Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Nellie Juan River

  1. #1

    Default Nellie Juan River

    Anybody ever raft the nellie juan river? I have heard it is challenging.. but I haven't heard from anyone who has actually rafted it.

  2. #2
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Nellie Juan River

    You better have your s__T together to do it. Class V, only for highly skilled kayakers with high risk, 60' per minute gradient. Read Fast and Cold, A Guide to Alaska Whitewater by Andy Embick

  3. #3
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chugiak, AK.
    Posts
    1,527

    Default What?

    Quote Originally Posted by tundra boy View Post
    You better have your s__T together to do it. Class V, only for highly skilled kayakers with high risk, 60' per minute gradient. Read Fast and Cold, A Guide to Alaska Whitewater by Andy Embick
    Please explain 60 feet/min. gradient.

  4. #4
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chugiak, AK.
    Posts
    1,527

    Default

    By my calculations the Nellie Juan river drops approx. 33ft./mile while in comparison, Six Mile creek drops 50ft./mile. I don't know if this is good for comparison or not. I also know that volume plays a significant role in difficulty/classification of a river.

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,767

    Default FPM

    Trout,

    I think I used to have a copy of Embick's book around here someplace, but I can lay my fingers on it just now. As you surmised, he's probably talking about Feet Per Mile, not per MINUTE. Also you are correct that volume, expressed in cubic feet per minute (cfm), together with gradient, are the indicators usually used to determine whitewater difficulty. Naturally you have to take into account structural issues too. Of course part of the issue in Alaska is that though gradient may be calculated with mapping software and other means, cfm data are often unavailable for remote rivers.

    The single best go-to resource for current cfm data that I'm aware of is the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center. The APRFC site has other interesting data that may drive coming river conditions in some areas of the state, including snow depth information. On rivers mostly fed by snowmelt and runoff, this data can be used (together with rainfall of course) to get a general idea of what might be going on in that area later in the year. Also their photo album is interesting, with photos of some rivers taken at different times of the year. Great stuff!

    Do you know of others? Might be good to post those too.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    As another point of reference, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is something less than 10'/mile, and only flows about 5mph, with an average of less than 15,000 cfs. Those are all very domesticated figures for a river, but it still has some of the best large white water in north America. Some drops are well over 50'/mile, and speeds increase to as much as 35mph in one section.

    Sixmile is about 50'/mile (fairly steep), but parts of the third canyon are well over 100'/mile.

    Not very many rivers maintain their averages everywhere. Some sections are usually a lot steeper and faster than others. And it's not the steep and fast that give you the problems. It's more often the rocks that cause the steep and fast that are upsetting.

    Still, 33'/mile is a pretty steep average for any river. I don't know anything about the Nellie Juan except what I've read in Fast & Cold, and can't remember much of that, but a river with an average gradient of over 30'/mile will likely have some very exciting parts to it.

  7. #7

    Default Nellie Juan Lake

    Nellie Juan Lake looks to be around 1200', Lake to Kings Bay 20+ miles,
    Nat Geo TOPO, using the profile feature the last stretch has one heck of a drop off if I get it right drops 240' in 1/2 a mile about 2 miles from the Bay.
    Hang on we don't know how big it's going to get!

  8. #8

    Default very tough

    I've been down the NJ in a hard shell kayak. It does have some whitewater of similar character and difficulty to Sixmile, in the IV+ to V- range. I recall ~ dozen nice drops/ sections that would make for a decent raft thrill. The scenery is spectacular, when its not socked in. Given where this is and regardless of your craft, you really wouldn't want to make a mistake - a truism for lots of AK.

    What would make the rafting experience unpleasant are the portages. To my knowledge no one has rafted it, for this reason. There are several short, but mandatory portages that I could envision as feasible for a rafting party; however, there are also three long portages that would require extraordinary effort. I would stop short of saying it couldn't be done, but would bet that it wouldn't be done twice by the same party.

    The hardest portage of the lot takes 2+hrs. if you don't get lost. That is with a 40lb. boat you can abuse, drag between trees, haul up the small cliff with a rope and readily hop in to cross a small lake. A traditional type self bailing raft or cataraft that is big enough for sixmile would be a major chore to take down this stream and I'd guess a significant more amount of the travel time would be portaging as opposed to paddling. The labor to fun ratio would be very high.

    I would advise against it. Please feel free to send me a PM if you want more info.

