Whitewater Rafting Rating Scale:
All whitewater rafting section have a general rating on a “class” scale to help you determine the size and technicality of the whitewater. This scale ranges from flat, float trips with very little whitewater to more intense with extremely large waves. Each river section we run has a different rating depending on water levels.
Since 1971 SGE has maintained a wonderful safety record. Every guide’s top priority is your safety in whitewater and throughout the trip. Here is what the standard class I though class VI descriptions mean:
Moving water with small waves that tug at the boat – it’s a relaxing way to spend the day. Each of our trips have some stretches of calm class I water, creating a pleasant break between rapids. Easy flow with no rapids. Great for: sightseeing and sun-soaking. Great For: Everyone.
Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed. Rapids that are at the upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class II+”. Great For: Children aged four and older, first-timers, seniors.
Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class III-” or “Class III+” respectively. Great For: Children aged five and older, beginners to intermediates looking for manageable thrills.
Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class IV-” or “Class IV+” respectively. Great For:Adventurous individuals, intermediates or aggressive beginners looking for a challenge.
Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain** large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essentia. Great For
The ultimate extreme, only the most expert should attempt this. Raft trips don’t go here. There’s too much other water to enjoy.