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Old 02-13-2011   #1
travelling, around
Paddling Since: 83
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Grand Canyon Alpacka Raft

This video is good display of a modern packraft trip adventure:

Canyoneering into the Ditch, then big water in wee boats on down.


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Old 02-13-2011   #2
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
Some good adventure'n there. Last time I went I remember my hippy friend following me into that wave/hole @ 3:30 and gettin a really good unintentional surf there. Probably the first bath he had in weeks.

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Old 02-14-2011   #3
catboatkeith's Avatar
Hoback Nation, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 141
Way cool! How did you permit this?
"Each mile on a river will take you further from home than a hundred miles on a road"
Bob Marshall
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Old 02-14-2011   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

Since the this video thanks a respected outfitter for logistical help, and the second video in the series thanks the Park for its help in putting the trip together, the inference is that this was a permitted trip.

However, I am interested in how that worked -- with coordination required between river and backcountry offices, and a launch from an area that would not lend itself to the ordinary check-in procedure.


Rich Phillips
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Old 02-14-2011   #5
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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Sweet. I want to try one of those little boats out.
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Old 02-14-2011   #6
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
You guys did all that without starting a "whats it gonna be like" thread first? Wow,Nice,way to get after it. Definitely jealous.

Packrafts look soo fun. Is there anywhere in CO that even sells them? I still have yet to see one,in person.
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Old 02-14-2011   #7
Wolf Hole, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 45
Alpacka rafts are now made in Colorado. The owner, Sherry Tingey, moved the business from Anchorage, Alaska to the Mancos area a year or so back. I bought one from her while I was living in Alaska. It is fabulous for combination hiking/boating, such as treks in the Brooks Range that require lots of river crossings, etc. But they are now getting used as just really fun play boats, too.
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Old 02-14-2011   #8
Wolf Hole, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2011
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BTW, I forgot to mention you can buy an Alpacka directly from the company. Just google their website.
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Old 02-16-2011   #9
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

I thought maybe the folks involved in this trip might have posted something about how they did the logistics, but I guess not.

As it happens, a contact in the Park Service at GC dropped me a note and explained how they worked this out between the River Office and Backcountry Office regarding permits. It's not a common request, but they evidently are trying to be flexible in working with folks on even unconventional means of access to the river portion of GCNP.

The subject of packrafting didn't come up when setting up the new management plan, but did surface soon after the new CRMP was developed. So far, three different lottery winners have asked the Park to allow them to use their permit as part of a packraft trip. That was allowed with conditions. All packraft trips get a lot of pre-trip-planning input and face-to-face inspection from Rangers prior to their launch. They are allowed to use Wag bags and a somewhat smaller firepan, have to pack out waste, trash, and ashes, and do all the other usual stuff. They check in at Lees Ferry on the original launch date, and then use the river only on the days and places where a normal raft trip would have been had it continued from that launch date.

The Park has also had a few packraft requests for short, mostly backpacking trips, where the packrafts are used mainly to cross the river or get to get to the next backpacking area. Those were authorized solely through a Backcountry Permit.

It seems they would rather engage folks interested in packraft trips rather than have them try and do it without a permit. So far, the report is that everyone doing this has been good at working with the Park staff and seemed to genuinely follow all rules.


Rich Phillips
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Old 02-16-2011   #10
Prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 40
Rich - thanks for that info. As a regular backpacker in the Canyon, I have always contemplated a river crossing with a packraft, but figured the BO & Park Service would have some heartburn on it. Glad to know it is possible.

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