Raft Guiding Clinic
This Itinerary is just a rough outline of the course and may be subject to changes due to water levels, and student experience and ability levels. We strive to fine tune this course to our students goals and capabilities!
This 4 day course provides a great introduction to raft guiding. We’ll begin on Friday with a brief classroom introduction to hydrology and whitewater terminology. We’ll discuss how to scout rapids and how to recognize hazards in a river and the terms we use to describe them, such as waves, holes, pourovers, strainers, etc. and how to choose a line through a rapid to avoid hazards. We’ll cover the basics of paddle guiding, how to steer a raft when guiding from the back, and the paddle commands we use to instruct a paddle crew, and how to navigate a river by paddle guiding, where to find eddies and how to catch them. Then we’ll gear up, have lunch and put this knowledge to use on the Middle White Salmon. After we finish the trip and wrap up we’ll head to Leidl campground on the Klickitat River to set up camp for the rest of the weekend. Students are on their own for Breakfast and Dinner but we will provide lunch each day.
We’ll spend the next 3 days running laps on the Klickitat from the hatchery to Leidl, training students to paddle guide and giving everyone a chance to hop in the guide seat and apply their training. We’ll offer a bit of classroom instruction after lunch and discuss how to give a pre-trip safety speech and what should be covered in it.
On Sunday before we hit the water, we’ll cover some rescue scenarios, how to swim in whitewater, and the techniques and equipment we use to rescue swimmers, such as throw bags, and we’ll show how to flip a capsized raft upright and recover from a flip scenario. On the water students will have more opportunities to hop in the guide seat and we’ll give everyone a chance to practice their rescue skills with throw bags and try some flip recoveries.
On Monday morning we’ll let everyone put their skills to the test and have the opportunity to guide their rafts without an instructor in the raft. (The instructors will be close by, supervising from their own raft. We’ll wrap up after lunch, provide feedback, and discuss opportunities to gain further training and experience, such as Swiftwater Rescue Certification, and Rowing Clinics.
Completing this course won’t guarantee you employment as a guide, but it’s a good step in the right direction for anyone interested, and for the right candidate we might offer further training with the goal of eventual employment.