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Thread: Tonsina - I suspect the gauge to be inaccurate.

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    274

    Default Tonsina - I suspect the gauge to be inaccurate.

    Just a heads up, I ran the Tonsina last week, the gauge said between 9 and 10 feet, and looked about right at the put in. The takeout looked a lot higher, about 1.5 feet below the parking area, made pulling rafts out nice and easy. Everything I read considered the Tonsina a class 3 at that level, however I would disregard that and always consider that river a class 4 with the wood hazards, even at low water. The level I ran it at, if there was a flip it would have not been pretty, as the only rescue available would be mid river, back on top of your raft, and even then you would likely be part of a log jam. There was a lot of class 2 to 2+ right up until the big rock, then two read and run class 4 rapids, followed by what seemed to be six miles of class 3, with large holes, huge wood piles, and the river flowing right through the trees on the bank. No eddies, the only respite was crashing into exposed gravel bars and pulling the raft up. The lower section was full of wood, with the river flowing over the banks out of the main channel right through the woods, looking for a new route. I suspect the channel under the Richardson highway bridge has been eroded deeper, and the gauge is no longer accurate. It was amazing, terrifying, and a trip I won't soon forget.

    Chris

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    wasilla
    Posts
    708

    Default

    That is a fun river, and I agree the wood sucks too. Its been awhile, we had some pretty nasty wood sections to deal with 8-9 years ago.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    167

    Default

    Interesting. Glad you had a clean run. I ran it years ago and there was no debris at all. Sounds like it may need a really big flood to clear it out again .

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