10 days, a million memories

General Description:

Whichever trite aphorism you choose, (Jump in with both feet! Get baptised! Dive in! Immerse yourself!) ARTA’s Oregon Pro Guide Training Course is a great introduction to life on the river and the world of commercial guiding. While not as intense as the California PGT, the Oregon course offers more wilderness, more isolation and the chance to experience the rhythm of an extended trip. We’ll start on the Class III rapids of the Klamath, jump to the Class IV rapids of the Cal-Salmon, run the monster waves of the Ikes, then conclude with a wilderness trip on the Wild and Scenic Rogue.

This course offers highly personalized instruction (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.

Our 10-day Professional Guide Training Course is highly participatory and you will assume roles of increasing responsibility as the school progresses. Throughout the course, you will play a major role in the organization and execution of trip responsibilities including planning each day’s meals, itinerary, and activities. There will also be managed scenarios where your skills, judgment and reactions will be assessed and reviewed. Every day will be a challenge and an adventure and loads of fun. Come prepared to pitch in, jump in, and do your share of the work. We have found that the students who put the most into their workshop are the ones who get the most out of it and are usually the ones who end up working for us.

The goal of the school is for every student to be a safe, conscientious, 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.

Description of rivers:

The 10-day Professional Guide Training Course will take place on the Klamath, Cal-Salmon and Rogue Rivers. The Klamath is a wide, low-gradient river with numerous straightforward Class II and III rapids (and one notoriously difficult Class IV rapid); perfect for getting started and comfortable in the rafts. The Cal-Salmon is a technical, steep river with lots of challenging Class III and IV rapids. Because it is road accessible, we will be able to select appropriate stretches and use light rafts. The school will conclude with a trip down the Rogue, one of the premier wilderness rivers in the west with beautiful scenery, challenging rapids and lots of wildlife. We will have fully-loaded oar rafts which will give us a good sense of commercial loads and challenges. The stretches of river that we will run are designed to increase in difficulty as your skill level increases and may change due to flows or safety concerns.

Proposed Itinerary (subject to change due to flows):

Day 0: We will meet you at 8:00 pm the evening before the trip begins at Curly Jack Campground along the Klamath River just outside of Happy Camp, CA.
Day 1: We will be camping right at the launch site which will enable us to get an early start. Fun Class III rapids will highlight the day and get us warmed up. Camping will be at an undeveloped site along the river.
Day 2: We will continue downriver working on ferrying and eddy-catching. Dragon’s Tooth rapid will provide the day’s excitement. We will take-out in the early afternoon and head to a Forest Service campground for the night. 
Days 3 – 4: We will run various stretches of the Cal-Salmon and Klamath choosing runs that are appropriate for our skills and camping at a base camp. The rafts will be light and there will be plenty of excitement in the Cal-Salmon’s technical rapids and the high volume rapids of the Ikes section of the Klamath. 
Day 5: We will raft a short section of the Cal-Salmon or the Klamath before driving back to Curly Jack and car-pooling to Grants Pass (2 hours) to prepare for our Rogue trip. We will buy and pack food, transfer gear, and camp at a developed campground at the Rogue launch site. Cars will be left at the nearby Galice Resort during the Rogue trip. 
Days 6 – 9: We will float 40 miles of the Rogue River, camping at wilderness sites along the way. Instruction in rowing heavy oar rafts will be supplemented by more practice in rescue, camp and safety skills. Major rapids such as Tyee, Wildcat, Mule Creek Canyon, and Blossom Bar are spread throughout the trip. 
Day 10: We will float the last few miles on the Rogue and then be shuttled back to our vehicles in Galice.

Is this course for you?

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 is 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.

After the school:

We are looking for interesting, 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 as an Assistant Guide (unpaid position), to further their training and prepare for a guiding career.

More information:

The full details (where to meet, what to bring, etc.) are here. If there are any questions we haven’t answered, e-mail us (arta@arta.org) or give us a call (209-962-7873). We love to talk about our trips, so don’t be shy!

I had an incredible time and learned so much. While I experienced so much growth in my guiding skills, I also grew as a person over the course and will take the skills I learned and be able to apply them in other areas of my life!

Helen Benton