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Thread: Safety of the Ribdon or Lupine in a PR-49?

  1. #1

    Default Safety of the Ribdon or Lupine in a PR-49?

    I'm looking at crossing the Sag in early September on a solo hunt with my PR-49, hiking up the Ribdon or Lupine to get out 5+ miles, and then floating back to the road. I know there's a bit of information on hunting those rivers on the forum but I couldn't find anything that gives a good sense of how safe it would be to float them in this boat.

    Last year I floated a caribou out from 15 miles up Clearwater Creek on the Denali Highway. I made it through the boulder gardens just fine (though not sure I'd want to do the biggest one again solo), but then this happened when trying to scoot over that strong cross-current where Little Clearwater Creek comes in bye the road:



    I learned a lot from that trip about how to better handle and prepare everything, but I'd still rather not test my luck solo on the far side of the Sag. Is either of those rivers tame enough to be a safe bet if I take it carefully, or are there some sketchy places that aren't worth the risk?

    Also, is the Sag tame enough in the immediate vicinity of these river mouths?
    Jason
    http://www.troutnut.com -- Fly fishing photos & insect hatch encyclopedia.
    http://www.daltoncorridormap.com -- Exact 5-mile Haul Road corridor boundary for GPS & Google Earth

  2. #2

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    Check out the packrafting fourm, i think there was a write up about it


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    I've floated the lower Ivishak and Sag in a big raft but it's been a few years. I don't remember anything specifically challenging in the sections you mention. However, that was from the perspective of being in a bigger raft. From the few packraft trips I've done I know the on-water water perspective changes in smaller boats like the PR-49.

    One thing you will learn (or have already) is that the river always wins. When you come to what looks like a challenging section stop and scout if possible. During your scout try to figure out how to use the current and in-river features to get you where you want to go, or close to it. If you just try to bully the river into making it let you go wherever you want....you'll likely lose.

  4. #4

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    Check out the packrafting fourm, i think there was a write up about it


    Thanks, there is a thread from Brad Meiklejohn about packrafting a big loop in the arctic refuge, but he just did ten miles on the South Fork of the Ribdon with an Alpacka and no caribou.

    I know people have done these rivers in canoes and stuff... just wondering if it would be foolhardy as a solo trip. I'm also curious if there's much brush along the banks or it's easy enough to get out and scout anywhere and line down past any hairy obstacles.

    One thing you will learn (or have already) is that the river always wins.


    So I found last year! I've spent quite a bit of time on rivers and that was my first flip. Hopefully my last.
    Jason
    http://www.troutnut.com -- Fly fishing photos & insect hatch encyclopedia.
    http://www.daltoncorridormap.com -- Exact 5-mile Haul Road corridor boundary for GPS & Google Earth

  5. #5
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    The lupine was easily crossed in less than knee deep water in September 2 years ago.... I wouldn't try to float it.

  6. #6

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    So now that I've finished this hunt on the Ribdon I thought I'd come back and answer my own question for others who come across the thread later. The hunting was ridiculously slow, but the travel was doable. I posted the full story and some other pictures on my website, but here's a rundown of the floatability. There are several fast Class II boulder gardens (one maybe Class III) that I wouldn't want to float, at least not solo with a heavily loaded raft and no drysuit. Instead I lined down everything even remotely difficult, and for the most part it was easy to see those spots coming and get out to line. There are a few tight spots throughout the river, but most of the worst water is in the last mile before the confluence with the Sag. That was also the hardest to line and I ended up getting soaked from the knees down, because the boulder gardens on the inside bends extend so far out that I couldn't push the raft out beyond them while standing on dry ground. The Sag for the next mile downstream after the confluence (to where it comes near the road) was a piece of cake. Above there, it's nasty, except for one quiet pool where it's easy to cross. This report comes when the Sag gage at PS3 read around 2500 CFS.



    Jason
    http://www.troutnut.com -- Fly fishing photos & insect hatch encyclopedia.
    http://www.daltoncorridormap.com -- Exact 5-mile Haul Road corridor boundary for GPS & Google Earth

  7. #7
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Thank you for the write up. Sorry about the car issue. Was this an early September hunt?

  8. #8

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    Yes, September 7th-12th. I suppose I should add that to the write-up!
    Jason
    http://www.troutnut.com -- Fly fishing photos & insect hatch encyclopedia.
    http://www.daltoncorridormap.com -- Exact 5-mile Haul Road corridor boundary for GPS & Google Earth

  9. #9

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    Great trip!! I am all ears about this adventure, and the performance of the raft.


    I am using one to get moose out of a shallow river....I inflate it after I get a moose, and tie it side by side to my main boat to distribute weight. The abuse it takes is significant... and both years I've used it I had major failures(6 inch gashes)... both times user mistakes contributed...but it di fail twice....this year I got by with teflon tape, and a decent dry job.

    My guess is the raft performs better in the application you are using it...having it tied to another boat introduces some forces and abuse it may not encounter when floating alone. It also seems to me 300 pounds is about here the forces become dangerous for the bottom and sides when it hits rocks....BUT.. for 15 pounds it's hard to think of a boat that can do the same...

    Going to read your full write up... sounds like a great adventure..

  10. #10

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    enjoyed the full story on your site. the photos help put things in perspective
    the tents a AO8 correct? worked out well i assume on the raft?

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the write up! Great job. Looks like you had a blast.

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