I went a couple of years ago, and I would say the water was at the low side of medium, but hard to say for sure. At any rate, we are thinking about going back when there is more water, like the end of June type flows. There was somebody here that wanted to take a cataraft. Well... hey you, haul alittle gear for us and we will pick up the pieces for you. lol No seriously, we took IK's last time with enough gear, but really want to check it out in hardshells with more water.
I would expect continuous class III & some III+- IV, but it just doesn't stop for miles and miles, with a spectacular canyon, 2-5 days. Expect around $500.00 per person, maybe less.
We need snow, or there will be a teeny run-off.
Costa Rica in 34 days, i'll get a good fix then.
See ya guys, cheer up you will be boating in 5 months. lol
Mark, I may be able to haul some gear for you guys on a Happy trip in June/early July in my 13' cat. I would also like to float it when the flow is up. I'm doing a Montana/Idaho trip so my budget will be pretty tight, but I should be able to swing it. I added some pictures of my cat on my 'Profile Page' if you want to see the boat.
Have fun in Costa Rica,
Been on the Happy River for this mode of Raft supporting Kayaks (or canoes) float trip at several different water levels. At just about all levels/conditions, I much prefer a CataRaft for Kayak support and safety. My best recommendation would not be another play-boat, yet more like 16-18' cat loaded on the lighter side with lifted set-up like the frame I made for Heg's 13' SOTAR. I'd also highly suggest a second person in the Cat as the eyes up-stream and safety 'catcher' (on back of the cat) w/ room for another person+kayak. Pics of this kind of tip are seen on my Happy River description page.
Food for thought... There is the 'guide assist' option rather than picking rafter's out of the hat --- particularly, if they do not like to hump/hike raft gear around or not physically fit enough to really provide good/fun support.
Good contingency plan:
Keep in mind that this year, I'm now providing good access to the upper reaches of Little Coal Creek (clear-water whitewater section), to Beluga Lake then into Beluga River (glacial big-water), with take out near the coast. Fly-out float trip possibilities include 1-dayer, 1-day + over-nighter, 2-day/1-over-nighter combining both runs, and the sportfishing can be another great part of experience by additional days.
Happy New Year's!
I donít think Brianís comments were intended to slam me or my boat, but he does make some pretty good points: his bigger cat and a partner to catch swimmers would be a great addition on your trip, and he can offer a level of safety and experience on the Happy I cannot. However, if I run my 13í cat solo, I can definitely carry some beer and gear you would otherwise be leaving at home while you play in your hard shells. Mark, Iíve boated with some of your kayak buddies on both Lionís Head and the Guardrail this summer, very proficient boaters and good guys; they can vouch for my abilities/attitude. In their opinion the Happy was similar (although much longer) to the upper Guardrail section at a strong flow. Iím confident rowing my boat on such a river, and would be stoked to carry some gear for you guys and chill out around a fire at night. The Happy is on my rivers-to-do-list this summer (also the Kings-get with me on that one), so whatever happens, I hope it works out for both of us.
Hey Josh... Yes - Happy New Year!
Originally Posted by Heg
Not sure if I missed something?
4-sure not any sort of slam from me in my post.
Why or how or who would be interpreting this as such... again not too sure here? Must have missed deleted poster or whatnot?
Your smaller, sporty cat with over-sized tubes and frame set-up is a solo (even tandem) winner just about anywhere, on anything, at any time. Safety boat preferences for day tripping with no gear... I may even lean towards your boat or go 1' longer.
What the bigger cat will deliver on the Happy River are:
1.) the oars-person having greater straddling clearance for the upper/mid section
2.) providing shallower drafts (valuable inches in the beginning) with same given multi-day loads
3.) effectually better handling with the more multi-day sorts of freight.
All this in turn further establishes the 16-18' Cat as the better option for this trip in safety and support roles.
Just reread your post...it was a quick response from a brain that was a little delayed on New Year's Day...made an incorrect inference...my bad.
Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
We will look into this as the season approaches, we are only throwing ideas out there.
I have to comment, the Happy is not as hard as the guardrail at high flows. My first trip down the Happy at lower water, was mostly class II with limited class III, the guardrail will never be a class II run.( I think many Alaskan guide books greatly over-rate whitewater.) The guardrail is steeper in sections, and has some small ledges the Happy does not have. At higher flows the Happy probably would be mostly class III, with some slightly harder water here and there. Don't let my honesty rating discourage you from checking this out though, it really is spectacular. And besides, I want to drag my boat up Glacier Creek and run the last two or so miles, steep and small.
