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River Crossing Skills

Activity Description

This is such an important class. One of the most dangerous things hikers encounter in the backcountry is river crossings. Waterway drownings, in fact, is the leading cause of fatalities in national parks, accounting for some 37% of deaths. We aim to reduce that by teaching people safe and proper crossing techniques — and knowing when to not even try. In this course you will learn to read rivers, understand the dynamics at work, identify and avoid the hidden dangers, figure out where it’s safest to cross and why, understand rock hopping in a whole new light, and you will know how and when to employ group techniques versus fording solo. Rope work even comes into play. Oh, and you will get wet.

Activity Offerings

Crossing rivers is a year ’round activity (often much easier deep in the winter), but since we intentionally enter the water in this course to gain better immersion, so to speak (pun intended), this is currently a late spring to late fall offering only and is presently being offered as a half-day lasting 3-4 hours, or so. This course is held primarily outdoors, with a little prior prep and discussion. Like all of our programs, this course is custom-tailored to meet your wants and needs so please include any special objectives or learning desires you may have, if applicable, in the comments box of our Booking Form.

What to Wear

Unlike many of our course offerings, this one takes place within fair reach of the urban world and its services, thus you don’t have to go to great lengths to prepare yourself other than to be prepared to spend a few hours outside. Comfortably. This information should help you be ready. That’s said, if you are combining this course with another one, please refer to that course’s requirements, as well.

  • Think layers. Instead of a single jacket if it’s chilly, bring a couple of layers so you can adjust as necessary. Remember, the day may start cool and get quite warm. Also remember, you will get wet in this course, to just over your knees anyway, so prepare for this. A swimsuit isn’t a bad option. Shorts are a must.
  • Never wear cotton, even in this course we suggest against wearing cotton clothing for the simple fact that if it gets wet, it will stay wet for hours. Synthetic fabrics will better ensure your comfort.
  • Bring more than you think you need. Depending on where we go, we may gain elevation and it can be cooler in the mountains. A hat and gloves can be nice. Be prepared.
  • For footwear, we recommend two sets of footwear for this course: Hiking shoe, trail runners, sneakers, or boots to get you to the river, then water shoes, Crocs, closed-toe sandals (Keens), or old sneakers you don’t mind getting wet for the course study itself for use in the water.
  • In the colder months, do consider the start and ending temperatures, time of day, time of year, water temps (numbingly cold in the spring), and the forecast. If needed, you could opt for our “Ready Pack” to fill in your wardrobe gaps.

Necessary Gear

For your river crossing skills course gear needs, in addition to your personal clothing and footwear, as described above, we offer three options detailed in the boxes below. For details, click to expand.

Gear Option 1 - Open
Rent our “Ready Pack” for $55/person/day. This option will satisfy all your gear needs to include all your layers from mid-layer up, everything, even your food and water needs for the duration of the activity, including all specialty gear. This only leaves a need for personal items such as…

  • Personal first aid kit/meds.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Camera/phone (weather- and water-protected).
  • Lip balm, sun block.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Insect repellent (spring/summer).
  • Proper footwear (water shoes, etc., see information above).
  • Proper clothing layering (swimwear, etc., see information above).

SPECIAL NOTE: You may get a “Ready Pack, Lean” without food and water for $40/person/day.
SPECIAL NOTE: You can also order just food and water for $15/person/day. (Available with any option.)

Gear Option 2 - Open
Bring your own pack containing, in addition to the items above, the gear shown in the list below, but rent any necessary specialty gear items in the sub-list below that…

  • A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~30-40 liters).
  • Hardshell jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
  • Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
  • Seasonally-rated mid-layer.
  • Food for the the half-day, plus extra.
  • Water for the half-day, at least 1 liter, plus extra.
  • Seasonally-rated hat, gloves/mittens.

