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Published by steve, 2019-05-23 16:09:29

Description: Student Manual for ARTA Whitewater Schools

Keywords: rafting,manual


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Whitewater School and You 2 A Note from your Instructors 3 Safety First 4 Raft Types 5 The River 6 Components of a Rapid 7 Water Features 8 Running Rapids 9 Scouting 10 Whitewater Navigation 12 Moving the Raft 15 Advanced Maneuvers 22 On-river Communication 28 Emergencies 29 Boat Order 42 Boat Spacing 43 Knots 44 Rigging 46 Difficulty Scale 52 Leave No Trace Guidelines 54 Frequently Asked Questions 55 Commercial Guiding 56 Safety Second 60 The River (remix) 61 A. First Aid Kits G. Assistant Guides B. Repair Kits H. Equipment Sources C. Patching a hole I. Other Outfitters D. Wrap Kit J. More Training E. Safety Talk Outline K. Permits F. River Etiquette Glossary 1

WHITEWATER SCHOOL ANDYOU Whitewater rafting. To some this means the thrill and excitement of raging rapids and crashing waves. To others it means floating through majestic canyons and enjoying the natural beauty and serenity of the river. Others find joy simply in being outdoors and exploring new places. Whitewater rafting can be all of these things. Or better yet, it can be something completely different; something unique to you. One thing is certain though; it has attracted you. This attraction is the beginning of a great relationship. But it takes a few other things to succeed at Whitewater School. The most important thing you can bring to your school is a good attitude. We have found that the students who come willing to learn, willing to participate and willing to challenge themselves are the ones who get the most out of their experience. Come with an open mind, a tireless nature and an adventurous spirit and you will excel. Your instructors will teach you about prussiks and hoopie, holes and eddies. Your fellow students will teach you about teamwork and sharing, responsibility and leadership. And the river, the river will teach you anything you want and everything you need. But it is up to you to learn. Physically, you should be reasonably healthy, agile and coordinated. You don’t need to be a world-class athlete, but couch potatoes don’t seem to get as much out of the school as those who get regular exercise, (but you already knew that). Probably the most common physical problem for students are blisters on their rowing hands; a pair of inexpensive bicycling gloves, (leather palm, no fingers) are a valuable piece of gear to have, (better than band-aids and athletic tape). Lastly, try to arrive with a rough idea of what you are going to learn, a basic understanding of the concepts and terms in this manual. You don’t need to memorize it, but you should read through it before your school, try to visualize some of the ideas and try to remember some of the terms. Overachievers will find a piece of rope and practice a knot or two, (which is great, we like overachievers). Busy people will skim through it on the plane, (which is also fine, we like fast learners, too). If you are reading this in your tent on day 4, it’s not too late, (we like improvisers as well). Whoever you are, we look forward to being on the river with you. Welcome! 2


SAFETY FIRST As a guide, you not only set rules, you set examples. Always wear your lifejacket while on the river. Flatwater, fastwater; oar raft, duckie; even when ferrying people across the river in a six-mile long pool with no current. Do not dive headfirst into the river. Ever. Wear appropriate footwear. On the river: Shoes or sandals that you can aggressively swim in AND that you can scramble along shore in AND that you could hike two miles in if you had to. In camp: shoes or sandals that will protect your feet from sharp rocks, jagged twigs, hot coals, etc. Avoid loose lines. Coil and secure all lines, including your bowline; do not wrap a rope around any part of your body, do not tie yourself to your raft. 4

RAFT TYPES At this point, we need to talk about the three different types of rafts you are going to encounter during the school: oar rafts, paddle rafts, and “oar- paddle combos.” Oar rafts are one-person shows. You are You! the sole mover of the raft, the master of your own domain. Using two 10 or 11-foot oars, you get to maneuver the raft all by yourself. To do this, you will row. Paddle rafts are team events, party boats, multi-headed monsters. Using a crew of 4 to 7 individuals, each armed with their own paddle (and often their own ideas), you will coordinate everyone in the raft and call out the appropriate commands to get the raft down the river. To do this, you will paddle captain. You! Oar-paddle combination rafts (also called You! “combos” or “opc’s” or “jackalopes”) are as they imply: both. You will row using oars and you will coordinate a crew of paddlers. These rafts take advantage of the best parts of each set-up; the stability and precision or oars combined with the power and flexibility of paddlers. It is a powerful combination and requires expertise in both disciplines. You will row and captain. During the course of the school you will be given the opportunity to row and paddle captain. Some students come in only wanting to do one or the other, but don’t limit yourself; learn both. Paddle captaining will make you a better rower and vice versa. Some instructors will have you concentrate on either rowing OR paddle captaining for the first few days before switching. This can be helpful because it minimizes all the new concepts and terms and allows you to get comfortable in one raft type and to learn how to read water before trying to learn a whole new set of terms and movements. Fortunately, reading water is the same for both types and the line through most rapids is generally the same, so once you’ve made progress in one type of raft, its pretty easy to catch on in the other. 5

THE RIVER Moving water is magical. There are chemical reasons for this (see negative ions), there are spiritual reasons for this (see Siddartha) and there are physical reasons for this (see below). ANATOMY OF A RAPID Rapids vary greatly in size, shape, length and difficulty. Some are long, twisting rock gardens while others are short, abrupt drops; some are narrow, fast chutes between steep canyon walls while others are broad expanses of boulders and rocks. No two rapids are the same, but they all have four basic elements which determine their character: gradient, roughness, constriction, and volume. GRADIENT is the downward slope of the riverbed, usually measured in feet per mile. Whitewater stretches of rivers usually drop between 10 and 100 feet per mile. ROUGHNESS has to do with the shape of the riverbed at or below the surface of the river. Ledges, rocks, sand and gravel bars all affect the flow of the river. CONSTRICTION is the narrowing of a river channel. As the same volume of water is forced to flow through a narrower passage it accelerates and the flow becomes turbulent. VOLUME is the amount of water flowing in the river at a given time, usually measured in cubic feet per second (cfs). The volume of water affects a rivers speed, size and shoreline. All of the above factors go into determining a river's or a rapid's difficulty. One factor alone does not tell the entire story. The Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (gradient 12 feet per mile, volume 30,000 cfs) is of similar difficulty to the Tuolumne River (gradient 36 feet per mile, volume 2,000 cfs). 6

COMPONENTS OF A RAPID As we said, no two rapids are the same, but there are still some basic components which can be found in every rapid. Learning to recognize these is a critical part of guiding. TONGUE - A smooth, path of current usually found at the entrance to a rapid, also called a \"Downstream V\" because of its shape. CHANNEL - A pathway of water between obstacles. Also called a “chute” or a “slot” or “the line”. It’s usually where you want to go. EDDY - A place where the current is either stopped or flowing upstream. Caused by obstructions in the downstream flow, (mid-stream boulders, shoreline projections, etc.) EDDY FENCE - The transition zone between the downstream current of the river and the upstream current of the eddy. Also called an “eddy line”. Can be anywhere from a few inches to perhaps five feet wide and anywhere from a few feet to many yards long. The current here is confused and turbulent, often boiling up and sucking down. BENDS - The current in a river wants to go in a straight line, however the curves in the shore cause it to change direction. On sharp bends, the current flows straight until it piles up on the outside of the bend. You and your raft will also be carried to the outside of the bend if you just float along. Sometimes that’s ok, usually not. 7

WATER FEATURES At first, it will be a blur of splashes, rocks, bumps, white, green, rough and smooth. Over time it will become clearer. For the most part, you are looking for these features: POUROVER - A barely submerged rock, 1-3 inches below the surface of the water. Typically, pourovers are NOT deep enough to be able to go over them in a raft. HOLE - A place where water flows over a rock or ledge near the surface and creates a strong, aerated, backwashing current. Also called a \"reversal\". Holes vary greatly in size; small ones can be run safely; larger ones flip rafts. BREAKING WAVE - A standing wave that breaks or surges back on itself similar to an ocean wave in appearance, but unlike an ocean wave in that it stays in one place. STANDING WAVE - One in a series of stationary waves, usually marking the deepest channel and often marking the point where most of the water is exiting the rapid. All of these features are formed by water flowing over an obstacle. When just a little water flows over a rock, a pourover is formed. When more water flows over that same rock, a pourover will become a hole. Additional water will turn a hole into a breaking wave and even more water will turn a breaking wave into a standing wave. 8

