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  1. #1

    Default Guide book errors

    My wife bought me a copy of Karen Jettmars guidebook, "wow" this book is full of problems. I would have to assume she has not personally ran alot of the rivers in the book. I feel some of the information in this book is not reliable information judging from the descriptions written about some of the rivers i frequently boat.
    Her placement of Novas Bend, on the Mat. is way off, her description of Eagle River and the Gulkana are mixed together The description of willow creek is Todd Kelseys write up, and there are no falls on five fingers, at least the one ive boated over a dozen times.
    Most of the rivers in this book i have not boated, i spend most of my time running whitewater on steep small streams. I got a copy becuase it contains information on more of the far north rivers which are raftable and have limited information available on them, but geez im not sure if im any better off.
    I wonder how many other mix ups are on these pages.

  2. #2

    Default

    i say this with all due respect: are you sure? as you know many people on this board, myself included to this point, consider that book to be the gospel. it would be the first book recommended re: ak rivers 9/10 times. i have had that book on the back of my toilet for 10 years. please don't tell me all those religious moments on the can, book in hand, are tainted - excuse the expression. eek. i wonder if some small inconsistencies on the early editions haven't spawned into really big problems in recent editions. i have the "revised edition", c. 1993. i'd love to hear more about this from the forum regs. take care all, happy holidays, abel6wt

  3. #3
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Page 220...

    Well any errors in this type book are worth pointing out.
    I do remember the Gulkana River section was mixed up (page 220, 2nd paragraph probably describes Eagle River instead). If the other points are also mistakes, I'd call them errors and wonder who proofread this before printing. That's fair. You've raised some important points - worth hashing out here. Thanks.

    Don't know about saying "...this book is full of problems...have to assume she has not personally ran alot of the rivers in the book..." about the 3rd edition of a well-respected work though. Seems that might be jumping the gun. Of course, there might also be other errors too. Great topic for the more experienced rafters here. Excellent winter topic too- when many may use this book for planning.

  4. #4

    Default point of view

    What i was wondering is, how accurate are the write ups in this book concerning rivers i have not run, especially the far north and western Alaska. Only experienced boaters familiar with the runs can really answer this. Its only a curiosity thing, that's all.
    I am sorry if i hurt feelings or stepped on toes, but the write ups of the few whitewater creeks in the book around the Mat. valley, are not proof read, or have not been ran, or poor notes taken, or whatever, there are more mistakes than i pointed out. I meant no harm i am sorry if my wording came across too strong.
    Btw i have the old edition too. and i wouldn't call it gospel or law.
    Next time i post an argument i will use the Rogerian approach so i don't offend anybody. lol
    This is just winter boredom anyway, getting ready for several first time runs this summer by, Valdez, McCarthy, and Rainy Pass, and maybe the slope, i cant wait.
    Merry Christmas all, peace be with.
    MO

  5. #5
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Karens book

    I own a couple of the copies.. maybe one of the first editions.. and a newer one I found at Tidel wave books in Anchorage..
    The book is pretty accurate so far for me.. I do mostly the rivers north and over on the Alaska Peninsula,, I think I have over 28 different rivers now,, these are all remote rivers with no road access...
    Never found anything that was cause for concern..
    I met Karen years ago at a book signing at a book store in Anchorage and she talked about the book and admited that she did not float all the rivers, but used others writings as per permission..
    I will continue to use her book as a good starting point, but never have I used just one resource for any of my floats,,
    ,,
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  6. #6
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Karen is very passionate about exploring Alaska's rivers. Likely, that is what motivated her to put this book together in the first place. Like any reference book, it is just that, a reference. Readers are responsible for researching a river to ensure a safe trip. This book is only one of the tools that should be used to do so. Tons more info in that book than most of us could get on our own. But it should be used to augment your research, not replace it. I am sure she would appreciate any inaccuracies being reported to her so they could be rectified in future editions. She can be contacted at her website below.

    http://www.equinoxexpeditions.com/index.php
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markoathout View Post
    What i was wondering is, how accurate are the write ups in this book concerning rivers i have not run, especially the far north and western Alaska. Only experienced boaters familiar with the runs can really answer this.MO

    No worries about stepping on toes man. We all like accurate info. It is what brings many of us to this forum.


