Tieton Eddy Repose

Tieton Eddy Repose
"So, this is the river." said the Rat.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

River Rafting Rescue and Guide Training

Perhaps this river rafting rescue in the Grand Canyon required the use of helicopters, motorized Zodiacs and 14 Park Rangers, but there is a chance it did not.

The best place to learn how to deal with river rescue scenarios is by taking a white water river rafting rescue course with one of the dozens of commercial outfitters who offer training courses. (http://orionexp.com/river_rescue_and_guide_training_course.html)

Our company, Orion Expeditions, offers an outstanding course each spring but I would also recommend Whitewater Voyages (http://www.whitewatervoyages.com/schools/wwschools.html) --- their owner, Bill McGinnis, wrote the books on Whitewater Rafting, and OARS (http://www.oars.com/california/californiabootcamp.html), a well-respected river company that has been on the water for decades.

Accidents, like the one related in this post, happen. Much of the time, however, with the right training, a simple rescue, without the technology, will suffice.

in reference to:

"quick-and-easy rescue"
- Stranded Rafters In Grand Canyon National Park Get Unexpected Helicopter Lift | National Parks Traveler (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, February 25, 2010


When I am promoting my river rafting business, I prefer to avoid the use of hyberbole like referring to my employees as "the most experienced guides." I prefer something a little more understated as in "friendly, personable and professional" http://orionexp.com/

Or as Leavenworth Outfitters describes their employees on this same page, as "enthusiastic and licensed".

Hyperbole is for selling soft drinks and useless products no one really needs. I would be wary of anyone in the river rafting adventure travel industry making unsupportable claims and utilizing qualifiers such as 'best', 'most' and "rated #1".

in reference to:

"Raft the best rivers around with the most experienced guides."
- Allred Escape Vacation Rental Condo (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cold Water White Water Rafting

Cold water is the bane of white water rafting in Washington and Alaska. It is the reason we wear wetsuits through June, and have our customers wear them nearly all of the time. It is the reason some guides and outfitters swear by drysuits, even when the air temperature is climbing into the 90s.

It is remarkable Washington's white water outfitters and guides have as good of track record as they do. The state's records of water-related fatalities show that nearly one hundred per cent of the victims were either a) not wearing a lifejacket b) improperly wearing a lifejacket c) inebriated or had alcohol in their system or d) both. The fact that commercial outfitters in the state have their customers wear life jackets all of the time and do not encourage on river drinking and provide neoprene goes a very long way toward stacking the odds in our favor.

Not wearing a lifejacket on moving water, especially in moving water where there is the opportunity for an unscheduled swim, is insanity. And even more so, with frigid moving water where the ambient air temperature is not conducive to rapid heat recovery.
On Washington's glacial and snow field fed streams and rivers, if you are, at minimum, dressed in neoprene and wearing a personal flotation device, you have increased your odds of survival immensely.

In addition to your neoprene wetsuit and boots, it is essential to add a 'splash' jacket, a layer or several layers of varying thicknesses of synthetic, wicking fibres, and a warm, synthetic or wool ski cap. Guides will be seen quite often with 'splash' pants as well. If worse comes to worse, and you arrive at the launch site on an overcast day on one of the Northwest's vaunted snow-fed whitewater runs, with nothing but the clothes on your back, it has been proven to be better to wear nothing but the neoprene with the life jacket than to count on cotton clothing --- of any kind --- to retain any heat.

The fun increases however, the better you are prepared.