We landed on a small rock ledge beneath an overhanging ledge. Two of us scrambled up a path beside the main rock to the top and then tossed down our tow ropes to a third person who remained below. His job was to attach the tow ropes to the kayaks and then the two persons above would begin hauling the kayaks skyward. It was not an easy task. The kayak kept hanging beneath the overhang. The solution was to lower one end of the kayak and bring the other end up first; either bow or stern will work. It's a good thing we chose my plastic Tempest to experiment with. A fiberglass would have been severely scratched up in this trial. But we did manage to get a 17 foot Wilderness Systems Tempest to the top of a 35 foot rock ledge in about 10 minutes. If we had to get other kayaks out of the water too, we could have set the Tempest aside and moved on to recovering the others. But we didn't have to. Our next problem was getting it down.
Our options were: lower it down by the bow and stern ropes; lower it down by the stern toggle; throw it over the ledge and let what ever happened, happen.
We chose to KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. The quickest, and easiest way to get the Tempest off the rock was to toss it into the water. We unhooked all towlines, so as not to become entangled in them. Then, being very careful to not get too close to the rock ledge, we hoisted the kayak above our heads and "heaved" it skyward. The Tempest arced up, then downward, and plunged nose first into the dark green waters of the Patuxent river. From 35 feet elevation, the 17 foot Tempest momentarily disappeared beneath the water's surface before resurfacing and floating upright. The front and rear compartments remained water tight and even my storm paddle and paddle float and bilge pump remained in position beneath bungees.
The water was deep enough here that we could have jumped in with the kayak, but due to the cool air temperatures and distance from the put in, we choose not to do so. We all down-climbed and reentered our kayaks. Another kayaker from the group then recovered my Tempest and we resumed our paddle. It's worth pointing out that the kayak was "thrown" untethered and would have floated away had a kayaker not been present to recover it. To tether the kayak, then throw it with an attached rope could result in personal injury.
As it was, no kayakers or kayaks were damaged in this test. The only casualty was a very nice, two piece laminated paddle that I mistakenly fell backward on during my exit from my kayak. The ledge we stepped out onto was beneath the waters surface, and part of an overhanging ledge itself. I stepped back, and off the ledge, falling on my paddle in the process. One of the tips fractured. We duct taped it back together and it was good for the duration of the paddle. I'll have a separate blog about this later.
We re-named this rock outcropping Mount Tempest in honor of the sacrifice my Wilderness Tempest made this day.