    As for info on NW Alaska rivers, I have floated several of them. My wife and I go each fall fly fishing for dollies. If I can offer any info to you, I would be happy to do so. Just shoot me a pm or email if interested.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  8. #8

    Default

    Any book written about a river clearly starts out with the facts and then eventually turns to fiction anyway......Tree fall over rivers, they change course, floods change the channels, and landslides create new rapids. All kinds of thing change. It is up to the riverdog to scout trouble areas and make adjustments to the plan accordingly.

    I remember the first time that we rafted the Lochsa years ago and our book rated it as a class III river. This was before ROW and the others set up camp down there to make a quick buck. But, at certain flows it is a solid class five that deserves great respect. Our little book mentioned nothing about that. Of course, we drove all the way there and saw how huge it was and said, "no way," soaked in a "secret" hotspring and partied like there was no tomorrow. It was fun...

    Later, once we joined Northwest Whitewater Association out of Spokane, we found that there are two different guages. We were reading the wrong one.

    By the way, at lower, more sane flows, the Lochsa is about as much sane fun that a guy can have anywhere.

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  10. #10
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default crazy

    Those people are just plain crazy. I did enjoy the video but thats for the younger crowd for sure.

  11. #11
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default

    Wow. that was pretty intense water. Looks like alot fun. I know my wife would be run it run it. Ummmmm No thanks. Not in out cat. Round boat with someone else on the oars id love to
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  12. #12

    Default

    I made it through almost every time with a Riken 14 foot self bailer and a rowing frame. Take the frame out, give me some paddlers, and we were almost surely swimming. As we got more organized, I would go first with a couple of folks in my boat with their IKs strapped in to recover gear and rescue swimmers with throw bags. It is calm with an eddy on the left after the falls for about a mile. You have no idea how many people I have pulled out of there that tried to make it through with 10 foot Sotar cats. I don't think I ever saw anyone make it through with one that small. My wife went through with her eyes closed with a friend of hers on a 14 foot NRS cat. I have no idea how they made it.... And it was the only time they made it. All the times they tried to make it they flipped.

    While it is fun to watch, and it is fun to raft, the point that I am trying to illustrate is that particular rapid in the 80s was referrenced as a class III rapid. I don't know how a 16 foot drop with a huge wave like that is a class III. Now that people actually raft the river frequently, it is rated a IV-V. At least it is not technical, with my boat is was row like hell, hang on, and hope.....

  13. #13
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Any other errors noted ?

    Short version: The author and publisher are interested in correcting any errors - see email exchanges at the end. Errors are worth pointing out, but rivers change with time. Long version follows.

    Background: Karen Jettmar's credentials, or "rep" for any of us new to Alaska or new to rafting/paddling? Looking back over Ms Jettmar's books (2nd/1998 and 3rd/2008 eds), she seems to have written carefully about her 30 years or so on wild rivers here and shared her experiences in a committed, humble and responsible way to help intermediate boaters explore AK rivers. For that, she has earned considerable respect from Alaska river enthusiasts for many years - many of whom are experts in their own right.

    Andrew Embick, (Fast & Cold: A Guide to Alaska Whitewater, Introduction, 1994) referred to Jettmar's 1993 1st edition as "...a real gem, the first true guidebook to rivers of the state..." Many AOD rafting/paddling experts agree, some of whom have posted in this thread.

    River features change: Many responses above suggest that rivers are dynamic and change over time. Karen Jettmar says so in her 3rd edition, "A Legacy of Wild Rivers", page 3. In a note facing the title page (3rd, ed, 2nd ed), Jettmar wrote: "I have tried to describe the rivers as accurately as possible. And yet features of Alaska's rivers can change...If you encounter conditions that are different from those I've described...please contact me through the publisher...". I wouldn't consider river changes like these the same as "errors".

