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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We plan to join a non-commercial trip with the takeout at Dry Bay being July 28th. It will be a 10 day trip. Can anyone offer good advice? What will the water level be like this time of year? My husband & I are long-time kayakers but will be manning a rented raft for this trip. Thanks in advance for your input!
 

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It is a fun trip- done it twice, also 10 day trips. You need good rain gear! August is usually the rainiest month in AK and July is the warm up session. You need good rain gear!

This page provides current and historical water levels, and other data. It is near the Dry Bay takeout point.


Most people go to Haines to rent their rafts and equipment and get shuttled from there to the start point in Canada. Canadian rentals are available too. You'll need your passports or passcards.

The expensive part of the trip is the pickup flight. The best option is Yakutat Coastal Airways. Hans has a turbine Otter, which works great for supporting Tat trips. It works best if part of the group goes back to Haines with the gear. If you have more than half a dozen people and 2 rafts, some will need to go back to Yakutat with Hans. He picks up the Haines bound people and gear first, then picks up the Yakutat folks on his way home. Yakutat is actually a much better place to get a connecting flight (than Haines) since AK Airlines flies a 737 through Yakutat every day.

Alaska Charter Flights and Flying Service - Yakutat Coastal Airlines

We had this guide book, which was helpful. Someone else brought it- don't know what they paid for it but the price on Amazon is now $138!!!


Did I mention that you need good rain gear? :) ⛈☔

Good luck!
 

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Good advice in the above. Don't cut it too close on timing, have a cushion for flight delays. We had a huge amount of rain and flights were delayed out of Dry Bay. Alsek Lake rose 3 feet in 24 hours. If the weather is bad, you may not be able to get to Haines for several days.

Scout the entrance to Alsek Lake to see what entry is open, the scout is on a talus slope upstream of the entrance to the lake, binoculars may be helpful.

Take a good tent, you may spend quite a bit of time in it. A head net at a minimum or my favorite for the arctic, The Original Bug Shirt. Muck boots or similar will make your life easier. Most of the whitewater is on the first day in the canyon section, it can be pretty busy depending on water level. Be bear aware, bear spray is a good idea.

You check in with Canadian border control and pre check back into the US on the way to the put in. Check the requirements for entry into Canada as some have encountered problems due to prior legal issues in the US.

It's a good trip but be prepared for just about any kind of weather conditions. We had rain and fog, only two days of sun in 10 days. Be sure you know where the takeout is at Dry Bay, you don't want to miss it, or you will be carrying your gear.
 

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The Russ Lyman guidebook is a bit dated, and depending on where you are I would be happy to let you read my book.
As an alternative, I created an updated guidebook on the Tatshenshini / Alsek system which includes illustrations, humor and some experiences of note. Hit me up if you are interested, I will not be charging $138!
Confirming dsrtrat re: tent, boots, Drybay. There are plenty of key items to know for your first trip. The moving ice is significant as icebergs are traveling with you in the main current of the Alsek and will ground onto gravel bars and stand up out of the river bed quickly creating interesting hazards. We had some inside info from local biologists and guides which really helped, so if you know anyone in Haines get on the phone. HTH!
 

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We did a similar time frame trip many years ago, some real whitewater first day on the Tat couple ledgy rapids. Water hard to read. After that pretty easy some wood lots of channel reading easy to get stuck if not on your toes. Good guidebook called The Complete Guide to the Tatshenshini River by Lyman, Ordonez and Speaks. We laid over Walker Glacier and Alsek Lake. You'll want an excellent camera mind boggling scenery. One of the coolest camps is at the confluence with Alsek. Leave some extra time at dry bay flights can be delayed. Have fun it is well worth the drive. I echo the rain gear comment, we had good weather but when it did rain watch out! Also the camera, from the fireweed to the Glaciers it is unbelievable.
 

