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Thread: Riverbank Stairs

  1. #1
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    Default Riverbank Stairs

    I have question for those of you whose access to your cabin involves a high bank like the Big Su or the Yentna and use a set of stairs. How do you attach the stairs to the bank? Also, what do you do with the lower portion of the stairs in the wintertime?


    Thanks,


    Knot

  2. #2
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    When I repaired some old stairs a few years ago I set four 4x4's 40 inches into stable gravelly soil slightly back (1.5 feet on the bank side, 5 feet on the away side) from the bank edge. I used these 4x4's to create a small, low, deck/stair landing, which also protects the edge of the bank from wear and tear.

    Mostly my thought was that the deck would serve as an anchor structure for the stairs, which as I found them were simply pointed 2x4's pounded into the very edge of the bank and at the bottom of the bank.

    My stairs are 8 treads so I used two precut stringers with five treads each, overlapping them at two risers/treads with four through-bolts on each side. I also reinforced the free sections of the stringers with 2x12's, as is common.

    The tops of the upper stringers are through-bolted into the 2x8 side rims of the deck, and the lower stringers are through-bolted onto two lower 4x4's driven into the river bottom gravel at the lower edge of the bank. Those 4x4's continue vertically to be supports for handrails on each side. I cross-braced the stringers against the 4x4's for lateral strength.

    At my location, in the summer the stairs typically are 1-3 treads underwater, but they can be completely underwater against a very strong current (a summer, 2009 near-flood filled the banks of my channel for more than a week). They have been in for 4 years, I think. No sign to date of movement or loosening in any part of the completed project.

    We are at a side channel inside an island from the main channel; water drops in the fall so these stairs are free of water all winter and thus are rigid (no hinges to flip them up), though a glacier dam can release in the mountains and bring high water (with ice?) at any time. Recognizing that possibility I used stainless bolts for the areas that are underwater, allowing me to remove the lower pair of stringers for the winter. Have never done that however, because I am fundamentally lazy.

    As you have figured out by now I know very little, I just make stuff up. But the stuff I make up usually works, and in this case has so far.

  3. #3
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Helped build some on the Kenai River. The winter issue is solved by making your stairs in at least 2 sections with the lower section fitting inside the upper section. Ropes, cables, winches or what-have-you is used to pull the lower section up on top of the upper section. Think of an typical extension ladder, but hanging upside down over your bank. Pretty simple and slick way to pull up your stairs for the winter.

    Probably not an option in the remote setting, but the anchoring system is comprised of steel piling driven far into the Earth. A large, level top deck is used to secure the top end.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Thank you for the replies and the ideas.

  5. #5

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    Attachment 52628Attachment 52625Attachment 52625Attachment 52626Built about 75 feet of stairs on the Susitna. Drove galvanized fence posts into the bank every 6 feet, in pairs 3 feet apart. Built stringers from 2X10 on the upper bank and lowered them over the side in 20 foot sections. I only put about every third stair in until they were anchored to the poles using u-bolts through the sides of the stringers. I used duckbill anchors driven into the riverbank securing each set of poles to hold them in a vertical position. I then put the remainder of the treads onto the stringers and secured each set of stairs with anchors as well. I put in two landings so I could change direction of the stairs, this accomodated a change in bank angle. The lowest set of stairs is a set of 2X6 ladder stairs that is secured by a rope to the main staircase. This set can be pulled up during either high water or winter.....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by keh; 09-07-2011 at 14:39. Reason: change image

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    Keh,

    Thanks for the photos it helps out alot. This is going to be my first big money project for the cabin.


    Knot832

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    I too, have experienced an issue while trying to get up some stairs into our cabin. The problem is we got there and realized that the stairs weren't just long and wow man!

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    Member hunt-fish-trap's Avatar
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    I hope that I am not taking it off topic. But do you launch your boat from the slide next to the stairs.

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    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunt-fish-trap View Post
    I hope that I am not taking it off topic. But do you launch your boat from the slide next to the stairs.
    I wouldn,t think so. Its for the stuff thats in the boat, that needs to go up the hill.keh will jump in there but i,m sure thats what it is used for.

  10. #10

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    P1010023.jpgI do have a smaller boat that, after a few libations, i have threatened to launch from the top of the hill, down the slide and into the water. An intelligent wife and a fear of death has to this point, stalled that plan. We have a series of snatch blocks at the top of the hill and a rope that will extend from the water level to the top, through the shieves and hook to our 4 wheeler. I built a buggy out of an old kid stoller and that is how we transfer food, water and other items to the top of the bluff. This is an earlier picture, before the stairs, but the process is the same.

    Kevin

  11. #11
    Member hunt-fish-trap's Avatar
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    thats crazy stuff! I launch my drift boat off sum scary stuff but you guys got me beat on that one.

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