|MEETING PLACE:||Coast High Country Inn, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada|
|MEETING TIME:||7:00 PM on itinerary day 1|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 5:00 PM on day 12|
|RIVER RATING:||Class II-III|
|PUT-IN:||Dalton Post, Yukon, Canada (Tatshenshini River)|
|TAKE-OUT:||Dry Bay, Alaska (Alsek River)|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 8|
|TRIP LENGTH||13 days|
|BOAT TYPE:||Oar raft|
The Tatshenshini River, rated as one of the world’s top five scenic rivers, drains the northwest corner of B.C. and the southwest corner of the Yukon Territory. The river joins the Alsek River just before the Alaska border and continues through the top of the Alaska panhandle to drain into the Pacific Ocean at Dry Bay. This special river valley has been designated as a Provincial Park and achieved World Heritage status, protecting it for generations to come. Shakespeare’s assertion that “Man is the measure of all things” could not have been made by anyone who has spent time in Alaska and the Yukon. In this land, man is humbled by the sheer mythic proportions of the landscape. The rivers and the vastness of space were made for Titans to roam and explore; the towering mountains were merely their thrones.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
Today is a dedicated travel day in which you’re welcome to arrive in Whitehorse anytime ahead of our pre-trip meeting & dinner, which will be held at 7:00 PM. Please plan to meet your Trip Leader and the rest of the group in the lobby of the Coast High Country Inn. Whitehorse is the capital and only city of the Yukon, and the largest city in northern Canada. Consider arriving early to enjoy what Whitehorse has to offer.
Coast High Country Inn
From Whitehorse, we head north on the Alaska Highway to Haines Junction and then west along the Haines Road to the Dalton Post turn off. Along the way we must stop at the U.S. Customs & Border Protection check-point where each traveler is required to check-in with border control. For this reason, you must have your passport with you (and visa if required for non-U.S. citizens). From there we head to put-in at Dalton Post (elevation 2000 ft). In all, the drive takes all of our morning, about five hours total. Dalton Post is an old abandoned trading post where we’ll meet the other guides and have lunch, then load the rafts and leave civilization behind us.
This first day on the river we run a number of lively Class III rapids through the gorge, then emerge a few hours later into a wide open valley to see our first views of the mountains with their hanging glaciers. Tonight we’ll set up camp at Silver Creek.
Days 3 & 4
The river slows down as we float through this incredible valley. Entering British Columbia, we meander through lush landscape and the home of a variety of birds, moose and beaver. The mountains to the southwest seem to get larger as we pass the river terraces, keeping a watchful eye out for the elusive blue bear, grizzly, mountain goat and wolf. Various tributaries double the size of the river and every turn produces a fantastic panoramic view. We spend two days stationed near Sediments Creek, where we can hike and explore the alpine region’s most diverse ecosystem.
Days 5 & 6
We’ll continue down the Tat and stop for lunch at O’Connor Creek. Every day the scenery becomes more spectacular; mountains rise to 8,000 feet and glaciers hang from every mountainside. The river valley continues to widen as we reach our camp near the confluence with the Alsek River. Here there are great hiking opportunities along the river terraces where wildflowers carpet the ground.
Days 7 & 8
We join the mighty Alsek River flowing from the north as we travel through braided channels. The river seems to narrow as the mountains reach for the sky. A 360-degree look will reveal over 50 glaciers as we near our camp at Walker Glacier. We marvel at the crevasses and hike onto massive moraines. Around the campfire, we’ll enjoy a beverage with 10,000 year-old ice collected from the glacier earlier this day.
Days 9 & 10
Cutting through the Brabazon Range, we pass the massive Novatak Glacier, which is the tip of one of the largest ice fields outside of the polar regions. To the south, 15,300-foot Mount Fairweather, the fourth highest mountain on the continent, dwarfs our very existence. Toward the end of day nine, we set up camp on the spit that separates the Alsek River from Alsek Lake, a five kilometer long lake located at the bottom of the massive Alsek Glacier. If time allows, we will paddle toward the glacier and watch as giant pieces of the ice calve-off with a thunderous roar and form icebergs in the lake. Our view from camp is one of the most spectacular anywhere on earth.
