Keel Haulers Paddlers Rating Test


Keel Haulers Paddler Rating Test for Class II and above

reported by Jon Nelson

The Keel Hauler Canoe Club is a large organization located in Northeast Ohio. On their main web site is a self-test for determining one’s level of river skill. The 16-item test covers four main areas: physical, equipment, experience, and paddling group. An overall score is produced and this is linked to difficulty scores for various river sections of Class II and above. As a result, a paddler is able to gain a better feel for both present and prospective skills required for particular rivers. This adds to the information obtained from past river experiences, other paddlers, trip leaders, etc. Not all local streams are included in the Keel Haulers Rated List of Rivers, but listed below are a few illustrations based on their list (always adjust for flow levels):

  • Spring Creek (450 cfs), Class I/II – difficulty rating 8
  • West Branch Susquehanna (Karthus 4 ft), Class I/II – difficulty 10
  • Pine Creek (Cedar Run, 3 ft), Class I/II – difficulty 10
  • Red Moshannon (2.5 ft), Class II – difficulty 12
  • Middle Yough (2 ft), Class II – difficulty 12
  • Mosquito Creek (Karthus 6 ft), Class II/III – difficulty 14
  • Lehigh (1000 cfs), Class II/III – difficulty 16
  • Cassleman (Markleton 2.5 ft), Class II/III – difficulty 16
  • North Branch Potomac (1000 cfs), Class III – difficulty 18
  • Shade Creek (Ferndale 3.5 ft), Class III – difficulty 20
  • Black Moshannon (1 ft), Class III – difficulty 20
  • Stony Creek Canyon (Ferndale 3.5 ft), Class III – difficulty 21
  • Lower Yough (2 ft), Class III – difficulty 23

The self-rating test is located here:

It is important to note that as stated on the Keel Haulers web site, “the ‘Self-Rating System’ presented below is only intended to provide a general guideline for the paddler and should not be considered a substitute for a realistic evaluation of one’s own paddling skills. Each person is responsible for his or her own safety and for determining whether he or she has the skills necessary to run any of the rivers in the accompanying ‘River Classifications’ list or to participate in any river trips.”

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