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Thread: Delta River Portage?

  1. #1

    Default Delta River Portage?

    Has anyone ever hauled a full sized raft (13 -15 footer) over the portage on the Delta River? It seems like it would be fairly difficult. I would love to take my raft but it seems like the portage could be a show stopper.

    Thanks for any info or stories...
    Brian

  2. #2

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    nah, man, not a show stopper. You'll see a BLM sign marking the "canyon rapids sections" and portage area on the river right side. sign's on the left if memory serves. Anyhow, the trail is well marked and established, and i've hauled 16-ft rafts, canoes, and packrafts up the hill (about 300 yards) to the beaver pond, where you'll pile your gear aboard and float 80 yards over the beaver pool to the muddy trail leading back down to the river. easy greasy, just plan to take a break and knock it out in an hour or so total. Should be straight forward if you have a couple of strong hands to help.

    It might be easier, IMO, to drop the raft down in to the casm where the river channel dropped 5' and jump in, then raft the class IV drops (3 steps) to the lower river where the portage area is on the right side. That's usually what I do to save the hassle of hauling that heavy raft down the second leg to the river after the beaver pond. If you have the skills to drop about 8' in 60 yards, it's easy enough. I have pictures on other threads about the Delta rapids somewhere on this forum that shows these drops in succession with a Pro Pioneer and my dog, sambo. cool pics if you can find them.

    good luck. Great float.

    larry

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    yeah, helped some friends portage their 14' raft one time, and a 12 footer one time. I liked the twelve better. portaging them was heavy, but doable, getting it to the pond in the middle isn't too bad, but downhill from there to the river is a pain. totally doable though, if you're not up to the delta canyon. Nice to have another male (or tough lady) along to help with the portage.

    the drops in the river there bare fairly straightforward though once you line the boat through the notch as larry mentioned.

    I enjoy the delta much more paddling by canoe though. Below the falls is a bit awkward for a raft navigating the rock gardens because there isn't much water, and the section from below the swiftwater to eureka creek is slow in a raft compared to canoe, but a great trip still.

    If you're doing the float soon, PM me.

  4. #4
    Member Gilliland440's Avatar
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    We are running the upper Delta this weekend. We plan to spend most of the day Saturday running the falls with the packrafts but will also be running it with my 14.3 Aire once, I don't plan on hauling it back up to run again. The weatherman says the weather is going to be amazing ... and he wouldn't lie....
    -JR

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    Good post Larry but after you haul that raft over that 2 part portage you will wish you had taken a canoe! I have done this run many times and just last summer I bumped into a poor group of 3 guys hauling a 14 NRS as we zipped past in out 16 foot Old towns.

    You can do it but why? It is a canoe run man!

    Enjoy and take lots of time to fish for lakers on the last string lake above the falls. It is hot fishing! Toss bead head leach patterns on a small hook for the Grayling. Gooood fishing!

    Walt
    Gulkana Raft Rentals
    907-259-4290

  6. #6

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    Thanks for all of the input. The Laker fishing this time of the year is a ton of fun. I can't wait to hear about running the falls in packrafts. Good Luck!

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    Having only done the Delta once, I clearly don’t have as much experience, on this river, as Larry or Walt. With that said, the best thing about having a raft is the ability to carry a lot of gear. We like to boat in style: tables, chairs, big kitchen, good food, bottled wine, a big cooler loaded with cold beer, ice for cocktails, etc. All that stuff is great to have with you, but it sucks to carry it even a short distance. With that said, you could definitely carry your gear and raft through that portage, but it’s going to be work. Last year I saw a group ahead of me take a 14’ cat with a motor and a 14’ Sotar raft through it, and they seemed to be in good spirits at the end of their trip. If you are going to pack light, it would be easier, but then you are losing out on the pros of bringing a raft and in my opinion you'd be better off running a canoe, IK, packraft, or some other small inflatable.

    I brought my 16’ Sotar raft down the river last year, and ended up rowing the boat to the top of the first falls, portaging all the gear from there to the little slot Larry mentions, lining my boat over the first falls, running the next two, tying up my boat at the slot, loading up the gear, running the little canyon, and picking up my wife and kids at the end of the portage. The first two drops are scary 3rd Canyon 6 Mile style rapids; make sure you are dressed to swim and rigged to flip if you go this route. (I have some photos of this on an album if you click on my profile.) You could also drag your boat to the slot, load her up, and put in there. It is a super quick, cool canyon run that I thought (at a low/medium flow) was probably a III+ canyon. With that said, you need to factor in the remoteness and the loaded gear boat.

    Regardless of your boat, the gear you choose to bring, and your decision at the portage, you’ll have a great trip.

    Josh

    PS: JR, I hope you get some good footage…send it!

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    Wow Josh! I would love to see that. My Ba#$s are just too small for that set of falls.

    Wel done my man!

    Walt
    Gulkana River Rafting

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    Twice with a 14ft otter, once with a super puma. Not too bad, on the downhill you have to keep it shoulder high all of the way. Keeping it stabilized is the hard part. Takes a few hours. If I was with older or younger folks I would blow the rafts down and roll them up taco style. They would bemucheasier to carry. Then leave the less fit to work the foot pump while you bring the rest of the gear.

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    We floated the Delta over the weekend. It was much higher than the last time I floated it. We planned to line (or throw) the big raft down the first rapid then I was going to run the rest with it. While we scouted the rapids a party member decided to get as much gear as possible to the beaver pond to keep us from running it... My neck still hurts from hauling gear, running the rapids would have been much more fulfilling. We did run the first skipped the second falls and ran the rest with the packrafts. I wanted to run the second falls too but the hydraulics were a little too nasty at this level for my little pool toy. Haven't checked out the footage yet but I have a feeling that it will be as awesome as the run!
    -JR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gulkana Rafting View Post
    Wow Josh! I would love to see that. My Ba#$s are just too small for that set of falls.

    Wel done my man!

    Walt
    Gulkana River Rafting
    I don’t want to send the wrong message. It doesn’t take a lot of skill to run a stout drop in a raft or huck off a cliff on skis. However, if you want to continue enjoying that kind of lifestyle for more than a few seconds, and not get severely maimed or killed, you better develop your skills. For me running whitewater has been, and continues to be, a SLOW progression. I take safety classes, read a lot, seek out good mentors, research and purchase the best gear, practice the “gnarly” lines on easy rivers, work on flipping my boat on lakes and mellow rivers, stay in good shape, and most importantly get out on the water as much as possible. To me running whitewater is not just some type of stunt but a way to challenge myself and get a feeling of peacefulness on the river.

    JR, well played…I imagine those falls are pretty rowdy with high water, and the river will always be there.

    Walt, the family and I will be putting in on the Gulkana this week. I'll try to stop in and get some advice from you if time permits.

    Later,
    Josh

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    See ya when you come up. Mile 127.5 of the Rich.

    Walt

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    Its a really difficult and risk task to do it alone. As Larry explains in his post what it needs to have before you try doing.

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    Member Gilliland440's Avatar
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    I should have my Delta video up in the next day or so.
    -JR

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