Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Certification & Expedition Packrafting Course
Do you want to learn specific whitewater packrafting skills, such as how to expertly navigate eddies, read the river, run bigger and more difficult rapids, roll your packraft, among many other things? If so, our Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Certification & Expedition Packrafting Course might suit your needs. We are running the certification portion of the course over two days, focusing 100% on packrafting and how to work together with other packrafters in fast-moving whitewater scenarios. Participants will then hone their skills over the subsequent four days, primarily focusing on how to apply them in the backcountry on expedition style adventures.
We recognize many people at the higher levels required to take this course will already have Swiftwater Rescue certification. However, this specific course requires that all participants understand PACKRAFT-SPECIFIC swiftwater safety techniques that not only include some rope and rescue work, but also advanced paddling and river reading skills, among other things. You will then apply those techniques together, with this group and under the guidance of expert guides. We aren’t just teaching you specific skills; we’re teaching you how to work together while using those skills in stressful, whitewater scenarios in the backcountry.
This intensive 6-day course is based out of Scullbinder Ranch. You’re required to stay at the Ranch when not in the backcountry, as education will continue in the evenings. You’ll get a Swiftwater Safety Institute Swiftwater Rescue Certification, plus extensive expedition packrafting experience. More details will be provided once you are approved as a participant.
1) 4 nights at Scullbinder Ranch (Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday)
2) Excellent prepared gourmet meals for the duration of the trip while in the front country, plus bagged lunches, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages and electrolyte mixes.
3) High quality dehydrated breakfasts and dinners, lunches and snacks in the backcountry. We offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. We cannot accommodate celiacs.
4) Shuttle for the duration of the tour. You won’t need a car once you are on the trip, though you’re welcome to use your own car to get around. However, the cost of gas is included in the trip, and you will not get a refund for that portion of your payment should you decide to use your car.
Does Not Include:
1) Rides to and from the airport, but you can pay extra for that.
2) Adult beverages
3) If the group decides to go out to dinner or purchase meals outside of the provided FCG meals, FCG is not responsible for the cost.
Requirements to Apply:
1) You must have the following whitewater gear: a self bailing or decked packraft, a PFD (rescue PFDs preferred, but not necessary), drysuit (a wetsuit is not appropriate), helmet, paddle, neoprene cap and neoprene pogies/gloves, throw rope, whistle and river knife.
2) When stepping up to continuous class III and IV whitewater, quick self-rescue skills are crucial for safety. We suggest participants be able to fully self-rescue in flatwater five times in under two minutes. Your ability to self-rescue will factor into your decision-making when considering certain rapids. Paddling fitness often declines over the winter, but many swimming pools let you bring your cleaned packraft in for training.
3) You must be comfortable paddling into and out of eddies in a Class III rapid.
4) You must be confident in Class II+ rapids and have run Class III rapids numerous times. We will ask you to identify the six hardest runs you have ever done and at what CFS the rivers were running approximately. If you did a Class III, but it was extremely low water, than it probably was no longer a Class III.
5) This is not required, but if you have video footage and can easily send us a video of you packrafting, that would help us better understand your skills in the water.
6) We will require a minimum of one, but likely two group Zoom meetings with all the instructors and participants prior to the course.
7) You will also be required to watch a Swiftwater Safety Institute video series over the winter.
1) Dan Thurber: Class V boater, SSI instructor
2) Steve “Doom” Fassbinder: OG backcountry multi-sport adventurer, ACA Advanced Instructor
3) Ben Phillips: Class V boater, repairs expert
4) Thad Ferrell: Whitewater guide in training