How To Tell the Difference Between River Rapid Classes

River Rapids Class scale

Idaho river rafting season is upon us and there is no better place to launch from that Stanley, Idaho. But before you hop on that raft, take a minute to become familiar with the classes of river rapids. River experts use the International Scale of Difficulty comes to ranking different types of rapids. The rankings start at a Class I and progress to a Class 6, which is almost impossible to finish and requires great skill. It is important that a person choose the right classification number that is equal to both their skill and comfort level. It is part of being safe on the river and can save lives.

The different rapid classification include:

  • Class I: Easy- Defined as fast moving water with some small waves and minor obstructions.
  • Class II: Novice- Considered straight forward rapid with clear channels and can be seen without scouting. Some occasional maneuvering required to miss rocks and medium sized waves.
  • Class III: Intermediate- Moderate to irregular wave height and may be difficult to avoid. Complex maneuvers also may be in order in this type of rapid.
  • Class IV: Advanced- Experienced guide is highly encouraged at this level. Expert maneuvering is required as well as scouting of rapids may be necessary the first time down.
  • Class V: Expert- Very long, obstructed, or violent rapids. It is the hardest rapid class that is regularly doable, as anything higher is almost seen as impassable. These are very demanding rapids that should only be attempted by experts.
  • Class VI: Extreme- These types of rapids are typically just to look at; attempting this rapid involves risk of life. These are for not for rafters but rather for expert kayakers.

If you have any further questions on the classification system or rapids, contact your local outfitter. If you need transportation to get to Stanley, you can contact us!

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