Readers, we have all done – or should have done a WW safety course, either an in country one, Rescue 3 or similar. We learn about z drags and mechanical advantage. We should learn about steep ground assessments, we learn to portage, we learn our own boundaries.


A few weeks ago, a guide was lowering his raft to the river – with the help of his paddling partners that day. Ideas of how to lower the boat came thick and fast. Simply they ‘human chained it’ hand over hand to lower the boat on the thin line. So the story goes the pressure build, the rope became heavy and one by one the team let go. The force now intense was no longer shared, the rope slipped.


The result was that the force because too much, the rope whipped through the hands of the remaining people, the last man suffering a life changing rope burn – Ouch

Lessons? we can all learn!

Theoretical discussion? we should expect these. Lets hope forums like Whitewater safety discussion forum on FB and others can bring to light safety scenarios before they happen.

As a community we can learn by discussions, learn from each other. We should not be stagnant in our learning.

Words: Darren Clarkson-King



Over the last 20+ years Darren has explored some of the worlds most challenging rivers. He specialises in trips across the Himalaya in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan and Tibet. He has been called one of the most innovative paddlers of his generation, his name synonymous with a generation of Himalaya paddlers.