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Hey Debster, Check on all of the advice given above. THE most important advice is RAIN GEAR. Do not plan on using silly Gortex. It does not work in Alaska. Period. Go to Hellyhansen's website and buy the best rain gear you can afford. Will need it. Buy a pair of muck boots. I call them the original AK river sandal. On my last trip down the Tat we used hand held radios for each raft to keep track of all of us. You do not want to get separated especially when the rain moves in and it will move in as you approach the coast. The advice on camping at the confluence gets many stars. Its a magical spot. I have always been lucky at Alsek lake however beware. You must layover at Walker Glacier and try and grab Sediment Creek. Great hikes at both spots. I am more than happy to share my Google Earth kmz file if you like. I also have a word doc of the camping spots and their coordinates. Great time to go. In july the glaciers are in full melt. Enjoy.
 

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The Russ Lyman guidebook is a bit dated, and depending on where you are I would be happy to let you read my book.
As an alternative, I created an updated guidebook on the Tatshenshini / Alsek system which includes illustrations, humor and some experiences of note. Hit me up if you are interested, I will not be charging $138!
I'll be there about a week earlier than the OP and am really looking forward to it. Is your guidebook available somewhere? Also, I've heard that glacial rebound has made some of the lower camps in the 2010 Lyman guide inaccessible. I'm a geologist and that seems awfully quick to me. Anybody have more info? Also, has anyone put-in above Dalton Post? It's appealing to have a bit more whitewater and to avoid what I hear is a human zoo cluster at the regular put-in in early July.
 

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When we were there (but this was 2000) we did day runs on the Blanchard into the Tat taking out at Dalton Post. Launched at a spot below a gravel pit off the highway. Fun run tons to salmon (and bears).
 

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When we were there (but this was 2000) we did day runs on the Blanchard into the Tat taking out at Dalton Post. Launched at a spot below a gravel pit off the highway. Fun run tons to salmon (and bears).
My understanding is that the Blanchard can be too boney for fully loaded rafts and isn't recommended to start a Tat trip. The upper Tat has more water and is a little longer (about 6 hours on the river to Dalton Post). Put-in is Mosquito Flats aka Bear Flats.
 

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I'll be there about a week earlier than the OP and am really looking forward to it. Is your guidebook available somewhere? Also, I've heard that glacial rebound has made some of the lower camps in the 2010 Lyman guide inaccessible. I'm a geologist and that seems awfully quick to me. Anybody have more info? Also, has anyone put-in above Dalton Post? It's appealing to have a bit more whitewater and to avoid what I hear is a human zoo cluster at the regular put-in in early July.
The Tat (possibly the Blanchard, Gaia GPS has it labelled as the Tat) parallels the Haines Cutoff upstream of the Dalton Post put in so you're going to be in a fair wide valley. At 59.91696, -136.79193 there is a gravel pit with what looks like a road heading down to the Tat. Most likely its an old mining road. From satellite images it might be an option. I've been on the Haines Cutoff quite a few times and many of the trails leading out of gravel pits are usually well traveled since there are plenty of hunters in the autumn. I have not been on that particular trail. But as other have posted, probably not enough water. The Haines outfitters drive past that gravel pit to put you in at Dalton Post so that's a hint on either lack of water or poor access.

The course of the river is more likely the reason some campsite are not accessible from year to year. Which campsites are you referring to? On the lower river, we stayed at Melt Creek (aka "The Center of the Universe"), Walker Glacier and Gateway Knob

I was on the Tat mid Aug 2018 and the end of July in 2019. Dalton Post was quiet both times we launched. There was one other party starting out on one trip, but no one else on the other trip. We missed the "human zoo cluster."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We did a similar time frame trip many years ago, some real whitewater first day on the Tat couple ledgy rapids. Water hard to read. After that pretty easy some wood lots of channel reading easy to get stuck if not on your toes. Good guidebook called The Complete Guide to the Tatshenshini River by Lyman, Ordonez and Speaks. We laid over Walker Glacier and Alsek Lake. You'll want an excellent camera mind boggling scenery. One of the coolest camps is at the confluence with Alsek. Leave some extra time at dry bay flights can be delayed. Have fun it is well worth the drive. I echo the rain gear comment, we had good weather but when it did rain watch out! Also the camera, from the fireweed to the Glaciers it is unbelievable.
Thank you for your input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It is a fun trip- done it twice, also 10 day trips. You need good rain gear! August is usually the rainiest month in AK and July is the warm up session. You need good rain gear!