    But errors can be pointed out in the interest of accuracy/currency. The author and publisher here are interested. Here's email exchange to/from Menasha Ridge Press:

    Dec 25, 2008:
    Department: Marketing / publicity
    Subject: The Alaska River Guide, 3rd ed
    Message:
    by Karen Jettmar. Errors in the 3rd edition were recently pointed out on an online outdoors forum ... I wonder if you've received comments or have published errata? Thank you,

    On Dec 28, 2008, at 7:51 AM, Molly Merkle [Menasha Ridge Press, marketing/publicity] wrote:

    Thank you for contacting us through our website.

    I would appreciate very much any information you can provide about errors in the Alaska River Guide. We will keep them on file, verify with the author, and fix at the next reprint.

    All the best,

    Molly Merkle
    Menasha Ridge Press

    Dec 28:

    Ms. Merkle,

    Many avid Alaska river fans are regulars on the Alaska Outdoors Directory online forum. A recent thread (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=44624) called attention to possible errors, and the following are excerpted verbatum from the first post:

    1. "... placement of Novas Bend, on the Mat. is way off..."
    2. "... description of Eagle River and the Gulkana are mixed together..."
    3. "... there are no falls on five fingers, at least the one ive boated over a dozen times."

    No other specific errors have been mentioned. In fact, so far, most related responses have defended the excellent reputation Ms Jettmar has in Alaska, based in no small part on her dedication to appreciating and protecting Alaska rivers, as well as the two previous editions of this widely-trusted guidebook.

    Thank you for your help.

  14. #14

    Default makes more sense now

    I already figured the willow creek description was Todd Kelseys, but what i didn't know was the chickaloon section of the Mat. Karen wrote about, is most likely Embicks mistake, (bottom paragraph page 182 his book).
    Going from Palmer to Glennallen, Novas Bend is about 2 or 3 miles or so on the north side of the Kings River right next to the road, Granite creek is about 2 miles on the south side of the Kings by the edge of Sutton.
    When the Mat. is pumping over 13,000 cfs, Novas Bend even after 20 trips or more, still gets my attention. The large breaking wave by the road is fun and the holes in the middle are usually punchable, but i have chickened out and skirted them a few times. A couple of features about the river not mentioned anywhere is a monster hole which forms 400 yards or so above Novas Bend (at higher water) beside a huge boulder river right. When you see the road in the distance, avoid getting to close to the rock, its not a keeper hole but is giant and can collect wood by the rock, the back edge of the giant hole and the smaller hole behind the rock are fun to surf in kayaks.
    Besides Novas Bend and Carbon Creek with its Raft flipping huge breaking wave, on river right( at 13,000 cfs and higher), another rapid to note is Carpenter Creek rapid, it is the longest rapid and has 4 to 5 foot waves along with two huge holes to punch or go around. This is the last moderate rapid on this section and is our takeout, after this rapid the river returns to the road. The Kings river is at least 2 more miles and there is only a few small class ll rapids left on this run.
    Below the Kings River there are a couple of class ll rapids and the most of the rest of the river all the way to Palmer is mainly braided class l+ swift water.
    Many people have been introduced to whitewater on the chickaloon section of the Mat (it is now used by3 guide companies ), its pretty safe and fun but will scare some at higher levels.
    I have been ejected out of my raft ( and flew at least 15 feet) in carbon creek rapid trying to punch the hole at 15,000 and have witnessed more than a dozen swims in IKS on the other big rapids throughout the run, most occur around these levels. The reason this run is classll+ and lll you can get around the gnar if you are a chicken.
    Under 9,000 the whole section has much smaller features, carbon creek rapid completely vanishes at lower levels.
    Sounds fun huh?
    have fun be safe, happy new year MO

  15. #15

    Default Thanks for pointing out the errors

    QUOTE BY marcoathout: "Btw i have the old edition too. and i wouldn't call it gospel or law.
    Next time i post an argument i will use the Rogerian approach so i don't offend anybody. lol"