Today we’ll float through the icebergs of Alsek Lake as we make our way south of the Gateway Knob. Cruising in and out of the ice is exhilarating and provides fantastic photographic opportunities as we continue to witness giant pieces of ice calve-off the glacier. We camp again tonight on the lake.
After breaking camp, we’ll float the last miles down to the airstrip at Dry Bay on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Here we disembark, break down the rafts and board the plane for a spectacular flight over the mountains and back to Whitehorse. Once back in civilization, it’s off to the hotel and a well-deserved hot shower. Tonight we gather for a last toast to the Tatshenshini and plan our next adventure together before we head for home tomorrow.
Coast High Country Inn
This is a dedicated travel day and you’re welcome to depart at any time.
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Skilled, professional guide service provided by our affiliate operator
- All meals from dinner on day 1 through breakfast on day 13
- 10 nights catered camping with beer, wine and some liqueurs in camp
- 2 nights lodging in Whitehorse
- 1 waterproof bag to hold your gear for the trip (approximate sealed size: 33” tall x 16″ diameter)
- 1 small waterproof bag for camera and other small items you’ll want during the day (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter)
- 2-person tent on a shared basis (there is a $30 + tax charge for a private tent)
- Sleep kit—consisting of a sleeping bag, pad and pillow
- Floater jacket—combination personal flotation device (PFD) and jacket which must be worn at all times on the river in compliance with safety regulations. It is warm and waterproof.
- Rubber boots – be sure to let us know your size (whole sizes only, account for thick socks)
- Camp amenities such as chairs, eating utensils, cups and plates
- Highest quality inflatable rafts and related equipment
- Van transfer from Whitehorse to the river and flight from Dry Bay back to Whitehorse
- All park fees and necessary permits
- 27-oz Klean Kanteen water bottle
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to and from Whitehorse
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan or mandatory emergency medical & evacuation coverage
- Fishing gear and license
- Items of a personal nature and equipment
- U.S. and/or Canadian tourist visa (as required per citizenship)
Canada’s Goods & Services Tax (GST)
Canada has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5% and the province of British Columbia has a 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST), as well as a liquor tax and hotel tax. For non-residents of Canada, a portion of the GST taxes (including those paid for your river trip) can be recuperated. Be sure to keep receipts and ask customs officials on your departure from the country for the necessary forms and information.
Details can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/gst-hst-businesses/gst-hst-rebates/gst-hst-rebate-tour-packages.html
TRIP PREPARATION CHECK LIST
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: We recommend the purchase of the OARS Travel Protection Plan to help protect you before and during your trip. A travel protection plan can help with reimbursement of your non-refundable payments in the event you have to cancel your trip due to listed reasons such as a covered illness or injury. Because we begin working to prepare for your trip upon receipt of your deposit and may be turning other prospective guests away while holding space for you, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. We list the cost for the optional OARS Travel Protection Plan on your trip invoice.
10-Day Free Look Period: This stipulation allows you to cancel your travel protection plan within 10 days from your effective date of coverage or before your scheduled departure date, whichever comes sooner. OARS will refund all of your premiums paid if you cancel coverage within the time specified, provided you have not already filed a claim under the travel protection plan. Effective date refers to 12:01 AM the day after the policy premium is paid.
Insurance coverages are underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, NAIC #11150, under policy series LTP 2013 and endorsements thereto. Policies are administered by Arch Insurance Solutions Inc., 855-286-8351, CA license #0I18111, TX license #1787195. Your policy is the contract that specifically and fully describes your coverage. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply and coverages may vary in certain states. Please refer to your policy for detailed terms and conditions; online at: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Consumer disclosures can be found at: https://oars.archinsurancesolutions.com/disclosures
Please note, we require all participants have a minimum of emergency medical evacuation coverage to participate. This coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or is typically included in a travel protection plan. If you don’t have proof of coverage at the start of the trip, you cannot take part in the expedition. For a basic policy that includes coverage for emergency medical and evacuation situations, visit www.oars.com/tmp
☐ Trip Forms (online): Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation e-mail for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 90 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.
