Can you say "intense"? ARTA's California Pro Guide Training is 12 days of whitewater, each one just a bit more challenging than the one before, keeping you just a little on edge and on your toes. We'll start out on the South Fork of the American where the Class III rapids will give us a lively warm-up, then we're off to the Middle Fork of the American for Class IV rapids, tunnels and portages, then down to the Merced for some free-flowing adventure and finally: the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne for lots of Class IV+ rapids, heavy gear boats, and advanced skills. Phew! Don't come expecting to rest!
This course offers highly personalized instruction (at least 1 instructor for every 4 students) in all aspects of commercial guiding. You will row boats, paddle boats, flip boats, re-flip boats, load boats and patch boats. You will swim, scout, improvise, lead, follow, carry, cook and tie knots. You'll tell stories, hear stories, and, if you're anything like past students, you'll be the stars of stories for years to come.
While the emphasis of the California school will be on rowing and paddling in low-volume, high-gradient, technical rivers, all aspects of commercial guiding will be covered, including training in river rescue, equipment maintenance, risk management, and emergency procedures as well as on-shore training in cooking, sanitation, and logistics. There will also be managed scenarios where your skills, judgment and responses will be assessed and reviewed, as well as team events, games, skills challenges and other fun activities to help hone your guiding and leadership skills. The rapids and the student responsibilities will increase in difficulty as the school progresses, making every day a challenge, an adventure and loads of fun.
The goal of the school is for every student to be a safe, conscientous, environmentally-responsible river user. We want you to be comfortable and capable of taking your own raft down Class III rivers with a good sense of the things that can go wrong, the proficiency to avoid them and the skills to deal with them if they aren't avoided.
We hope you can join us.
Days 1 - 4: After a brief orientation meeting the evening before the course begins, we will camp at Camp Lotus and spend the first four days rafting various stretches of the South Fork. Depending on dam releases and skill levels we will raft 10 - 20 miles each day, concentrating on paddle techniques and basic paddle captaining.
Days 5 & 6:We will head to the Middle Fork of the American for an overnight trip in this rugged canyon full of surprises and quirky challenges. We'll camp along the river and start to get comfortable with wilderness cooking and camping.
Day 7: This will be our catch-all and catch-up day. We'll wake up in Lotus and go to bed in Groveland (3 hour car caravan). In between we'll learn some dry-land skills, review some safety basics, do some what-if scenarios, and rest.
Days 8 & 9: An early morning departure from our Groveland facility will take us to the Merced where we will find the best stretch of whitewater based on the river's conditions and our abilities. We'll challenge ourselves with some advanced scenarios and we'll strengthen our safety procedures in preparation for the Tuolumne.
Days 10 - 12: Our final challenge will be three days on the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne; 18 miles of world-class wilderness, classic riverside campsites and legendary Class IV and IV+ rapids. The school will conclude in Groveland late on day 12.
We are looking for dynamic, hard-working people to work for us as guides and this course is a primary source. Most students will be given the opportunity to join ARTA on a commercial trip as an Assistant Guide (unpaid position), to further their training and prepare them for a guiding career. Generally, each qualified student will be scheduled for a week of Assistant Guide work sometime during the early summer.
This course is designed for active, enthusiastic, and dynamic individuals who want a challenging, action-packed adventure. You don't need to be a world-class athlete but couch potatoes should definitely stay home. If you are the type of person who is first to get in line to wash dishes and last in line to get out of the surf, the course if for you. Some students come to the school with a lifetime of camping and rafting under their belts, others have never been in a boat before; all have succeeded (with no correlation). A positive attitude and solid work ethic are the most important things you can bring to the school.
The full details (where to meet, what to bring, etc.) are here. If there are any questions we haven't answered, send us an e-mail or give us a call (800/323-2782). We love to talk about our trips, so don't be shy!