This page provides current and historical water levels, and other data. It is near the Dry Bay takeout point.


Most people go to Haines to rent their rafts and equipment and get shuttled from there to the start point in Canada. Canadian rentals are available too. You'll need your passports or passcards.

The expensive part of the trip is the pickup flight. The best option is Yakutat Coastal Airways. Hans has a turbine Otter, which works great for supporting Tat trips. It works best if part of the group goes back to Haines with the gear. If you have more than half a dozen people and 2 rafts, some will need to go back to Yakutat with Hans. He picks up the Haines bound people and gear first, then picks up the Yakutat folks on his way home. Yakutat is actually a much better place to get a connecting flight (than Haines) since AK Airlines flies a 737 through Yakutat every day.

Alaska Charter Flights and Flying Service - Yakutat Coastal Airlines

We had this guide book, which was helpful. Someone else brought it- don't know what they paid for it but the price on Amazon is now $138!!!


Did I mention that you need good rain gear? :) ⛈☔

Good luck!
Thank you for your efforts in providing me w/ this information!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good advice in the above. Don't cut it too close on timing, have a cushion for flight delays. We had a huge amount of rain and flights were delayed out of Dry Bay. Alsek Lake rose 3 feet in 24 hours. If the weather is bad, you may not be able to get to Haines for several days.

Scout the entrance to Alsek Lake to see what entry is open, the scout is on a talus slope upstream of the entrance to the lake, binoculars may be helpful.

Take a good tent, you may spend quite a bit of time in it. A head net at a minimum or my favorite for the arctic, The Original Bug Shirt. Muck boots or similar will make your life easier. Most of the whitewater is on the first day in the canyon section, it can be pretty busy depending on water level. Be bear aware, bear spray is a good idea.

You check in with Canadian border control and pre check back into the US on the way to the put in. Check the requirements for entry into Canada as some have encountered problems due to prior legal issues in the US.

It's a good trip but be prepared for just about any kind of weather conditions. We had rain and fog, only two days of sun in 10 days. Be sure you know where the takeout is at Dry Bay, you don't want to miss it, or you will be carrying your gear.
Thank you for your advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Russ Lyman guidebook is a bit dated, and depending on where you are I would be happy to let you read my book.
As an alternative, I created an updated guidebook on the Tatshenshini / Alsek system which includes illustrations, humor and some experiences of note. Hit me up if you are interested, I will not be charging $138!
Confirming dsrtrat re: tent, boots, Drybay. There are plenty of key items to know for your first trip. The moving ice is significant as icebergs are traveling with you in the main current of the Alsek and will ground onto gravel bars and stand up out of the river bed quickly creating interesting hazards. We had some inside info from local biologists and guides which really helped, so if you know anyone in Haines get on the phone. HTH!
Thank you for this information!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all your inputs, very helpful!

OK, I have another question. Can anyone recommend a specific ferry service from Juneau airport to Haines? And, once in Haines, where should we stay? We will get there a couple days ahead of our put-in date for the Tat, which is July 18th. Thanks in advance!
 

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The Alaska Marine Highway is the state run ferry and most likely the cheapest by a considerable margin. The ferry terminal in Juneau is 10-15 miles from the airport. You'll most likely have to spend a night in Juneau to make the connection. It is a pretty cruise to Haines if the wx is nice. Flying to Haines from Juneau is not a good idea since the airplanes are small and you'll be limited on what you can bring for baggage. Plus there is more of a chance of a delay in the event of poor wx.

It looks the two B+B's that I've used in the past are no longer operating. Other people in my groups have stayed at the Captain Choice Hotel and the Halsingland Hotel. Neither is fancy, both will be expensive in mid July.

Haines had a large landslide a couple of years ago that has really impacted the entire community. There is a particularly tight housing market now, which is probably why there are fewer B+B's.
 

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I have stayed at the Captains Choice and it was fine. I would suggest making reservations sooner than later. Haines is pretty small so it's easy to walk to just about anywhere. The hotel has a shuttle service as well. Check the ferry schedules to see what works for your other flights. You may want to book ahead of time but it's usually not a problem for a walk on for the ferry. As always in Alaska try to add some extra time for delays. Have a great trip.
 
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