During the fall season of 2018. The First Himalayan river guide training academy (HRGTA) will take place in Pokhara, Nepal.
The HRGTA is the brain child of legendary Nepalese kayaker and raft guide, Nim Bahadur Magar and Mark Hirst, of Lapin Koskikolulu. Between Nim and Mark there is a lifetime of global commercial river experience.
Nepal is known as a whitewater mecca during the post monsoon months of September to December. The HRGTA will explore these Himalayan gems in great depth. Not only will the students have the opportunity to explore the rivers they will also have the chance to experience Nepali culture first hand.
The HRGTA will run from 24th Sept to 23rd November 2018. The academy is open to potential novice guides with no river running experience through to seasoned river professionals. Each of the modules can be attended separately.
The goal of the HRGTA is to give the students the opportunity to in-depth learn, develop and practice the skills needed to become a river professional on some of the world’s classic whitewater rivers.
The two-month course period will allow the students to learn at their own rate with the emphasis of the Curriculum focussed on Practical learning through practice.
The HRGTA Curriculum has been developed with years of experience of running commercial expeditions throughout the world and Nepal. The HRGTA will be also be offering internationally recognised certification from two governing bodies as part of the course.
- International rafting Federation.
- Rescue 3 Europe.
The Academy will be divided into five modules. Students who have pre-existing knowledge and experience are welcome to join individual modules as they wish (Module 2 not included).
Module 1: Core training. 24th September-6th October. (13 days)
The core training module is open for novice guides or existing guides wanting to improve on their overall rafting and kayaking skills.Module 1 will focus on the core skills needed to be a professional river guide The core training program will be based on the Trisuli & Lower seti rivers. During this period, we will be based at the Paddle Nepal riverside camp on the banks of the Trisuli river. Module 1 will be mainly practically based where days will be spent on the river & the evenings backed up with land based practical sessions & lectures. Some of the topics covered will be.
- Hydrology and understanding moving water.
- Personal protective equipment for guides and customers.
- Personal whitewater swimming skills.
- Pre- departure safety demonstrations.
- Raft manoeuvring and river running considerations.
- Customer motivation and communication.
- Whitewater recue skills.
- Ropework skills.
- Expedition planning and management.
- Expedition cooking skills and camp management.
- Emergency scenario and trip management
- Equipment maintenance and repair,
- Night search and night operations.
- The role of the safety kayaker and kayak-based rescues.
Upon completion of Module 1 the students will have completed the requirements needed to gain IRF provisional guide status and Rescue 3 Europe Whitewater rescue technician professional certification.
Module 2 Consolidation Internship 9-30th October (22 days)
Module 2 will allow the students to put into practice the skills learnt during the Core training period of Module 1. Module 2 will co- inside with the start of the main rafting season in Nepal the students will be assigned to participate and observe on commercial run trips on the following rivers. Whilst working under the supervision of the course instructors and experienced commercial trip leaders
- Upper Seti class 3-4 half day trip.
- Lower Seti class 3 multiday trip.
- Trisuli class 3-day trip.
- Kali Gandahki class 4 multiday trip.
During this period the students will gain valuable commercial experience that will help their performance and judgment skills to develop further. The performance of the students will be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis with the academy instructors and teaching staff. The students will also gain valuable logbook experience during module 2.
Module 3 Expedition 1-10th November (10 days) The karnali river
Remote, Pristine, Classic, True expedition are some of the words that have been used to describe the karnali expedition. The karnali rises in the far west of Nepal and is one of the rivers that runs off the sacred mount kailash. The 10-day karnali is one of the lesser run rivers in Nepal due to its remoteness and logistical challenges in simply getting to its shoreline. The students will now join a commercial expedition and be involved in the entire expedition from the planning to running of the expedition from start to finish. The student team will paddle their own raft and follow the commercial customer rafts through the various sections of the karnali. The karnali normally sees less than 100 people per year and is under threat from damming – an opportunity to join this expedition is a lifetime must!
Module 4 Advanced rescue training 13-16th November. (4 days)
Module 4 will be based on the Upper Seti river in Pokhara. Module 4 is the Rescue 3 Europe whitewater rescue technician advanced (WRTA) course. Globally there are less than five courses per year run around the world. The WRTA is aimed at kayakers and rafters who will be venturing into class 4-5 gorges and may need to use vertical access for evacuation or rescue. The WRTA has a heavy bias towards advanced rope work using basic river rescue equipment. The WRTA will also cover advanced swimming and river rescue techniques. Upon successful completion of this course the students will be awarded the Rescue 3 Europe whitewater rescue technician advanced certificate.
Module 5 Final assessments. 19-23rd November. (5 days)
The final module is a five-day assessment based on the Marshyangdhi river. The Marshyangdhi is a true test piece for any guide wishing to test their skills on advanced whitewater. The Marshyangdhi has two classic sections the first section is a continuous class 4 section the 2nd section is continuous class 3 The Marshyanghi has something for everyone. Module 5 will be open to any raft guide, safety kayaker or trip leader who would like to be assessed according to the International rafting federation Guide training system. The final module will consist of a series of skils based assessments carried out on the level of water that the student feels they would like to be assessed on. During Module 5 the students will have the opportunity to be assessed for the following IRF awards.
- Raft guide class 3
- Safety kayaker class 3
- Trip leader class 3
- Raft guide class 4
- Safety kayaker class 4
- Trip leader class 4
Module 5 will allow the guides the opportunity to be assessed alongside guides and trip leaders from around the world.
A detailed breakdown of the costs and more information can be found at