2013 AMWC Race Info

The 2013 Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic will be June 23-29.

Tasnuna drainage, photo by Tony and Becky

Pass to Klu River

Chitina River

We will keep the same start and end points, Thompson Pass and McCarthy. The overland option is a candidate for the hardest Classic route to date. If you are looking to test your wilderness skill set, this is a good one. As usual, the Classic doesn’t formally exist.

We learned a lot about the course options in 2012; namely that the brush is bad. All non-glacier teams encountered the same minimum rate of progress: 3 miles in 12 hours. The glacier options are 50 miles longer and require winter gear and crevasse rescue equipment.

Minimum length: ~120 miles
Floatable: ~30 miles at best

Length: ~170 miles
Floatable: 80 miles?

Extreme caution is warranted for the packrafting options in this region.

Tasnuna- In 2012 everyone walked around the “lethally unrunnable canyon” [Embick*] at 1200-1000 feet elevation. Participants either put in at the confluence near 1000 ft., or walked the shores to avoid the first meandering rapids and put in at Class II water.

Copper- Class II. 50,000 – 150,000 cfs, 9-12 mph, large hydraulics, eddys, whirlpools. Crossing was no problem in 2012, though I was surprised how far downstream we were swept.

Bremner- Class III+ to unrunnable. Embick*: The Bremner River is known as “The River of the Ten B’s”: brown water, big boulders, bugs, bears, bad rapids, bushes, bad weather, big boulders, and big bucks. Nobody got in this water in 2012 other than trying to gain ground upstream. The quicksand is a legitimate danger.

Tana- Class IV/? Embick*: “The bold or unlucky boater running down the middle of the river in some of the drops would encounter true violence, easily flipping a 16-foot raft, and with holes that even a thrill-seeking, adrenaline-junkie, death-kayaker would avoid.” This was runnable last year with PFD and helmet; check out Gerard Ganey’s video.

Chakina- Class V at medium-high water [early July]. Embick*: “Any party considering the Chakina should feel quite confident of its technical expertise… the greatest threat to kayakers is undoubtedly logjams… When the West Fork comes in from the left, the river nearly doubles in volume, steepens, and begins dropping into a canyon about 7 miles in length. The river increases again substantially in volume after the Klu River joins (also from the left), and the biggest drops follow… hardly slows down at all on the way to the Chitina…” No one got on this water in 2012.

Chitina- Fast but runnable braided channel all the way from the Tana to the take out.

*Andrew Embick, Fast & Cold, A Guide to Alaska Whitewater, 1994

Route information:

Luc’s 2012 report, video, and photos
Roman’s 2012 Report and more.
Ganey’s video of the 2012 ice route
Dave Chenault’s 2012 report and more.
Fairbanks News Miner Article

Tebay Lakes to Upper Klu River
Klu River region (and an incredible trip before and after it!)
Bremner Air Strip region (first photos)
“This is easily the roughest trip we’ve ever published.”

Historical AMWC info and blog.

For general information or discussion, please comment on this page. To join an email list with trip details, please fill out the fields below. For specific questions for me, send me an email.

One response

  1. Pingback: Wilderness Classic: A race at 1.2 mph | Half Past Done

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