Thredbo Packrafting – Saftey and Rescue Training

I have been self taught in most of the sports I participate in and its only the most extreme sports like scuba diving, sky diving or the like that you go to a school to learn the necessary skills before you actually do the sport.
One usually starts doing a new sport after being introduced by friends and the skill progression is usually aided by input from the people that got you into the sport or others that join you along the way.
Sometimes the consequences of being “green” in a given sport are low and training is not required unless you want to move up to the next level or be an instructor yourself.
In other sports you can quickly find yourself out of your comfort zone or with a huge knowledge deficit.
Such was the case with packrafting, which is a very new sport that has come about from the fusion of paddling with other sports like bush walking, fishing, biking, climbing or skiing etc. People. wanting to go that extra mile, leverage the packraft’s light weight ( a few kilos) and portability (size of a small tent rolled up) to assist their other sport by means of taking advantage of the river –  if it’s there you may as well use it.
However, as the sport gains momentum rather than a fusion sport it has become a whitewater sport on its own,  aided by its whitewater versatility, packrafting, rather than being another tool in the draw when needed to compliment another sport, we find ourselves just going out and running whitewater on these really fun boats.
When it comes to whitewater I have zero experience, I used to look at whitewater like I would at a volcano, something to stay the bloody hell away from. But as usual my desire to do more before I’m too old got the better of me, I bought a packraft and started out, with guidance from the usual suspect, Darren, and ran a few rivers, very cautiously I might add.
Then a trip came up that up’d the ante, a river in flood, Grade 3 rapids etc. Although, we were very care full and checked everything out before running anything, I got wet twice, and ended up floating down a set of rapids and Gus did the same only he peeled his fingernail back which required some on-river first aid, but in the end no one was hurt badly. Notwithstanding, Darren had broken his coccyx on a remote multi-day whitewater river trip at Xmas which knocked him back a bit too I think. Usually he is unphasable !!!
It made us sit up and think we need to know more about this sport and after discussion with like minded paddlers from the packrafting forum we organised some informal training provided by a very generous and experienced kayaker who also packrafts.
We had a great weekend with a great trainor/mentor and a great bunch of people.
Darren as usual was the photographer.
He’s like a Ninja, you’ll be paddling along and next minute click click click, you don’t even see him get the camera out of the dry bag !
Here is his blog CLICK HERE
Not only is he an excellent photographer, He has a great a skill for writing and a witty style.
A true wordsmith.
I’m usually the video dude but left the GoPro at home for this trip.
I just used my iPhone 4s, which is all I use for stills now since Jenny took my SLR off me !
Here some photos from around the campsite at Thredbo Diggings in the Snowy Mountains.
The Group 
 The campsite
 Old Faithful
 Gus’ and Darren’s tents
 Darren getting his stove and kettle out of his tent for an early morning cupa !
 Be vwery vwery qwuiet….I’m hunting macwos
Some frosty grass in the morning
 It was that cold even the turds had ice on them
Turd Macro
  Looking towards Bullocks Flat / Ski Tube / Lake Crakenback Resort
Crackenback Range behind the campsite
The Thredbo River….looking cold in the shadows

Looking up the Thredbo Valley towards the ski resort.
 Remnants of some early season snow from Tuesday’s blizzard remains in the torrs above