Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 30

Thread: Advice, crossing deep and high flow rivers on foot.

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
    Posts
    16

    Default Advice, crossing deep and high flow rivers on foot.

    Hi guys,
    This fall an area I plan on hunting Iíll have to cross a river. I tried unsuccessfully to cross this river once on a scouting trip and the water level was above my knees for the most part but thereís a section where the water is deeper. The river bed channels lots of water in a 20í section, I strongly believe in that section I canít resist the strong current since the water level would be at my hips or higher. Iíve crossed rivers with strong current but the water level was at most mid/high-thigh and facing the current I was able maintain good footing with small side steps. This river the water current would throw my balance out of wack and take me with it.

    So right now Iím trying to find a packable inflatable boat to use on such crossing. I need something small and light since Iíll have to pack it to the river and then after the crossing I would hide it hanging in the timber.

    Anybody have suggestions to cross such river?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    anchorage,ak
    Posts
    473

    Default

    Go there now while the river is low or frozen and set up a rope!

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Mat-Su Valley
    Posts
    449

    Default

    Better yet, set up a two rope bridge and stay dry.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    If you think you're free, there's no escape possible.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,905

    Default

    I got dumped in the water crossing a swift flowing stream on a goat hunt. Lucky I was at the bank when it happened. We (3 of us) had crossed it 2 days earlier going after goats. It was a very unpleasant experience but we made it, barely. When we came back it had rained some but we had more weight on our backs. 2 goats. Made the 1st branch o.k. The second one almost took my life.
    Be careful.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    206

    Default

    I would not think a Goat is worth it, I would just pass on the whole idea.

    dwight

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    105

    Default

    Been in that predicament several times. And turned back each time as I valued life a bit more than the other possible outcome. I would also suggest a pack raft they are light and easily packed and you could leave it at the stream for the return trip. Better safe than sorry and able to enjoy many more hunts

  7. #7
    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,624

    Default

    If you have to do it on foot and have two or more people with you use the "tripod" technique. My wife who is a lot nicer, smarter, and better looking than I am pulled it out on a sheep hunt a few years back. I would have just tried to plow across myself (because I'm a meat head), but one of our group likely would not have made it across on his own, so it was literally a life saver. I imagine it could be done with two......sort of. On your own it's just not worth dying, so be careful.

    Brett

  8. #8
    Member Ben XCR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Between Anchorage and Homer
    Posts
    207

    Default

    You can look into something like this. http://alpackarafts.com/ They're spendy but along the lines of what you're looking for I think and I've heard great things about them.
    The more you talk, the more I wish I was deaf.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Shaktoolik, AK
    Posts
    22

    Default

    A packraft like the ones Ben XCR suggested are perfect for such a situation. I use mine a bunch, but pricey. NRS makes one that is a little less expensive (http://www.nrs.com/product/1630/nrs-packraft).

  10. #10
    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Interior
    Posts
    2,101

    Default

    The old timers use to just swim across. They make some awesome pack rafts now that weight as little as 6lbs. They are pricy but they work great.
    Makin fur fins and feathers fly.

  11. #11
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Soldotna AK, Eugene, OR
    Posts
    613

    Default

    Even with a raft it can be tricky, a rope tied to each side of the river and use a swing raft works well, having someone else with is good, using a couple walking staffs can help. Very risky is not worth the risk.

  12. #12
    Member wykee5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sodak
    Posts
    208

    Default

    It's risky but if you are in a position to survive a dunking this is what you do. Start a bit upstream of where you want to cross, and get out as far as you can. Most people go wrong in that when they start to slip they fight the current, their feet go out, and sploosh, in they go. When you have made it as far as you can, turn down and across and keep going, sort of bouncing your way downstream but making lateral progress as you go. You can get across much deeper water this way when you are "going with the flow" instead of fighting the current. It is extra adventurous if it is a glacier stream where you can't see the bottom. If this is the case, you better be good at reading water or you might find yourself in much deeper water then what you expected, but either way, you can get across way more current if you are going down stream with it.

  13. #13

    Default

    Back when I was guiding sheep hunters in the Alaska Range, we used to cross big rivers all the time in our hip boots. Rivers such as the South Fork of the Kuskokwim, the Hartman river, and the Post river to name a few. They were fairly large rivers, but we could usually almost always travel up or down stream for a half a mile or so to locate braided sections. Sometimes it was like going through a maze because you could only cross sections at a time. You might travel half a mile up river, cross a section and travel half a mile back down river and cross another section to make it all the way across. But, it is a possibility for you to look into. I'm not sure which river you are talking about and how much volume you're looking at, but it might be a possibility. The pack raft idea might be a good one, but if you have whitewater be very careful. Especially if you are not very experienced with a pack raft. That could be just as dangerous as crossing by foot unless you know what you are doing. Depends on a lot of factors though like what is the whitewater rating etc. The other thing I recommend though if you do decide to cross by foot, is to make sure to unbuckle the straps on your backpack and if you can locate a long sturdy walking stick that would help too. If you fall in while crossing, your backpack could drown you if your straps are attached. Better to lose your gear and survive then have all your gear but drown on the bottom of a river. Good luck whatever you do. Make sure you go with a partner for safety purposes. I like the rope idea that someone else suggested if you have the ability to go out there in the winter to do that. But that might not be an option for you. One other thing. I noticed that you are from Canada. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you have to have a guide to goat hunt if you are from Canada. If so, why not ask your guide what he recommends. I am sure he has already thought of a solution to this problem for you.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
    Posts
    16

    Default

    I wish a simple rope across the river would work but it wonít work. Also I run the risk of having it removed by other users in the area so I donít want to bet my hunt for that spot with the rope. Right now Iím studying my options for access into that spot and if I donít come up with a good plan Iíll go hunt an other spot.