RUNNING RAPIDS There are two basic parts of running a rapid: figuring out where to go and figuring out how to make the raft go there. Let’s deal with the first part first. READING WATER Looking downstream at a rapid from the back of a paddle raft or the seat of an oar boat and making sense of what you see is a challenge. We call it “reading water” and it is a key piece of the whole puzzle. Don’t worry if you can’t make sense of things on the first day of your school, very few students can, (and don’t tell your instructors things do make sense if they don’t; lots of students try this thinking it will make them look better but all it does is slow things down. Its ok not to get it at first, after all, this is a school!). It takes a long time to get good at reading water and even once you are good, it still won’t always be obvious. Be patient, work at it while a fellow student is guiding the raft you are in and look closely as you pass obstacles; seeing things up close is the best way to learn. When reading water it is a good idea to read \"long and short\". By long, we mean you should have a big picture of what the river is doing, (going around an obstacle, bending left, disappearing, etc). and a general plan for how you are going to get through, (where to enter, major obstacles, when to change course, where to exit, etc). Once in the rapid, you need to also read short, meaning you have to pay attention to what is happening immediately in the vicinity of your raft, (what the current is doing, surprise obstacles, changing currents, etc) and what sort of adjustments are needed. Generally speaking, “long” means the whole rapid and “short” means the 20 to 30 feet immediately downstream of the raft. Reading water is the constant switching back and forth between the two. It is common for inexperienced boaters to forget to read both long AND short. Sometimes students get fixated on missing a small rock 15 feet ahead of them and are oblivious to the major obstacle at the bottom of the rapid; conversely, other students, (or even the same students in other rapids), get stuck on small rocks they never saw because they were focused on a big rock they never took their eyes off of. For skiers and snowboarders, it’s like a mogul or rail park run; always balancing the long view down the entire slope and the short view of the feature immediately in front of you. 9

SCOUTING While on the river it is sometimes difficult to read water as you go, (“read and run”). Long rapids with multiple moves, fast rapids with lots of obstacles and steep drops with blind entries or moves all call for scouting from shore. A general rule of thumb is to not enter a rapid unless you can see a safe line either all the way through it or at least to a mid-rapid eddy you know you can catch. Scouting involves hiking along shore to a good vantage point, identifying obstacles, determining a course through the rapid, planning for the unforeseen and then trying to remember where you want to go once you get back in your raft. Don’t underestimate that last step. It is surprising how dissimilar things look from a raft than from shore. To avoid the queasy feeling that comes from not being able to recognize your entry marker when you get back to your raft after a scout, try working your way slowly back upstream along the shoreline while keeping an eye on your landmarks. Sometimes guides will even stoop down along the river’s edge to try and get a truer perspective of things. WORMS When scouting a rapid, here’s a little acronym to help you cover all your bases: W = Water = What is the current doing? Where will it take me? Where is it entering? exiting? O = Obstacles = Where are the things I need to avoid? Which are the more significant ones? R = Route = Where do I want to go? Can I get there? When and where do I need to start? Where will I exit? M = Markers = What landmarks can I use? What will I be able to see from my raft? S = Safety = Plan B? Place to recover? Do I need additional resources? 10


WHITEWATER NAVIGATION Once you’ve figured out where to go, you need to figure out how to get the raft to go there. Simplistically speaking, whitewater navigation involves moving a boat back and forth across the river to avoid obstacles while the current moves the boat downstream. Moving a raft across the current is called \"ferrying\". By design, rafts can be ferried most efficiently when their long axis, (the line from front to back right down the middle), is perpendicular to (across) the current. Unfortunately, rafts are most susceptible to flipping and wrapping when they are oriented like this. So navigating whitewater involves constantly changing from being nearly perpendicular to the current, (ferrying to avoid an obstacle), to being nearly parallel to the current, (squaring up to avoid flipping). FERRY ANGLES The angle that the raft has to the current (not to the shoreline), is called a “ferry angle”. Setting this angle can be confusing at first, because the shoreline makes such a logical and visual reference point, yet it doesn’t always indicate the direction of the current, (the current doesn’t always flow parallel to the shoreline). The reference point for the current is more intuitive, (you can feel which way your raft is moving as much as you can see it), and so it is less obvious. Over time, you will develop an inherent sense of the current and what it is doing to your boat and setting your ferry angles will become much easier. In the meantime, pay close attention to the direction the river is moving the raft and set your angle relative to that direction. There are two basic ferry angles used in rafting. A right ferry angle means that the raft is being ferried toward the right hand bank; a left ferry angle means that the raft is being ferried toward the left hand bank. But don’t obsess on these definitions, the names aren’t really important, and they can be confusing. What’s important is having the correct angle to get the job done and the correct angle is a function of direction and degree. Direction means that you have an angle to the current; it means you are NOT parallel to the current. If you are parallel to the current you have no ferry angle, no control, no direction. (You can’t change lanes if your wheels are parallel to the yellow lines). If your raft is angled to the current, you have an angle and you can move the raft across the current. Even the wrong (opposite) angle is better than no angle, (you can keep this opposite angle, switch from forward to reverse and still get where you want to go). 12

The degree to which the boat is angled across the current determines the actual ferry angle. A raft whose long axis is perpendicular to the current (90 degrees) has the greatest angle possible, a raft whose long axis is parallel with the current has no angle. Once again, keep in mind that the angle is determined in relation to the current not the shoreline. It is possible for the current to be moving at 45 degrees to the shoreline which can make it very confusing. Usually, when you are moving your raft across flat water with little chance of flipping or wrapping, you will want an extreme ferry angle (perpendicular to the current) and when going through big holes or standing waves (little need for maneuvering), you will want no ferry angle (parallel to the current). In between, you want something in between. Over the course of the school, we will constantly be talking about, fussing over, and adjusting your angle. It must be important. 13

UPSTEAM ANGLES VERSUS DOWNSTREAM ANGLES If you aren’t confused yet, see if you can get a handle on these: An upstream ferry angle means the raft is angled so that its power stroke moves it upstream. In an oar raft the power stroke is the “pull” (more on that in a little while), which moves the raft backwards. So an UPstream ferry angle in an oar raft means the bow is facing DOWNstream. In a paddle raft the power stroke is the forward paddle, which moves the raft forward, so an UPstream ferry angle in a paddle raft means the bow is facing UPstream. A downstream ferry angle means the raft is angled so that its power stroke moves it downstream. In an oar raft, this would mean that the stern is facing downstream and a pull on the oars would move the raft downriver. In a paddle raft it means that the bow is facing downstream so that a forward stroke moves the raft downstream. For the most part, you’ll try to keep your oar raft with an upstream ferry angle and your paddle raft with a downstream ferry angle. There are valuable times when these will switch, but for now we’ll stick to this. If you don’t get it, don’t worry. Like all fun things, it’s much easier to see and do than to read about. And it won’t be on the written test. 14

MOVING THE RAFT Now that we’ve got those angles perfectly clear, let’s move on to moving on. ROWING (so you’re in an Oar Boat). There are three basic strokes used when rowing. PULLING involves extending your arms with the oars out of the water, dipping the oar blades into the water and pulling the handles of the oars toward you. Because of the fulcrum point caused by the thole pin, a pull on the oars moves the boat backwards, that is, when facing downstream (with an upstream ferry angle), a pull will slow the raft against the current and, if angled to the current, will move it across the current. PUSHING is the opposite of pulling and entails dipping the oars in the water while the handles are closest to the body and extending the arms, (pushing on the handles). This stroke propels the raft forward. When in an upstream ferry angle, a push will move the raft downstream with the current, and if angled to the current, will also move it across the current. DOUBLE-OAR PIVOTS are used to change the angle of the raft. One oar is pushed while the other oar is pulled, causing the raft to spin on its pivot point. At first, this is one of the more difficult maneuvers to learn, (practice by rubbing your stomach and patting your head), however it is also one of the most critical, so when you’re on the river, keep practicing until it becomes second nature. A double-oar pivot works better than a single-oar pivot because it is stronger and turns the boat more quickly. 15

