White water rafting is one of the most exciting and adventurous sport and hobby around to date. Rafting is very popular and has been a great past time for many years. White water rafting began way before our time and dates back to the Indian tribes of Oregon and Idaho. The Nez Perce and Shoshone tribes both relied on the Snake River to fish for their food. Many rafts were built with a flat bottom in the beginning, much like a pirogue used for traditional fishing boats.
After the pirogue was built, many other different shapes of boats were built to be raft-like. The most advanced design in the 1800’s was the keelboat. This type of boat was able to steer and carry a large number of people. It was from the keelboat that other types of rafts were built until the perfect raft was made.
The earliest known documents of white water rafting was in 1842 when Lieutenant John Fremont of the U.S. Army conducted an expedition of his rafting trip on the Platte River. Fremont’s journey helped him build the first rubber raft. Studies indicate that rafts were made with rubber cloth tubes back in 1842. Before this rubber raft was built, rafting was not able to be performed successfully due to the boats they were using to raft down rivers.
The new version of the rubber raft invented by Peter Halkett in 1844 was made to finally float through the roughest waters.
The first white water rafting commercial sport trip was in 1940 in Idaho. This trip was taken on the Salmon River and to this day Salmon River rafting trips are still very common. White water rafting gained more recognition in the 1960’s. At this time, the Grand Canyon was routed and white water rafting companies were established. After many failed attempts at rafting expeditions in the early sixties, in 1967 rafting down the Snake River became common and successful.
By the early 1970’s, white water rafting became a very popular sport. It became a known leisure sport in 1972 when it gained international attention at the Munich Olympic Games. White water rafting continued to gain popularity over the next few years. By the 1990’s, rafting was included in major game events like the Summer Olympic Games and the Barcelona Games in 1992. by 1997, the International Federation of Rafting was started and things just took off from there.
Rafting has become much safer than what it was years before when it first began. Rafting in rough white waters is considered to be an extreme sport that can be dangerous. However, if basic safety precautions are observed and rafters are properly trained, than in most cases, rafting should be perfectly safe. Most rafting trips always give the participants safety presentations before any expedition or ride.
Over the years raft equipment has become more specialized and increased in quality. With today’s new and improved equipment and safety precautions than years before, white water rafting can be a safe and enjoyable adventure.
Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting was founded by Ron Raudelunas, a rafting guide with over 15 years experience, in 2009. Ron and his team have guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.