Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

The Alaska Peninsula, Bristol Bay, the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim drainages
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bradmeiklejohn
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:16 pm

Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

Post by bradmeiklejohn » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:15 pm

I would like to start a thread on the Aniakchak - a popular
buttboating destination.

I have some basic information at:
http://www.jtlindholm.com/aniakchak.htm

Feel free to add a note about your experiences or ask a question about
the trip by replying to this post.

I hope other common trips get thread, as well.

Happy boating!

bradmeiklejohn
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:16 pm

Gates of the Aniakchak Photo

Post by bradmeiklejohn » Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:16 pm

Aniakchak Web.jpg
Aniakchak Web.jpg (216 Bytes) Viewed 4706 times

Fraybo

Re: Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

Post by Fraybo » Thu May 08, 2008 5:15 pm

Awsome trip JT - great photos. And a first-rate expedition. I'm thinking about doing it as well. My dad was stationed in Port Heiden during WWII and tried to climb Aniakchak but was turned back by deep snow. As a kind of pilgrimage to the forgotten battlefields these guys served in in the Aleutians and Alaska, I'd like to climb it and raft down to the sea. I'm an old whitewater guide from way back, and have done several trips around Alaska, but I love the idea of the Alpaca pack rafts. Your photos pretty much answered my questions, first of which was going to be can it be done in Alpacas with no gear boat. Obviously yes.

Couple of other querries: What size Alpaca raft did you use? Did you just lash everything on the bow, and how did that effect the whitewater paddling?
What about wind and bear trouble - two things I've heard a lot about on the Aniakchak?
How difficult was the whitewater in the Alpacas? It's described as Class 4 in two sections.
Did you have any trouble with the sharp lava rocks and these light rafts?
Would you do it again?

Thanks!

Fraybo

sheri

Re: Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

Post by sheri » Wed May 14, 2008 7:53 pm

Hi Frabo,

I saw your questions on sizing and also Roman's answer in another post. Don't automatically go for a Llama. it is really about getting a boat that fits you well. Go for a llama if you are 6' or taller but not if you are under that. There is pretty good sizing info on the site itself. That is tried and true over the years now. Where people got into trouble in recent years is several people sized down into yaks that really should have stayed with llamas. Those people are now rebuying llamas again. But it really is about getting the size that fits your particular height and leg length best.

Aniakchak is a great trip. And don't worry about the rocks, the boats have never had a problem with them. Since I was out there 4 years ago there have been at least 10 other expiditions to Aniakchak and no one has reported any punctured tubes. And neither of the IV's are really that grade for a packraft. Both rapids are totally runable with a packraft and the rest of the river is just fun.

Cheers, Sheri

Matt Hage

Re: Aniakchak-looking for a good pilot

Post by Matt Hage » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:25 pm

Our crew is having a heck of a time getting in touch with air charter options out of Port Heiden and Chignik Bay for a post Aniakchak River pick-up. Any info you can pass along would be much appreciated.

Cheers
Matt Hage
Anchorage, AK

RomanDial
Posts: 422
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:13 am

Re: Aniakchak -- why not skip the charter?

Post by RomanDial » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:15 pm

Matt,

Have you considered just closing the loop Hig & Erin style by paddling/walking the coast south a ways then hiking over to Meshik River and flat water paddling back to Pt Heiden?

Roman

bradmeiklejohn
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:16 pm

Re: Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

Post by bradmeiklejohn » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:28 pm

Far, far better than the Meshik flatwater would be to continue down the coast to the Chigniks. Penair flies into/out of the Chigniks on the same route that stops at Port Heiden, thus completing your roundtrip ticket.