Eventually, you will learn to combine these three basic maneuvers with a lot of subtle variations to negotiate all types of rapids. The beginning premise behind rowing whitewater is to \"face your danger and pull away.\" Because pulling is stronger than pushing, it is used when the current is strong or when the move is particularly difficult. When you are learning, the current is always strong and the moves are all particularly difficult, so your fundamental approach will be to get an upstream ferry angle, (bow facing downstream), angle your raft so that the bow is facing towards the obstacle you want to miss, and pull on the oars. Simple and effective. Pushing is used when the current is not very strong, (like in the calm water just before entering a rapid), and when running a series of standing waves or when running through a hole. Pushing on the oars when entering a hole or when running a large wave gives the raft momentum to crash through the hole or ride over the top of the wave. Squaring up and hitting holes straight is important; your instructors will fixate on it. When properly executed by an experienced guide, rowing is a smooth and graceful method for controlling a raft. Inexperienced rowers often flail at the water, try to take too many quick strokes and end up looking bad and doing worse. When rowing, try to think about smoothness and efficiency rather than quickness or speed. The power needed to move a raft is really not that great and is usually better achieved through long, smooth strokes rather than through quick flailing ones. 16

PADDLE CAPTAINING Paddle captaining involves coordinating the power of a paddle crew into an efficient and unified team and then using this power to maneuver through rapids. The paddle captain is the key element to a paddle raft's success. A good paddle captain can make up for a weak crew either by physically compensating for their inadequacies or by mentally stimulating them to perform at their peak level. Conversely, a weak paddle captain can destroy even the best paddle team. There are two parts of this dance. First you need to get your crew oriented and trained; they need to know how to paddle, what your commands are and what your commands mean. Then, independently, you need to have an arsenal of specialized strokes that you can use to turn and set up the raft so that what your crew is doing has the desired results. In automotive terms, your crew is the engine and power train, you are the steering wheel and gas pedal; while they are paddling furiously forward, you will be adjusting the direction to make sure that you get where you want to go. CREW ORIENTATION Teaching your crew to be efficient and effective usually makes for a more pleasant day on the river. We usually do this in the pool at put-in and those first few minutes are critical for setting the tone and expectations of the day. You are the leader and your crew will follow your example; be supportive and your crew will support you, be flaky and your crew will abandon you. Some points to bring up during your initial orientation: Introductions – Make sure you know everyone’s name and that they know yours (so they can fill out the tip check). Positions in the raft – Equal strength on both sides, people who like to get wet up front, left-handers on the left. How to stay in raft – Tripod strategy, some weight on feet, some on butt, some on paddle. Where to sit in raft – Along outside tube, facing forward, feet on floor of raft, (not straddling the tube). How to hold paddle – Control your T-grip! Inside hand over the end of grip, outside hand down shaft. How to paddle – Together, following your commands and the lead paddler (someone in front), be efficient, move the raft through the water, not the water past the raft. 17

PADDLE CAPTAIN COMMANDS There are two basic strokes that you have to teach your paddlers (forward and backward) and five basic commands. You can use whatever names for the commands that you want (animal sounds for instance), but since crews sometimes switch rafts during a trip, it is probably a good idea to make sure they know the standard commands as well. FORWARD – All paddlers reach forward with their paddle, dip the blade in the water, and pull back with their outside arm and push forward with their inside arm. (Given that the torso is much stronger than the arms, this, and all strokes, benefit from having the paddler lean forward at the waist and incorporate their waist/stomach/back muscles into the effort. Paddlers who sit straight up and use only their arms are ineffective at the beginning of the day and are ineffective, tired, sore and cranky at the end of the day). This stroke propels the raft forward and is the strongest stroke. Some guides say “ALL FORWARD”. BACKPADDLE – All paddlers reach back with the paddle, dip the blade in the water, rest the paddle shaft against their hip, and drive the paddle blade away from them toward the bow; pushing with the outside arm, pulling with the inside arm and twisting the torso. This stroke propels the raft backwards. Some guides say “ALL BACK”. RIGHT TURN – Paddlers on the right side of the raft backpaddle, paddlers on the left side forward paddle. This will cause the raft to spin to the right. Some guides say “RIGHT BACK”. LEFT TURN – Paddlers on the left side of the raft backpaddle, paddlers on the right side forward paddle. This will cause the raft to spin to the left. Some guides say “LEFT BACK”. STOP - All paddlers stop paddling and rest, awaiting further commands. They don’t stop the raft from floating or spinning, they just stop paddling. Guides in West Virginia say “LET ‘ER DRIFT”. 18

PADDLE CAPTAINING THROUGH RAPIDS Because the power stroke for a paddle raft is the forward paddle, paddle rafts often choose a different approach to running a rapid than oar rafts. Paddle rafts are commonly maneuvered by pointing the bow where you want to go and paddling forward to get there. For a lot of people, it makes more sense than rowing because you are “driving” the raft as you would a bike or car. But, there is a drawback. Aiming where you want to go and forward paddling almost always adds to the speed of the current. Therefore, as a paddle captain, timing is paramount. Judging the speed of the current, knowing the strength of your crew and anticipating their reaction time are all important parts of effective captaining. Because forward paddling is so intuitive, students often get in the habit of using it too much. In technical whitewater, where tight moves are required, you may find it more effective to backpaddle some of the moves or to face the bow upstream and forward paddle against the current, (upstream ferry). Both of these moves slow the raft down which is often helpful. CAPTAIN STROKES Along with giving commands, you will be able to maneuver the raft to a certain extent on your own. Sitting in or near the back of the raft provides you with a great deal of mechanical advantage. With a few well-placed and well-angled strokes you can set ferry angles and control the direction of the raft without any help from your crew. As a good paddle captain you will learn to balance doing everything yourself with having your crew do everything; keep them engaged and effective, but don’t overwork them. 19

As a paddle captain, you are going to need to fine tune your angle all the time. Your crew will be helpful for swinging the raft around to the general direction you want it to head, but you will have to set it exactly. Then, as your crew paddles forwards or backwards through the rapid, you have to maintain the correct angle as their unbalanced efforts and the river’s changing currents try to upset it. It is a challenge, but is really fun once you get the hang of it. You have a big advantage based on where you are sitting: at or near the back of the raft. Some paddle guides prefer to sit in the absolute back of the raft, others prefer sitting along the side of the raft near the back. Either way, your paddle strokes can be much more effective for changing the angle of the raft if you angle them towards or away from (not parallel to) the centerline of the raft. Unlike your paddle crew, whose strokes need to be parallel to the long axis to be effective at moving the raft forward or backward, your strokes need to be at an angle to the long axis in order to be effective at changing the raft’s angle. And, you can improve the efficiency of the strokes by taking your strokes further away from the raft. It is common to see a paddle captain reaching way out from his raft and paddling perpendicular to his line of travel to make correcting strokes as his crew charges forward through a rapid. The strokes you perform that are severely angled to the centerline have different names than those you taught your crew, (of course). A SWEEP is accomplished by doing a forward stroke that pulls the back of the raft towards the side it is taken on. Often, this stroke will have a broad arc in it, hence the name. This stroke turns the boat away from the side the stroke is taken on. A sweep stroke from the back right corner of the raft causes the raft to turn to the left. A PRY is much like a backpaddle stroke except it starts from behind the raft and is more of a sweeping motion across the stern. This stroke turns the boat toward the side the stroke is taken on. A PRY stroke from the back right corner of the raft causes the raft to turn to the right. 20

Whether sweeping or prying, your stokes have to be powerful. You are turning 14 feet of rubber through the water, this is no place to be delicate. A lot of paddle captain students take strokes from the back of the raft and wonder why the raft doesn’t turn. It’s usually not because they are doing it wrong, its because they aren’t doing it powerfully enough. The angle of the stroke helps and is important, but when you get down to it, you need to put some oomph into it. 21

ADVANCED MANEUVERS Alright, we’re rolling now. We know what makes a rapid, we know where to go, we know how to angle the raft, we know how to make the raft move. We’re ready for some more advanced maneuvers. CATCHING EDDIES Knowing how to catch an eddy is the equivalent of knowing how to stop on snow; (if you can’t catch an eddy, the whole trip is pretty much a toboggan run, without lunch). We’re going to practice and practice and practice until you think we are nuts; some day you will thank us. Catching an eddy requires setting the correct angle, generating the right momentum, and having good timing; a true test of your burgeoning skills. Almost always, eddies are easiest to enter (and exit) near the top, that is, nearest the obstacle that forms them. This is because the eddy fence, (the confused current that separates the eddy from the main current), is narrowest at the top. Crossing the eddy fence (the key to catching an eddy) is easiest where it is narrowest. The procedure for catching eddies is somewhat dependent on the type of raft you are in; oar rafts catch eddies differently than paddle rafts. The concept is the same, but the approach is different. We’re going to focus on the paddle raft approach. If you are imaginative, you’ll be able to divine the oar raft approach, if not, you’ll figure it out on the river. The easiest way to catch an eddy in a paddle raft is to identify it, start paddling at the exact right time and with the exact right angle so that you miss the obstacle but still hit the eddy fence up high and with enough momentum to break across into the eddy, then stabilize your raft in the eddy by paddling “upriver” (which is “downstream” relative to the eddy current), until your raft comes to a smooth stop in the slack water. And then stay there while the eddy tries to spit you out. Piece of cake. 22

