Late August Talkeetna Canyon run
So, planning an Aug. 28 canyon run. Fly in Aug. 27, take out in Talkeetna on Aug. 29. I've run the canyon twice but both trips have been the first week of July. What can the forum ww studs tell me about my time frame for this Aug. Too low? Super technical? Anything noteworthy to mention re: the difference in trip timing? The other big ? is: will Prairie Cr. be runable in 14' bailers and a 14' cat at this time or will a Yellowjacket Cr. put in be required? Is this option even available anymore? Any help will be appreciated. Take care, abel6wt
PS If anyone has any recent Talkeetna canyon info, please chime in. There is a rumor out there that there is a river wide strainer/sweeper in Entrance Exam right now or recently. Seems like I hear this a lot. It wasn't there last July. Canyon legend or fact?
I haven't rafted it in several years, but in my opinion, if we don't get a ton of rain, the canyon should be very runable. The only problems I have seen for the Talkeetna canyon is too much water and the hydrolics being too big. I don't think that low water will present a problem, as in it being too boney. As far as P. creek goes, again, this all depends on rain fall. I can't believe that a river wide strainer/sweeper would come down and stay at the entrance of Entrance Exam for several seasons and not get blownout. My suggestion would be to contact Nova and see what they say. I think they do trips through the canyon regularly. Good luck and I'm sure you'll have a great trip.
Aug or later Talkeetna trips
I've been on a mid-Sept trip as low as 3,500 cfs and the only skinny stuff was coming down from Yellowjacket, which adds a day to the trip. Toilet Bowl and a few other things required a little precision, but everything was in slow motion compared to summer high flows. I wouldn't worry about it being too low in the main river in August. I can't say much about Prairie Creek, as I have not done that, but it looked pretty low that Sept trip (from what you could see at the confluence). The float down from Yellowjacket is scenic and has good camping, but no whitewater.
I agree with Troutbum about the rain. Sometimes the fall low fronts can push the Talkeetna over 20,000 cfs, or twice a typical July flow. Other times, it can start to wind down early with a cold front and run about 5,000. The gage is online at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?s...agency_cd=USGS, so you can check as you get closer.
I flew in with Doug Geeting to Yellowjacket in the past, which is a rough strip. His company is gone -- may be flying with someone else now -- but it looks like Talkeetna Air Taxi goes in there. They have a blog note about that log you've heard about. They might be able to get you a contact for more info if you need it. I'd bet high water will clear that out sometime this summer (the river is finally rising now, after being unusually low earlier), but the normal scout at Toilet Bowl would seem to be mandatory given the reports.
Enjoy your trip.
I've flown in with Talkeetna Air and K2 Aviation to Yellow Jacket and near Prairie Creek. CFS can be brutal in August or as low as 3,000 fps. I agree with these guys about unpredictability of august weather in the Talkeetnas. This year anything could happen, as lots of rain has been spread twix the Alaska Range and the Talkeetnas.
I think i prefer CFS in the canyon to be between 10,000 and 18,000 for predictable cushion and open threads to run. Holes are usually managable on the edges at moderate stage.
More boat is better than not enough. I ran it once in a 13-ft SOTAR and got my arse served to me on a wooden platter. scary shiznit at about 20,000 CFS. Would have prefered a 16-ft SB for that run...
Just heard from a friend that ran it a couple weeks ago. They managed to scoot over the log with a little boat dragging, and I think at least one of them got around it some how. I think it's just below Entrance Exam, but before dropping into the Toilet Bowl. They seemed to think that at lower water the log could be really nasty. In any case you can see most of it from the river right scouting hill, and make your decision then. Higher water will probably take it out as the glacier gets moving in July/August.
Low water would not be a problem on the Talkeetna. Everything should become easier, not really technical. It might be an issue on Prairie Creek though. I've only done that at high water, and I'm not sure a raft will make it without enough water. I've heard Kayakers complain about it when it get's low.
I did hear recently that Yellow Jacket strip was being used (and sort of maintained) these days. The pilot I talked to last summer said it was better than it used to be. I believe he said they were getting either a Beaver or a Turbo Otter in there now. It was bumpy with a lot of really loose rocky gravel the one time I used it with a 185. Hardly needed brakes with that stuff slowing you down. Getting back off the ground was another issue entirely.
Just checked out the Talk Air Taxi website. Looks like this log is no myth. Guess we'll have to stay updated throughout July/Aug and make a game time decision later. None of the other boats in my party have run the canyon so i'd be a little nervous adding this dangerous twist to what will be a big enough challenge. Plus, i'm puckered up just thinking about hi-siding and managing weight transfer hung on a log directly upstream of Toilet Bowl. Sketchy.
Re: flows, the 47 yr average for our trip timeframe is 7660 cfs. My first run was 11000 and it was perfect. My second run was 8500 and a bit violent/sticky. Either way, I think we'll go Yellow Jacket as Prairie is a bit of work even in July. Kinda looking forward to the change it as both of my runs have started at Murder Lake.
Thanks for the replies everyone. Keep em coming if there is any up to the minute info or just chime in on any Talk Canyon info/exps you have. Love that trip.