Nepal Whitewater

Leadership & Guide Training Course
(24 days)




The Sun Kosi and Karnali Rivers are two of the largest drainages in Nepal. The Sun Kosi descends from the great Mahabharay Lekh Mountains and the Himalaya, encompassing the majority of eastern Nepal’s watershed. The Karnali, of western Nepal, is the longest and largest river in the country. These world renowned river expeditions offer exciting Class IV+ rapids amidst a unique wilderness and culture.

From transporting rafting equipment on yaks, practicing swiftwater rescue techniques, and interacting with local villagers, students develop a comprehensive understanding of international expedition rafting skills. You’ll learn about international logistics and planning, gain experience captaining a paddle raft and rowing an oar frame, and run exciting rapids with dramatic views of the Himalayas.

THE INSTRUCTORS AND GUIDES OF IWLS are widely recognized as some of the very best in their field and have practical leadership experience from around the globe. They are well trained and have an uncommon enthusiasm for sharing their skill and knowledge, borne out of a passion for outdoor exploration.

The International Wilderness Leadership Schools’ educational model nurtures leadership development and creates an awareness of the guiding mentality that is essential for leading safe, fun adventures in the mountains. The combination of technical skills training, experiential education and practical leadership experience make the IWLS curriculum world class.

THE IWLS GENERAL CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership. Here are a few points that your course will focus on.

  • Decision Making and Problem Solving: Over the course of 24 days, we’ll discover ways to assess problems, explore solutions and evaluate options in order to make effective and safe decisions in the field.
  • Expedition Behavior and Group Dynamics: Because this course is a true wilderness expedition, interactions between group members need to be supportive and contribute to the efficacy of the group. The daily dynamics of the group, combined with instruction, will teach participants not only how to be a member of a team, but how to influence and lead an expedition.
  • Weather: Will the storm arrive in the next 12 hours or the next 48? Understanding weather patterns and trends will help you plan successful trips in a wilderness setting.
  • Environmental Ethics: As adventurers in some of the most pristine environments on the planet it is our duty to respect the natural world. All of our courses practice and teach Leave No Trace ® principles.

-Bob Daffe

IWLS WHITEWATER CURRICULUM is designed for aspiring professional raft guides. Below is just part of this comprehensive program.

  • River Rescue: What do you do when you find yourself swimming in a Class IV rock garden? How do you extract a pinned raft from strong current? You’ll learn and practice the techniques to carry out a safe and efficient rescue on the river.
  • Hydrology: Rivers are a powerful force of nature. An understanding of river hydrology helps us to identify and assess features on the river for safe navigation. You’ll learn the fundamentals of pourovers, eddies, holes, standing waves and more.
  • Maneuvering a Raft: Whether in a paddle raft or an oar rig, the ability to steer a raft and avoid obstacles is vital for having a safe and fun rafting experience. You’ll have the opportunity to practice both types of rafting and develop a strong skill set for maneuvering down a Class III/IV river.
  • Paddle Captaining and Commands: The captain of the paddle raft communicates to paddlers how to maneuver the raft. Learning how to paddle captain requires managing a group of paddlers to provide a safe, fun, and rewarding experience on the river.

-Eli Fierer

IWLS INTERNATIONAL CURRICULUM is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of planning and leading expeditions in foreign countries. Here are just a few topics that will be covered:

  • Cultural History: As visitors to this remarkable location, we place a premium on being respectful and learning about the local culture and history.
  • Language Skills: The ability to ask directions, purchase items, and communicate on any level is an essential element of leading an expedition to a foreign country. Throughout the course, we’ll develop our Nepali language skills through dialog and lesson plans.
  • Trip Preparation: Logistics in a foreign country have the potential to be complex and tenuous. You’ll take part in shopping at the local market, arranging transportation, and securing permits in preparation for your whitewater course in Nepal.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL No previous experience is necessary for this course. However, with a desire to learn and an enthusiasm for adventure, this course prepares you for a lifetime of wilderness exploration.

CERTIFICATIONS Upon completion of the 24-day course, participants may qualify for the following certifications:

Swiftwater Rescue Technician, Level 1
Rescue III International


Swift Water Rescue Technician
International Wilderness Leadership School


24 Day Guide Training Certificate of Completion
International Wilderness Leadership School


DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.