Our week-long swiftwater rescue course covers 30 hours of rescue training that includes: foot and body pins, boat pins and wraps, shallow river crossing, throw bag rescues, technical ropes, anchors and tension systems. Another 30 hours include raft guide training on the Futaleufu and outfitter management training. For those in law enforcement or firefighting who don't want to participate in raft guide training, we can substitute other activities from our extensive Adventure Vacation Program.
Participating in the class does not guarantee certification. You must pass all the requirements. This is an intense and physically demanding course. The hours for this six day period are from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. Achieving certification on the Futaleufu River with Expediciones Chile and Jim Coffee, one of the top instructors in the industry, will be something that you can be extremely proud of. Gaining river guide training and a river manager's insight, which you can use with any company in the industry, is an additional bonus.
Our accommodations are at the one of a kind Tres Monjas Eco-Camp at the confluence of the Azul and Futaleufu Rivers. This eco-camp is a virtual island with a river on each side. The Futaleufu River running this time of year is between 15,000 to 18,000 cfs and the Rio Azul, on the other side of the camp, typically ranges between 500 and 2000 cfs. This gives us the settings for all of the rescue scenarios that we need to exercise.
Each student will get a chance on the safety-cat oars, the oars on the passenger raft, and as safety kayakers if they are kayakers with bomb-proof rolls running the Futaleufu and Azul. The training camp starts with a morning jog or hike at 7:00 am.
Some swift water training topics that we will cover are:
- Preplanning rescue scenarios.
- River and rescue communications.
- Equipment needed for these types of environments.
- Risk management.
- Incident command system applied in a river context.
- Working together: coordination of rafts, kayaks and land-based teams.
- How to read large volume whitewater.
- How to choose the safest lines.
- Lining boats through rapids.
- How to determine the best place to perform a rescue.
- Ghost ride a raft (at Zeta, a usual portage).
- Rigging rafts and kayaks for rescue and/or flip and recovery.
- Foot and body entrapment extrications.
- Body searches.
- The "V" -lower: a high-angle rescue technique.
- High line Tyrolean and Telfer systems for rescue.
- Rappelling and ascending a fixed line.
Day 1: Arrival and Introductions
Arrive at either of our entry points in Puerto Montt, Chile or Esquel, Argentina, the gateways to Patagonia. Connect with our representative and travel to the remote riverside town of Futaleufu, surrounded by majestic mountains. Here you will find your accommodations at our Tres Monjas Eco-Camp. A hearty meal, hot sauna, and wonderful views welcome you to Chile.
Day 2: Swiftwater Rescue Training
After a good breakfast we start with our three-day Swiftwater Rescue Technician class at Campo Tres Monjas. This swiftwater training course is approximately 30 hours total with 8 hours in the classroom and approximately 22 hours in the field. The close proximity of the river makes for more time spent working on drills and skills than getting there. The morning starts off in the classroom with a lecture. In the afternoon we are on the Rio Azul with rescue scenarios.
Day 3: Swiftwater Rescue Training
We will work the field rescue scenarios on the Rio Azul and the mini gorge upstream of the camp. Late in the afternoon (conditions permitting) we start guide training on the introduction section of the Rio Futaleufu. Participants of the class will be in paddle rafts with one of our oarsman in the rear mount for the class's first run down the Bridge to Bridge stretch of the Futaleufu. This evening we review the strategies of the run and decide who will start on the oars of the catarafts and rafts the following day.
Day 4: Swiftwater Rescue Training
The final day of Swiftwater Rescue Training will be held near the confluence of the Rio Azul and the Rio Futaleufu. After lunch we take our exam for certification. Later in the afternoon we descend the Bridge to Bridge section of the Futaleufu. We will take turns on the oars on some of the rapids as each participant has a chance of guiding the team through the Class III/IV rapids. Our guides will be on the oars as they guide us through for the first run of the Class V "Mas o Manos" and "Casa de Piedra".
Day 5: Raft Guide Training - Bridge to Bridge
Two entire training runs on the Heart of the Futaleufu. Rescue class participants will alternate between the oars on the catarafts and the stern mount oars on the paddle rafts with other participants as their crew.
Day 6: Raft Guide Training – Terminator
We start at Campo Tres Monjas as we head down for a complete descent of the lower Futaleufu; 21 kilometers of challenging whitewater. We group scout the "Terminator" as our team threads the needle. After this Class V rapid, we continue to rotate our team through the oars increasing your time guiding oars.
This day is a full day of rafting, taking out after the "El Macal" section, passing the technical Class V "Casa de Piedra" and "Mas o Menos" rapids. During dinner we will have the opportunity for video review of our runs, critique and diagrams of strategies and memorization of the danger spots to avoid. We will discuss the action plan for the following day of rapids and how to get the team around the two rapids we will portage.
Day 7: Raft Guide Training - Infierno Canyon (Class V)
We take our entire class for an early morning descent of the world class "Infierno Canyon" (dependent on water levels). This descent will require the best efforts and attention of the entire team. We will ghost raft the Class V "Zeta" and the "Throne Room" rapids. We will take out at Camp, deflate rafts, and carry gear back to our vehicles, learning every part of being a guide. Graduation ceremonies will begin before dinner and carry into the always fun award ceremonies.
Day 8: Departure
Wake up for an early breakfast and drive back to Chaiten, Chile and your flight to Puerto Montt, or relax for a couple of hours and take our shuttle to Esquel, Argentina. As you catch a final view of the Río Futaleufu; surrounded by hanging glaciers and snow capped mountains, take a moment to reflect upon all of the amazing sights and experiences of this past week. After all these years we are still stunned that views like these exist.
Included: All meals, lodging, transportation, instructors, and gear while training with us. Round trip transportation between Futaleufu and Puerto Montt or Esquel.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Chile Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting