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time and $$
Yep.

I went last June and will never go back. Perfect weather, great crew, late June so it was never dark and almost pristine because nobody had been on the river the previous two years with the border closed. Best river trip ever! No way a second trip could be nearly as good.

Barefoot rockball on a perfect day!
 

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This outfit has a good guidebook and map: Books, Maps and Drafting Services - Cloudburst Productions

I had a trip planned in 2019 that still hasn’t happened. There were unclaimed dates that year; you don’t have to wait long if you go in the shoulder season. At least then, there was an abundance of pilots - NPS can direct you to authorized people. Haines Rafting Company for rental/ outfitting. You cannot bring a gun and will need a Kluane NP permit from Canada once your NPS permit is issued. The crux for my trip was getting from Haines to Haines junction. At the time, Haines rafting (I think?) had a big group van with minimum fee.

Good luck! If you find it cost effective to have 2 more people with minimal gear included in your logistics, send a PM.
 

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Yep.

I went last June and will never go back. Perfect weather, great crew, late June so it was never dark and almost pristine because nobody had been on the river with the border closed the previous two years. Best river trip ever! No way a second trip could be nearly as good.

Barefoot rockball on a perfect day!
The words do not exist to articulate how happy that video makes me.
 

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Doing some research on a self guided trip on the Tat. Any information, experience, and knowledge would be appreciated.
That is a big logistics nightmare trip. You will have to contact some bush pilots for shuttling gear. Sometimes they scatter for the winter so start that now. We opted for a big plane from Whitehorse to shuttle our gear back, however the weather was awful and they couldn't land so they went to Yakutat airport. We had to scramble to find some small planes to take our stuff to Yakutat to the big plane. You might just want to schedule the flight to Yakutat and take the smaller planes from take out to Yakutat. It is best to get an outfitter in Dry Bay It the water is lower you will need transport of your rafts to the airstrip. Make sure you have breakdown frames or make a wood one and burn it. You might check with these folks they know all the bush pilots and likely can suggest pilort for shuttle. They have radio phones and can call the local pilots. It is a fabulous trip but the logistics are daunting. Be patient with SE Alaska weather. Don't be tight with the schedule, delays happen and weather happens. Alsek river rafters — Alsek River Adventures
 

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You are in for a fantastic trip. We got to go about a decade ago and had great weather early and the usual SE Alaska weather late ie rain, cold, wind, cloud level down almost to the river. The water was low and some things had changed since our tl ran it ten years earlier. For example: get current info on the entrances to Alsek lake. Make sure you stop above door 1 and 2 and see what the channels and lake conditions are. At low water the last channel was dry and you don't want to portage that far. This is an extremely dynamic environment. Between the two trips our tl did, glacial rebound caused the river channel to move river right hundreds of yards and you could not float to the airstrip at Dry Bay(dry like curly in the 3 stooges was hirsute). With low water the old channel was 8 feet above the current river level. Make sure you check on transport from the river to the airstrip, there was atv support for that so book it ahead as noted above. We saw only two other groups with a couple more after the Alsek came in. We used an outfitter in Whitehorse for a raft rental and shuttle to the river. We flew it all back from Dry Bay to Whitehorse. We had to go to the border and check in on our way to the launch since the trip crosses from Canada to the US. That detour was a bit of a pain. So check all the details for launching, take out and river level. Arrange rentals ad flights well in advance. Then get ready for the trip of your life. If you are lucky you will see Mount Fairweather and other huge peaks that rise more than three miles vertically from sea level just 10 miles away. You have to get lucky becase Fairweather is named like Dry Bay, you need fair weather to see it and you aren't likely to get it. Be prepared for grizzlies. We saw none but every other group saw them just before we got there. Take bear spray and carry it on all hikes. You can take a shotgun if you do all the paper work to cross the border with it. Your rig may get searched if you do. don't even think of taking a handgun. Definiately worth any effort it takes to do the trip!
 

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Based upon my four trips, and for what it's worth, agree with all of the above and would add-

1. Took the Alaska Marine Highway System from Bellingham to Haines. Allowed us to bring all gear/most food and people etc. in the back of our pickups so no worry about unfamiliar rental equipment. Slept on back deck of ferry in a tent coming and going. Bought a small cooler and ate breakfast/lunches w/o having to purchase from cafeteria. Scenery is fantastic. You can also use your vehicle(s) for shuttle from Haines to Dalton Post.

2. Flying out of Dry Bay back to Haines or elsewhere can be iffy as the weather can prevent flying on that day. Allow extra days at Dry Bay so that you're not jammed flying back/ or taking the ferry back to the Lower 48.

3. Remember that you will be crossing the border into Canada so bring passports. FYI- on one trip, one of the participants [who had a prior DUI criminal conviction in the US] was questioned at the border checkpoint for a long time. Can't hurt to talk to everyone and if a potential problem, contact Canadian Customs.

4. Per Tatshenshi/Glacier Bay website- Firearms are not allowed in Kluane National Park and are limited to licensed individuals in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park. Recent changes in Canadian firearms laws have made it difficult to transport any firearms into Canada from the US or elsewhere. Kept clean camps and never had any bear issues although we brought spray.

5. Spent two nights at Gateway Knob. Rowed across Alsek Lake [but not to close] to see the glacier ice calf off into the lake. Hiked to the top of the Knob [had clear weather and got photos of Mt. Fairweather and Alsek Lake.]

6. Weather is there... had one trip that rained 10 out of 12 days and another with 1 day of rain. Don't forget a group rain fly that can be set up using oars/poles as not many trees. Wore mush boots w/ heavy wool socks and rain gear and not wetsuit or booties.

I've still have my guidebook and map [especially good for campsite info] from my trips which if you live in No. Cal. would be happy to share with you.
 

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It would be worth searching around to see if there are any gear rental options besides ARO. I did a trip outfitted by them in August and was pretty disappointed - leaky boats, pfds falling apart, generally very shoddy worn-out gear. They did a great job on the food, though. As previously pointed out, the river is very dynamic and the guidebook and map are useful but not always accurate. The flying logistics are indeed complicated and the weather can beautiful or your worst nightmare. Patience and a good attitude are key. There are only a couple of pilots flying that area (Fly Drake and Yakutat Coastal airlines if you are flying Dry Bay to Haines and/or Yakutat) and they know the deal - their instructions and suggestions are key. On my August 22 trip, Hans (Yakutat Coastal) and his plane were out of commission and we wound up getting a flight from Dry Bay directly to Juneau (AK Seaplanes) which was more expensive but one of the most beautiful flights ever and saved a day of sitting around in Yakutat in the rain all day. I've done 3 Tat/Alsek trips and seen bears but never had anything close to a bad experience with them. Keeping a clean kitchen is important. It would be worth getting some campsite beta from local guides and the shuttle drivers - did I mention that the river changes a lot? Warm ditch boots are magic, although I did one trip with a dry suit and running shoes that worked out well. You will absolutely need an ATV shuttle to get from the take out to the airstrip - need to arrange that in advance. Make sure you get the directions and gps coordinates for the take out beach. Last year door number 3, the right side of Gateway Knob was open and quite easy. Try to get current beta on the Alsek lake crossing - if you wait until you can see and scout doors 1 and 2 from river left, it is very unlikely that you can get to door 3.
 

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It would be worth searching around to see if there are any gear rental options besides ARO. I did a trip outfitted by them in August and was pretty disappointed - leaky boats, pfds falling apart, generally very shoddy worn-out gear. They did a great job on the food, though. As previously pointed out, the river is very dynamic and the guidebook and map are useful but not always accurate. The flying logistics are indeed complicated and the weather can beautiful or your worst nightmare. Patience and a good attitude are key. There are only a couple of pilots flying that area (Fly Drake and Yakutat Coastal airlines if you are flying Dry Bay to Haines and/or Yakutat) and they know the deal - their instructions and suggestions are key. On my August 22 trip, Hans (Yakutat Coastal) and his plane were out of commission and we wound up getting a flight from Dry Bay directly to Juneau (AK Seaplanes) which was more expensive but one of the most beautiful flights ever and saved a day of sitting around in Yakutat in the rain all day. I've done 3 Tat/Alsek trips and seen bears but never had anything close to a bad experience with them. Keeping a clean kitchen is important. It would be worth getting some campsite beta from local guides and the shuttle drivers - did I mention that the river changes a lot? Warm ditch boots are magic, although I did one trip with a dry suit and running shoes that worked out well. You will absolutely need an ATV shuttle to get from the take out to the airstrip - need to arrange that in advance. Make sure you get the directions and gps coordinates for the take out beach. Last year door number 3, the right side of Gateway Knob was open and quite easy. Try to get current beta on the Alsek lake crossing - if you wait until you can see and scout doors 1 and 2 from river left, it is very unlikely that you can get to door 3.
Hans is still flying when he took our stuff to yakutat all the locals were talking about how he overloads his plane. He likes gear more than people I think. Some real characters up there. We never had issues with bears either but we followed the guidance to a T. Those braids can be really hard to read.
 

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Doing some research on a self guided trip on the Tat. Any information, experience, and knowledge would be appreciated.
One other piece of advice make sure your swamper can get out of the boat fast andhold, get you tied quickly. The current is really strong in spots on the Alsek even though it is flat water. We flipped a raft close to shore when it road up on a tied raft and flipped, big surprise. I would not do that river without a swamper.
 

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It would be worth searching around to see if there are any gear rental options besides ARO. I did a trip outfitted by them in August and was pretty disappointed - leaky boats, pfds falling apart, generally very shoddy worn-out gear. They did a great job on the food, though. As previously pointed out, the river is very dynamic and the guidebook and map are useful but not always accurate. The flying logistics are indeed complicated and the weather can beautiful or your worst nightmare. Patience and a good attitude are key. There are only a couple of pilots flying that area (Fly Drake and Yakutat Coastal airlines if you are flying Dry Bay to Haines and/or Yakutat) and they know the deal - their instructions and suggestions are key. On my August 22 trip, Hans (Yakutat Coastal) and his plane were out of commission and we wound up getting a flight from Dry Bay directly to Juneau (AK Seaplanes) which was more expensive but one of the most beautiful flights ever and saved a day of sitting around in Yakutat in the rain all day. I've done 3 Tat/Alsek trips and seen bears but never had anything close to a bad experience with them. Keeping a clean kitchen is important. It would be worth getting some campsite beta from local guides and the shuttle drivers - did I mention that the river changes a lot? Warm ditch boots are magic, although I did one trip with a dry suit and running shoes that worked out well. You will absolutely need an ATV shuttle to get from the take out to the airstrip - need to arrange that in advance. Make sure you get the directions and gps coordinates for the take out beach. Last year door number 3, the right side of Gateway Knob was open and quite easy. Try to get current beta on the Alsek lake crossing - if you wait until you can see and scout doors 1 and 2 from river left, it is very unlikely that you can get to door 3.
Apologies to Paulster for the tired gear. Last year was the busiest private rafting season in over 10 years and a bush plane shortage (due to an early season crash) and bad weather made the gear returns from Dry Bay unusually slow and meant we had to use every piece of gear we have to keep trips on schedule. ARO has a range of rafts including brand new NRS E16's and E18's as well as a fleet of vintage AVON's. We replace gear every year and are adding 4 new rafts, all new bear resistant coolers and new lifejackets for 2023. The number of trips per year on the Tat and Alsek doesn't support all new gear all the time like GC outfitters so if your trip is greatly enhanced by having new gear it's best to bring your own. I hope (Paulster) will give us another chance, sounds like you got the last kit out of the warehouse. If you come again we'll give you a discount on your raft rental to make it up to you.
 

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Hans is still flying when he took our stuff to yakutat all the locals were talking about how he overloads his plane. He likes gear more than people I think.
Presumably you were in the turbine Otter if he flew you out of Dry Bay. So was your airplane overloaded when you flew with Hans? Do you have any idea what the usable payload is for a turbine Otter? Just because an airplane gets stuffed full, doesn't mean its overloaded, ie over the max allowable payload.

I'll stick to facts and first hand experience. I've flow with Hans 3 times. Twice after Tat trips and once to and from Icy Bay. I'll readily concede that he won't win any contests for Mr Congenial, especially if he's got a busy schedule. And that's usually the case with Tat trips since a flight over the mountains to Haines is frequently involved. I've made a living as a pilot for over 20 years and have flown with around 8 different air taxis in Alaska on various trips. There are a couple of air taxis that I won't fly with again because of how they conducted their flight ops and/or their aircraft looked like they sorely needed work. Han's airplanes always looked well maintained, his hangar was very orderly and he did all of his flight operations in a professional manner. I hope to be flying with him again this summer (2023) for another trip.
 
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