Doggie tragedy in the Owen's River Gorge?


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Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 17, 2016 - 07:29am PT
ORG climbers:

Sorry to harsh your morning coffee buzz or afternoon beer smoothie, but it sounds like someone lost their dog in the river yesterday. And we almost lost ours. The river is high right now due to a release from Lake Crowley, so the easy access to many of the east side crags is not so easy in many places. The Banana Belt, for example, was completely cut off with about a foot of fast-moving water over the two crossings.

Our crew was headed for Pink Wall/Big Tower area. Mister E had constructed a doggie-friendly crossing a few weeks ago using some boards. No, however, part of the bridge was under a small amount of water. Way lay down some rocks; The Maid ran off and came back like Conan the Barbarian with a giant railroad tie. My wife, who's spooked by river crossings, got across fine, so we figured it was time to get the hound over. We should have known better. Django can be a little spazzy at times when he goes for something spooky or technical. We often spot him on bouldery approaches. Well, ol' Dj took the move across the damp section too quickly, a paw slipped, and to our horror, off we went into the current. For an instant, he went totally under, but quickly resurfaced, paddling for all he was worth. I ran downstream as Dj went over a small falls. I scanned frantically for places to catch him. Incredibly, DJ stuck the landing over the falls and held on in some rocks. I scrambled down and was able to grab him by the scruff of the neck and help him up and out. He rolled in the dry leaves as he always does after getting wet, and the crisis was over.

We were all pretty shaken, but Django was fine. At another possible crossing to a different crag up stream, we saw folks with dogs walking the plank. A couple of the hounds were fine, but a couple were deeply spooked, and it looked like on the that group decided to stay back with the dogs. Smart move. We decided against that crossing, too, and stuck to the west side for the rest of the day.

Mister E and The Maid ran into people later in the day who were looking in fruitlessly for a dog that had gone in. Looks like that hound didn't make it. We were lucky. I guess the moral of the story is belay the pooch if there's any risk like this. A good doggie harness and a short length of rope would easily do the trick. Or don't do the crossings. It was a beautiful day in the Gorge, but for one dog and his people, it ended darkly.

Be careful folks. Love, peace, and check your knots.


Apr 17, 2016 - 08:14am PT
Glad you and your pooch made it out alright. My thoughts go out to those who weren't so lucky.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Apr 17, 2016 - 08:15am PT
Glad to hear your pup escaped...just barely...very sorry about the loss of the other pooch, though. That just ain't right, and should never happen to anyone.

"You know where this is going to go, don't you?"
Fish Finder

Apr 17, 2016 - 08:33am PT

At what point do we risk an animals life for our enjoyment ?

Gym climber
Small Town with a Big Back Yard
Apr 17, 2016 - 08:54am PT
The "other" dog apparently went in somewhere above the Social Platform, where the water is running quite a bit faster than in the Lower.
We were hoping that the dog was maybe scared and on the other side, but after much searching there was no sign. Our fear is that the dog got pinned under a rock in the turbulence, since there was no sign of the poor creature...even at the water grate before the power plant :(

So glad Django stuck the boulder in the drop - what a champ!

The crossing to Warning Signs spooked a dog so bad, his owner almost lost his pack in the river scrambling to retrieve his pet on the bridge.

Be careful with your pets in the Gorge right now!

Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 17, 2016 - 09:12am PT
Yeah- terrible incident. :(

It's easy to underestimate the danger. None of the crossings anywhere in the Gorge are dog friendly right now. It's tempting to try to get across to get to the shady side... but best to stick to the west side right now if you bring a dog - unless it is small enough to carry or you have a harness and rope to belay your pooch.

I'll be dragging a plank down to raise the Pink Face crossing above the running water sometime this week. The big tree crossing below Big Tower is still easy to get across if you have people without pets.

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:17am PT
Be careful with your pets in the Gorge right now!

Better yet, just don't bring your "pets" to the Gorge, or anywhere that may be a danger to them . . . Your experience will be better if you are not constantly worried about the welfare of your "pet".

Sport climber
Shetville , North of Los Angeles
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:50am PT
Climbers need to chill...I got bitched out for bringing my mule to the crags..
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:59am PT
Don't bring pets to the crag, problem solved. SO STUPID. You get what you ask for.

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Apr 17, 2016 - 11:00am PT
It's O.K. to bring a drug mule . . . you will have lots of friends.


Apr 17, 2016 - 11:06am PT
sorry to see this about the doggy, not getting into the age-old debate, except to say that it seems like dogs are essential gear that some climbers can't climb without. Issued with the leader cards at the climbing gym
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
Apr 17, 2016 - 11:07am PT
BAds dog is sick has no biz at the crags or any dog, if you are thinking about you beloved pet while climbing, you will not be climbing at your best.

Sorry about DJ being sick bAd.

Nuff said.
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
Apr 17, 2016 - 11:20am PT
THIS IS HUGE NEWS THE whole world of climbing must know.. What NOT TO DO.

Apr 17, 2016 - 11:35am PT
SO STUPID. You get what you ask for.

So people that bought this dog to the ORG asked for it to get washed into a river and drowned? Hopefully your smarter in person than your online persona is. Because that statement is just dumb. It makes you look like an idiot.

How about the next time a climber dies we just say "You get what you ask for?" Think about it for a minute or two then STFU.

Apr 17, 2016 - 11:41am PT
No Locker it's not correct. You are confusing sh#t happens with asking for sh#t to happen. I've never grabbed a hold and thought to myself "Man wouldn't this be a great time to die."

We all take risks that we can live with or die with but none of us are asking for the latter.

Trad climber
Apr 17, 2016 - 12:07pm PT
They should
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
Apr 17, 2016 - 12:10pm PT
If you are focused on the climbing and protecting yourself and not the pet, less chance of anything bad going down.
Stewart Johnson

Mountain climber
lake forest
Apr 17, 2016 - 12:36pm PT
It's called a leash.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 17, 2016 - 12:50pm PT
Tami, they weren't crossing the Cheakamus or Capilano in flood.
A harness and 20' of rope would have been fine.
Todd Townsend

Social climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 17, 2016 - 01:44pm PT
No, moral is "pine creek. Duh."

Actually, this is a pretty bad idea too.

The endangered bighorn sheep are currently migrating through pine creek and birthing their lambs up there. The sheep are particularly wary of dogs and our local fish and wildlife crew is extremely concerned about the potential for negative interactions between the sheep and climbers. They are currently observing the climbing activity in the canyon to see what impact it may be having on the bighorns.

Please, if you're going to climb in pine creek, leave your dog at home.
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