Plus any of these specialty items also available from the master rental list, below (unless marked otherwise)…

  • Water Shoes.
  • Swimwear/Wettable Articles.
  • Personal Flotation Device.
  • Trekking Poles.
  • Climbing Helmet.
  • Chest Waders (Outsourced).
  • General Rental Gear Pricing
    • Empty Backpack: $15/person/day.
    • Headlamp w/ Batteries: $5/person/day.
    • Trekking Pole Set: $5/person/day.
    • Bushwhack Kit (Compass/Glasses): $5/person/day.
    • Food and Water (Lunch Kit): $15/person/day.

    Summer Clothing/Layers Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Summer” we mean warmer, summer-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Fleece (Midlayer): $5/person/day.
    • Puffy Jacket (Midweight): $20/person/day.
    • Hardshell Set: $35/person/day.
    • Light Gloves: $5/person/day.
    • Climbing Gloves: $10/person/day.

    Winter Clothing/Layers Pricing – Add to List Above
    (NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Puffy/Parka (Heavyweight/Winter): $25/person/day.
    • Hardshell Set: $35/person/day (Gaiters Req. w/ Crampon Use).
    • Mitts/Overmitts: $10/person/day.
    • Watchman’s Hat: $5/person/day.
    • Balaclava: $5/person/day.
    • Face Protection (Faceglove/Mask): $5/person/day.
    • Ski Goggles: $5/person/day.
    • Gaiters (Winter): $10/person/day.

    Winter Rental Gear Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Light Traction: $10/person/day.
    • Mountaineering Snowshoes: $15/person/day.
    • Mountaineering Crampons: $15/person/day.
    • Climbing Helmet: $5/person/day.
    • Ice/Snow Axe: $10/person/day.
    • Whippet: $10/person/day.
    • Alpine Harness: $10/person/day.

    Winter Technical Gear Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Ice Climbing Crampons: $15/person/day.
    • Technical Ice Tools: $15/person/day.
    • Climbing Harness: $10/person/day.
    • Mountaineering Boots: $25/person/day.
    • Avalanche Beacon: $25/person/day.
    • Avalanche Probe: $10/person/day.
    • Avalanche Shovel: $10/person/day.
    • Avalanche Kit: $40/person/day.

    Summer Technical Gear Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Summer” we mean warmer, summer-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Climbing Helmet: $5/person/day.
    • Alpine Harness: $10/person/day.
    • Rock Climbing Shoes: $15/person/day.
    • Climbing Harness: $10/person/day.
    • Chalk Bag w/ Chalk): $5/person/day.
    • Personal Flotation Device: $10/person/day.

    Backpacking Gear Pricing
    • Sleeping Bag (Rated): $20/person/night.
    • Sleeping Pad (Foam): $5/person/night.
    • Sleeping Pad (Inflatabe): $15/person/night.
    • Tent (1-2 People): $20/person/night.
    • Tent (3-4 People): $30/person/night.
    • Stove w/ Fuel: $15/person/night.

    Other Gear-Related Pricing
    • Gear Insurance (Regular/Hiking): $10/person/day.
    • Gear Insurance (Alpine/Winter): $20/person/day.
    • Gear Insurance (Backpacking): $30/person/day.
    • Outsourced Gear (Pick Up Fee): $40/person/day.

Gear Option 3 - Open
Bring everything and rent nothing. In which case, you will need everything applicable to the course and season from the above lists appropriate to your activity and expected conditions. Contact us if you have questions, mention it on the booking form, or simply note it when we call to finalize your booking.

Okay… Let’s Do This!

What follows below is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want or need to know.

Half Day River Crossing Skills Pricing
For one person $175
For two people $125 each
For three people $110 each
For four or more $100 each
River Crossing Skills Premiums
Make it private INCLUDED
Other Information
  • The difficulty of this activity is as requested, but not very demanding.
  • This activity has a 1:4 instructor/student ratio.
  • The maximum group size is 8 with 2 guides.
  • For parties larger than 8, please contact us.
  • Gratuities not included; 15-25% is customary for a good job.

Do you hate getting wet? Maybe going on a Day Hike would be better (and hopefully drier), or perhaps our Hiking Intro course might be a better fit; we do discuss crossings a bit. Otherwise, go ahead and BOOK IT NOW!

Don't Wait Too Long!

Book today to begin your outdoor experience. Use the button to the right to go to our booking form page...

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