Duluth extreme swim video



about 10 years ago

Awesome! Many of my childhood jumping spots.


about 10 years ago

Well done clip.


about 10 years ago

Reminded me of my cliff diving at Gooseberry as a teen.


about 10 years ago

Ditto Swan, but if it's not an insiders secret, where is the place during the Cat Stevens section, about 3 minutes in?  I have never been there.  

These other places I have mostly swum before but way too chicken to do the lighthouse, even as a teen.  When my first kid was born the extreme swimming days ended.  And some of the drama here shows why,  it really is dangerous.  (Yet so awesome).


about 10 years ago

Thank you.  Three minutes in is the mine pits in Virginia, MN.


about 10 years ago

Was that the lighthouse in Canal Park?  Bold!


about 10 years ago

I did not grow up around here, so I'm not up to speed on what the cool kids do. My son is 2 years old. At what age will he start doing stuff like this? In other words, how long until I have to lock him in the basement because this is terrifying?


about 10 years ago

Secret Seasons,

It might depend on your neighborhood, I began spending just about every warm day in Lester River right around age 9.  But that was back in the free range kid days of the 1980s and I only lived a 5 minute bike ride away.  

One thing that helped me is that right around that same age I saw a guy shatter one of his legs jumping at the wrong place at the "gundies." And that is one of the tamer places to jump in Duluth (although in the video going down there at high high water wrapped around a log seemed pretty extreme to me).  Anyway, that memory has never quite left me.  You are right, it's dangerous, it's a parent's nightmare, yet it's also awesome somehow.


about 10 years ago

Nice work, gentlemen.  Really well done video.  But, have your parents seen the log swimming scene?  Please don't do that again.

Secretseasons, river swimming is a parent's nightmare -- lots of injuries last summer.  Still, though, it is a lot of fun.  My 11 year old talked me into taking him to the Lester, and I gotta say that the old man had a gas jumping off the tamer jumps.


about 10 years ago

"I did not grow up around here, so I'm not up to speed on what the cool kids do"

Cool or not, kids will be kids. Can't shield or lock your kid up forever.

I grew up in the cities, but came up this way on long-distance bike tours. Still, we swam and jumped and dove all we could down there (lucky for us we also had a lot of great municipal pools, many reserves, and the lakes) or up here in whatever place (lake, stream, river) looked like it'd be deep enough we could find along the way in our days. Hence Gooseberry - back in late 70's - when there actually was a lot of water. People stood on the bridge and applauded our efforts (no one was ever hurt the few times I was up there - and you could clearly see where and how far out you had to jump/dive), and we had a blast.

I've never tried the RR bridge, but when visited with my kids or others some summers, have watched groups of boys jumping - the bonus fun/humour in that was the n00bs who carried on about their unexpected water enemas. Quite entertaining. I've also noted how much garbage (rusty bikes, other misc, and used condoms) was in the water below there and personally wouldn't go in.

I've seen people slip and fall, or jump and miss at the Deeps in the past several years, and also knew of some drowned in the Temperance River up north too. Still, it will go on.


about 10 years ago

Re:  ruby2sd4y   

No one should ever swim anywhere without an experienced local on hand telling them how and what is "safe." I'm too old to jump off the RR bridge anymore but I'm also skeeved out by what might be underwater.  Kids, possibly the less creative peers of the ones who made this video, are rumored to push, stolen bikes, shopping carts from the nearby grocery store, garbage dumpsters and who knows what else off the bridge for ... fun?  I guess.  My official advice would be never to jump in there anytime because no matter how fun it is, you can get hurt/maimed/dead swimming there. Still, I was told the same thing in my teens, and I know that people are going to do it anyway. So from a strictly harm reduction approach I would swim around really thoroughly in the LZ to make sure that it is clear of debris.  

Ditto Saga on the log rolling thing, too.  It can be fun once or twice, but on my 3rd time trying similar I bounced my tailbone off that rock that sticks out underwater at the lip of the falls. I hit it so hard it cracked my tailbone and I felt the shockwave up to my jaw and down to my toes.  I nearly passed out from the pain, not a real wise move in high water. With no life vest (or helmet, natch).  Yep, I literally busted my ass, unlike all the times I have claimed to for this or that employer (or Mrs Goose) over the years.


about 10 years ago

Your awesome video made me impossibly sentimental for the stoney summers of about 12 years ago when we ran all over northern MN hitting many of these same spots.

To the concerned mothers:

You can't child-proof the world and kids have little sense of fear or mortality. At some point, you got to accept that your son's going to do stuff for fun that you consider stupid and dangerous.   

Through life experience, fear and caution are gradually instilled in those who live long enough. Eventually concerns like adequate health insurance trump the adrenaline rush. They'll be cautious and boring adults before you know it.  

For example, the experience of pulling my friend out of a raging river moments after he shattered his shoulder diving into a rock, greatly reduced the gusto with which I jumped from that point on.


about 10 years ago

"No one should ever swim anywhere without an experienced local on hand telling them how and what is "safe.""

Ha. Yeah whatever. No one 'should', but many do. Such is life. Everyone makes their own way, then lives with the outcome of their actions.

The first visit to the RR bridge (probably about 12-15 yrs ago), I went with my kids, a friend and her son. We climbed down below to watch and swim. The shallower water to the side where any sort of wading/non-bridge swimming could occur was so littered with filth and debris (the rusty stuff and used condoms as previously mentioned) I wouldn't allow my kids in the water - we just watched the boys jump, then went elsewhere to swim. Subsequent visits have only been to watch, from above or below, and the area looks much worse now than it did back then.

Incidentally, the 'friend' who brought us there is a local, and she and her son swam in the filth. Go figure. We weren't that desperate for a swim.

I trust my own instincts, observations and experiences, have never been hurt, and I'm (as are my kids) still here to tell about it. Also, I've known 'locals' who will often do stupid things thinking they can get away with it - whatever their reasoning, or encourage others not-in-the-know to do things they never would. I gladly ignore their 'advice' and step aside to let those sorts win the Darwin Award.

I also concur with Resolut on his advice to concerned mothers.


about 10 years ago

hmmm ... I love what Resolut said, and I think I essentially agree with you, too Ruby. Is it possible that we are all right?  

*Get good local information
*Use your judgement (don't trust idiots know matter who they are.)
*Possibly most importantly, don't forget to be young, love freedom and enjoy experimenting with the place where the limits of your body and nature meet before you get old enough to "know better."


about 10 years ago


Not to be on a bandwagon, honestly.  Just want to point out that some of those concerned parents who were posting might have been dads, not just moms.  

Also, sons are not the only ones who jump off cliffs, bridges, etc., and have all sorts of fun outdoors.  I'm a daughter in my 30s who's been at it for as long as I could swim!  :D

But awesome what you said.  I know what you mean - more of our lives should be spent outside getting dirty, soaked, and even scraped and bruised.  Kids and adults - turn off those TVs and forget about that antibacterial crap!  Go live your lives.

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