Good morning guys.
I was down on the Gulkana picking up a group of rafters at the Richardson bridge 2 days ago and I came across a family who were getting ready to launch on the Gulkana for a trip down the Copper. The group had all of the right gear and all brand new to boot! My question/concern was that one of the rafts was a 12 footer.
I am not trying to come across as know it all so if I do just ignore my soap box. As many of you know the Copper River float is lots of fun and one that we should all take. The Copper is a big powerful river that from the road looks like an easy float but for those of you who have floated her know how large and powerful she is. The river picks up volume, power and speed quickly as the Gulkana, Tazlina, and Kultinal dump in to her. The Copper needs a special kind of respect for many reasons including her power and silt load that she carries as well as the cold water. If you take a dump in the Copper the silt acts like an anchor in you're clothing and needless to say the cold will zap your strength fast. The whole point of my rant is to remind the rafting community that we need to be very realistic when we are assessing our equipment and skills. A 12 foot raft is VERY small for the Copper. Yes, it can be done with a smaller raft but when we run it we are using 15-16 foot rafts because the larger raft provides a large and stable foot print on which to operate. I love to play in smaller boats but the Copper does not play well with others and when we make mistakes it is not like the Gulkana that is a forgiving river.
Ok I am finished and I hope my point is takes to be careful on the Copper and use gear that can handle that big girl. Protect your family and reduce the risk at all costs.
Gulkana River Raft Rentals