orange torpedo trips

River lingo 4/4

This is the fourth in a series of four posts. Many of these glossary terms are used in the whitewater community, along with some that are specific to LEAP and our sister company, Orange Torpedo Trips (OTT). This week we have more LEAP-specific terms. Let us know if you want more!

Sinus cleanser: A fast, hearty swim that may have gotten water up your nose.

River ready: Geared and suited up to get on the river, often a command to make sure people are in their swimsuits, PFDs, and with sunscreen on.

Paddle raft: The raft that comes with us on programs carrying lunch items, some gear, and participants who want a paddle raft experience.

Mr. Kitty: The catamaran type raft that that runs ahead of us on programs to set up camp and carry gear.

Johnny: The portable toilet we use on programs made of a metal box and a standard toilet seat- very comfy, always has a great view.

Jane: The portable pee tent we occasionally use on programs for the ladies made of a bucket and a standard toilet seat- very convenient for nighttime bathroom runs.

Carl: A pump used for inflating IKs, named for the brand Carlson.

River lingo 3/4

This is the third in a series of four posts. Many of these glossary terms are used in the whitewater community, along with some that are specific to LEAP and our sister company, Orange Torpedo Trips (OTT). This week we have some verbs for you!

Boof: To launch over a rock/pourover/etc. such that the boat lands flat and the front of the IK doesn’t go underwater. A fun maneuver if done correctly.

Bleed: To let air out of a seat or boat.

Ferry: To cross the river (often with gear or people in tow or in your boat) such that you don’t end much further downriver than you started.

Surf: To position your IK facing upstream so that you remain in place on the crest of a wave.

High-siding: When the side of a boat tips upward against a rock, should be avoided so that the raft or IK doesn’t tip.

Swimmer: Someone who has fallen out of their boat, often yelled so that guides know to go get that person.

Dumping: When you fall out of your boat!

Yard sale: When everything (human included) falls out of their boat, equipment is strewn about the river, resembles an actual yard sale.

River lingo 2/4

This is the second in a series of four posts. Many of these glossary terms are used in the whitewater community, along with some that are specific to LEAP and our sister company, Orange Torpedo Trips (OTT). This week we have some river feature and equipment terms!

Confluence: Where two rivers meet. The Salmon ends at its confluence with the Snake river.

Eddy: An area that flows counter to a main current or is flat, generally what follows a larger obstacle in the water, what we catch when we don’t want to continue downstream.

Hole: A spot after/below a rock where the water recirculates, often dangerous and should be avoided.

Riffle: A small “rapid” usually caused by shallow water with some rocks underneath creating small waves, generally what we call something under class II.

Pourover: When water flows over a rock and drops immediately after that rock, creating a hole or a fun rapid.

Standing wave: A wave formed when swift water slams into slow water- the crest remains in place while the water under it continues forward.

Feathered: Refers to a paddle with perpendicular ends, rather than facing each other.

Guide clip: The leash attached to a guide’s boat to be used for towing another IK behind them (after you fall out).

‘Biner: Short for caribiner, the clips used to attach things like a water bottle to a D-ring on a boat.

D-ring: A D shaped ring often on the side of a raft, easy for attaching straps or a carabiner.

River lingo 1/4

As the river season is underway, we wanted to share a small glossary of river terms for those white water aficionados out there who want to understand “guidespeak”. Many are terms used in the whitewater community, along with some that are specific to LEAP and our sister company, Orange Torpedo Trips (OTT). This is the first in a series of four posts- we're starting with the basics.

Torpedo or torp: Our name for an inflatable kayak, also known as an IK.

Bow: The front of a boat.

Stern: The back of a boat.

PFD: Personal flotation device, also known as a life jacket or life vest.

Class: The difficulty of a rapid on a scale from I-VI, with I being the easiest and VI being the most difficult. The rapids on the Lower Salmon range from class II-IV. Read more about classifications here.

CFS: Cubic feet per second, how we measure the water flow. We can run the Lower Salmon below about 19,000 CFS, but it gets above 80,000 CFS at its peak.

Put-in: Where we put the boats in the water to start a program. Our put-in is typically at Hammer Creek.

Take-out: Not Chinese food, but where we take the boats out of the water to end a program. Our take-out is at the confluence of the Salmon and the Snake.

River right: The right side of the river when facing downstream.

River left: The left side of the river when facing downstream.

Guide Training 2017

I counted 47 mosquito bites on Wednesday morning. As someone whose river experience has mostly been on the Lower Salmon, with hot, dry sprawling beaches, I hadn't thought through my choice in footwear while camping on Tuesday night of guide training. However, the white water I had to wake up and face the next morning was a quick distraction from any itching.

On Monday morning, Hanna and I arrived at 7am at Orange Torpedo Trips (OTT) headquarters in Merlin, Oregon. My younger sister and Hanna grew up together and our families have been down the Lower Salmon with OTT many times together. At first glance, we both looked younger than most of the other guides, but we then noticed a few other college-aged people present for the training. As introductions began, it became clear that we all brought different river experience to the table, but everyone seemed to have a qualification of some kind, ranging from enthusiasm to years of guiding. Most of the sixteen trainees were there to work for OTT, but our small tribe of LEAP guides quickly bonded.

That morning we set out on the Rogue River day stretch. Though the lead guides claimed we were simply getting comfortable with inflatable kayaking, within hours they had us leaping (pun intended) into the water for someone downstream to heave us into their boat. Compared to the Salmon, a high-volume river, the Rogue was rocky and more technical, but not without fun. Hanna and I buddied up for rescue drills, and I spent quite a bit of time paddling upriver with her in my boat after I failed to catch an eddy early enough. By the end of the day we were exhausted and sore, but eager to brave the North Umpqua.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent on a fourteen mile stretch of the North Umpqua. The river is known as the most technical that OTT runs, perfect for training guides to catch eddies and try technical maneuvers. I shimmied into a dry suit to stay warm in the 48°F water. Sporting the over-sized magenta onesie, I felt even more awkward than before-- my skills certainly did not match my fancy gear. But once again, the river has a way of replacing such worries with new concerns about navigating the rapid ahead. Despite three swims, I learned a tremendous amount about catching eddies, rescuing others and their gear, and how to read a river. Hanna and I redeemed ourselves when I rescued her mid-rapid, plopped her into the front of my boat, floated backwards down a small waterfall, but still safely made it out the other side.

Wednesday we ran the second half of the same stretch of the North Umpqua. I stayed "dry" (in my boat) the entire day and managed to catch more eddies than Tuesday. Having spent the night telling stories of legendary OTT guides and explaining to newbies the relationship between LEAP and OTT, I felt a greater sense of security in my fellow guides. We all felt that we were entering into something greater, something that many previous guides had been deeply affected by-- regardless of whether we'd be working for OTT or LEAP. I left guide training thrilled for the season ahead and eager to get to the Salmon. Idaho or bust!


2017 LEAP guide