Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys

Whitewater Rafting

White Salmon 


 Klickitat Rivers

43rd year of family operation!

Zoller's Guide School

Sign up now for the Zoller's Whitewater Raft Guide School. This 4 day course is for river enthusiasts who wish to take their whitewater experience to the next level and/or guide private or commercial whitewater trips.


4-Day Class May 25th - 28th 2017 plus 3-5 day expedition training in Hell's Canyon on the Snake River (flexible dates same summer)
Cost per person: $650 (Price includes all training gear and meals)

Want a private river school? Just book 10 students and we will customize your class for any springtime dates.

Guide School class of 2015

Highlights of the Whitewater Rafting Guide Training School:

You guide the raft!

Why just be a paddling participant when you could captain a whitewater raft through class III+ whitewater and learn technical moves that will gracefully take a whitewater raft through the rapids? Becoming a whitewater guide is far more than the maneuvering of a raft, it involves lots of fun gear for both on and off the river.

Get trained in whitewater rescue skills.

Learning to safely guide a raft down a river is only half the challenge in the great outdoors. What if an unforeseen circumstance should put you and your crew in harm's way, or you come upon a fellow boater in distress? Your rescue training plus practicing these skills will put you in a position to help others without putting yourself in unreasonable danger.

Gear is King!

Great river gear is the only way to start a great river expedition. See and touch the latest in rafts, paddles, rescue equipment, and clothing. Start prepared. end safe.

You've played hard all day long, now you're hungry!

Evenings are where you take your outdoor skills to yet another level with hands-on camp cooking training. Become a "Dutch Oven" magician by learning some simple techniques and tricks. Spend some time over the grill next to the "grill master" and see why his steaks always turn out the best.

Expedition preparation.

While this course is all about the skills of paddle rafting, the reality is that most students continue on to execute expedition rafting voyages. So, we spend a class session hands on with the latest expedition gear from cargo craft to rocket boxes. Planning is essential for a great expedition trip and you'll see why and how certain methods make your trip smooth, safe and fun. We'll even show you a few trade secrets such as large menu planning spread sheets. After your four day course each participant will be eligible to work as an apprentice guide in Hell's Canyon on the Snake River the same summer with the Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys crew.

Wilderness Wellness and Emergency Medical.

It can happen to you, but more than likely because you are a prepared outdoor adventurer it will happen to someone else and you'll be the one assisting them. There is only so much you can do for an injured party member in a wilderness environment. However, with limited resources and calm organized basic skills, you can make a huge difference in someone's life should the situation call for it. Paramedic and EMT Todd and Mark (both professional whitewater guides) will teach preparedness, signs and symptoms, and how to administer help in a rugged environment.

Overview of the school

This is NOT your average river school!

What you typically find in a whitewater rafting school is the promised recruitment of seasonal guides for an outfitter. Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys goes the opposite direction and customizes their river schools for those who have a passion for do-it-yourself (DIY) rafting. Whether it is a day trip on the White Salmon River, or an expedition trip down the Rogue, Zoller's wants to train you to be a competent and confident leader on the river. While we do not emphasize your becoming a paid commercial river guide, the Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys River School is the only school we know of that can give you the complete documented training to be licensed in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Whitewater rafting is an amazing way to share experiences with friends and there is no better adventure than to be a do-it-yourself raft guide. In each group outing there must be at least one person who is qualified and competent to make the outing a success. Zoller's Whitewater Rafting Training School will provide you with lessons that train you to safely guide a whitewater raft, assess risks, address them, plan well for fun and safety and understand what equipment to use for your specialized outing.

Our training sessions are held on and in the river over a four day period where students and instructors will camp out together, share meals, stories (mostly river guide lies) and become a river community of their own. Each student is responsible for their own camping gear and assisting in the preparation of provided meals. Classes and meals are housed in the "guide shack" a 15x40 wall tent on the shores of the Klickitat River in South Central Washington. Further training on expedition rafting is scheduled for the summer Hell's Canyon on the Snake River with multiple dates to choose from and is included in the course fees.

Day one training starts at the Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys headquarters on the White Salmon River where we will assemble, and then head for the Klickitat River just a few minutes to the east. Day four ends on the Klickitat River where our base camp for training takes place.

Each student is responsible for their personal river clothing. Don't have the listed equipment??? We can help through local rental services and some "loaner" gear.

  • Dry Suits or Wet Suits
  • Neoprene river shoes
  • USGS approved PFD
  • Helmet
  • Tent - Pad - Sleeping bag - and other personal effects for camping in a river environment.

Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys provides: All rafts, rafting gear, rescue gear, qualified trainers, meals from lunch of day one, until lunch of day four, guide shack training center completely outfitted, transportation to/from base camp to daily training sites.