☐ Reserve flights, shuttles and lodging: Verify with your Adventure Consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable.
☐ Whitewater Orientation: To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our 23-minute Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. Watch at https://www.oars.com/experience/safety or call 800-346-6277 to request a free DVD. Please don’t leave home without watching.
☐ Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitation you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip.
☐ Payments: Final payment is due in our office 90 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.
Meeting Place & Time
On itinerary day 1 we will meet in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory (elevation 2260 ft), at 7:00 PM in the lobby of the Coast High Country Inn for a pre-trip meeting. Your trip leader will provide a thorough trip orientation and distribute waterproof bags so that you can pack your belongings that evening. The trip leader will also confirm the meeting time for the following morning and give you an opportunity to ask any last-minute questions.
Getting to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
The Whitehorse Airport is approximately a ten-minute taxi ride to town. Many hotels offer a complimentary airport shuttle.
Let us know if you’d like assistance with arranging your international flight logistics. Our partners at Exito Travel specialize in international destinations and we’d be happy to obtain a quote from them on your behalf.
Please do not purchase airfare until your departure has been confirmed by the minimum number of required guests.
After Your Trip
Weather permitting, we should arrive back to Whitehorse the afternoon of itinerary day 12 where a lodging is provided for you. The group will gather for a farewell dinner in Whitehorse. Should you decide to connect out of Whitehorse this night, you will be dropped off at the airport upon our return to town.
A delayed return to Whitehorse of one or more days is possible due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. We suggest having flexibility in your post-trip plans or obligations. OARS will notify your hotel if our return is delayed, but is not able to change your flights on your behalf.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
We recommend that you make reservations well in advance in order to guarantee lodging. The list below offers a few of the options in Whitehorse.
- Coast High Country Inn (800) 716-6199
- Edgewater Hotel (877) 484-3334
- Best Western Gold Rush Inn (800) 780-7234
- Westmark Whitehorse (800) 544-0970
- Inn on the Lake B&B (867) 660-5253 (35 minutes outside of Whitehorse)
Pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost. Be sure to book early, as rooms tend to fill-up in Whitehorse.
Essential Travel Documents
If you don’t have a passport, apply for one immediately because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date. Make a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and carry it separately from your passport. It is also a good idea to leave a copy with your emergency contact at home. We also request that you send us a copy to keep on file for emergencies during your trip. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate speed up authorization for replacement. Also, check your passport for blank pages. If you do not have at least two blank pages in your passport, we recommend that you apply to have extra pages added.
Do not pack your passport in your check-in luggage or leave it in Whitehorse. You may be asked for your papers not only upon departure, but at various times during your travel. If you are carrying a customs form, please keep it in a safe place at all times, perhaps with your other valuables. We recommend you pack these in a plastic zip-lock that you can store in the bottom of your large dry bag while on the river.
This trip takes place in both Canada and the United States (the second half of the river trip is in Alaska).
A visa for Canada is not required for U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens should check with the consulate of Canada, the United States and/or their home country to determine the need for a visa and arrange one or both, accordingly.
Because the trip crosses an international border while rafting, we must register every traveler with U.S. customs prior to the rafting trip. This is done on itinerary day 1, on our way to the put-in.
Mandatory Evacuation Insurance
We require that you purchase emergency medical evacuation insurance to participate in this expedition. For a policy that includes coverage for emergency medical and evacuation situations, visit www.oars.com/tmp
We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation through the purchase of a travel protection plan. We offer the OARS Travel Protection Plan to help protect you, your travel investment and your belongings before and during your trip. Travel Protection can reimburse you for non-refundable payments if you should have to cancel your trip for a covered reason such as your illness or the illness of an immediate family member. For complete details go online to: https://www.oars.com/tpp
On our Tatshenshini River trips we bring oar rafts. The oar rafts carry the bulk of the gear on most of our multi-day adventures. Your guide pilots with long oars from a center-mounted aluminum frame. Ample deck space allows for lounging in calm stretches, while the sturdy weight and width of the boat gives your guide confidence to hit big waves head-on. (Two to four passengers.)