    Hey, Karen Jettmar here. Thanks to all those forum commenters who understand the nature of guidebooks. Yes, I have now found the errors pointed out by the “Rogerian,” "bored" Wasilla kayaker, Marc Oathout. Perhaps its time for this young man to take a stab at writing his own guidebook, though I would worry about his own knowledge (referring to Nova Bend as Novas Bend).Let’s hope that he takes to heart his own self-avowed adherence to Carl Rogers’ philosophy, and that he can tap into his own “ vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his ... self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behavior, with or without a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes.” (Rogers 1986)

    I did the final edit of the 3rd edition during the middle of my busy summer expedition season, so I gave it as thorough a run-through as I could on a very tight timeline, but I did obviously miss some errors--to wit, the spot where a paragraph from the Eagle River was transposed into the Gulkana. I apologize for any errors in the book, and hereby proceed to correct them.

    For Mark Oathout’s info, I have been down Willow Creek from Red Gate, but have not done sections above there, so relied on my friend Todd Kelsey for a description. which I put in my own words.

    As for the Matanuska, I appreciate your pointing out the incorrect location of Nova Bend. I've run that rapid, but it was some time ago. The point of a guidebook is that it is just that--a guide. Gospel? Law? No way. Any reasonable paddler would be wise to do their first ascent of a Class IV run with someone who has done the river, rather than relying solely on the beta provided in a river guide.

    I will post the corrections to the Alaska Outdoors Forum, and will ask the publisher to create a downloadable PDF for their website that will have printable pages with the corrected text. See my next forum submission for the corrections.


  16. #16

    Exclamation Corrections to 3rd edition: The Alaska River Guide

    CORRECTIONS TO ERRORS IN THE ALASKA RIVER GUIDE, 3rd Edition, 2008. By Karen Jettmar

    PAGE 269, Willow Creek

    "and “Five Fingers,” a blind drop with five small drops between four boulders."

    EAGLE RIVER, page 218:

    Add this paragraph to the description, after paragraph ending:

    “Below the rapids, paddle another couple hundred yards to the take-out at the campground on river left.”


    Below the Parks Highway bridge, the river is swift Class II to IV, depending upon water level. The river flows through the U.S. Army base of Fort Richardson. The area is used for artillery practice, and permission is required to paddle this 5.8-mile section or to paddle to the Knik River. Call (907) 384–0823 or (907) 384–0828. The first drop past the railroad bridge (3.3 miles down) has a dangerous undercut that has claimed two lives. Rescue in this area is extremely difficult. Below the take-out on Ft. Richardson, there are no other take-outs before the river reaches Knik Arm. The Arm has dangerous mudflats with quicksand and bore tides and is not recommended for paddling.

    PAGE 220 : Gulkana River, Main Fork, Middle Fork, and West Fork

    CROSS OUT this paragraph:

    Below the Parks Highway bridge,the river is swift Class II to IV, depending upon water level. The river flows through the U.S. Army base of Fort Richardson. The area is used for artillery practice, and permission is required to paddle this 5.8-mile section or to paddle to the Knik River. Call (907) 384–0823 or (907) 384–0828. The first drop past the railroad bridge (3.3 miles down) has a dangerous undercut that has claimed two lives. Rescue in this area is extremely difficult. Below the take-out on Ft. Richardson, there are no other take-outs before the river reaches Knik Arm. The Arm has dangerous mudflats with quicksand and bore tides and is not recommended for paddling.

    PAGE 246: Matanuska River

    Existing paragraph:

    "Cautions: Freezing cold, swift, silt-laden water; Nova Bend, between King River and Granite Creek, has some serious holes with big waves that should be avoided. This section can be scouted from the road prior to putting in on the river; sweepers in lower river; upriver winds."

    REPLACE WITH:

    Freezing cold, swift, silt-laden water; sweepers in lower river; upriver winds. Nova Bend has some serious holes with big waves that should be avoided. Nova Bend is upstream of the Kings River, below the Chickaloon townsite (cable over the river to a private house on the south shore) and below King Mountain State Campground. The road is parallel to and only a few vertical feet above the river at Nova Bend. The rapid is easily visible while driving by.

