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UER Mobile > Rookie Forum > Draining (Viewed 433 times)

post by Zwizz   |  | 
Draining
< on 12/18/2023 3:38 PM >

I've been reading up on draining and it sounds like it's very dangerous. I've seen a lot of people list a large amount of necessities, and give a very fair amount of warnings. I live in Wisconsin, and it rains fairly frequently here so I know it would be difficult for me to find an appropriate time to explore a drain.
Because of my conditions I'm unsure if I should ever pursue draining. On one hand, I really like the idea of being in a long, dark, and echo-y tunnel with some buddies, but on the other hand it sounds pretty difficult wading through dirty water on uneven ground.
I'm curious if there's any other reason to explore a drain besides just being there?
Does anyone have any cool finds or stories?


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post by Steed   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 1 on 12/18/2023 5:14 PM >

Yes, it's dangerous, so I don't ever really want to endorse it for someone in a part of the world I don't know. It's always good to be very cautious whenever underground.

Are there times of year where precipitation levels are lower? Note that snow counts as precipitation, and melting snow can be a pretty major, unpredictable threat. I do the vast majority of my draining from December to February, when it's cold, dry, and less smelly.

There are probably others still around here who have more practical local knowledge.

Has your reading up included Predator's Approach to Draining?


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post by Zwizz   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 2 on 12/18/2023 6:33 PM >

Don't worry, any encouragement isn't going to make me dive headfirst into the next open manhole cover I come across, I just feel like this is important to know.
After a little bit of research, apparently January and February are about tied for lowest precipitation. It's been getting less rainy/snowy here over the years anyways, but I'm still a little anxious about the random blizzards we get once every couple years.
No, I haven't read Predator's Approach to Draining, but I will now!


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post by Doug   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 3 on 12/18/2023 9:22 PM >

A few videos I've chucked together over the years.
They're a little bit dated, but you'll get the point.
As Steed suggested, there's Predator's Approach Doc (obviously somewhat dated in parts as 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of his passing).

When it rains, no drains.
Don't go alone.
Let someone know where you are & when you expect to be out.
Also as Steed said, drains in different countries may have different issues, so learn what those problems are.
Also individual drains may have unique issues. One goofy explorer got tossed around like a rag doll in a pit at the bottom of a waterfall and almost died (he stepped on the "ground" not realizing it was a pit).
Explore with experienced people.






[last edit 12/18/2023 9:25 PM by Doug - edited 1 times]

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post by Doug   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 4 on 12/19/2023 1:50 AM >

Also, there are some great threads on here that would probably answer some of your questions.


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post by Steed   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 5 on 12/19/2023 4:46 AM >

Posted by Doug
As Steed suggested, there's Predator's Approach Doc (obviously somewhat dated in parts as 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of his passing).


Are there any parts of it that are dated? Drains haven't changed that much in 20 years, have they?


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post by Doug   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 6 on 12/19/2023 2:13 PM >

Posted by Steed


Are there any parts of it that are dated? Drains haven't changed that much in 20 years, have they?


Yeah, quite a bit of it is dated.
It became dated pretty quickly.
It's also 1 person's opinion so there are chunks where Pred speaks on behalf of drain explorers where many drainers didn't agree with it, so it's really just an opinion piece, so obviously there will be discrepancies.

I remember Pred saying it was dated and that he wanted to do another update, and he's been gone for almost 20 years (1994).

I just had a quick flick through a bit of it and a huge chunk of how to find drains is dated (I doubt many people would use a street directory book to find drains... some have probably never even handled one )

It's definitely a great historical document written by one of the brilliant minds in the Australian drain exploring scene.


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post by Steed   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 7 on 12/19/2023 2:35 PM >

Interesting, I suppose we have gotten more sophisticated at finding drains over the decades.


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post by Doug   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 8 on 12/19/2023 11:20 PM >

Posted by Steed
Interesting, I suppose we have gotten more sophisticated at finding drains over the decades.


In my opinion the finding was almost as much fun as exploring them. Definitely more rewarding in many cases.

I think if I just grabbed a complete list off of the internet, I would have only lasted a couple of years.


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post by Steed   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 9 on 12/20/2023 5:57 AM >

Out of curious has any of Predator's safety stuff fallen out of date? Either by more knowledge being gained, or errors being found, or safety techniques improving? I think that's the only reason I'd ever stop recommending it.


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post by Doug   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 10 on 12/20/2023 6:45 AM >

Posted by Steed
Out of curious has any of Predator's safety stuff fallen out of date? Either by more knowledge being gained, or errors being found, or safety techniques improving? I think that's the only reason I'd ever stop recommending it.


I haven't read it for decades. I'll give it a flick though over Christmas.

Pred did an update or 2 so there may be different versions around.

