Appendix 3. Equipment.

Major renovations were completed in early November 2017 but I expect that warts remain.
Thanks for your patience. Allan

Appendix 3. Equipment.

Arthur Moffatt did not die due to lack of…proper equipment.
The cause of his death is documented in Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

The assertion.

Lack of…proper equipment…contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise.
Source. James Murphy’s review of Grinnell’s book (1996).
Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, pp 5 & 11.
Online version. http://www.canoe.ca/AllAboutCanoes/book_deathbarrens.html ]

Response.
Murphy provided no source, no evidence, no anything in support of the accusation; that is why I call it an assertion.
Given that the assertion appears in a review of Grinnell’s book, and that I found no alternative, I conclude that Murphy refers to George Luste’s recommendations in Grinnell’s book [pp 297&298].

Luste’s preface.
We can try to be better prepared to deal with a similar situation. My short list would be as follows.
Please note that Luste is recommending equipment for paddlers circa 1996.
In particular, he is not suggesting that the Moffatt party of 1955 should have been so equipped.

Luste’s recommendation 1.
… use a water-tight snap on canoe cover …
Comment 1. Spray covers, let alone the snap-on variety, were not in general use by recreational paddlers in 1955. Luste, writing 41 years later, certainly knew this. The thread
http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=44587
at Canadian Canoe Routes is not so informative in this respect.
Comment 2. Thum’s Dubawnt party of 1966 knew about spray decking but chose not to use same.
Che-Mun, Autumn 2005; p 18, bottom of the middle column.
http://www.canoeing.com/advanced/feature/deadmansriver.htm
Comment 3. …I made a very primitive nylon decking for part of my canoe for the 1969 trip… It was a crude affair and only partially effective. [Luste, in Grinnell, 1996]

Luste’s recommendation 2.
… have a very long rope, 100 feet or more, on at least one end of every canoe.
Comment 1. I don’t know whether the Moffatt party carried such long ropes; neither, I submit, does the defamer Murphy.
Comment 2. I know neither whether other canoe parties carried such ropes in the 50s; neither, I submit, does the defamer Murphy.
Comment 3. Had such long ropes had been available, it is unclear that they would have helped in the difficult circumstances of 14 September 1955.

Luste’s recommendation 3.
… always carry a gas stove, and an emergency supply of fuel in reserve for such an accident above the tree line …
Comment. The Moffatt party carried a stove and it survived the accident, as did the supply of wood: Peter’s bag of dry wood enabled them to provide some hot food. [Luste, in Grinnell, p 295]

Luste’s recommendation 4.
… carry an emergency EPIRB…
Comment 1. EPIRBs (or equivalent) were not available in 1955.
Comment 2. The Moffatt party was refused permission to carry a radio, as I document below.

Comment regarding floatation devices.
Luste did not mention pfds, I expect because they were in common use well before 1996. But it seems necessary to state that no suitable floatation device was available in 1955, as discussed in my Nastawgan article.
http://www.myccr.com/sites/default/files/storage/CCR%20pdf/Nastawgan/winter_2014.pdf
Briefly, life preservers were available in 1955 (of course), but they hinder swimming; as well, they can jolt the head when one hits the water.

Comment of Pessl.
…lack of improved equipment technologies did not doom the Moffatt Dubawnt journey… [Pessl book, p 163].

Response to Murphy’s accusations.
George Luste and I were professional colleagues for four decades.
Always generous with his time, he helped me considerably when I began tripping in earnest.
I knew him reasonably well. He had a strong sense of right and wrong.
I believe that he would have been much angered to learn that Murphy had used his recommendations for paddlers circa 1996 to defame Moffatt, who died forty years earlier.

A request.
I ask that the reader assess Murphy’s assertion that Lack of…proper equipment…contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise in the light of the evidence presented above.

The assertion of Kingsley.

There was no satellite technology in those days to provide either the illusion or the reality of decreased risk, but they didn’t even bring a radio. [Back and Beyond, p 14].
Comment. The unstated source can be only We carried no radio. [Grinnell book, p 11].
Response.
Moffatt asked for permission to carry a transmit-receive radio but the Canadian government refused the request, even though they recognize the increase in safety such a set would give our party. [Pessl, p 13].
Question.
Given that there exists no evidence that the lack of a radio played a role in the tragedy, why was the accusation made?
Conclusion.
An accusation remarkable (as best I know unique) in the Moffatt literature, for it is true.

Internal URLs.

Foreword and Forum.
Main text.
Appendix 1. Reality.
Appendix 3. Equipment.
Appendix 4. Experience.
Appendix 5. Pace and weather.
Appendix 6. Food.
Appendix 7. Schedule.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
Ancillary 1. Accusations.
Ancillary 2. Lanouette excerpt.
Ancillary 3. Tyrrell excerpt.
Ancillary 4. Distances.
Ancillary 5. Loose ends and the future.
Ancillary 6. Addenda.
Ancillary 7. Moffatt’s Tyrrell sources.
Ancillary 8. Evidence regarding the tragedy.
Bibliography.

Notice.
With the exception of quoted material, copyright to the above belongs to Allan Jacobs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *