Caldwell Transportation has Whitewater Fever

As our last blog implied, we’re pretty excited that spring is here and that we’re only weeks away from tasting the whitewater of the Salmon, Payette, and Boise Rivers. If you’re an experienced whitewater enthusiast, then Idaho really is the place for you. With miles of whitewater to tear up, there isn’t another place in the world that offers some of the great views, towns, and water sports than Idaho.

With all this enthusiasm aside, you may actually be a beginner when it comes to this stuff. Whitewater can be scary for even the most experienced enthusiasts, let alone for someone who has never been on a river. That’s why we’re going to provide you with your first crash course in how rapids themselves are classified. This may give you some more information and help in your decision making process if a friend of yours asks you if you want to hit a “Class 3” this weekend.

  • Class 1: Very small rough areas, requires no maneuvering. (Skill Level: None)
  • Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, small drops, might require maneuvering. (Skill Level: Basic Paddling Skill)
  • Class 3: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe a 3–5 foot drop, but not much considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering. (Skill Level: Experienced paddling skills)
  • Class 4: Whitewater, large waves, long rapids, rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed. (Skill Level: Advanced Whitewater Experience)
  • Class 5: Whitewater, large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks and hazards, maybe a large drop, precise maneuvering. Often characterized by "must make" moves, i.e. failure to execute a specific maneuver may result in serious injury or death. Class 5 is sometimes expanded to Class 5+ that describes the most extreme, runnable rapids (Skill Level: Expert)
  • Class 6: While there is some debate over the term "Class 6", in practice it refers to rapids that are not passable and any attempt to do so would result in serious injury, near drowning or death. If a rapid is run that was once thought to be impassible, it is typically reclassified as Class 5.

As you can see, there are many degrees of difficulty when entering a river. If you’re up to the challenge and have an experienced guide, we see you entering a Class 4 and coming out the other end with a great story. Contact us today to learn more!