Maybe it would be easier to describe how NOT to catch an eddy. Here are the top five most common mistakes: Number 1: Not recognizing the eddy. “Oh, THAT eddy.” Start looking for another one, (and pay attention, will ya?). Number 2: Starting too close to the obstacle/eddy. You have to miss the obstacle but catch the eddy just below it. The tendency is to position yourself as close to the obstacle/eddy as possible and then start paddling like crazy right when you pass the obstacle. You will almost always float too far past the eddy before you can generate enough momentum to get into it. Or, you’ll start too soon, hit the obstacle, mess up your angle, bounce away from the eddy and not have any chance of catching it. Keep looking. Number 3: Start too late. A variation on Number 2. When you cross the fence, you have to be moving across the current. If you wait until you are even with the eddy to start paddling, you will float past it. Next. Number 4: Spin out on the eddy fence. The main current and the eddy current are going in opposite directions. When your raft is straddling these currents, the currents are trying to spin the raft. Rafts that enter eddies slowly get spun by the currents and end up facing the wrong direction and getting spat back out in the main current. Quick, find another, (and now you’re getting tired). Number 5: Not stabilizing once in the eddy. Getting into an eddy is not the same as catching an eddy. In order to truly catch it, you have to stay in it. Once your raft is in the eddy current, it often still has momentum either across the eddy current or downriver. If you don’t do something to kill this momentum you will drift out the other side or wash out the bottom of the eddy and on down river. Damn, that was camp! Throwbag! 23

When you do it right, when you time it perfectly, when you compensate for the spinning effect by taking a strong sweep stroke on the upstream side at the exact right instant, when you and your crew take the stabilizing strokes at the precise moment your raft is properly angled right back up towards the top of the eddy and when your raft swings hard into the calm water and comes to a satisfying halt, you will smile. It’s a great feeling. For the first time or the thousandth. RUNNING HOLES It’s a judgment thing: “How big of a hole can I run?” We’ll leave that for you to figure out on your own (not on a commercial trip, please), but we’ll offer these tips for improving the odds of making it out upright: Run the hole straight on (perpendicular) with as much momentum as you can and power through the hole to the other side. You have to hit the hole straight and you have to push or forward paddle (or both) with everything you have, (think Running Back versus Linebacker). Sometimes, oar rafts will intentionally spin around and run big holes backwards (pulling) to best utilize their power. In a paddle raft, you’ll want to make sure the paddlers in the front of your raft keep paddling as you hit the hole; they are often sitting and paddling in the water that is downstream of the hole and are therefore stroking in water that is flowing downstream, (the water in the hole is going upstream); they are in a great position to pull the rest of the raft out of the hole. If you stall out, try to high side. Initially, the high side might be the bow (assuming you hit the hole straight) as the back of the raft drops into the deepest part of the trough and the bow climbs the face of the hole – get your weight up into the front of the raft and hope it comes down upright and on the backside of the hole. If you get stuck in the hole, the raft will probably turn sideways, then flip (back upstream). If you can get weight on the downstream tube, (which will be the high side) you can keep that side heavy and try to ride it out. Usually the raft then spins and reverses itself in the hole, meaning the old high side becomes the new low side. You have to switch sides (like when you come about in a sailboat) to stay upright. Then it spins back and you have to scramble back. Fun to watch but terrifying to perform. 24

RUNNING BREAKING WAVES Big breaking waves are the Holy Grail of rafting. Some are legendary: Hermit in the Grand Canyon, Split Rock on the Merced at high water levels and Split Rock on the Main Salmon at all water levels, Hospital Bar on the South Fork American, Wolf Creek on the Selway, the fourth wave in Hell’s Kitchen on the Tuolumne at high water. Others just show up when the water levels cooperate: “Holy cow, that was incredible!” They all make you smile. Nothing is more fun than running them. The key to a good run is commitment. You can’t be hesitant, you can’t be indecisive, you can’t sort of run them. Line it up straight, hit the gas, keep it straight through the crest, laugh and giggle on the other side. Keep in mind, however, that not all breaking waves are perpendicular to the main river current. The ones that break in from the sides, (common on the edges of tongues), are called laterals. Usually they are fun to run, just make sure you are perpendicular to their face (squared up to the big frothy white foam crown on top), which often means being 45 degrees to the main direction of the current. If your raft is parallel to the main current and you hit a big lateral, you are in a precarious position. Hold your breath. RUNNING STANDING WAVES Standing waves usually mark a deep, rock-free channel. They are fun, roller-coaster-like waves and are a great place to be; everyone loves them. They should be run straight on, perpendicular to their faces, parallel to the line that leads from one to the next. Paddling forward or pushing through them helps to keep the raft oriented; floating through them without any momentum or without paddles or oars in the water seems to always cause the raft to lose its angle easier and get off line. Probably has something to do with gravity. HITTING ROCKS Big waves are great, but the majority of the time you are going to be dealing with rocks. Your first goal will be to miss them, but let’s be realistic: you need a backup plan. The trouble with hitting rocks is that it knocks people out of the raft and messes up your ferry angle, and we’re not even talking about wrapping or getting stuck, just hitting them. People get bumped out of the raft when the raft comes to an abrupt halt when it hits a rock and everyone in the raft keeps moving; their momentum plops them out the downstream side of the raft and into the river, (the people on the upstream side plop into the bottom of the raft). 25

The first thing you should do is warn people during your initial orientation (paddle rafts AND oar rafts). Paddlers are particularly susceptible because of where they are sitting, but instructing everyone in proper balance and sitting strategy, (tripod in a paddle raft, hang on in an oar raft), can help a lot, (plus it makes you feel better if someone does get bumped out). Also, a courtesy warning before you hit a rock (“Bump!”) can help people stabilize. Don’t count on the people in your raft anticipating the rock strike; they don’t know it’s coming; you should warn them (assuming you see it ahead of time). And, hitting rocks head on (as opposed to broadside), means that people are more likely to fall forward, into the raft, rather than sideways, out of the raft. Hitting a rock also messes up your ferry angle, a real annoyance. Sometimes you can minimize the effects by turning your raft before you hit the rock so that your ferry angle is greater than your desired angle. Then, when the rock changes your angle, you end up with the one you want. When you get good, you’ll hit rocks on purpose to help change your ferry angle (it’s faster than anybody’s two oar pivot) and to help you make really tight moves. If you do it by accident, it’s called “pin-balling”, on purpose it’s called “sheboinging”. GETTING STUCK ON ROCKS (PERCHING) It happens all the time. Some people (analytical ones) are really good at getting off rocks, others (stubborn ones) aren’t. (A fully loaded raft weighs a whole bunch, probably 1,500 pounds, so you’re not going to be able to lift it no matter how stubborn you are). It’s better if you are good at it, so let’s be analytical. First of all, figure out where the rock is and which way the raft is most likely to come off (which way does it want to go). Once you figure this out it’s just a matter of trying a few tricks to persuade the raft to start moving again. But before we start getting unstuck, let’s take advantage of being stuck: put any oars back on, catch our breath, SCOUT the next section of rapids, etc. Many times you get in such a rush to get off (it IS sort of embarrassing), that you end up getting stuck again, sometimes in a worse place. Plan your escape route BEFORE you escape. 26

In a paddle raft, you can shift the weight (passengers) around so that the heaviest part of the raft isn’t sitting on top of the rock. You can also “bounce” the raft by having everyone jump up and down in unison. It’s sort of funky but effective and guests seem to enjoy it. In an oar raft, things are a bit more challenging. Try spinning around 180 degrees (or more) and then pivoting back and forth from side to side, while pulling downstream. You can also try pulling on your bow or stern line from the opposite end of the raft to sort of try to lift that other end. And don’t underestimate the placement of your own weight in the raft; sometimes simply shifting your own weight can help a lot. And keep an eye on your oars, they always seem to flop around, hit a rock and pop off; try to keep them out of the water while you are touring the scene. If you have to get out of your raft, be really careful and NEVER get out on the upstream side of your raft. If you slip and get washed under the raft you are in serious trouble. Work from the sides and stay alert and ready to jump back in if your raft comes free; few things are more embarrassing than being left behind in the middle of the river while your guide-less raft floats downstream (although it almost invariably has a flawless run). It is probably NOT a good idea to have your guests get out of the raft to try and help or to try to lighten the load, although they will always offer. 27

