Clutch Kayak Rescue
Demshitz paddler ropes out teammate above 50-plus-foot Washington waterfall
During their summer of stouts adventure, the Demshitz crew faced some epic moments in and out of their boats on Washington’s burly whitewater.
Here is a video of one such moment provided by Dave Fusilli,yellow boat, where he throws a rope to crew member Bren Orton, green boat, and pulls him across the lip of Hamma Hamma on the Olympic Peninsula, Wash. This double drop starts with a 20-footer leading into another 50-60-foot waterfall. The water landing from the 20-footer pushes into the left wall, where Orton found himself upon landing. “That wall is like an undercut catcher’s mitt, a no-go,” says Fusilli. “Well, Bren boofed straight out and got pushed into the gnar wall, got pinned and swam. Next he’s holding onto the bad left wall.”
As seen in the video, things for Orton go downhill pretty fast, but the Demshitz crew is nothing if not prepared with safety gear, skills and the knowledge to handle bad whitewater situations. Fusilli throws him a rope and pulls him across the water and finally into safety. “He was about three feet from swimming a 50-60-foot waterfall. I still can’t believe it worked,” Fusilli says.