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  • Tana

    Hey folks,

    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).

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Tana

    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,
    Mark O.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Mark!

      Much appreciated.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by AKSlayRide View Post
        Hey folks,

        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).

        Thanks!
        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.

        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!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Brian!

          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!

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks again Brian!

              Comment


              • #8
                I would second the advice of contacting Paul and Kelly Clause. Paul can give you a good no-nonsense run down of the river.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brian Richardson View Post
                    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 Wrangell 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.
                    To clarify so no confusion Paul is Ultima... while Kelly and his wife Natalie are owners/flyers at Wrangell Mountain Air.

                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        AKslayride

                        Don't know how long you have been in AK but, knew I had heard something bad about this river.


                        NEWS
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey folks. Just finished a Tana rafting trip, and it was great! No flips, no swims. Three 14' rafts and 9 people. Two long big class IV rapids, and gorgeous country. Not a drop of rain in 6 days / 5 nights floating. I wouldn't do it any less days. Even with 7 flights in, for 11 people it was <$300 per person for flights. Nik with McCarthy River Tours and outfitters was an awesome help with shuttle and TONS of beta. It definitely made our trip much safer because of him! Not a great format, but here's a dump of our trip report. Happy to help any other rafters who want to tackle this back-country gem!
                            Sun 6/21/20 Transfer most gear to airport (wrangell mtn air)
                            Mon 6/22/20 5 flights to put-in. 3 rafts and 8 people. Very close to 4 flights on weight, but bulk'd out. since it was a little 185 plane(850lbs payload). Rigged rafts, and drank beer. Very windy location (blowing downstream). Found some little bushes to camp behind, but not a location you want to stay at and explore. (60.92667, -142.71472)
                            Tue 6/23/20 1 more flight in to grab our 9th rafter and last cooler. Launch. Took about 4 hrs to go to mile 16 to Sand Dunes (61.06639, -142.75139). Spent 2 hrs there for lunch/hike. cool, but also windy, you wouldn't want to camp here. 30 more mins around the corner to Granitic Creek (L) for camp at mile 19 (61.09278, -142.79333). Camped upstream of where Granitic creek comes in. Some splashes between the sand dunes and here, fun to packraft. Some thought that you could scout the big rapid (freeway) from here, but we didn't see an easy way to do that from camp/river L.
                            Wed 6/24/20 Woke up early and launched. Can see scout eddies from camp. Just pick the furthest downstream one you can comfortably get in without turning the corner onto Freeway. Can get right right early, and then just hop from eddy to eddy. Bushwack straight up hillside, and then it opens up within 100-200 yds. Take a left and look for orange flagging. This runs out eventually, but keep going / stay high, as it will open up, and there's a nice tundra bench to walk on for scouting, and from there you can poke down to river for closeups. Freeway Rapid (61.10083, -142.80111). 0.75 miles long! A swim would be a long one here, but it's not a sheer canyon either. Best swimmer options are back to a raft, followed by swim right. Took 2 hrs to scout, but was well worth it. 2 exposed rocks around the entrance. I entered with R to L momentum just clipping underneath river R rock, and pop'd into calm water. Captain #2 went right between the rocks and ran the center wave train, with no issues (14' rafts). Gotta get right eventually, as there's a big exposed rock in the middle that has a lot of hole actions around and behind it. Slight break in middle of rapid, then all current moves left, and you have to go there. At the beginning of this last wavetrain is the mean'est hole, so we entered from river R (center) and ran the last 80% of this wave train. very fun! 2 steep canyon wall raising tell you it's over. Solid class IV (we likely were running it at low-er water). 1-2 mile (10-15 min float) down to Tubby's Tilt. Very obvious where river turns right and slams into river R wall (pushing it left). (61.12417, -142.82639) Also a decent horizon line/drop. Can run right and then move left, but the main objective is to be left to avoid reactionary waves off river R wall (and be square to them). So I ran left which def had some boogie water, and holes to avoid (we just read and ran this rapid). avoided the biggest hole on river left, then began to pull back, and just kissed the reactionary waves square, then turned, and rode them out. Very fun! Periodic boogie water (class III and below) from there to Chitna confluence. Great for packrafting big water! Rapids + rest to Chitna confluence (mi 33) took 4 hrs (61.21, -142.83417), Then 30 mins more onto Jake's bar (mi 36) (61.22111, -142.8925) . where we camped / cabin'd. You can pull ~80% around the bar itself to takeout closer to the actual cabins. Great spot to chill / celebrate! 2 pregnant wives and 1 dog flew into Jake's earlier that day and met us!
                            Thu 6/25/20 Floated from Jakes to just past (mi 58) the Nizina confluence (mi 56) (61.35639, -143.24167). OK camp, nothing special. Camps everywhere in this area. Probably 5 hrs floating.
                            Fri 6/26/20 Floated from mi 58 to mi 82 which I believe is anticipation creek?. Great campsite with freshwater. (61.36528, -143.96861) Camp was just before initial right hand of S-turn below. Can see cliff wall on river L after you pass Nelson Mtn. camp on river left. went to the bottom of it, and was able to pull rafts back upstream in a nice lagoon. Had a strong headwind, so made for a tough day oaring taking 7 hrs to make the 24 miles.
                            Sat 6/27/20 Floated to camp at what I believe is Trumpeter cove at mi 98. (61.48667, -144.21472) Went these 16 miles in <3 hrs. Topos show some islands on river right with channels around them. Channels are long dry, and islands are proper rock islands ~100' tall. BUT old channels now are very nice sand+gravel beaches. We had some strong wind come in for a few hrs, but this site had great sheltered tent sites as well. Great campsite.
                            Sun 6/28/20 Launched and crossed the copper for a takeout at O'Brien creek at mi 107. Took about 2 hrs.
                            Overall Great trip, two long big class IV rapids, and gorgeous country. We had wind most days, but usually downstream, and zero mosquitos because of this. Not a drop of rain in 6 days / 5 nights floating. I wouldn't do it any less days. Could def fly-in, right and float on first day, but I don't think you'd want to go the 19 miles we did in 1 day. I'd def do it again! Even with 7 flights in, for 11 people it was <$300 per person for flights. Nik with McCarthy River Tours and outfitters was an awesome help with shuttle and TONS of beta. It definitely made out trip much safer because of him!

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                            • #15
                              Great trip report!

                              Comment

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