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Thread: South Fork Kuskokwim River (Hell's Gate)

  1. #1

    Default South Fork Kuskokwim River (Hell's Gate)

    Hello, I am planning a float hunt in mid September down the South Fork Kuskokwim River. I am planning on floating the upper section through the Alaska Range and running through Hell's Gate. I am somewhat familiar with the countryside. I used to work/guide out of that area in the 90's, but I never floated it. My question is, can anyone, or would anyone be willing to offer some information on floating through Hell's Gate. I have Mike Strahan's and Karen Jettmar's book and I have read what they both had to say, but neither one give specific details or GPS coordinates for running those rapids. All I know is that is is a 5-10 mile stretch of water that is supposedly rated class III. Other than that I know nothing. Is there a portage site? Should it be lined or portaged? Is there a place where I should pull over and go ahead and scout the river? Any information would be invaluable. I am thinking I should go down to the BLM and look at some of there aerial stereograms. That is what Mike Strahan suggested to me. The last time I went there though the people down there acted really weird like I was a terrorist spy or something. I told them I just wanted to look at there maps for hunting purposes but they got all uppity and acted like I needed top secret clearance or something. Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    thebomba
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    I can not wait for a response from the others.





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  3. #3
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    Sep 2009
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    Did that float last year. Like you we were a little concerned about Hells Gate, when we went though it we were a little disappointed. It was one of the easiest portions of the river. We were like "thats it? it was mmore like hecks confluence". I will say it is wise to stay to the right, the granite along the left shore is jagged and sharp so you could cut your raft. But dont sweat it. The river becomes very braided the closer you get to Rohns but esaily managed. Only had to drag the raft a few times due to poor channel choices. If you get lazy the sweapers will get ya, pulled my buddy right out of the raft. Funny as hell until I realized it is a little difficult to manuever a 14' raft on your own with one paddle.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2007
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    I have never floated it but did fly it low looking at it for friend who was thinking of floating it. It didn't appear to be much of a problem to me, and I have done quite a bit of challenging floating. Only one short place about 3/4 of the way through looked to be of any concern and it could be lined (on the left if I remember correctly) if you were worried. This supports what Brigand found. It is true that different river heights from high and low water can prove to be different in the challenge presented, but I would float it with no real concern.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by driveacub View Post
    I have never floated it but did fly it low looking at it for friend who was thinking of floating it. It didn't appear to be much of a problem to me, and I have done quite a bit of challenging floating. Only one short place about 3/4 of the way through looked to be of any concern and it could be lined (on the left if I remember correctly) if you were worried. This supports what Brigand found. It is true that different river heights from high and low water can prove to be different in the challenge presented, but I would float it with no real concern.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brigand View Post
    Did that float last year. Like you we were a little concerned about Hells Gate, when we went though it we were a little disappointed. It was one of the easiest portions of the river. We were like "thats it? it was mmore like hecks confluence". I will say it is wise to stay to the right, the granite along the left shore is jagged and sharp so you could cut your raft. But dont sweat it. The river becomes very braided the closer you get to Rohns but esaily managed. Only had to drag the raft a few times due to poor channel choices. If you get lazy the sweapers will get ya, pulled my buddy right out of the raft. Funny as hell until I realized it is a little difficult to manuever a 14' raft on your own with one paddle.
    Thank you both for the reports. Rep points given.

  6. #6
    New member
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    Sep 2009
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    7

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    Yer welcome, I'm just happy I could finally post somethiung useful on this site.

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