ON RIVER COMMUNICATION River signals are a vital part of whitewater rafting. Being able to communicate quickly and efficiently across a raging rapid can often save time and prevent further problems. It is a good idea to get together with your fellow guides before launching and go over a few signals, especially if you’ve never worked together before. Some of the “standard” ARTA signals mean something completely different to other boaters, so you can’t rely on them for all situations. Here are a few common, generally known river signals: The Head Tap: “Are you OK?”- This is the maybe most common river signal we use. It is both a question and an answer. If you see someone tapping their head at you, they are asking you a question and would like a response. Assuming you are OK, you would respond back with the same signal. The idea is that you are making an “O” (as in “O.K.”) with your arm. It is the same as giving someone the thumbs up, but it works better if you are far away or if you have really small thumbs. The Thumbs Up: “Are you ready?”- This is maybe the most important river signal we use. Like the Head Tap, it is also interactive (it requires a response). Typically the Lead Guide will hold up one arm and thumb and hold it there until all the other guides do the same. The Lead Guide is asking if you are ready to leave the eddy and head downstream. By signaling back with a thumbs up, you are indicating that you are ready to leave RIGHT NOW. Don’t signal back if you aren’t immediately ready to leave the eddy. We use these signals while on the river to space the rafts. Sometimes, we’re close enough to talk, but it’s fun to break these out and look important, plus it’s nice to have options. These are great for telling other rafts what is going on when they can’t see (and for Disco night at the local pub). 28

EMERGENCIES There are several on-river situations which require self-help and rescue techniques. If all trip members are familiar with these procedures and can react calmly and quickly, such emergencies needn’t be serious. SWIMMING - Falling out of a raft is not like falling out of an airplane. In fact, nearly every rapid on every river can be and probably has been swum. Proper positioning in the water and knowledge of how to swim can minimize the chances of getting hurt. The proper position for swimming is on your back; knees slightly bent with your feet facing downstream and held up towards the surface of the water. There are good reasons for each of these rules. • Type V lifejackets will float a person, (even an unconscious one), on their back with their face out of the water, hence floating on your back is how your lifejacket wants you to float. • With your feet facing downstream, you will be able to fend off any rocks into which the river might sweep you, and you will be able to see where you are going and to see what obstacles are ahead. • Keeping your feet up near the surface of the water allows you to fend off rocks and keeps your feet from getting caught in any underwater crevices. • Bending your knees will allow your legs to act as shock absorbers when you do hit a rock. To maneuver while swimming in whitewater, the most effective stroke is a backwards sculling motion, sort of like a butterfly stroke on your back. To swim to one side of the river, angle your body slightly towards the opposite side and stroke backwards. Just like when rowing a raft, maintain a ferry angle and try to catch an eddy. In some circumstances (high/deep water, to avoid a strainer, if you are comfortable, etc.), you can also roll over on your stomach and swim aggressively to your target. Practice swimming rapids when you don’t need to and you will enjoy swimming them more when you have to. 29

Breathing while swimming in a rapid is sometimes difficult. The white in whitewater is caused by air bubbles which are being churned up as the river flows over and around obstacles. Obviously lifejackets won’t float you in air, so when swimming through heavy whitewater you will occasionally find yourself somewhat submerged. The key to a choke- free swim is to know when to breathe and, more importantly, when not to breathe. The best place to take a breath in a rapid is often at the bottom of the trough between two waves. Your natural inclination is to take a breath at the top of the wave, however since the top of the wave is often white, (full of air), you rarely reach it, but rather break through the crest of the wave just under the surface of the water. Wait for the trough and, in heavy whitewater, to turn your head to the side to get a breath. SWIMMER RESCUE It is imperative whenever anyone takes an accidental swim that they get out of the water as soon as possible, either onto shore or into another raft. Whenever someone falls overboard, get your raft into a position to rescue the swimmer immediately. Even if there are no rapids for miles downstream, it is simply good practice and comforting to the swimmer to have help close at hand. To rescue a swimmer from the water, maneuver your raft so that the person can reach it, (sometimes a paddle can be extended to or from the swimmer to add a critical three or four feet). With the swimmer alongside the raft (not at the bow or stern which are high points), and with the swimmer facing the raft, grab the swimmer by the lifejacket and pull him up and across the tube of the raft. This is usually best accomplished by falling back into the raft and pulling the swimmer with you. Keeping a low center of gravity and pulling across the tube, (as opposed to lifting the person on to the tube), can enable a light person to pull a heavy person aboard. The most important thing about swimming in whitewater is to not panic. As a guide, you should feel comfortable swimming rapids. It is very valuable to have intentionally swum many rapids prior to swimming one unintentionally. We’ll give you plenty of opportunities during the school, try to take advantage of them. 30

FLIPS There are two kinds of guides in the world, those who have flipped and those who are waiting to flip. When a raft flips, two potentially dangerous conditions occur simultaneously. First, everyone in the raft is swimming and second, the raft is out of control. Together, these create a very dangerous situation. The danger of this situation is in being pinned or pinched between a downstream rock and the out-of-control raft. To avoid this, stay away from the downstream side of the raft and from the area in front of the raft. Stay to the side of the raft or upstream of the raft. Climbing on top of the overturned raft is fine, but try to avoid climbing up from the downstream side if you are in the middle of the rapid. Sometimes, when a raft flips, or even when you just fall out without it flipping, you will come up underneath the boat. This can be alarming, but don’t worry, just reach up with your hands and claw your way to the side or upstream side of the raft. Try to go in one direction, eventually you’ll come to the surface. While it is possible to breathe in the air pocket formed by an overturned raft, it is best not to stay under there for too long; you are in a potentially dangerous place, (you can't see where you are going), and people will start to worry about you. Take a quick breath and get out into open water. As a guide, the first thing to do when your raft flips is to get yourself in a position to locate everyone who was in your raft and to make sure that they are alright. Sometimes the best place to do this is from on top of the flipped raft. Climb up on the bottom (easiest at the bow or stern where the normally upturned ends are now downturned and the lift handles make good places to grab), and make sure that everyone is out from under the raft and away from the downstream side. COUNT HEADS! If you cannot account for everyone in your boat, you may have to swim underneath the raft to rescue someone trapped there (either by a loose line, a clip, or in terror). Once everyone is accounted for, obtain help from another raft and get the flipped raft into an eddy or into a calm stretch. 31

RIGHTING A FLIPPED RAFT There is no standard way to flip a raft back over after a flip; each situation is going to call for its own solution. Treat the upside-down raft with caution, but get it back right side up as quickly as possible. After everyone is safe and accounted for and you are on top of the upside-down raft, here are some things to keep in mind and try: 1. An upside-down paddle raft is almost as maneuverable as a right side up one. A couple of people with paddles (you remembered to tell them to hold on to their paddles during your safety talk, right?) can paddle the raft to shore or into an eddy. 2. An empty paddle raft can be righted by securing a line (your personal flip line with a carabiner if you have one) to a downstream D- ring or handle or by passing an end of the bow or stern line (you don’t have a personal flip line) through a downstream D-ring or handle then standing on the upstream tube, leaning back and pulling on the line. If the raft is perpendicular to the current and you are leaning upstream, the current will help flip the raft back over. One person can do it with a little help from the current; two people can do it easily. It is sort of fun, just pay attention to the raft as it flips back over, it is going to come whacking down on top of you. A good idea is to just go under when you land in the water and then pop back up after the raft hits. 3. Oar rafts are another story. Assuming you tied everything in, there is a lot of weight involved. You will need some help. Prepare for rescue by getting one end of a short length of line secured to the raft and the other end in your hands. You can use your personal flip line (a little on the short side) or the bow or stern line (a little on the long side – be careful not to get it wrapped around you or anyone else). Ideally, pass the line to another raft (an upright oar raft being rowed by a big, bad, burly guide is best), or, if no other alternative is available, jump to shore with the line and immediately pass it around a secure anchor, (a sturdy tree is ideal). If passed to another raft, the line should be held by someone in that raft so that it can be released immediately if necessary. Do not tie off the line to the rescue raft! If you need to release the flipped raft because it is pulling you over Death Fang Falls, you don’t want to be fussing with a carabiner gate or trying to untie a knot. First chance you get, swing or pull the raft into an eddy. Breathe again. 32

