International River Guide (IRGT) Graduation 2013

Another year over and another guide class for 2013 graduated!

After the last blog on our rest day in Pokhara, we made our way over to run a two day trip down the Seti river. A little step down in grade from the Kali Gandaki, but an opportunity for the guides to consolidate their skills and fine tune ready for assessments.

An awesome two day trip, dense forests, small villages and terraced fields and great white water. By the end of the two days the trainees were really getting it together, with each taking turns in the guide seat and running some great white water and choosing some great lines. At the end of the second day and on completion of this trip it was back over to Royal Beach on the Trusuli. Full circle back to where we started two weeks before where we guiding them down a section of class 3 / 4 water as an example of what we were working towards.

Assessements for International River Guide Training (IRGT) course on the Trusuli River, Nepal

Assessments for International River Guide Training (IRGT) course on the Trusuli River, Nepal

With two days based here, day one was a pre assessment day. The morning was spent with each student being given a section of the river that they were to be assessed on, each having a warm up section and a good rapid to run. `Having planned and looked at drawings of there own section, the morning meant a practice run with Gerry next to them in the guide seat and Ant as safety. Each student got to spend time scouting, planning and having a go at their run, with the exception of ‘Upset’ rapid. Due to still high water levels and this being the biggest rapid with consequences, Gerry took the guide seat following Ant’s line through the rapid!

That afternoon was spent finalising their rescue skills and a written paper to gain their Rescue Certification (Whitewater Rescue Technician), finalising paperwork and the essential final card game of ‘Dirty Clubs’!

Assessment day – After Waza had done his forfeit (being all previous ones put together – wearing a bra, jumping in the river, rolling in the sand wet then eating breakfast, doing teas, carrying bags, etc.. HARSH!)

For assessment day, Gerry stepped out of the raft to safety kayak and watch from a distance and Ant sat in with the group to assess from the raft. Each student was assessed not only on the choice of line they ran for their section of river, but nailing eddies we had told them to make, doing eddy spins, briefing their group, commands……..

For both Gerry and Ant the idea of signing a guide off is not just having the ability to run a raft from top to bottom on a section of river. Lots of people bounce rafts down rapids! It’s about being able to put the raft where ever they are asked to on that grade of water, be able to deal with the consequences when it goes wrong and be totally competent, safe and in full control at all times.

Each student ran their section and produced some great raft runs, again with the exception of ‘Upset’ which Ant took the raft seat for this time and our last run down the river together for the course.

Students on International River Guide Training Programme, consolidating skills on Trusuli River, Nepal

Students on International River Guide Training Programme, consolidating skills on Trusuli River, Nepal

15 days later going from very little rafting experience (or none) we had produced a group of guides capable of running solid class 3 Himalayan white water, with loaded and unloaded rafts, being able to put the raft any where we challenged them to put it, with total confidence and control.

The real test – would we let them guide our families? – No worries!

A lot of effort from all of the guides paid off and it was a pleasure to spend time on the water watching them develop and progress their skills, to now go out and continue their rafting development and run some rivers as a commercial river guides. Well done to each of them for their dedication and enthusiasm.

Job well done and well deserved!

I look forward to hearing where they all get to and what rivers they run, maybe joining our other past students around the world living a life on the water.

Class of 2013 dismissed – class of 2014 now open with a new format and itinerary! Why not join us?

So thats the last of the IRGT blogs, back to the UK for colder water and some rescue training with fire crews and rescue teams from the 2nd – 12th Nov, then on the 13th back to Nepal to guide our own group on a Sun Kosi river expedition for 2 weeks – look out for the blogs!

Check out our website for more details