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A Throwback to the Alsek River

Last summer was a good one. One of the trips was down the Alsek river with Canadian River Expedition based in Whitehorse, Yukon. On the trip were good friends Tyler Dinsdale and Chris Rhodes as well as a new up and coming guide Chris Mcgauly. The flows were going to be pretty good. The weather was looking fantastic.

The first part of the trip involves heading out to Serpentine creek and setting up the rafts and gear on the banks of the Dezadeash River. We ended up camping here that first night with the clients, hoping that the wind would die down the next day. We woke up to a very light wind that slowly petered out allowing us to row down the Dezadeash river to the confluence with the Kaskawulsh. After a nice lunch and a little walk we headed down to for our first night Camp at Lava Creek.

Pano at Lava Camp

The next day we make for Lowell lake… remembering to stay left as we row into the lake. There are some fun rapids and a good lunch spot on our way down. The views as we arrive are amazing with big icebergs dotting the lake. The next day will be a hike option for all on Goatherd mountain. With the recent changes to the Kaskawulsh river we have more flow which means we bring a inflatable kayak to help people across the river… all part the day’s work.

After our time at Lowell lake it was time to head downstream once again. We made good time heading out of the lake, a light wind and beautiful weather was continuing. The weather on the Alsek can be very different from this … always feels like your getting away with something when you get nice weather. We camped at the bottom outlet of Fisher Glacier the first night, after running a number of rapids including Lave North, then as we leave the Yukon Kluane National Park and enter British Columbia’s Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Park.

In June 1993 the BC portion of the Alsek and Tat was preserved with the declaration of the Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Park and has since been designated a United Nations World Heritage Site. The Tat-Alsek watershed is the heartland of the largest protected wilderness area on the continent. The Tat-Alsek watershed is the largest protected wilderness area in the world. We then camped at just below Bates river the next evening. This allows another day down to Tweedsmuir and Turnback canyon and some more fun rapids at different spots.

We stopped on the way down to check out for bears above Mt Blackadar, named after Walt Blackadar, a Dr from Salmon, Idaho who on August 25th, 1971 ran Turnback Canyon of the Alsek river, Solo.

Loading up with some wood we headed for camp and had a relaxing evening under the shadow’s of these mountains. The next morning we had a slight delay in the helicopter which provided some time for a walk down the river.

The Heli Portage day is a big day. We move all the gear, prep lunch, then row 30km to a site just above the Tatshenshini and Alsek confluence. This time it was even a bit longer with the helicopter delay. Still made camp with a massive ferry ( a way of manoeuvering across the river) and had dinner on shortly after getting in.

Making our way from the confluence we camped at walker Glacier before heading to Puple Haze. Breaking the journey of getting to Alsek lake over a few days.  When we arrived to Alsek lake. There was some good weather for that afternoon with the rain and storm arriving later that evening and into the next day. It didn’t dampen spirits as we had a full turkey dinner to serve including all the trimmings. 

Till the next adventure.  #sogood

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