River Rafting Rapid Classifications
The international scale of rapid classifications classifies rapids on a scale of 1-6. The scale is a subjective one and classifications can change with changing water levels or conditions. While rapids are individually classed, rivers are given an overall classification that takes the whole stretch of river into account. As an example, the wilderness section of the Rogue River has two Class IV rapids, but the overall classification is Class III, indicating that a rafter with strong Class III skills would find the challenges within his/her abilities.
Class I: (very easy) Generally, fast moving water. Waves and riffles are small or non-existent, passages are clear with few or no obstacles, and little maneuvering is required. Lazy floating.
Class II: (easy to moderate) Small- to medium-sized regular waves with some obstacles. Some maneuvering is required but passages are generally clear. Splashy and fun!
Class III: (moderate to exciting) Numerous waves that are bigger and sometimes irregular with currents that can be tricky. Obstacles require maneuvering, but the narrow passages are generally straightforward. Scouting from shore is recommended and sometimes required. Big splashes and exciting rides!
Class IV: (exciting) Longer rapids with powerful waves and strong currents. The passages are boulder-choked and require precise maneuvering. Scouting from shore is mandatory. Exciting and challenging for all.
Class V: (difficult) Massive waves and violent rapids, often following each other without interruption. Big drops, violent currents, and extremely congested channels that require complex maneuvering. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. This is maximum intensity rafting! Ouzel Outfitters does not run trips at this level of difficulty.
Class VI: (the limit of navigation) Rarely run, or generally considered unrunable; a definite hazard to life and limb. Ouzel Outfitters does not run trips at this dangerous level of difficulty.