4. Once everything is stabilized (you’re not careening downstream out of control), attach short (12 - 16 foot) lines to the D-rings, or frame along one side of the raft. The bow and stern lines, passed through a D- ring or through the frame work well. 5. If the oar raft isn’t too heavily loaded you can right it just like a paddle raft. Sometimes it takes three or four people, but it has been done. Be extra careful when the raft flips back over, it is really heavy and the additional people make it hard to get out of the way of it when it whacks down. And always take the oars off beforehand (even if it means swimming underneath your upside down raft); the oars build up a lot of torque and they penetrate underwater when they come around making them really dangerous and hard to avoid. 6. If the raft is too heavy to flip in this manner (likely), maneuver it to shore so that the lines are attached to the side of the raft that is away from shore and pull with more people from shore. It is sometimes necessary to use high rocks to get a good angle. Again, be careful as it comes over; try to keep it from crashing down on shore, especially if it is rocky, but don’t get smashed, either. 7. Z-rigs have been employed to right flipped gear boats before and if all else fails, you can untie your load underwater to lighten things up, (the mood included). 33

WRAPS A wrapped raft is either a very nice Christmas present or a nightmare. In negotiating whitewater, hitting things is inevitable. Occasionally, when you hit an obstacle broadside, the force of the current turns the raft on its side and pins it against the obstacle, usually with part of the raft underwater, (usually a lot more than you can imagine). This is called a wrap and it is, without a doubt, one of the most humbling experiences involved in the sport. The first objective for avoiding a wrap is to not hit any obstacles; this should work for maybe one rapid. The next objective is to not hit any obstacles broadside. When you see that the raft is going to hit an obstacle on which it might wrap, do everything possible to hit the obstacle either bow first or stern first, anything but broadside. This technique will quite often save you; you can simply bounce or pivot off the rock and continue downstream. Should the first two techniques fail, and you find yourself broadside to a wrap rock, there is still a maneuver that might work. \"High-siding\" (or \"rock-siding\") is a move which requires quick reflexes and swift action. When properly executed, it can mean the difference between a brief encounter with a rock and a long and bitter relationship. When a raft hits a rock broadside, the river wants to push the raft downstream as far as possible against the rock. The current forces the downstream tube of the raft, the \"rock-side\" tube, up the face of the rock and forces the upstream tube underwater and down the face of the rock. “High-siding” means getting all of the movable weight in the raft (the people) on the side of the raft that is against the rock. This will make the downstream, (high-side or rock-side) tube heavier, (harder to force up the face of the rock), and the upstream tube lighter, (harder to force under water). From this position, the raft can often be spun off and around the rock. This is not the type of maneuver that can be taught on the spot; everyone in the raft has to be aware of the possibility and has to know what to do should they find themselves in the situation (safety talk). High-siding is often practiced at put-in before heading downstream. 34

UNWRAPS Well, high-siding didn’t work and now we have a raft wrapped around a mid-stream boulder. Relax, worse things have happened. The good news is that these are usually pretty stable situations. It sucks, no doubt, but unlike a flipped raft where things are heading downstream and troubles are escalating, a wrapped raft has pretty much peaked on the out-of-control scale. Our first priority is to not make the situation worse. Do not rush and do not let your excitement fog your common sense. Act efficiently, but not rashly. Think. Follow orders. As in all such situations, there should be a clearly established leader who will organize and orchestrate the recovery. It is unlikely that you will find yourself in charge of the situation until you have seen a few, so pay attention and learn. First, we need to take some basic safety precautions. Make sure everyone is accounted for and safe (count heads, attend to injuries, communicate with the entire group). This takes a much higher priority over everything else, including the equipment and anyone’s vanity. Establish downstream safety – Someone will be assigned to position themselves (and ideally a boat) downstream of the wrapped raft to catch anything that floats free. If this is you, stay there and do your job; don’t wander up to ask questions or give advice, (this is invariably when the lead guide’s dry bag will float free and head downstream past your safety net). This person is responsible for maintaining this position until relieved. It is just as important as pulling on the rope. Establish upstream safety – Someone will be assigned to position themselves upstream to stop and warn oncoming boaters. Get to a place where you can alert people in time for them to catch an eddy and make a decision about how to proceed, (alternate route, wait, help, etc). Keep your lifejacket on – Obvious, but you’d be surprised. 35

Now we can begin the process of getting the raft off the rock. Our strategy will be to go from simple to more complex. There are no surefire methods for unwrapping a raft so brainstorming, communicating, and experimenting are the recipe; and working together, with a common thought, is essential. A good leader will shine brightly in these situations. Here are some things that have worked in the past: Shift the weight around – First and foremost, get as much weight off of the low-side tube as possible. The tube is (hopefully) full of air and wants to come up to the surface which will help immensely. Often people are standing on this tube, waist deep in the river; getting them on the rock or on the other tube is very helpful. Also, move people toward the end of the raft that is most likely to move downstream (the way the river wants to push the raft – this is usually pretty obvious – and usually more obvious from shore – so if you are ON the wrapped raft, you may have to defer to those on shore). Simple pull from the wrap rock – Sometimes, the raft and the river just need some help to disrupt the balance and get things moving. Using the bowline, sternline, raft handles or your flipline attached to a D-ring or the frame, try to get something to move. Movement is almost always productive. Given the angle that you’ll be pulling from, the movement is often UP, which is good. Simple pull from shore – Often a quick pull from shore via the bowline, sternline or a throwbag can be helpful. The big advantage is that there are more options for angles. Again, we’re not really pulling the raft off the rock as much as we are trying to disrupt the balance and let the river provide the proper force. Throwbags and D-rings break, so it is probably best to limit the amount of direct, unprotected pulling to one or two people. 36

Deflate a tube – When you see a wrapped raft, you understand the problem: current pressing into two perfectly-shaped, enormous buckets on opposing sides of a rock pinning the raft onto the rock. If you can collapse one of the buckets, often the balance is changed and the raft will come free. Trouble is, the valves you want to open are often inaccessible, but if you can reach them, bleed out some air and change the equilibrium, that usually helps. If you can, manually open the valves, let out air, then close them. This will keep the tube from filling with water, an ugly problem later on. Deflate a tube AND pull on the end of the raft – This is a very effective method that adds some mechanical work to help collapse the bucket. As the tube is being deflated, the end of the raft is also being pulled back towards the center of the raft. This can often be done by simply pulling on the bow/stern line as you deflate a tube, other times you need to get a little more complicated and tie off the line (usually to the frame). A lot of rafts are unwrapped by alternating between bleeding air out of a tube, pulling on the corresponding bow/stern line, tying off, then bleeding some more, then pulling some more. By the time the raft comes off it often looks like half a raft with a squashed end, but no one complains. There is a cool rope and knot trick called a “Transport Hitch” you can use to effectuate this collapsing move. It’s complicated, so practice it before you need it. 37

THE WRAP KIT If these methods fail, it is time for the Wrap Kit and some serious effort. But be careful, unwrapping a raft with ropes and pulleys is a dangerous and tedious process. The forces are incredible and the process is time-consuming. It should be considered only after all the other safe alternatives have been exhausted. There are numerous rope systems and strategies that can be employed and we encourage you to take an advanced Swiftwater Rescue Course (See Appendix I) to learn more. Right now, we’re going to focus on the most common rope system: the Z-Rig. As shown below the Z-rig, when set up properly, triples the pulling power of the group and utilizes self-equalizing anchors to distribute the forces across multiple points and employs brakes to allow for the pullers to rest and make adjustments. And, as shown in the table, the system creates substantial force. Things can break! Be careful! . BREAKING STRENGTH OF COMPONENTS 1/2 inch Static Line = 9,000+ lbs. 3/8 inch Poly-pro throw-bag = 1,900 lbs. with bowline knot = 4,800 lbs. Rescue Pulley = 6,000 lbs. with Figure Eight Loop = 5,600 lbs. Average Carabiner 8 mm Prussik cord = 2,800 lbs. Open = 1,350 lbs. Closed = 5,000 lbs. 1” Nylon Tubular Webbing = 4,000 lbs Prussik connection to static line = 11/16” Nylon Tubular Webbing = 3,000 lbs approximately 900 to 1,200 lbs. Safe working load is about 20% of breaking strength. Knots generally reduce a line’s breaking strength by 40 to 50 percent. And adult can pull approximately 120% of their body weight when using a body or shoulder belay (wrapped behind); 60% when pulling with just their hands. 38