I personally think your 13 ft cat would be the way to go. We usually don't take that much gear, but the beer,( hmmmm) ok you talked us into it. However, I don't know why you would take a gigantic cataraft for alittle measily bit of gear, and the only swimmers would be ones that fell off of the cat, so how could one catch them anyway? lol.
We are doing the Chickaloon with water in it, "again" and that one is way fun. It is continuous class III-III+ almost IV, very much like Lionshead at around 4 ft, but steeper. Not scary but fun, and mostly safe, minus Hotel Rocks which is not that bad, but it is potentially dangerous. There are some long swims to be had for the ill prepared on the steep sections, almost 150 ft per mile, what fun.
The Kings is fun, I have done it several times, and now we have our sights set on the magic mile. Also, the first week of June we do our annual Sheep Creek float, you are welcome to join us there too. However, even with a new trail the hike would be a long two trips, to pack your boat. Cheap fun... but only fun at high water.
See you at the end of the semester, keep those kiddies in line.
Hey Brian, do you have more info, pictures etc, of the Beluga?
Keep in touch
Ratings take back
I think my comment on ratings wasn't quite accurate, and maybe I can clarify my opinion alittle more. This is my take of course. Most rivers in Alaska do not have guages so it is hard to guage normal, high, super high flows unless someone has ran it several times. Thinking back, with this said, the Chickaloon would probably be similar in difficulty as the Happy, if the Happy would have been flowing good like the Chickaloon was when I ran it. But, it would be easy for me to just say, the Chickaloon is harder because of my personal experience, but in reality that could be way off.
A great place to view a range of different classes of whitewater is Willow Creek. Two drops up stream from the Guard-Rail put in, is Maxwellhouse, and at normal flows is a class V drop, the whole section, not just the falls. The drop right above the put in is a class IV drop where you have to thread your boat between two nasty holes, to avoid getting pulled back into some really sharp looking ledge rocks. The put in for the G.R. is class IV at anything over 800-900 cfs or so. The higher flow makes for the class IV move right off the first tall ledge, where one must avoid getting sucked into the three rocks on the left below it, which would in turn make for a nasty swim through the rest of the drop. Below these levels the water does not pour through the rocks, and therefore the rapid is only a class III+ drop. If you start below the top ledge it is only a class III drop.
Class III should not be thought of as easy straight ahead boating, and many boaters like to attach a higher rating to alot of class III.
On big water if things can be skirted, it's probably only class III no matter whats in the middle. On small streams, minus nasty river wide holes, if you don't have to scout from the bank, it's usually class IIIish.
Heck we need something to get us pumped for spring.
My favorite out of state rafting plunge
Class V Hold your breath...
Happy lower Canyon
A couple of shots of the canyon
Happy lower Canyon
ill keep my eyes on the calendar and this thread. i have been wanting to float this for the last three summers, i may finally be in a place to negotiate some time off this summer. steve
This is the most challenging section of the Happy, and it is pretty fun. I assume it was running like everything else in the state, at the time, at a low side of medium flow. So with that said, at high water this section will be close too, if not, class IV.
I had my camera on the wrong setting during this section, so sorry about the poor photo quality.
Like your Pic's
Thanks for the pictures
Originally Posted by mark oathout
More Happy River Pics
Here's a couple fun Kayaking pics on the Happy River.
Camping on the Happy River
Couple of Camping pictures on the Happy River.
Rafting and Kayaking The Happy River
Couple more pictures Rafting and Kayaking on the Happy River.
Happy River youtube- lower canyon
Some folks have had an interest in the Happy, maybe this can help them decide ya or nay.
If you are taking a raft you will need more water to get to through the upper section, but at an "assumed" lower medium flow, like what is shown here, you could still possibly do a long hike from Rainy Pass Lodge, and would catch all of this part of the canyon.
I tied three times to cut the whole trip down to 10 or under minutes, only to have the program crash and freeze the whole days work. So I divided up the trip, axed all the fancy thingys, and just went with a generic clip. The video is really bouncy, chopped, cut, but does kinda show what was going on. I had to hold the camera with one hand and use my kayak paddle more like a rudder than a paddle.
I am working on the upper section part. Everyone seems bored so maybe this can ease the winter blues.
Happy River upper section
A generic video of the upper section. Although it is not as wavy as the lower canyon, it is harder, the canyon is still the the coolest part of the trip.
I would love to do this again at a higher flow.