I seem to recall that there may be some issues with Pred talking about Australian storm drains not having toxic gasses, but originally it was written as if to say no drains anywhere had gasses in them.

I think that may have been one of the issues with it - we were trying to create a scene so a lot of what we wrote was almost propaganda... like something from the Tourist Bureau
Nowadays we'd be thinking more of people's safety and our liability.
That's partially why I mentioned it being dated.





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post by hoover 2   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 11 on 4/27/2024 8:29 PM >

Posted by Zwizz
Don't worry, any encouragement isn't going to make me dive headfirst into the next open manhole cover I come across, I just feel like this is important to know.
After a little bit of research, apparently January and February are about tied for lowest precipitation. It's been getting less rainy/snowy here over the years anyways, but I'm still a little anxious about the random blizzards we get once every couple years.
No, I haven't read Predator's Approach to Draining, but I will now!


I will tell you that I've exploring storm drains for 10+ years as of now and I've never been rained out of a drain before but then again, I've always had an OCD with checking the weather to make sure it doesn't rain. We get a lot of rain here in MSP (Minneapolis/ST.Paul Minnesota in case you wanted to know) but it's always a great idea to check the weather to see if it rains and here in MSP the snow usually isn't an issue unless it is super nice outside (above freezing to be exact) and when it's during what I call melting season for which that's between March and May, then I wouldn't go into any drains during melting season. One time I did go into a drain when the snow was melting, and it was a very dangerous situation and I highly recommend not doing that. Luckily, I was with 2 other people, but it was extremely slippery, and the water flow was super intense where I wasn't comfortable with it at all. I love to explore drains in the winter because I love when it's very cold outside with blowing snow and when you go into a drain while it's windy and cold, it feels very nice underground (50s and 60s to be exact). One time it was 30 or 40 windchill advisory with blowing/drifting snow and very cold outside here in MSP and I crawled into a small drain tunnel with smooth ice on the bottom of the tunnel, where I could slide on my knees, but I didn't go super far but it felt like I was in an igloo, and I called it an arctic adventure. I've also been in drains that I walked into while it was very cold and windy out, that had a lot of ice formations in the tunnels but sadly this past winter we didn't have a lot of ice due to a lack of cold and snow. Drains can be dangerous, so I highly encourage you go with at least one friend, at least until you feel comfortable going alone. I know at one point I was a little nervous exploring drains alone because I couldn't find any friends to explore drains with, but I very quickly realized that I could do it with no problem. Like I always say on UER. Always tell people where you are going, so if something happens, then people will know roughly where you are going. If you do decide to go at night, then be warned that it can be more dangerous because the animals go into the drains, examples would raccoons, opossums, rats, ETC but I've never had any serious issues with any animals except sometimes, some animals won't run away and if that happens, be careful with these animals because you don't know what they will do to you. If an animal jumps/leaps at you, then you leave right away because I've had this happen to me twice now and one of those times, I thought this animal was going to chase me and attack me, but it didn't, but I high tailed my ass out of that drain and left. Now a days I explore drains mostly alone just because a lot of the MSP explorers here don't seem to like to exploring drains like I do but sometimes I get lucky and get to explore drains with friends but keep in mind that I'm always looking for friends to explore with. I highly encourage you explore drains and pop manhole covers because you never know what you will find and I encourage you to continue using Google Earth for finding new drains and manhole covers. I had gotten very lucky over the years, just doing this and you would be amazed on how many cool drains you will find. A lot of times you can see the outfalls/infalls or at the very least be able to tell where a drain will be. Sometimes you are not able to see if there is a drain there because there are often a lot of trees and weeds blocking your view. That's when you go there and take a look to see what you have found. A really good way to find drains is to look by massive cities and by any buildings where there are water sources like ponds/ditches ETC. Also, a lot of parks with water sources will have drains but not all. I hope all of this stuff I said will help you on your journey to find unknown drains to explore.


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post by hoover 2   |  | 
Re: Draining
<Reply # 12 on 4/27/2024 8:42 PM >

Here are some good reasons to explore drains. They are fun to walk in the big tunnels because sometimes there are tunnel junction rooms for which that means that 2 or more tunnels branch off into different directions. I often find round RCP tunnels, but I've seen brick tunnels, octagon tunnels, square tunnels, triangle tunnels, arch tunnels ETC. You should check out my drain pictures I posted on UER. That post is called "Hoover 2's drain adventures". There's a lot of times, whenever I have popped manhole covers, I've found a lot of deep manhole shafts (some with ladders and some without ladders), some of these deep manhole shafts have platform grates every 20/30 feet and the ladders switch sides. Another good reason to explore drains is because of all of the cool sounds like rushing water, cars running over manhole covers and echoing sounds ETC.


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