Our journey will take us through alpine tundra, past towering mountains with massive glaciers that often reach the river, and finally onto the narrow coastal plain. This is a primeval land of the grizzly, the raven and the eagle—wilderness in its purest form. It has always been difficult to visit this remote corner of the world and settlements are few and very far between. The trappers and prospectors who came through in previous centuries endured extreme hardship to travel in the area—many did not survive the harshness. But “The Spell of the Yukon” has always been there, and even today Alaska and the Yukon have a place in the psyche of every adventurous North American.
The Tatshenshini drops 1950 feet from Dalton Post to Dry Bay. The Class III whitewater section lasts approximately 45 minutes with a maximum gradient of 50 feet per mile. The river itself is characterized as Class II-III, as it is challenging due to its remote nature. The upper Tat runs highest in June with the spring snowmelt, yet the Alsek River peaks in early July due to melting glaciers. The hotter the weather, the longer the high water will hold, leaving medium to moderate levels for August and September.
Wildlife & Flora
The valley of the Tatshenshini is a fantastic area for viewing wildlife. Wildlife sightings have included grizzly and black bear, moose, Dall sheep, mountain goat and wolf. Indigenous species also include coyote, lynx, marten and red fox. In the open-country, we are quite likely to see beaver, arctic ground squirrel and hoary marmot. Breeding pairs of bald eagles may be found feeding on the salmon. The occasional golden eagle can also be seen soaring over the canyons of the upper Tat. A variety of hawks and the rare peregrine falcon also call this river valley home. Canada geese and the fish-eating merganser are found along the river; while gulls and arctic terns are often seen as well.
The mountain slopes are forested with hemlock, fir and spruce. Balsam, poplar, and cottonwood are found on the alluvial fans and river terraces, while wildflowers such as dwarf fireweed and cinquefoil grace the river’s edge. The alpine meadows are covered with wildflowers such as moss campion and spotted saxifrage.
After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp for the night. Upon arrival, our first task is to unload the boats using a bag line of crew and passengers to expedite the process. Individuals then collect their waterproof bags and locate an area on the beach to camp for the night. On the first night in camp, a crew member will give a demonstration on setting up a tent, which you’ll see is quick and easy. The guides will set up the kitchen and central dining/seating area with camp chairs. They will also locate a secluded area away from camp to set up the portable toilet, where privacy is assured.
As dinner is being prepared by the guides, hors d’oeuvres will be served and you will have an opportunity to relax, enjoy a drink if you wish, and reflect on the day with your fellow traveling companions.
In the morning, the first wake-up call will let you know that coffee, hot water for tea or cocoa, juice, fresh fruit and cold cereal are ready on the hors d’oeuvres table. You can fill your mug and grab a bite, then begin to pack up your personal belongings and sleep gear as the guides prepare breakfast. After breakfast is served, the entire camp will be broken down and packing will be completed. The gear will then be loaded onto the boats and we’ll head downstream to see what new adventures await us.
The meals we serve are hearty and delicious, complete with fresh ingredients and a variety of foods. A typical morning on a multi-day trip might start with French toast, bacon, fruit, orange juice, and coffee or tea. Lunch might be a delicious spread of cold cuts and cheeses with several types of bread, or pitas stuffed with veggies and hummus. There are always cookies and a cooling drink to top it off. At dinner, our guides’ cooking skills truly shine—sizzling steaks or salmon, chicken enchiladas, and delicious pasta dishes are all part of their repertoire. Dinner generally includes a salad, and desserts are frequent. Hors d’oeuvres are a pleasant surprise before many meals.
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. However, there may be a supplemental menu fee, ranging from $5-25 per person per day, to cover any increase in our costs.
Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy-restricted diets without applying a fee. However, we cannot always provide the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as we do for our regular menu. Similarly, certain allergen-free snack foods are difficult or impossible to source in our locations, so feel free to bring your own favorite snacks to supplement our provisions. Please let your Adventure Consultant know if you intend to do so.
