Meade Glacier Packraft

Our Meade Glacier pack raft trip combines a trek across glacial ice,  packrafting in a lake past icebergs to the picturesque river valley of the Katzehin ending at the sea.  This trip can be done over 4 days on its own or combined with 3 days of sea kayaking to round out a week of Southeast Alaskan adventure.

A person working on his Kayak

Dates

4 days 2020

Location

Haines and Skagway Alaska

Cost

$1949 per person

2 person minimum

individual rates available

Details

Just 23 miles as the crow flies from the famed gold rush town of Skagway is an other worldly valley made up of towering granite peaks, flowing glaciers and braided rivers.

Landing near the confluence of the Meade and Denver Glaciers we are standing at the source of the Katzehin River, whose braids flow through granite peaks on its way to the sea.

Having trekked over the ice of the Meade we reach the lake and inflate our packrafts which we will use to paddle across the lake to the beginning of the Katzehin River.  We will carefully negotiate past ice in the lake sometimes even getting out of our packrafts to walk along the shore if the icebergs are too many.

Packrafts are stable one person rafts, extremely strong and light for their size.  They allow us to easily get out of the river if the water is too fast and carry them past sections too dangerous to paddle and re-enter the river when we reach sections we feel comfortable paddling.

After paddling across the lake we will hike past a sections of rapids and re-enter the Katzehein River as it starts to form braids.  We will weave our way from one braid to the next, through gray silty water which just hours ago was the ice of the Meade Glacier. The water is swift but we are still able to take in the peaks of the Chilkoot Range.

All along the river we keep our eyes open for wildlife.  Very few people visit this valley but brown bears, wolves, mountain goats and moose are plentiful in the mountains and down in the valley.  If we are extremely lucky we may catch a glimpse of a wolverine, one of the rarest creatures in these mountains, a true treasure to behold.

This trip will require us to cross glacial ice, negotiate a swift and cold river as well as get in and out of our pack rafts many times a day, so physical fitness and situational awareness are important.  You and your guide will go over packrafting instruction and river safety and you will have a chance to practice your skills before entering the Katzehein River.  No pack rafting experience is required for this trip but having river experience will be very helpful as the water on the Katzehin is a glacially fed river, swift and cold.

Trip Itinerary

The schedule below is a rough idea of events plan but we will be very flexible and our route may change with the wind and the tide.

Day 1

Meet your guide in Haines for a pre trip meeting and gear check.

Day 2

We will meet in the morning for our transport to Skagway, where we will then meet our air charter into the Meade Glacier and the start of our adventure.  We will set down on the ice, unload our gear and wave good bye to our pilot; we are on our own now so to speak.  Packs on our back, we will trek across the ice toward a glacial lake and our first camp.

Day 3

Waking up on the shores of the lake at the terminus of the Meade Glacier we will be surrounded by granite peaks while we enjoy a hearty breakfast and prepare for our day.  Unpacking our pack rafts we will paddle the lake avoiding large chunks of ice which have calved from the glacier and eventually making our way to the start of the Katzehin River.  Walking past the first set of rapids if we need to we will begin our descent down the Katzehin.  This isn’t a whitewater river for the most part but the water is cold and fast so we will need to pay attention as we work our way down to camp number 2  in this rarely visited valley.

Day 4

Back on the river, the ocean is our destination today.  We will float the remaining twists and turns of the Katzehin to the shores of the fjord that surrounds Haines, Alaska.  We will stow our pack rafts and and transition to our sea kayaks for a few days on the fjord if desired, or can meet a water taxi back to Haines.

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Included

Food in the field, and all group camping equipment

Pack raft, paddle,PFD and safety equipment

Dry bags, tent, sleeping bag, clothing, etc….

Professional guide service

Not Included

Lodging while not in the field

Food while not in the field

Personal gear

Gratuity for guide (s)