Another accident in the canyon, this time, sadly, with one life lost.
They were boating in Wild Sheep Rapids with flows pushing 20,000 cubic feet per second, which makes that rapid a Class V at that flow, if I recall correctly.
To those unfamiliar with the Rapids Classification system, rapids are rated on a 1 to 6 scale for danger, pass ability, and competence and ability of the captain.
Class 6, the highest rating, is considered certain death to any person who attempts to run the rapid, in any method, at any experience level. Niagara Falls is a Class 6 rapid.
At the flow levels in the Snake River on the day Ricky was lost, it looks like Wild Sheep would have been a Class 5, which is considered “edges of navigability.” Essentially, a Class 5 rapid is considered to be extremely dangerous and deadly, with lots of maneuvering necessary to achieve safe passage, and should be attempted at great peril of life by only the most experienced captains.
Hugely exciting; highly risky. Ricky was lucky enough to die doing what he loved, which is something that we should all be so lucky as to be able to do, but the tragedy is that he died so far before his time, and left so many loved ones behind.
I did not know him, but he was my kindred spirit. He had the river in his blood. Had I known him, I’m sure we would have gotten along well.