Wind River Festival 2011

by Zachary Collier

Over the weekend, NWRC participated in the 4th Annual Wind River Festival in Southern Washington. The Wind River is a beautiful Class IV+ river with great spring flows of clear water traveling through a dense green forest. The top raft and kayak racers from Oregon and Washington came to compete with the Oregon Rafting Team, which hosts the event each year.

Getting Ready for the Wind River Whitewater Festival

Getting Ready for the Wind River Whitewater Festival

Wind River Clean-up

The festival got started on Friday with the Wind River Clean-Up. Unfortunately, not everyone abides by Leave No Trace Principles, and the take-out on the Wind River collects much of the refuse that is either washed downriver or simply left by the many people who ironically seem to enjoy the beauty and solace of the area. We filled 9 trash bags and even hauled out 2 TVs riddled with bullet holes from a side creek.

Racing on the Wind River

On Saturday morning we met the other racers and did a pre-race warm-up to scout the fastest lines through the rapids. Saturday's race was an R-2, which means two people paddling in a raft. This set-up has less power, but makes the rafts lighter and more maneuverable so they can take quicker routes through the rapids. We battled hard and ended up in 3rd place for this event!

Rafts Below Climax During the Practice Run

Rafts Below Climax During the Practice Run

Sunday was the R-6 race (6 people paddling a raft). With a lot more power for each stroke and after winning Ro! Cham! Beau! (aka Rock, Paper, Scissors) for the pole position, we led for the first half mile or so before the coordinated and strong Oregon Rafting Team overtook us. Just as we entered the crux of Ram's Horn, the Wind's most difficult rapid, another team's raft flipped right in front of us. We helped rescue some of their swimmers and then paddled hard toward our 2nd place finish.

Battling at the Start of the R-6 Race

Battling at the Start of the R-6 Race

Thank You

It was a great weekend! A big thanks to the guys from Oregon Rafting Team for putting this event together and to the many sponsors: Keen, Sierra Nevada, Next Adventure, Whitewater Designs, and Immersion Research who made donations to this wonderful event!

Originally Published: | Updated on



Zachary Collier

As owner of Northwest Rafting Company, Zach Collier combines international guiding experience in places like Siberia, Bhutan, and Chile with a natural business acumen for systems and logistics. Whether he’s on big water or in the back office, Zach strives to ensure NWRC offers exceptional whitewater and wilderness experiences for guests and guides alike.

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