RomanDial
Posts: 422
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:13 am

Re: Aniakchak --skip the charter

Post by RomanDial » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:42 am

Hig and Erin's first trip to Chignik came up the Meshik valley. They found a "petrified forest" in the pass above the Meshik.
http://www.aktrekking.com/AKpen.html#7

Their more recent visit to the are is not quite as useful for re-visits:
http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/blog/?p=557

Matt Hage

Aniakchak Pilot Warren Johnson

Post by Matt Hage » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:30 pm

We hired a charter with pilot Warren Johnson (Kenai/Big Bear Lake) for our return to Port Heiden from Aniakchak Bay. Warren appreciates the biz and can be contacted via email at yesmar@gvtel.com . That is the best way to get in touch with him. Phone contact is (907) 989-2216 in Kenai and satellite phone at Bear Lake Lodge
1-480-768-2500 then enter 8816 3163 4197. Cessna 170 on the beach at low tide.

Returning via Chignik would be a great option. Alas our crew only had a week to make the traverse and explore along the way.

Cheers
Matt Hage

JustinWholey
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:36 am

Aniakchak Bear Spray/Cooking

Post by JustinWholey » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:59 am

I have two questions for those that have done the Aniakchak trip starting at Port Heiden:

1) How did you obtain bear spray, and/or get some to Port Heiden?
2) What was your cooking system, and again how did you get it to Port Heiden (white gas? alcohol?)

I'm trying to figure these things out because these items aren't allowed on passenger flights. Thanks for any information!

Russell Biggs
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:06 pm

Re: Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

Post by Russell Biggs » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:16 pm

Three of us had a good trip down the Aniakchak over the 4th. We flew out all of the gear (bear spray, fuel, rafts) with ACE air cargo) the day before, picked up our gear after exiting the Penair flight, and then were flying directly into the caldera with Branch River Air by 11 am. There were no bugs and full sunshine inside the caldera for two days, and the hikes up the 1931 Vent and around the warm springs were outstanding.

A day later I had relocated and greatly reinforced my tent inside a fort of willows because it had attempted to take flight during the night's storm. There were steady 20 knot winds inside the caldera with an occasional much higher gusts and consistent lake-wide whitecaps by the afternoon. This forced a portage around the lake. Surprisingly, the winds around the entrance to the Gates were no worse than elsewhere so we continued out of the crater, and eventually scouted and portaged the Gate's rapids. The river seemed higher than what I've seen in the videos online. We witnessed several large rockfalls hiking through this area.

The two day float to the coast was a continuous cycle of light rain and steady headwind. The beginner packrafter in our group navigated Hidden Creek rapids without any problems, and we portaged one sketchy corner of river that had some willows clogging part of the channel. We didn't see any bears, but the low tide paddle at the mouth of the river didn't reveal a substantial amount of fish either. By noon one day later we were flying out during a very fortunate break in the storm from the northern area of the lagoon near the NPS cabin.

https://plus.google.com/photos/11703923 ... 4OOT0synLQ


rhickel
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:56 pm

Re: Aniakchak -- JT Lindholm

Post by rhickel » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:15 pm

Six of us did this trip from June 28th through July 5th from Anchorage. It was misty and rainy the first couple of days and great weather the rest. Had to navigate by previous parties GPS points coming into the caldera, as vis was about 200 ft or less. Great and easy hiking to the rim. If you can see, you will have no problem getting into the caldera. The atv trail that Jimmy (proprietor of Aleut Trading Post) dropped us off at, actually goes all the way to the rim. Though it is just a faint pair of ATV tracks once it gets real high.

I would recommend spending as much time as you can in the caldera (at least two full days) and at least two full days once you reach the coast (which is also amazing). Good NPS cabin on the coast. We flew out from Aniakchak bay with Katmai Air on a beaver.

Here is a video of the first day on the river. We walked the Gates (about a mile) because we didn't want to risk a swim right off the bat. It was class 3 plus/4 minus at the flow we encountered. We ran everything else, including the rapids at Hidden Creek, which were about the same difficulty as the Gates. This video cuts out a little before Hidden Creek rapids. The river seemed a little low to us, but the vegetation wasn't much above the water line: https://vimeo.com/102494793

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