    To scout while driving the highway, stop about 75 yards downstream at a small pull-out beside the river. To scout while paddling downstream, shortly after you see the highway paralleling the river, pull out on river left. Walk about 200-300 yards downstream to scout at river level. If water is high and you are not comfortable with the hydraulics, scouting on river left also lets you look at a sneak channel that may be passable along the far left gravel bar, allowing you to bypass the rapid.

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks, Karen!

    Quote Originally Posted by watergrl View Post
    QUOTE BY marcoathout: "Btw i have the old edition too. and i wouldn't call it gospel or law.
    Next time i post an argument i will use the Rogerian approach so i don't offend anybody. lol"

    Hey, Karen Jettmar here. Thanks to all those forum commenters who understand the nature of guidebooks. Yes, I have now found the errors pointed out by the “Rogerian,” "bored" Wasilla kayaker, Marc Oathout. Perhaps its time for this young man to take a stab at writing his own guidebook, though I would worry about his own knowledge (referring to Nova Bend as Novas Bend).Let’s hope that he takes to heart his own self-avowed adherence to Carl Rogers’ philosophy, and that he can tap into his own “ vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his ... self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behavior, with or without a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes.” (Rogers 1986)

    I did the final edit of the 3rd edition during the middle of my busy summer expedition season, so I gave it as thorough a run-through as I could on a very tight timeline, but I did obviously miss some errors--to wit, the spot where a paragraph from the Eagle River was transposed into the Gulkana. I apologize for any errors in the book, and hereby proceed to correct them.

    For Mark Oathout’s info, I have been down Willow Creek from Red Gate, but have not done sections above there, so relied on my friend Todd Kelsey for a description. which I put in my own words.

    As for the Matanuska, I appreciate your pointing out the incorrect location of Nova Bend. I've run that rapid, but it was some time ago. The point of a guidebook is that it is just that--a guide. Gospel? Law? No way. Any reasonable paddler would be wise to do their first ascent of a Class IV run with someone who has done the river, rather than relying solely on the beta provided in a river guide.

    I will post the corrections to the Alaska Outdoors Forum, and will ask the publisher to create a downloadable PDF for their website that will have printable pages with the corrected text. See my next forum submission for the corrections.

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks so much for posting this; folks who have not taken on the formidable task of writing a book, working with editors, and publishing it through a publishing house cannot really understand how complex a task it is, and how errors are made / corrected. I appreciate the hard work that has gone into "The Alaska River Guide"; it really shows, and you have a work that will likely be with us for many years to come. Thank you.

    I also appreciate your willingness to hear about areas that need adjusting. As you well know, these adjustments, as few as they are, are necessary to perfect the work, and to ensure its continued success. I don't think anyone here meant any harm in mentioning them (though we do get that type from time to time), and it's great to have you available in this way.

    Best of luck in your future ventures; I hope we see more of you here in Outdoors Directory!

    Take care,

    -Mike
    Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers
    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/
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  18. #18

    Default Yes, Thanks Karen!

    Yes, Thanks Karen! Most of us appreciate your efforts. We should all be thankfull that someone is willing to put in the time and effort to compile an Alaska river guidebook! Putting together any kind of guide of this type is a huge effort, and some mistakes will happen. I'm just glad it's available at all.

  19. #19
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by overthehill View Post
    We should all be thankfull that someone is willing to put in the time and effort to compile an Alaska river guidebook! .

    Man, did you say a mouthful. I could not agree more
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  20. #20

    Default If you find other errors, let me know

    Thanks, guys. Michael, I also want to congratulate you on getting your book out. Fantastic amount of information in there--not solely for float hunters--and definitely a good companion to The Alaska River Guide. I'm working on a new book covering arctic rivers. I'd like to say it's ready to publish, but you know how long these things take!

    We all strive for accuracy in an imperfect world.

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