Trying to find some info out for a Tana trip next summer. 2 boat raft trip.
Has anyone run it in the past couple years?
Did you fly with wrangell mtn. air or mccarthy air?
Any info. is greatly appreciated.
I have scoured the net for trip reports and can only find a few from years back. we are planning on flying into the tana and going to cordova (flag point). I was planning on picking up extra supplies as we floated through chitina (that we will have pre-packed).
I talked to kayaker Chris Cook who took a 16ft cat. down it and said the holes were massive. A group of us is making plans to take hardshell kayaks down, maybe next year.
From what I have gathered flow makes a difference. I have talked to another rafter who did it at presumed high water, and I got the feeling he would not go back. Other reports at lower water suggest a trip in which most, if not all, of the bad stuff can be skirted without too much effort.
Here is the catch. At low water the Chitna trip out is a nightmare, especially when the winds pick up in the afternoon. At high water it is a fast pleasant float, but then you will deal with the Tana at a humpin flow. Another option would be too fly out after the Tana.
I have been down the Chitna twice,once from from the Nizina, and once from the Gilahina.
In short, the country is beautiful, and you will be really remote, but that can be a problem when things go wrong. But with two rafts, one can pick up the pieces if something does happen. I would really watch the flows, for a first time down, it is a glacier fed river so heat will make it a smokin adventure.
Cool have fun,
The Tana is not one to mess with down the middle at high waters... fortunately running most water levels, all drops are scout-able except one canyon. Keep in mind that the Big-water character, Class IV float down the Tana itself can be a long 1-dayer at mean flow or 3/4-dayer at high flow. I'd also have contingency trips planned out of McCarthy like Kennicot/Nizina/Chitina/Copper.
Originally Posted by AKSlayRide
Optimal transportation/logistics for your trip would be using 'My' put-in shuttle services (plus the cashing of any needed supplies), fly Wrangle Mountain Air, connection off Copper + accommodations in Cordova, then my pick up shuttle off the ferry from Whittier back to Anchorage.
Recent trip reports (I'll say) will realistically be of no value at all... the remoteness and route-finding are gonna be all up to you. The best contact I can recommend for this river is Mike Buck of Valdez that ran Keystone Rafting. Mike is highly accomplished (if not the most) rafting the Big-Water wilderness in this part of Alaska.
Best warm-up trips in Southcentral Alaska are the LionsHead Upper Matanuska or Nenana or Beluga River at highest flows (action or flood stages) and upper Talkeetna at medium-high to action stage flows. Tho' different in character, another warm-up run would be 3rd canyon Six-Mile Creek at med. flow or middle canyon at high. If ya feel competent about running these rivers at my suggested flows 9 out of 10 times with no yard sales...? Proceed. If this sends a chill? Think more than twice!!!
Would you suggest contacting Wrangell, McCarthy or Ultima about river flows? I guess it would'nt hurt to give Chuck a call as well at NOVA.
It seems like the cheapest way to do the trip would be to have a couple friends drive everyone out to McCarthy and drop off... arrange caching some food in Chitina (for the trip to Million $ Bridge or Flag Point), and then use either a shuttle service or have someone take a pickup on the ferry to cordova and driving to takeout for a shuttle back to whittier.
One thing we do have going in our favor is people accustomed to running big water.
Thanks again Brian for your input... any help is greatly appreciated!
In all probability, I'd go ahead and book perspective flight dates, head on down river and see what your gonna see. I'd wager majority of air services should not to be depended upon when determining flow/difficulty unless they are planning to land on it. Paul @ Ultima and Kelly/wife at Wrangle know their neck of the woods, however when running the Tana - your party needs to know wilderness Big-Water.
Chuck @ NOVA is an excellent source... a real ambassador and tradesman of Alaska Rafting if ya will. Chuck would likely relate what I said of Mike Buck as the best contact.
Yep - if you have friends that can make the shuttle and caches... maybe all the less expensive... I would not like to leave an unattended vehicle for too long in these parts.
I would second the advice of contacting Paul and Kelly Clause. Paul can give you a good no-nonsense run down of the river.
Thanks Matt. I have been in contact with Paul and Donna at Ultima Thule. It looks like it will be at least half the cost flying out of McCarthy (utilizing a Beaver and a 185) with either Wrangell or McCarthy Air.
To clarify so no confusion Paul is Ultima... while Kelly and his wife Natalie are owners/flyers at Wrangell Mountain Air.
Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
I should make mention, Gary Green is also highly experienced of McCarthy Air.
Egos aside... Paul - tho' an exceptional pilot w/ intimate familiarities over the region is not your man for a run down on river running and conditions. Again, it will be what it will be when the trip time arrives.
As far as the flying goes --- all are good choices. I simply find a Beaver out of McCarthy the better workhorse for a 1-way drop off multi-day party --- people, gear, food, and two rafts.
Yeah typing too fast and not using the brain. I am glad that you are talking to ultima. I value their experience in that country dropping probably thousands of clients over the years. I tend to learn the most from hearing about other people trips and I think any operator that has been around for 10 years plus could offer this. I have never talked to wrangel or mccarthy air. Might ask Paul about the Otter and get all your stuff in one shot. Its amazing to see that thing in operation.
Don't know how long you have been in AK but, knew I had heard something bad about this river.
16-foot river raft flipped in...
August 9, 1988
WHITEWATER ACCIDENT. A 16-foot river raft flipped in fairly serious whitewater, killing three people taping a television show with former Gov. Jay Hammond. Hammond, 66, and three others escaped injury. The accident occurred Saturday afternoon on the Tana River in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, about 240 miles east of Anchorage. Authorities were notified of the accident Saturday, and the survivors were rescued Sunday. The dead were identified as Larry Holmstrom, 44, executive producer of Jay Hammond's Alaska program, his 21-year-old daughter Maria, and cameraman Ronald Eagle, 31. Hammond retired from politics after serving as Alaska governor from 1974 to 1982.
Thanks Matt. I still think that Paul Claus is the pre-eminent source for knowledge on the Tana. He does have 30+ years experience on the Tana.
Any knowledge in the area (be it Wrangell, McCarthy Air, Ultima Thule, NOVA, Keystone, Etc.) all add up to making the trip an enjoyable one.
Once again Matt... Thanks for the input. You are exactly right.
Just trying to get to the Tana as cheap as I can!