    Crossing on foot has the potential to be very risky and I have my limits. Iíve done some serious crossing in the past but this specific one is more challenging. With a raft I could pick my way across with the proper landing on the opposite shore.
    I appreciate the advices

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben XCR View Post
    You can look into something like this. http://alpackarafts.com/ They're spendy but along the lines of what you're looking for I think and I've heard great things about them.
    Quote Originally Posted by sean_moon View Post
    A packraft like the ones Ben XCR suggested are perfect for such a situation. I use mine a bunch, but pricey. NRS makes one that is a little less expensive (http://www.nrs.com/product/1630/nrs-packraft).
    Some interesting inflatable boats, thanks guys Iíll take a good look at them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    I'm not sure which river you are talking about and how much volume you're looking at, but it might be a possibility.
    The pack raft idea might be a good one, but if you have whitewater be very careful. Especially if you are not very experienced with a pack raft. That could be just as dangerous as crossing by foot unless you know what you are doing.
    The other thing I recommend though if you do decide to cross by foot, is to make sure to unbuckle the straps on your backpack and if you can locate a long sturdy walking stick that would help too. If you fall in while crossing, your backpack could drown you if your straps are attached. Better to lose your gear and survive then have all your gear but drown on the bottom of a river.
    One other thing. I noticed that you are from Canada. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you have to have a guide to goat hunt if you are from Canada. If so, why not ask your guide what he recommends. I am sure he has already thought of a solution to this problem for you.

    The river at that spot doesnít have white water waves, the current is strong, fast and with waves. If only the water level would consistently across be up to my hips at most I would make it across. Iíve done that on few trips before. Every time I crossed rivers/big creeks over the years I always unbuckled my pack straps for the reasons you mentioned. I use hiking poles on my mountain hunts and they sure are handy when I have to cross rivers/creeks.

    Yes Iím talking about a river in BC. I reside in BC so I hunt as a resident, only non-resident Canadian and alien need to use the service of outfitters here. The outfitter certainly crosses the river with horses and most likely other resident too. This river section is remote and the water level can fluctuate depending on the rain and snow melt. I have to take that into consideration for the hike in and out.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,905

    Default

    Putting ropes up and leaving them can turn out to be a problem for wildlife or people. Ever see what happens to someone who hits a rope, cable, or chain while riding an atv or snow machine? I have. It's ugly.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    If I wanted to use a rope to cross a river I would use a light weight one and a pulley to pull a heavy one over and back when I needed it. I would also weight it down so it would not cause problems or be found. It's one thing to get across going in....what are you going to do if it rain?

  17. #17

    Default

    Problem with leaving a rope is surer then heck some log will take it out so I wouldn't place much hope that it will be there when you need it unless it is elevated

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Los Anchorage
    Posts
    315

    Default

    Lots of good suggestions: one more to add levity:

    - Climb into the PA-18 (or -12 if the sandbars are a touch bigger ) on foot;
    - Fly across the river;
    - Get out on foot;
    - Unload gear;
    - Tell tales about how planning and foresight kept you from having to battle the river gods.


  19. #19

    Default

    Ah man, this reads like a premonition of a disaster. IMO, every man in his right, educated mind believes he can cross a river that's "just marginal" enough to be safe...until a moss-covered rock or an "uh-oh" happens and he slips off his feet.

    with or without gear on your person, the rule of thumb to stay alive with rivers is to AVOID having to make such a decision for anything but survival. If a river is more than knee deep and flowing a mild 3 MPH has the strength to sweep your buoyancy off balance.

    Bud, I have been here only 20 years, but I can't count the number of strong competent men who have lost their footing and focus on a simple river crossing and are now dead. It happens almost every year on rivers we've all heard of that seem mild or doable.

    Things you might not know about the river substrate and flow and channel character could very well be more than you can handle. And if you have gear on your back...think about it....

    Don't do it. Have a stronger plan to get across that includes you staying dry.

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,905

    Default

    The one we crossed where I took a dunking was moving so fast, rocks were tumbling down stream and our boots filled with small shards of gravel. When I went down, my Winchester rifle was in my hands and ended up on the bottom, still in my hands. My pack was above water as was my upper body. I fell against the steep bank, luckily. Mt rifle was so full of those gravel shards, I couldn't open the bolt. Has to beat it open later in camp, and strip the rifle down and completely clean it.
    Be careful. When in doubt, don't do it.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •