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Thread: Atigun Gorge

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    Default Atigun Gorge

    I want to run Atigun Goerge. How many have done it? I know there have been lives lost. Is there a safer time maybe low water ? Is it something any one else wants to do? Is it too dangerous any time?

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    I've only run it once (Sept 02), in my Jag. A hardshell kayak would be the best choice IMO. The Atigun is shallow, tight, and twisty where it matters most and the riverbed has several areas of exposed shale. Rafters run the very real risk of slicing open their boats, as I did.

    The water doesn't get all that big but if rafting, the driver should be highly experienced and quick on the oars. Paddlers should have several runs as a team.

    After the Atigun the run on the Sag is fairly mellow until about 15 mile upstream of the Slope Mountain DOT camp. There is some very big/boulder garden water in that stretch.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Maybe give us an some idea what other rivers you have been running, what boat ya plan on using, how much gear, and what time of the year... all this can weigh in on providing you with good info.

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    Not much white water except the Klutina in 84. Then Kasilof, lower Kenai. Just bought 14' Avon adventurer and dry box $580 smokin deal on Craigslist Anchorage, thanks Dick. No frame or oars. Should i get shorter oars for tighter turns ? 8'-9' slow flat water 10'? I am building my own frame. Researching now not sure what to look for in proper design. Center line of tubes 5'2" flat straight part of raft 6'6". planing 6' long frame with foot rest dry box and cooler. How much clearence should be under box, cooler and foot bar 6" ? Will not be packin lot of gear. Plan to use a Mustang float siut and helmet with two people
    Will it be better with higher water or is it too rough Class IV- V? Looks to be very rocky in spots during low water. I will do a fly over this June. Hope to run in July August and September. I will start with a pump 3 to pump 2 run in June if aufise is not to bad. Is this a really bad idea?

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Fordnut,
    My run was in September. I hit it at after 4 days of rain so flows were up a bit but the Atigun gets skinny after early July. Peak flows from spring thaw would be late May-early June. If your Avon doesn't have an internal bladder or a reinforced bottom I would recommend not running it on the Atigun. Like I said before there is a lot of exposed, verticle shale in the river bed. If you cut open a simple tubed raft in the Gorge it's a long, rough walk out.

    Your raft, being smaller, is certainly more manueverable but less stable in big water. Your oar choices should be dictated by the raft's dimensions and the fit of the frame.

    If you go, you and your passenger should both be experienced and prepared to portage.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Erik
    If the water flow was high would the hard spots still be able to be portaged also would june peak flow smooth it out or make it more dangerous. I would like to visit with you call me tomorrow ill pm my number if i figure it out

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Once you enter what I call the gates, the river drops 200ft in 3/4 mile or so. Given where the high water mark was, that run could easily reach Class V+ at peak flows. The gates opens into a massive boulder garden--essentially it's a terminal moraine with a river running over it.

    From my recollection, some spots would improve while others, with bigger obstacles, would get much worse.
    The biggest issue with the Atigun is a difficult river to scout. Once you get about 5 miles from the Haul Road you enter a canyon and you're pretty much committed until the Atigun/Sag confluence.


    When I worked at Pump 4 one of the helo pilots told me he'd seen standing waves pushing 20 feet. This was late May 06.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    I usually don't comment on rivers I have not floated, nor do I want to sound like a negative Nancy, but if it is indeed a solid class IV stream, I don't think running the Klutina and Kenai (both easy roadside rivers) are good "warm ups" for a potential rowdy run. You might want to run some other IIIs, III+s, and IVs in your new raft before stepping it up. Just my opinion.

    Also, I know there are some controversial opinions about the Mustang suits. If I were you, I would seriously think about getting a dry suit. Again, just my opinion. I would like to hear what others say about these suits.

    Don't let me bring you down, I just thought I would offer my two cents. Good luck on your adventure.

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    i second hegs remarks. there are other big water runs around that are less remote, and should serve as warm up runs. you could check out the nenana, the mat, and the lowe for starters.

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    I am not foolish enough to think the rivers Ive run give me the skills to do the Atigun and upper Sag I just wanted to know if i could get around the rough parts sounds like not. I will hike the Atigun just to see it if i could line through the rough spots if not Ill be content with pump 3 North. I will fly it low and slow and take videos. Hopefully I can get some shots of the more spectacular features and post a link here. Thanks for the replys the only reason Im stuck on the Brooks is because I work in Deadhorse and will have my raft and camping equipment with me all summer. Time off from work will be spent float camping and fishing. The mustang suit I am talking about is a dry suit version with built in boots, inflatable PFD, and locator (free to use) ? Is that suit not good?

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    suit looks bomber to me. is there a neck gasket if the hood is not worn? if not, that would be the only weak spot i could see.
    look forward to any scouting info/pics you might post, cheers.

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    http://picasaweb.google.com/dwhylton...eat=directlink

    Yes there is neck gasket can be worn with hood open and back check out the life jacket PFD Looks like you coud fish out of this thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imafordnut View Post
    I am not foolish enough to think the rivers Ive run give me the skills to do the Atigun and upper Sag I just wanted to know if i could get around the rough parts sounds like not. I will hike the Atigun just to see it if i could line through the rough spots if not Ill be content with pump 3 North. I will fly it low and slow and take videos. Hopefully I can get some shots of the more spectacular features and post a link here. Thanks for the replys the only reason Im stuck on the Brooks is because I work in Deadhorse and will have my raft and camping equipment with me all summer. Time off from work will be spent float camping and fishing. The mustang suit I am talking about is a dry suit version with built in boots, inflatable PFD, and locator (free to use) ? Is that suit not good?
    I did not mean to infer that you were foolish, sorry if it seamed like I was jumping to that conclusion. After rereading your previous posts, I understand that you, "just wanted to know if I could get around the rough parts".

    That suit looks pretty high-tech, but I still want a drysuit that's designed for whitewater. Although with that said, it looks pretty bomb proof.

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    Thanks for your replies . Your right I probably should get a purpose built suit. After further consideration the mustang looks like it would be hot as heck. May not be able to stand it zipped up. Ive been in one a couple of times on choppers but it was winter as in -30. I sure like the float tube PFD.
    Im thinking on getting some 9' wood oars

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    Ran the Atigun the last 2 year in late summer, the Atigun is a bony river with lots of boulder in the river, and the upper Sag to the DOT station wasn't much better. If running a raft/large cat you should be comfortable of getting the boat unstuck off submerged rocks, remember this go back packing light or you will spend as much time out of the boat as in as I did my first run down(this is if you have others in the boat with you). If you are having doubts the whole gorge can be hiked along the south bank. It is beautiful country.

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    Are you going run again this year? Why late Sept was it hunting trip? Got pictures of the bad spots like the exit. Ive got a hundred questions. I would love to visit on it.
    Dave 632 2696

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