There is no substitute for hands-on practice, and you’ll get a chance during the school, but here are some things to think about: Self-equalizing anchors – Learn how to set one up before the end of your school and refresh your memory every season. If your lead guide asks you to tie one and you just shake your head, your stock drops precipitously. A self-equalizing anchor distributes one big force (the rope) across multiple weaker points (a series of D-rings), which reduces the chance of an anchor failing. If one of the anchor points does fail, the others absorb the load. Redundancy – Self-equalizing anchors create one level of redundancy. Another place for redundancy is at the carabiners. Ideally you want to double them up so that they are opposite and opposing (opening in opposite directions and on opposite sides). Interrupt the forces – When under full tension, the safety line represents a major hazard (tons of potential energy and lots of things that can fail and release it). If you clip a spare lifejacket or a stuffed throw-bag around the line mid-span, it will absorb a lot of the energy should one of the anchors give out. Instead of whipping back into the group of pullers, the line is dampened by the lifejacket and it just goes limp. Most exposed position – The “lead puller”, the person at the head of the pulling team, is the most likely to get hit if the rope breaks or if something fails. If you have a helmet wear it, (of course you are wearing your lifejacket), and be ready to hit the dirt if you have to. Pulling at an angle to the main line of tension or adding a change of direction pulley at the anchor can reduce this exposure. Also, if you are on the raft, don’t hang out in a direct line with the line of the rope; when things fail, they will fly in both directions, including back towards the raft. Flip it off – Often getting a raft off of a rock entails flipping it. The raft anchor points are usually all on one side of the raft and the other side is pinned, so when you pull, the raft “rolls” off. Take it if that’s what you can get. A flipped raft at the bottom of a rapid is better than a wrapped raft in the middle of a rapid. Upstream of the lines – As you are setting up and pulling on your Z-rig, always try to stay on the upstream side of the ropes. When the raft comes free, the ropes are going to swing in towards shore and if you are between them and, let’s say a big boulder, you’ll get cut in half, (ok, not really, but you see the danger). Pendulum into shore – When the raft comes off, it is going to pendulum into shore from the anchor point. Really good guides figure out where the pendulum is going to hit the shore and make sure it is a good spot, (no hazards or children swimming). 39

IT’S COMING OFF! Hallelujah, your efforts have borne fruit. The raft is moving and starting to come off the rock. Everyone is excited, relieved, joyous. Be careful! Your stable, static situation is about to become a dynamic, unpredictable one. A critical and often overlooked piece of the final solution is getting people off the rock. Many times when a raft is pulled off, people are left behind inadvertently because they weren’t instructed and/or they weren’t prepared for getting off. It is always surprising how quickly the raft goes from being stuck firmly to the rock to being 100 feet away from it. It is often an hour of miniscule and barely perceptible movement followed by a few seconds of transition and then, whoosh, the raft is swinging towards shore. People need to be ready to act and they must act with conviction, often jumping onto an upside-down, moving raft as it comes free. Don’t wait until the last second to think about or tell others what you want them to do. (Staying with the raft as it swings to shore is usually, but not always, the best option. If you aren’t sure what the best solution for getting yourself and other people off is, ask the Lead Guide before its too late). 40

THE AFTERMATH It is amazing, how much damage can take place during a wrap. It is sometimes a good idea to take a quick inventory of the carnage before heading downstream. It might be better to take advantage of the hot, midday sun and dry gear now than to continue on and try to dry gear in a shady camp. Likewise, wet food often necessitates menu adjustments which might benefit from a visit to another rafting group or a stop at a riverside lodge or ranch. The sooner you figure out that the tortillas are liquid, the more options you will have to salvage the fajitas. IF IT WAS YOU – Most of us have done it, and it sucks. Here’s what we’ve learned: DON’T: Make excuses. “The clip was loose”; “The oars are warped”; we’ve heard them all, we don’t really want to hear any more. Blame others. “You didn’t tell me about that rock”; basically lame. Trivialize it. “It wasn’t that bad”; save that for later, right now, someone’s gear is probably wet. Brag about your tie-down. “Nothing came off”; comforting and valid thought, just keep it to yourself. DO: Apologize. Everyone will tell you not to worry about it, but apologize anyhow, it’s good karma. Work hard to make up for it. This is not the night to take dinner off, even if it was your turn. Don’t overdo it, but there is probably more work to do and you should be doing it. Pay the piper. The first person sleeping in a wet bag should be you. IF IT WASN’T YOU – DON’T: Laugh, smile, gloat or feel even remotely smug; it is only a matter of time. DO: Commiserate and comfort; it is only a matter of time. 41

BOAT ORDER It is important to travel as an organized group when on the river. A specific boat order should be set by the lead guide and should be maintained by the other guides. This enables each guide to know which boat is ahead and which is behind, resulting in a reliable safety net. Knowing which raft is ahead or behind you and knowing how many people are in those rafts, enables you to recognize when there is a swimmer even if you can’t see anyone in the water. Sometimes, the boat order will change during the day or for specific rapids, and it isn’t crucial when floating along in calm stretches, but for the most part, it is a good idea to stay in order. The “Lead Boat” is responsible for pacing the trip, eddying out for scouts or lunch or hike stops, and acting as the first safety/rescue boat below all rapids. Because of its importance in the flow of the trip the lead boat is often an oar raft rowed by the lead guide, although this isn’t necessary if good communication between lead guide and lead boat is maintained. A lead boat should never allow any other rafts in the group to get downstream of it. A \"Sweep Boat\" is the last raft in the group and usually carries the first aid and repair kits and other safety gear. The sweep guide is responsible for keeping all the other rafts in front of it and for making sure that all the other rafts are in good shape, (i.e. not in need of air, repair or first aid). The remaining oar and paddle rafts on the trip should maintain an order in between the lead and sweep rafts. Since paddle rafts are the most likely to have swimmers, they are often sandwiched between competent oar rafts. CONFUSING NOTE: “sweep boat” is also the term for a special kind of raft used primarily on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. It is a big boat steered by two “sweeps” that extend off the front and back of the raft and is usually rowed by a big lummox in a cowboy hat. Ironically, the sweep boat is rarely the sweep boat. (Sorry, just another one of those things). 42

BOAT SPACING: The distance between rafts as you float down river is important. It will vary depending on the difficulty of the whitewater, the familiarity of the guides with the river, the types of rafts, and other factors. Generally, it is a good idea to always keep the raft in front of you and the raft behind you in sight at all times; although things will usually be much tighter than this. Paddle rafts, (with their downstream paddling action), move faster through rapids than oar rafts, (with their upstream ferrying), so it is important to pay attention to your companions. Paddle rafts following oar rafts need to allow more space in front of them when entering a rapid so that they don’t crowd the oar raft; conversely, oar rafts need to be aware of paddle rafts following them and try to keep moving downstream. As an Assistant Guide, you’ll likely be rowing a raft immediately following another oar raft. Stay close and pay attention. On commercial trips, we don’t scout much, so you’ll be dependent on the guide in front of you to give you advice and suggestions. When you see the river disappear over a ledge or around a corner, tighten up and feel free to ask directions. Then watch where your lead raft enters, what its ferry angle is and how hard the guide is rowing. It isn’t cheating. At high water, boat order is even more critical. More swimmers, more flips, fewer eddies, less time for rescue. As a result, we try to stay closer together so that we can get to each other faster. Oftentimes, the spacing will be just a couple of boat lengths and the following rafts have to trust the lead rafts implicitly. At the same time, the lead raft is critically dependent on the second raft to come to the rescue if something goes wrong. High water boating can be a very team and trust-building exercise. We may practice this a bit on your school, just to give you a sense of how challenging it can be. 43

KNOTS Back in the day, you couldn’t rig your raft without a bunch of “hoopie” (tubular webbing) and a pretty good selection of knots. Nowadays, cam straps threaten to make knots and hoopie obsolete. But we’re still somewhat old-school here at ARTA, (and as an AG you’ll be last in line for cam straps), so we’re going to teach you a few basic knots. These will come in handy until you can steal enough cams to tie your kayak to your truck. Some general observations: A good knot is one that is easy to tie, handles the necessary loads and forces, and is easy to untie. Tying quick release knots (“on a bight”) usually makes them easier to untie. A knot in a line usually decreases the working load by 50%; the tighter the bends in the knot, the more it weakens the line. Here are two “anchor” knots you can use to secure one end of line to your raft: And, at the other end, you’ll need a trucker’s hitch tied off with two half hitches (or one half hitch with a safety hitch). Note: a Trucker’s Hitch is like a little Z-rig and gives you triple the cinching power. 44

