Guide training in Nepal (IRGT) – Initial training completed!

Rain, rain and more rain!
6 pm briefing in Kathmandu and a chance to meet the students for this years course including participants from the UK, Asia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and to our relief the rain had eventually stopped!

The following day it’s onto the jeep and across to Royal Beach Camp on the Trusuli river for our first 4 days of initial training. The afternoon of day 1 saw the students rafting as a group of clients down the biggest section of the river to enable them to see our expectations of the course and the levels of guiding we are hoping to achieve. This section of river will be the assessment ground in two weeks time! This is normally pretty straight forward, Gerry or myself act as the lead guide giving the brief, guiding the raft, and giving them an insight into the role of the guide. Slightly different this year!

The water was nearly 3 metres higher than normal due to the end of the indian cyclone dumping continuous rain over Nepal for 3 days! After a little rock, paper, scissors moment, gerry took the guide seat and I ran out front in the kayak as safety and scouting the rapids for lines! (Not sure who got the better deal!)

In the spring, I ran a few rafts down here at low levels but it has been at least 12 months since I kayaked that kind of water! It definitely blew a few cobwebs out! Fast and continuous, and very different to normal. After a scout of the biggest rapid ‘Upset’ we got a great line through with the group and then hit the last big rapid ‘Surprise’ that lived up to its name! The last time I saw waves that big were on the Colorado!

This certainly gave the students an insight into Himalayan rafting, and the following two days were spent running the easier upper section of the river with each student taking their turn in the guide seat working out their ‘Pry’s and Draws’, getting confident moving the raft left and right across the river and making eddies.

Water levels were still high by the end of this. What fell as rain in Kathmandu fell as snow high in the mountains making life very hard work for anyone in the mountains, and causing many problems high up. This then had to melt and feed into the rivers, meaning levels are not dropping quickly!

When they weren’t in the guide seat the students were in the water – working on personal and group rescue techniques towards their rescue certification.

In addition to this, the vital game of ‘Dirty Clubs’ was learnt by all the trainees during the evenings – a pre requisite for any guide to know, this is an legendary card game where it doesn’t matter who wins, you just don’t want to loose! They will soon pick it up through the training but for now Gerry and I are enjoying the tea in the morning served at the tent and the bags carried to the vehicles (some of you out there will know that feeling)!

The last day at camp (Sat 19th) was another quick run down the upper section of the Trusuli river before lunch to include raft flips and recovery, then a jeep ride across to pokhara for a meal in moon dance, and a comfy hotel bed!

Yesterday was a day of First aid training in the comfort of the sub tropical pokhara surroundings based under the Annurpurna mountain range and staying in the main lakeside area.

To our surprise the second part of yesterday saw a torrential storm lasting 3 or 4 hours releasing a massive amount of water – guessing the rivers are staying up for a while and we are having a late monsoon this year!

We awoke today with the sun shining, 24 degrees forecast and views over the Annurpurnas! How can you improve this? Well, its a rest day! Everyone is chilling out, getting washing done, sitting by the lake in one of the gardens, and generally recharging batteries. They have been working hard!

Tonight at 6.30pm, we brief the group for the next part of the program which starts early tomorrow. A multi day expedition, putting their new found skills to the test on the Kali Gandaki river and stepping up the grade of water they guide on. This river sits in one of the deepest gorges in the world, as we wind our way over 3 days between two 8000m peaks, Dhaulagiri and Annurpurna!

I’ll let you know how we got on when we get back into Pokhara next weekend!

International River and Raft Guide Training (IRGT) from Live The Adventure on Vimeo.


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