Posted by: jimyaker on Dec-12-12 3:03 PM (EST)
You also need to realize that there are cases where small things get you in big trouble in a hurry. Maybe you bang up an ankle or something and instead of hustling out, you are doing a on-legged poling swim thing.
I missed an eddy last weekend on a Class III, got flipped over above a drop, fell over and laded squarely on a rock which banged up my arm and shoulder blade, wasn't moving downstream and had to punch out. My safety guy missed a throw and I ended up swimming 50 yards in the rapid and another 50 in the washout.
This was on an easy III run where I would normally not have any trouble at all. I wasn't planning to flip over on this trip, much less swim (last swim was 14 months ago on the Ocoee). I had on a drytop/wetsuit combo, so I was fine, but it goes to show how quickly one little thing can compound into a real situation.
When you're thinking about paddling alone in cold conditions you need Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C and you need to practice them all in those conditions. You have Plan A and a fairly weak Plan B (lots of things might go wrong) that you haven't tried.
I avoid paddling with those who refuse to take sound advice. I don't want to be around when your Plan B starts coming apart.