This Upper Ocoee River Guidebook for Raft Guide Trainees is geared towards rafting the basic lines and learning the names of rapids. Many first year guides struggle learning the rapid names and lines. This Ocoee Guidebook is intended as a training manual or cliff notes to help trainees aspiring to become guides on the Upper Ocoee. You should master the Middle Ocoee River before attempting the Upper Ocoee River.
The first video presented is a safety video pertaining to a known and avoidable hazard. The remaining videos presented feature basic raft lines with different crews and different times of day. Rapids are presented below in the same order you will encounter them on the Ocoee.
Use locking carabiners and learn the proper way to use and carry them to reduce risk. Watch this video of a very senior guide having a very close call. If you watch closely you will see Mike being accidentally clipped in after a hard hit in Godzilla. He almost flips in Humongous but narrowly avoid disaster. He threw away all of his non-locking carabiners after this trip. It took another raft guide nearly a minute to remove the carabiner from Mike's green jacket. This could happen to anyone using unlocked carabiners!
Upper Ocoee guide training generally begins with ride alongs to learn the river. Learning the rapid names is one of the first tasks. Private boaters often have the advantage of being able to read water. Local river knowledge is also a plus. Whitewater rafting guide jobs seldom pay much even with tips but there are some perks.
Tips: Keep river right in your approach to the ledge. The rooster tail just before the ledge should pass under your right tube. Use care dropping the ledge and get your crew down.
See three different takes of Door Number Two into Blue Hole. Watch the rock tip in the first easy ledge on your right. If you hit it you may end up running Screaming Left instead of Door Number Two. Try not ro touch either rock as you take Door Number Two. Watch out for Black Betty Rock toward the righ just after the halfway point.
These three clips contain the following rapids: Best Ledge, Smiley Face, Slam Dunk, Callihan's, Godzilla, and Humongous. Read the water and follow the current. Learn where the shallow rocks are in Callihan's that you should avoid. When you arrive at Godzilla, and Humongous don't be to greedy and use the tongue through Humongous.
Roach Motel is a series of broken ledges and breaking waves. Hit the first one with right angle. I lose my footing in the clip and get driven a bit to the left and miss a couple of good splashes.
I can often be found playing or working on the Ocoee River in East Tennessee. I am currently guiding at the Ocoee Adventure Center.
If you find this guide helpful please consider donating a beer! I may create an Upper Ocoee River Guide as well based upon the feedback and beer I receive.