We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy. Also, due to the constraints of cooking for a large group in a wilderness setting, availability of ingredients or specialty items in remote locations, and limited packing space, we are unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).
Beverages / Alcohol
We provide a variety of canned beverages, water, lemonade and a limited supply of beer and wine with dinner. You are welcome to bring your own favorite beverages, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, in non-glass containers. If you choose to bring additional drinks or alcoholic beverages, please let us know in advance. For your safety and the safety of others, alcoholic beverages are limited to camp.
Our drinking water comes from the river and is filtered through a purification system we provide. We store the purified water in large containers that are accessible in camp, at lunch time and before hikes for filling personal water bottles.
OARS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our guests and for our staff. We ask that smoking of any kind be done away and downwind from other trip participants.
We plan to hike and walk as much as possible. Please let your trip leader know if you are an avid hiker and remember to bring extra water bottles and good shoes. Remember, however, that all hikes are optional and you can choose to stay at camp and relax instead.
The Tatshenshini-Alsek is one of the North’s most prolific salmon habitats and commercial fisheries. It has massive sockeye salmon runs and is a spawning ground for spring and coho salmon. However, because of the glacial run-off from the world’s largest non-polar ice fields, the fishing is not great. If you plan on staying in the Yukon before or after your expedition, there are a number of wonderful char, grayling and trout fisheries in the region. We suggest you bring a rod with case and the smallest of tackle boxes with the appropriate lures or flies.
A non-resident of Canada only requires a basic non-resident angling licence to fish these rivers, as neither the Tatshenshini nor Alsek Rivers are “classified.” Note that a conservation surcharge stamp for steelhead is required if the angler is targeting steelhead and a conservation surcharge stamp for salmon is required if the angler intends to keep salmon of any species. Angling licenses (including conservation surcharge stamps) may be purchased online at www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/licences or through a license vendor in the province.
The Portable Toilet
While the idea of a river trip is appealing to most people, many are inhibited or reluctant because of modesty or uncertainty. To minimize our impacts, we carry out all solid human waste and use a portable toilet system that is set up each day at camp in a secluded location a discrete distance from tent sites. It is essentially a toilet without plumbing and is available from the time you pull into camp each afternoon until you leave camp the next day. Toilet paper and a convenient hand-washing station are provided.
We also carry a small container called the “day tripper” that can be easily accessed during the day should the need arise. It is a personal disposable toilet, which includes an odor-proof transport bag, chemical solidifier and odor eliminator, toilet paper and oversized hand wipe.
On popular stretches of wilderness rivers, the common refrain is “dilution is the solution to pollution.” We practice this approach by urinating in the river during the day. For use in camp at night we provide pee buckets so that urination can occur in a secluded location and then be dumped into the current where it will be carried downstream.
Bathing is allowed in the river, however the water is cold (some say very). On occasion though, after a long hike or on a warm day, some of our guests have been moved to take a dip. Most often they prefer to cleanse with disposable anti-bacterial towelettes (Coleman Swash Cloths, baby wipes, etc.) which are especially convenient. We also bring a rudimentary shower that can be set up on layover days and filled with heated water—ask your guide if you’re interested. We recommend using a liquid biodegradable soap, such as Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s, which can be purchased at camping and health food stores. It can also be used to wash clothes.
We provide a small waterproof bag (17” tall x 9” diameter—approximate sealed size) to hold your camera and other items you might need during the day. While these bags are designed to be waterproof, you may wish to place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for additional protection. We also strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. Make sure to bring additional memory cards, batteries and any other extras you will need. Disposable waterproof and panorama cameras are also a fun option.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players and flying drones, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you be mindful of the impacts to others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music during the trip and leave your drone at home.
Many of our guests travel with their smartphone even though there is no cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are stowed in a dry bag. If you intend to take your phone with you on the river, consider investing in a small, waterproof container just for your phone.
We are not able to provide a power source for recharging devices. To keep cameras, phones, GPS and other devices working you may need spare batteries or portable power. Options include compact portable solar panels that can recharge devices directly, portable power banks that store power, or a combo unit that can be charged before the trip and recharged with a built-in solar panel.