  9. #9
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Paradise (Alaska)
    Posts
    1,543

    Default NJ Difficulty

    Chaos..Thanks for the informative, easy to understand post of your on-the-water experiences on the NJ.

  10. #10
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    931

    Lightbulb Nellie Juan River info.

    Quote Originally Posted by corbanzo View Post
    Anybody ever raft the nellie juan river? I have heard it is challenging.. but I haven't heard from anyone who has actually rafted it.
    My opinion is that the Nellie Juan is routinely and quite possibly deadly by raft!

    Of course nobody needs to take this as a no-go, but I looked at this river for a commercial shorter-duration (long-day-trip) rafting run back when I was the first & only whitewater raft operator on the Newhalen River Gorge early/mid '90s).

    Here should be the chief concerns if running the Nellie Juan by raft:

    #1. Poor weather circumstances for flying in & out
    a. flying in can be iffy and risky
    b. big fluctuations in rain run-off are frequent & of very serious consequence once
    en route.
    c. turns an otherwise short duration weekender trip into a likely expedition
    (more safety equipment and gear, more complicated logistics & MORE weight)

    #2. Terrain --- sub-alpine to the sea and everything wildly diverse in between.
    a. Try the trip too early... expect too much snow! Too late... too much water!
    b. Even with 'perfect' conditions in PWS and much of the river doable... the second
    & the nearly last stretches of scouting alone would become every bit a logistical
    days 'hard work'! Mostly typical thick entangling PWS brush that's spring-loaded
    w/ stickers & slick as .....
    c. Very few rafter useful eddies, several mandatory scouting sections & portages,
    SHARP Rock & SHARP Walls... exceedingly treacherous swims probable.

    Okay... The Obvious... This is a very hazardous, demanding outflow that takes more than boater proficiency!

    For those that are bewildered by gradient... this river has UltraGradient!!! Please do yourself a life-size favor... DO NOT confuse the two and certainly leave average gradient in ft./mi. out of this river's equation!!! Trust me on rivers resembling this - I do my Homework & Fieldwork!!!

    The first canyon is hazardous… pretty much a class 5 Six-Mile Creek type funnel flushing. The 2nd canyon has a 60' falls section… likely lethal in a raft!!! The 3rd has a river-wide bench ensued by a river-wide Hydraulic that looks nearly impossible to eddy out in advance (by raft) for what would portray a wicked portage.

    The final stretches of canyon are why I determined not to attempt this as a commercial or personal adventure... TREES!!!! Death traps of coastal trees interweaving the tight canyon walls are very evident scouting by Air.

    In the '90s the river had been kayaked; but on no one’s account rafted. At this time (back in the .com days) I had clientele w/ lotsa. $$$.com dough that 'wanted to see and experience all of Alaska’ in one day. A tall order - yet attainable to a grand degree on river trips resembling this (if not for being likely so tedious and maybe deadly for trip clients or guide) with flight scenery, glaciers, wildlife, fish, demanding whitewater, mountains...and so on such as this. Sitting down with long time guiding friend Michael Funke of Alaska Wilderness Guides... we summed up a list of wild rivers seldom to never really rafted that may well fit the ticket. I ultimately elected to raft the Petrov Falls and canyon rapids of the Newhalen River Gorge & the rest is record.

    A close friend of Michael Funke is John Markel (acquaintance to me) of Midnight sun & Alaska Film Locations based in Girdwood. I'd say John Markel would be your top source of info for someone that's actually run the river and is also vastly experienced when it comes to 'kayaking' Alaskan rivers of this demanding complexity. To my awareness the Nellie Juan remains an un-rafted river.

  11. #11
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Paradise (Alaska)
    Posts
    1,543

    Wink NJ

    First chaos gave great info, then Brian took it a step greater.

    Sounds as though the Nellie Juan River will make you famous.

    It is off my to-do list.

    Dennis

  12. #12

    Default never know

    Having been in adventure sports most of my life, its always a dilemma in offering comments on what one should do or shouldn't do. I learned a longtime ago that things are possible that I wouldn't touch and I have done/ do things that others wouldn't touch.

    Rereading my post, I may have understated the difficulty of this river. I think the best thing for anyone contemplating this endeavor would be to either: (a) hang out with someone who has done this river in a kayak and can assess your ability (like Brian mentioned Jon Markel is someone I paddled with and sought advice from before I ran this river in 03) or (b) read up all you can, talk to several people and most importantly do what Brian (and I) have done; work your way up to it, then go get a good first hand look.

    Its very difficult and again I would advise against it.

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
  •