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Course Outline

Sections of rivers are classed on the International Scale of River Difficulty from easiest (Class I) to extremely difficult and dangerous (Class VI).

  • The classifications are based upon gradient, volume, river features, constrictions, and numerous other factors.
  • Classes of a river can change based upon specific locations on the river. For example, one section of a river may be Class I while just around the bend, the river may turn into a Class IV drop.
  • River classification can increase or decrease due to water volume fluctuations and water temperature. Therefore, use the scale as a general guide.
  • For additional information, see the “Safety Code of American Whitewater” on the American Whitewater website. Note that this information is geared toward the paddling community.
Flooded river
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