Once you are on the river there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Cell phone service is not available. Our guides carry satellite phones which are strictly used to call out in case of an emergency situation on the river. They can call out, but we cannot call them. Periodically the trip leader will check in with our office. If you have someone that needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office (800-346-6277). If possible, we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind, however, it could be several days or longer before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home you should define for them what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
The Canadian monetary unit is the Canadian dollar (CDN). Like U.S. currency, coins are the penny, nickel, quarter and the dollar, or “Loonie” piece. A two-dollar coin has come into circulation to replace two-dollar bills. Credit cards are widely accepted. Establishments may accept U.S. dollars, but at a high exchange rate. You’re better off using a credit card or withdrawing cash from an ATM, which are readily available.
If you intend to convert U.S. to Canadian dollars, you’ll get the most favorable rates at banks. Most banks are open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday to Friday; some branches stay open later and on Saturday mornings.
For Women Only
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. You can use sandwich-sized Ziploc baggies during the day to store feminine products while you are on the river or hiking, and you can then discretely dispose of the baggies when you reach camp. When possible, we recommend o.b.® tampons, which are 1/3 the size of regular tampons, tuck discreetly into pockets and have less paper wrapping. If you use pads, be sure to bring extras. Many women suggest bringing a small supply of baby wipes. We provide some feminine products on most trips for emergencies.
Average daytime highs in August can reach the 60’s (°F), while average nighttime lows can creep into the 30’s. We will still experience the North’s long hours of daylight and your trip may also witness the dramatic northern lights. There is no guarantee against a few days of overcast weather, rain or even snow, so follow our recommended equipment list as our experience suggests a multi-layering approach with a range of conditions and temperatures in mind. You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend you check the forecast leading up to your trip at: https://www.yr.no/place/Canada/British_Columbia/Tatshenshini-Alsek_Park/
Averages for Tatshenshini-Alsek Nat’l Park
|MONTH||HIGH (°F)||LOW (°F)||DAYS OF RAIN|
River Runners Responsibility Code
1. Read the pre-trip literature and arrive at the meeting place on time.
2. Understand the risks: your safety is ultimately your responsibility.
3. Wear the OARS-issued and properly–fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when in the boats or swimming. Wear a helmet when required.
4. Wear clothing and personal protective equipment suitable for the current conditions.
5. Listen to and follow the guides’ instructions.
6. Abide by the managing agency’s rules.
7. No drugs or alcohol prior to, or during, your trip; alcohol is allowed in moderation in camp on overnight trips. 8. Minimize your impact on the environment.
9. Treat your fellow guests and guides with respect and courtesy; harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. 10. Your children are your responsibility!
Essential Eligibility Criteria for River Trips
The following are the physical and mental eligibility criteria for all participants on any OARS river trip.
1. Ability to remain seated and balanced while in a whitewater craft while holding on with at least one hand.
2. Wear a Type V Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches). Wearing leg straps may be required to ensure proper fit. Where required, properly wear a helmet.
3. Ability to independently board and disembark a boat four to ten times each day. This may require stepping into the boat, and then maneuvering your body over and across tubes and fixed objects into a seated position.
4. Ability to independently navigate shoreline terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
5. Ability to independently swim in whitewater or swift currents while wearing a PFD. This includes being an active participant in your own rescue, including having the ability to (a) keep your airway passages sealed while underwater, and regain control of your breathing when being submitted to repeated submersion under waves or currents; (b) orient yourself to new “in-river” surroundings; (c) reposition yourself in the water to different swimming positions; (d) swim aggressively to a boat or to shore in whitewater; (e) receive a rescue rope, paddle, or human assistance, and possibly let go of the same; (f) get out from under an overturned boat.
6. Ability to swim 100 yards in flat water while wearing a PFD.
7. Ability to assist another passenger who has fallen out of the boat by pulling them back in.
8. Ability to follow both verbal and non-verbal instructions given by guides in all situations, including during stressful or dangerous situations, and to effectively communicate with guides and other guests.
