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Thread: McCarthy to Chitina River?

  1. #1

    Default McCarthy to Chitina River?

    Has anybody boated this section of river? I have never been to McCarthy, but from studying google earth it looks like this section of river is doable. I have an 18-ft Jon with a 60/40 jet. It looks pretty braided and maybe a bit bumpy here and there. But I don't see anything too crazy. From google earth, it doesn't look any crazier than the 20-mile. At the same time, google earth can be misleading. It looks like, again from google earth, that there are plenty of places where it would be easy to launch a boat.

    I recently received a PM from somebody on the forums saying he thought there were class III rapids through this section but I just can't see that on google earth and there are pretty good photographs in this area. Has anybody boated or rafted this section of river? Any recommendations on where to launch? Any input will be helpful! Thanks! Is anybody interested in bringing their boat and trying it out with me in June? I'd like to try to run this section of river and then do some dipnetting in Chitina on the way back.

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    A second question. If it is too rowdy for an 18-ft jon, what about a Gary King Alaska Jet Ranger? I have access to one of those as well, Maybe a better option for this stretch of river? Would mean less space for gear but better able to handle a few rapids.

    Any input is appreciated!

  3. #3


    Well, I've rafted it down to the Copper from Kennicott. The Nizina has tall canyon walls with sharp narrow bends. The years i did I'd say the channel width in some of those sharp turns was 15-20 feet wide (75 -85 degree angles). The class III is mainly wave height through some trains (4-6' peaks and troughs) and the technical necessity for boater skill around tight fast corners with water thrust against canyon walls, as well water temp. hazards.

    I'm sure the right boater can negotiate that course, but I've personally never seen a motorboat off the Chitina. The Chitina itself is fast and wild with wave heights exceeding 6' at times.

    good luck



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