Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

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cactuscat
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Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by cactuscat » Sep 12 2018 10:45 pm

Where is the "dislike" button?

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nonot
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by nonot » Sep 12 2018 11:12 pm

Glad nobody was injured.
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chumley
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by chumley » Sep 12 2018 11:16 pm

I was elsewhere that weekend, but I did get 11 separate notifications of Aravaipa flooding (I've signed up for them), with the highest at 5950cfs. That's an impressive flow! For the better part of two days it was around 1000cfs.

It flashed at around 6pm on Sept. 1st, and was back below 100cfs by 9am on 9/3. All day on the 2nd it was receding significantly before spiking again overnight.

I won't second-guess the people in that situation. Calling for rescue does not seem unreasonable to me. But if I was in a safe location I'm not sure I wouldn't have waited an extra night until the flooding subsided rather than opt for the helicopter ride.

I also wonder if a satellite beacon device was used in this instance. I don't think there's any cell service unless you are high enough above the canyon that flooding is no longer a safety concern.

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DbleDutch
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by DbleDutch » Sep 14 2018 2:27 pm

chumley wrote:I won't second-guess the people in that situation. Calling for rescue does not seem unreasonable to me. But if I was in a safe location I'm not sure I wouldn't have waited an extra night until the flooding subsided rather than opt for the helicopter ride.
Our group of 8 in 2010 had an extended day. We packed up and managed one crossing on the second extended morning, yeah we made it almost nowhere. No cell for sure in Aravaipa, but maybe someone had a PLB in this current rescue. For our group, the Loved ones at home and the BLM Ranger sent out Pima Sheriff SAR and DPS. Our group and another couple were lifted out.
Anyone know the number of such rescues at Araviapa?

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cactuscat
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by cactuscat » Sep 14 2018 8:28 pm

In related news ...
Know Before You Go
The East Entrance is closed until further notice. Access to the West Entrance requires high clearance. 6,000 cfs flood has left deep mud, possible quicksand, and debris fields. The area is currently more prone to flooding. Contact the Safford BLM for more information: 928-638-4400.

Well, darn. I am currently on annual leave and thought I might take a quick Aravaipa overnighter ... guess not.
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cactuscat
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by cactuscat » Sep 25 2018 6:53 pm

I had the BLM Aravaipa Canyon Ranger, Heidi, camping at my park the other day - asked her if she had any idea when the the East entrance would re-open ... she said they were shooting for Oct. 28th - but this was just the morning after a couple more inches of rain fell, so that may get pushed back further. Will update if I hear anymore.
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SkyIslandHiker
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by SkyIslandHiker » Sep 28 2018 3:24 pm

I called the Safford BLM office on Tuesday and got a call back that afternoon from a BLM rep (think his name was Bob). He said they had just inspected the road into the east end and were going to re-open it immediately. He said that passenger cars should still be able to make it to the trailhead by the restrooms, but high clearance 4WD would be needed to get all the way into Turkey Creek. He also stated that the stream-flow during the recent flood event measured 6,000 cfs vs. a normal flow of 100 cfs. Since I spoke with him on Tuesday the Aravaipa permit website has been updated as follows::

"The East Entrance is reopened after significant flooding on 9/2/18. At this time, high-clearance is required and 4-wheel drive is recommended. Equestrian travel is not recommended due to deep pools, debris, and possible quicksand. Contact the Safford BLM for more information: 928-638-4400". (BTW, the correct phone number is 928-348-4400.)

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Mick
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by Mick » Sep 29 2018 1:45 am

We went in from the west on Sept 14th. Camped at Horse Camp Canyon-area clear. Some deep pools and lots of debris above streambed. I heard flow gauge was off and recent flood was 4000cfs. Anyway, it did catch people unawares judging by the amount of tent debris we collected -pieces from 3 different tents. Two people had close call near Painted Cave Canyon.
AZMick

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rohen222
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by rohen222 » Oct 20 2018 10:45 am

Hi all, I was one of the 15, so I may be able to comment on some of the questions brought up in the post.

First of all, let me say this. I've hiked the canyon over a dozen times, and the friend I had with me has hiked more than that. Each time I've gone, I've studied the flood patterns for the season on the USGS website. We know it floods in the summer, but the danger is pretty easy to avoid. Be off the creek by early afternoon, don't camp on the beach, and don't explore the side canyons but in the morning. Also, keep, a close eye on weather to the east, since it's rain over there that feeds the canyon. On the day we went, rain chance was 20% to the east.

Anyway, we had followed our own guidelines, but around 3 we experienced heavy rain and saw a huge muddy waterfall falling from the top ridge of one of the side canyons, indicating that a wash on the flats above had overtoped its banks. At that point we climbed the cliffs, and we were never in the way of the water. However, even though the water receded at times, it always rose again ultimately we evacuated our positions five times. We spent the night on the cliffs watching forb rockslide above us, concerned about the trees below falling, as they cracked and snapped under the pressure of the water.

There were five of us, my friend, me, and three children. We had permits for for 2 nights, 3 days, but during the night my friend that I decided we were going to get the hell out of there in the morning. When dawn broke, we saw that the river was a huge brown torrent, and there was deep mud on either side where the water had receded. We realize we probably weren't going to be able to hike out for days. We had provisions, and we had back up water treatment tablets since the water was unfilterable, but we were concerned about the kids. No phone service, so we figured we would not see search and rescue until our third night. Escape by overland route was not feasible because of the limited and unpredictable water supplies up above, never mind the navigational challenges..

As it turns out, people we had met in the parking lot camped very close to the entrance. They went on a day hike, and returned to find it all of their supplies, tens, everything else had been washed away by the initial flood, which wasn't that big. They were able to hike to a high spot and get a phone signal. They're the ones who called SAR. As they were evacuated, they mentioned that we were there too, so we got a ride out as well.

Frankly, I was embarrassed. I feel like I should have been able to I get out on my own at some point but when we were dropped off by the helicopter, the ranger told us we would not have been able to hike out for days because of the quicksand along the banks.

So anyway, an interesting experience. It taught the kids a lot about proper shelter, alternative shelters, backup water filtration systems or treatment systems, creative sheltering, blah blah blah.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 20 2018 4:08 pm

@rohen222
Thanks for the interesting story! Great experience! And it's good to have the clarification as to what actually happened, of course.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Nighthiker
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Re: Aravaipa Flash Flood & Rescues

Post by Nighthiker » Oct 21 2018 8:06 pm

Thank you for posting, glad and thankfully no deaths or serious injuries.
jk

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