of hijacking this thread....

Spider holes fascinate me.

They do not always occur in the same parts of lake each year, sometimes they stay open or grow in width, and sometimes they freeze over for the rest of the winter. As ANDN implies, the ice a meter to the side of a spider hole can be a full winter's depth - 2 or 3 feet.

While watching them when they are open, it is easy to see that they are the "vent" for liquid water to flow up or down from the top of the ice to the bottom & vis-versa, perhaps b/c of atmospheric pressure changes or b/c of changing snow loads upon the ice. Springtime melt water trapped on top of the ice "escapes" back into the liquid lake down though these spider holes for sure - sometimes with a small whirlpool on the surface.

Is anyone else interested spider holes? What do you think causes those "spider holes" initially, and why do they happen where they happen?

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 03:59:07 pm »
This spring the frozen gravel roads round us had "mudcanos", warmer defrosted soil would rise in a column through several feet of frozen road and spurt out through the surface. I'm just wondering if the convection pattern that creates these are the same that creates spider holes?

Gotta be a PhD in there somewhere if it hasn't been done already!
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Offline Coldfingers

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2017, 05:16:21 pm »
I have been an Ice Rescue Instructor for the past 14 yrs. Just some FYI info: River ice is 15 % weaker than lake ice is. Also the ice on a curve is weaker than a straight section. Logs and other obstructions and objects in the water act as heat sinks and the ice is weaker around them, so avoid being around.

Offline HOOP

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2017, 09:47:52 pm »
At the risk of hijacking this thread....

Spider holes fascinate me.

They do not always occur in the same parts of lake each year, sometimes they stay open or grow in width, and sometimes they freeze over for the rest of the winter. As ANDN implies, the ice a meter to the side of a spider hole can be a full winter's depth - 2 or 3 feet.

While watching them when they are open, it is easy to see that they are the "vent" for liquid water to flow up or down from the top of the ice to the bottom & vis-versa, perhaps b/c of atmospheric pressure changes or b/c of changing snow loads upon the ice. Springtime melt water trapped on top of the ice "escapes" back into the liquid lake down though these spider holes for sure - sometimes with a small whirlpool on the surface.

Is anyone else interested spider holes? What do you think causes those "spider holes" initially, and why do they happen where they happen?

Hi Undersky.  Yes this is a hijack!   :)  The OP was about moving water in a river.  If you use the Search box up top and enter "spider holes" and hit return, you will get many different threads listed and linked, with photos, videos and discussion already in progress.  Why not take the spider hole discussion to them, and build on them.   :)
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Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Friend had a close call yesterday
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2017, 09:58:08 pm »
At the risk of hijacking this thread....

Spider holes fascinate me.

They do not always occur in the same parts of lake each year, sometimes they stay open or grow in width, and sometimes they freeze over for the rest of the winter. As ANDN implies, the ice a meter to the side of a spider hole can be a full winter's depth - 2 or 3 feet.

While watching them when they are open, it is easy to see that they are the "vent" for liquid water to flow up or down from the top of the ice to the bottom & vis-versa, perhaps b/c of atmospheric pressure changes or b/c of changing snow loads upon the ice. Springtime melt water trapped on top of the ice "escapes" back into the liquid lake down though these spider holes for sure - sometimes with a small whirlpool on the surface.

Is anyone else interested spider holes? What do you think causes those "spider holes" initially, and why do they happen where they happen?

Hi Undersky.  Yes this is a hijack!   :)  The OP was about moving water in a river.  If you use the Search box up top and enter "spider holes" and hit return, you will get many different threads listed and linked, with photos, videos and discussion already in progress.  Why not take the spider hole discussion to them, and build on them.   :)




Yes, let start a new spider hole thread!!