Day One: Meet @ Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys Headquarters

  • 9:00 - Meet and Greet
  • Orientation to four day course
  • Checking and re-checking of personal equipment
  • 9:30 - Whitewater equipment overview and rigging.
  • 10:30 On-River Session - White Salmon River
  • This session is broken into three components.
    • 1) How to utilize a paddle crew to meet your needs.
    • 2) Learn specific guide paddle strokes. How and when to use them.
    • 3) Understanding hydraulics and how to utilize them to your favor.
  • Sack lunches will be served mid-ways through this session.
  • 4:00 - Get into dry clothing, load rafts on trailers and take the 45 minute drive to base camp on the Klickitat River.
  • 4:45 - Students set up their tents and get settled in.
  • 5:30 - Dinner training. Assigned crew learns how to make a super simple meal look and taste like you worked really hard.: BBQ Baby Back Ribs (Dutch Oven), Dutch Oven Pineapple Upside down cake.
  • 7:00 - Evening Training Session - What elements are needed in a comprehensive rafting orientation speech and how to deliver it with style. Each student will deliver these speeches the entire span of the course. (This is a competition)
  • 9:00 - Campfire time! Sit, relax, socialize and tell lies about epic adventures.

Day Two

  • 8:00 - Assigned Crew has breakfast on the table, coffee hot and ready.
  • 9:00 - Gear Up! On River Session - Klickitat River (Hatchery to Stenson Flat)
  • This session is broken into two components.
    • Practicing guiding skills: Ferry lines and Eddy Lines
    • Understanding specific hazards i.e. strainers, wrap rocks, keeper holes
  • This session will have us rafting past base camp where we will stop for lunch and then continue downstream.
  • 3:00 - In River Session - Klickitat River Base Camp
  • This session is broken into three components
    • Swimming easy whitewater
    • Shallow to moderate on foot water river crossings (solo and group)
    • Throw Bag rescue
  • 5:00 - Dinner Training. Assigned Crew prepares dinner - Cooper River Salmon Bake! Using foil and some simple ingredients, we can make multiple versions of a great filet of salmon. Dutch over Cobbler.
  • 7:00 - Evening Session - Medical Preparedness - Two components
    • How to avoid a medical situation both personally and being proactive for others with Dr. Castle, raft guide extraordinaire.
    • Tending to on-river injuries, minor and major. Evacuation plans that start at home. Basic elements of a great 1st aid kit for the river with EMT Mark, raft guide extraordinaire.
  • 9:00 - Campfire time, but many will probably head for bed after an amazing day.

Day Three

  • 8:00 - Assigned Crew will have breakfast served and extra coffee.
  • 9:00 - Gear Up! On-River Session - Klickitat River (Base Camp to Ice Plant)
  • This session is broken into three components
    • Continued guiding skills
      • 1)Utilizing Ferry Lines and Eddy Lines
      • 2) Reading whitewater and hazards
    • In water practice of flipping rafts
    • Utilizing ropes and mechanical advantage
  • Lunch mid-ways on river.
  • 2:00 - Potato Rock Session (Rescues in swift water)
    • Swift water swimming
    • Throw - Row - Go procedures
    • Live Bait rescue
    • Utilizing Kayaks, Boogie Boards and fins
  • 5:00 - Dinner Training Assigned crew prepares dinner - Dutch Oven Caribbean Jerk Chicken (the meat will fall off the bone). Classic desert that is so simple and a national favorite.
  • 7:00 - Evening Session - Expedition rafting - How and where - Specialized equipment for two styles of expedition rafting; Going Big and Going Small
  • 9:00 - Campfire - Orientation Speech Competition

Day Four

  • 8:00 - Assigned has breakfast ready to go
  • 9:00 - On River Session. Upper Klickitat - Parrots Crossing to Base Camp - Going big!
  • Skills testing trip. Each student will be asked to demonstrate effectively the following elements.
    • Proper crew use and ability to navigate.
    • Pointing out hazards and verbalizing a plan prior to encounter
    • Throw bag rescue
    • Swift water swim
  • Lunch on River
  • 3:30 - Break Camp and say good bye

Post Class Training Session:

Hell's Canyon on the Snake River Each person who completes the four day course will be invited to work as an Apprentice on the Snake River with Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys during the commercial season. Each of these expedition trips last three to five days. One or two Apprentices will be allowed on each of the 13 launch dates.

Completion of the course does not guarantee that your competence will be of such to guide commercial whitewater trips. Each guide will have to demonstrate their learned skills to their potential employer.


Please contact Mark Zoller to discuss details of this school at length. 509-493-2641 rafting@zooraft.com

Zooraft Be The Team Snakeraft
Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys

White water Rafting 


Portland Oregon 

across the

Columbia River Gorge 


Washington State

1248 Hwy 141

White Salmon, WA 

98672 (509) 493-2641
Copyright © 2018

Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys 

, inc.
Zoller's operates with the 1st ever White Salmon Wild & Scenic River special use permit issued by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area / USDA and is an equal opportunity employer. .