Other handy knots to know are the Figure 8 (great for putting a loop in the end of a line) and the Water Knot, great for tying two pieces of hoopie together, (forever if you don’t do one end on a bight). Here’s a great way to tie your raft to a tree. When tying off to shore, make sure you tie a good knot to a good anchor and that you test it with a steady, strong pull. You will sleep better at night. Tie off to another raft only as a last resort and only with permission. And a specialized knot for a special occasion (wrap) and one to restore your confidence. 45

RIGGING - Don’t be alarmed when you can’t see the ground at put-in because of all the crap laying around waiting for a place in a raft; even the most experienced of guides are shaken by the sight. But there is a methodology to rigging; some logic, some rules, a little bit of improvisation. Pay attention and by the end of the school you’ll be an expert, or at least not brought to your knees by the mountain of gear. Here’s a brief rundown of how it all comes together. First we need to blow up the rafts. Whitewater rafts have multiple chambers; separate compartments that hold air independently. If one or even two chambers rip open and deflate, the raft will still float. Most rafts have four perimeter chambers plus two or three thwarts (cross- chambers that help hold the perimeter tubes apart) and often an inflatable (self-bailing) floor. Each chamber has its own valve; good valves have a one-way feature that allows you to put air in without worrying about it coming back out. When inflating a raft, it is best to give ALL the chambers enough air to give the whole boat some shape, (often done with a big red electric blower) then go back and “top off” each chamber to full pressure with a cylinder pump. Full pressure is about 5 pounds per square inch, but that’s irrelevant because everyone has a different idea of what full pressure feels like and no one has a pressure gauge. Try to establish your own “feel” by poking and pressing a properly topped-off raft during the school. It’s important because “topping off” is likely to be one of your first independent jobs once you get to the commercial river trip scene, (boats are usually “bled” in the afternoon to relieve the pressure caused when the cool morning “top-off” air heats up and expands during the day meaning they have to get “topped off” every morning. No one likes to do it so it makes a good impression when you offer). Here are a couple of secrets you’ll learn over time: You don’t need to “open” the valves – they are already in their one- way state – just stick the hose in and pump. And by the way, a good hose has a tight-fitting nipple on the end that should make topping off a one-person job; two people often do it, alternating between pumper and hoser, (misery loves company), but it should be a one-person job. If you are the one person, you don’t need to solicit help; if someone else is the one person, you should volunteer to help. 46

If you aren’t sure if you’ve topped off a raft hard enough, err on the side of too much. It is much easier to bleed a rock-hard boat than to re-top a mushy one. If anyone ever complains that you topped off the raft too much, they’re being a tool; just smile and try to adjust next time. It is sometimes easier to find a nice flat sandy piece of beach to stand on and put the pump on, then spin the paddle raft and/or duckies around so that the valves come to the pump rather than try to take the pump to the valves, stand on a soft floor, pump in the sloshing water and get your feet wet, (if you have to do this, top off the floor first, duh!). On the oar rafts, use the floor of the frame or the gear boxes as your pump platform. Gallant guides put the caps back on the valves after they top off out of respect for their fellow professionals. (By the way, the little caps are often airtight themselves – if you ever come across a valve that’s stuck in the open position, you can sometimes solve the problem simply by quickly slapping the cap on after you top). Once the rafts are inflated, it’s time to start cleaning up the shore. We call the loading and securing of the gear into the raft “the tie-down”, (noun and verb both), as in “Go tie down your boat.” or “How’s your tie- down?” You can call it whatever you like as long as you do it well. And doing it well takes some thought and care. This will be a time for those with O.C.D. to shine and a time for those with A.D.D. to become paddle boat captains. First, the “rowing frames” and “drop frames” get secured to the oar rafts, [except for a specialized “saddle bag” or two that strap to a thwart, there’s nothing in a paddle raft to tie down, paddle rafts get topped off and are done]. Nowadays, cam straps are used to secure just about everything to the raft – there is still a time and a place for “hoopie” (tubular webbing) and knots, but cams are perfect for frame tie-down, so we’ll use them. After positioning the frames properly on the raft, (usually the drop frame in the front and the rowing frame immediately behind it), we will secure each corner of the frame to the corresponding D-ring on the raft. Two frames means 8 corners, but you can often double up on the adjacent corners where the rowing and drop frames touch and get away with 6 cam straps. Ideally, you want the buckles on the cam straps oriented so that you can pull the strap tight from INSIDE your raft. That way if your frame comes loose or slides around during the day, you can correct it while floating 47

downriver. If you find yourself having to get out and stand on shore or in the river to get your cam straps tight, you are doing something wrong and you should heed your O.C.D. voice and re-rig that strap. Taking an extra wrap around the frame tubing with the cam strap helps keep the strap from slipping. Keeping the straps flat (not twisted) looks better, works better, is better. Tightening the straps evenly, progressively and in small steps, keeps the frame from getting off center. Right after the frame gets tied down is a good time to tie on your spare oar. The blade can usually be slipped under the front frame straps and the handle end can be secured to the frame with a cam near the clip so that it sits pretty along the outside of the raft. Either a short cam (good) or a piece of hoopie and a quick release knot (old-school) will work. It needs to be tied in so that you can get it off quickly in case you need to replace an oar mid-rapid (likely enough). Undo one cam or one knot and slip the blade out from the frame straps, and presto! you’re ready to put your spare in place. Also, it should be tied in so that the clip on the spare faces away from the raft and the smoother side of the oar is against the raft, (the clip can puncture the raft). During the course of the school get in the habit of checking the spare oar tie-off every time you get in an oar raft; which side is it on, what’s the knot, which end comes untied, etc. Few things are more annoying than careening through a rapid while undoing the wrong cam straps and untying the wrong knots. Next we’ll load coolers and boxes. These big items need to be held in place rock-solid, so they usually have specific homes and straps that secure them in place. Not a lot to figure out. The big boxes are military surplus “generator” boxes, so we call them generator boxes or the “Comm Box” if it’s a generator box full of pots and pans (our commissary). Now that the boat has a little definition, let’s take a moment to talk about the oars and how they fit into the picture. At ARTA, we use a system called “pins and clips”. The frame has a “pin” (technically a “thole pin”) and the oars have “clips” which slide onto the pin. A common alternative is “oarlocks” where the frame has an horseshoe- shaped oarlock into which the oar fits and slides. There are advantages to each. Pins and clips transfer more power to the oar, but they can “pop” off and become temporarily worthless; oarlocks twist and slide, 48

but don’t pop. For now, let’s stick to the pins and clips and, specifically, to WHICH SIDE OF THE PIN THE CLIP GOES ON (which always seems to confuse people). The clip goes on the opposite side of the pin from you when you are rowing so that when you pull, the oar bends against the pin. If you put them on the opposite way, (and during the course of your school, someone will), you will notice that the clip would have to absorb a lot of stress if you rowed really hard with them like that. So don’t. The “drop frame” and attached “drop bag” is a catch-all for awkward, bulky, heavy items like propane tanks, griddles, fire pans and chicky pails; things that would be really challenging to tie down. Accuracy isn’t critical, but efficiency is; it seems drop bags are always just a little too overpacked. This is sort of an escape place for the A.D.D. folks; you can basically load it up, put a table and a few pacos on top and then wait to strap it down (there’s always one last thing that you’ll want to put in there, strapping it shut early usually means you have to unstrap it later). But don’t forget to strap it down before you leave (read the next river story and you’ll never forget). Bags usually come next and they have their own idiosyncrasies. First of all, double check the roll down and seal job, and fix any that look suspect, just to be nice. Then stack as many as you can UPRIGHT, in the back of the raft behind the cooler. Tie them in as best you can following the general tie-down guidelines below. Additional bags can go on top of the “base load” (either the boxes up front or the first layer of bags in back), just make sure you have plenty of clearance for your oars and hands. It is really nice to put a few bags on top of the gear boxes to act as a backrest for the guests up front, again, be sure to leave enough room for your oar handles. Water jugs, 20 and 25 mm boxes (groovers), personal ammos, etc. etc. get tied down to the wooden deck (or the floor of the raft if there is no deck – God forbid), again trying to follow the general tie-down guidelines. Sometimes, you may want to tie a rocket box across the floor and against the boxes to act as a footbrace. Be careful not to leave any long tails of hoopie that could wrap around your feet. 49

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