The first guidebook is largely divided into two sections covering the Upper Ocoee and Middle Ocoee. The Middlecovers the Middle Ocoee section and the second guide covers the Upper Ocoee section. Efforts have been made to point out and explain hazards in the river.
The future of this resource is in your hands. It costs money to host this resource. It take a great deal of time to write the content and edit the videos and graphics. The equipment used to shoot the underwater sequences takes a beating and has become rather expensive as well as heavy to haul across the riverbed. I estimate updates for the coming 2024 season will take at least 300 hours with improved videos and maps being added. What can you do to assist in this effort? You can help fund this effort with the Ocoee River Community via gofundme. If there is interest this resource will continue and grow. If there isn't I'll have to work on other projects as I currently live near the poverty line.
I am aware that many outfitters operating on the Ocoee River are using this resource to train new guides. However no outfitter has yet make a donation or contribution to support this resource. Some young guides have provided a few beers or even dinner. By far private boaters have made the most generous donations towards supporting this guidebook. Recognizing this I added more information for kayakers this past season. All donations towards the cause are greatly appreciated.
This is an interactive map you can access through Google Maps. Also see the videos of the individual rapids in this guidebook for a greater depth of understanding.
The Middle Ocoee is a classic class III river. If someone tells you the Middle Ocoee has class IV rapids at normal flows beware they are either ignorant or not honest. Many guides and raft companies apparently exaggerate the class rating of rapids in this industry. The ratings you will find in my guidebooks are the actual International Scale of River Difficulty ratings of the Ocoee River rapids according to the leading authority American Whitewater for normal flows between 1,200 and 1,600 cubic feet per second. Some rapids do become more difficult at higher flows while other washout and become easier. Commercial trips are not permitted to put on above 3,000 cfs.
This Middle Ocoee River whitewater guidebook was originally envisioned as a study aide for aspiring Ocoee River raft guides. It has since become popular with private boaters and even potential rafting guests. Many raft guide trainees struggle learning the names of rapids as well as lines for clean check out run. As such this guidebook is designed to teach the names and routes or lines as they are encountered with visual cues in videos. Many first year guides also struggle to learn how to read water during their first season. The accompanying videos in the guide attempt to remove some of the mysteries of reading water both with commentary and demonstration of clean lines. The Middle Ocoee River is often rather shallow with both complex and technical routes required to make a clean run. Many experienced western guides also experience a steep learn curve dealing with the level of technical maneuvering required. Study 101 - Middle Ocoee Rapids and Routes as it covers all of the rapids on the Middle Ocoee River Section.
This Upper Ocoee River whitewater guidebook was originally envisioned as a study aide for second year Middle Ocoee raft guides aspiring to become Upper Ocoee raft guides. You should master the Middle Ocoee River before attempting the Upper Ocoee River. Based on feedback I have received this guidebook is also popular with private boaters and even rafting guests aspiring to run the Upper Ocoee. I have personally taken guest down full river trips that told me they studied this guide and watch the supporting videos to get a feel for what to expect. Study 201 - Upper Ocoee Rapids and Routes
It is wise to be mindful not to create additional or avoidable hazards. In particular be certain that your gear and the way you carry it will not endanger you or others. I personally know several guides that have had very close calls involving carabiners. Non-locking carabiners can be very dangerous if not carried inside a pocket or within a gear bag. Locking carabiners are better but you must remember to lock them if they are exposed. I prefer self-locking carabiners as they remove the potential of forgetting to lock them. You can remove the need for an exposed carabiner by using the built in plastic clip on your throw bag to secure it to your raft.
One of my friends got clipped into an open carabiner when he flipped at Grumpy's Ledge some years ago. Miraculously he was able to un-clip himself just before he ran out of air. Another friend had a close call at Godzilla and Humongous on the Upper Ocoee in the Olympic Course. Fortunately a nearby guide was able to determine the seriousness of the situation and intervene. I have video of the second close call. If you have any doubt you should watch the video. This video has made the round in the swift water rescue circuit as a teaching aide. Guide belts clipped to the outside of rafts or even around your waste could be additional sources of hazards. The guide belt on the outside of raft could potentially endanger commercial guests or other river users. Civil liability might be second to the damage and avoidable accident might do to your conscience. Study 102 - Avoidable Hazards on the River
When the raft stalled in Godzilla the guide was thrown down and his green jacket PFD clipped into the non-locking biner holding his throw rope. Avoid this risk by using plastic clip on all modern throw bags. Keep carabiners secured in pockets or gear bags. Never wear exposed 'biners!
I am available to guide your rafting trip by request at Ocoee Adventure Center. When booking a trip with me keep in mind I am an experienced full river guide. Thus my outpost prefers to I work full river trips on weekends. So if you want to raft the Middle Ocoee with me schedule a weekday trip. Or request me for full river trips on Saturdays or Sundays. Learn more about how to request Fast Fred.
The above image is the well known cave at Alien Boof as viewed from downstream. The entrance of concern is upstream and shown in the video explaining the hazard. Alien Boof, Mikey's Ledge and other famous rapids of the Ocoee River are explain in this series and several hazards are shown as well. Knowing is half the battle take some time to get acquainted with the rapids of the Ocoee River. Study 301 - Ocoee River Hydrology and Hazards.
Paddle Fu the art of boating whitewater. This video covers the art of the drop surf. This video will become part of the Ocoee River Guidebook. This class is a 400 level topic. Drop surfing is not recommended for rookies as well as second and third year guides. Use good judgement if you are working to obtain this skill. Practice with your friends in a turkey boat rather than with paying guests. Study 499 - The Art of Drop Surfing but only after you have met the prerequisites