9. Ability to carry personal dry bags and other personal gear (as heavy as 20-30 pounds) uphill from the boats to your camping location and back the next morning, independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member. (This only applies on multi-day trips).
10. Ability to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
11. If taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
12. Ability to remain adequately fed, hydrated, and properly dressed so as to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat related illness, sunburn and frostbite.
The above criteria, if not met, will disqualify a person from participating in a river trip with OARS. The criteria exist for your own safety and that of all trip participants. None of the criteria are meant to discriminate on the basis of any physical or mental disability, and are applied uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability. OARS is committed to making reasonable modifications to any trip for any persons with a disability, so long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the trip.
Further Information About Our Expectations of Trip Participants
The following paragraphs are meant to further inform all potential participants of the expectations for all participants in order to promote a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone on a trip. There may be requirements, whether physical or mental, that are not specifically applied “essential eligibility criteria”, but that help our guests understand the reality of being on a wilderness river trip.
Our primary goal is to minimize the risks associated with adventure trips in a wilderness environment. The trip involves physical exertion and exposure to the elements, including cold water and the potential for heat, sun, wind, rain and snow. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight, lack conditioning, or have other physical limitations or ailments that interfere with the realistic encounters on a wilderness river can endanger themselves, other guests, and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure.
It is very important that each trip participant take an active role in their own safety. You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with, and those conditions may change rapidly. It is critical to pay attention at all times, to be aware of your surroundings, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Even a non-life threatening injury in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency for you, and can endanger the entire group. Swimming alone or hiking alone is discouraged. Excessive alcohol consumption or illicit drug use is not tolerated. Using common sense and following both the explicit instruction and the lead of your guides can go a long way towards keeping yourself and the group safe. Some obvious things to avoid in camp and on shore (by way of example) are: walking around without shoes in camp, approaching wild animals, not paying attention to what is above or around your tent site that could harm you, not paying attention to hazards such as poison ivy and rattlesnakes, and walking near precipitous ledges.
River trips, particularly those involving whitewater, are inherently risky. While the risk of a trip is part of what makes it an exciting adventure, you must be entirely respectful of the risk that such a trip poses. It is important that you are confident in your swimming ability, and your ability to stay calm in the event you become a non-voluntary swimmer. Your odds of becoming a non-voluntary swimmer change with the classification of a rapid, boat selection and environmental factors. On class IV and greater whitewater, the probability that you will become a non-voluntary swimmer is significant. A swim in whitewater is much more difficult and physically draining than swimming in flat water. Swimming in cold water can cause a gasping effect on your respiratory system. This can be overcome by focusing on your breathing and calming yourself down. Swimming in cold water will also much more quickly sap your energy and decrease muscle function than swimming in warmer water. While our guides are highly trained and will do their absolute best to rescue you, a successful rescue is greatly hampered by a swimmer who is unprepared for a swim in whitewater, who fails to actively participate in their own rescue, and who is not able to follow directions while under stress. You will receive a detailed orientation talk at the start of your river trip, but you can get a better idea of what to expect by watching a version of an orientation talk here: http://www.oars.com/videos/oars-whitewater-orientation.
Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise for at least three months prior to departure to ensure preparedness. No gym membership required! Simple exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and squats go a long way to improving core fitness. Start with these exercises and do three sets of ten repetitions each, three to four times per week. Aerobic training is also easy to accomplish without expensive equipment. Take 30 – 40 minutes two to three times a week and go for a brisk walk, easy jog or bike ride around town. If you have access to a pool, lake or the ocean, swimming is obviously an ideal choice for aerobic exercise. It provides a full-body workout and is training that is useful in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid. It is important to push yourself in the months leading up to your trip by increasing your strength training repetitions and the pace of your aerobic training. Check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program to be sure you are medically safe to participate. Starting an exercise program that is more strenuous than you are ready for may result in injury or risk exacerbating existing health conditions. Getting in shape will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trip.
Packing for Your Trip
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/pack-river-rafting-trip/
The information below is subject to when your trip takes place. The need for warm weather or cold weather items should be based on a reliable weather forecast leading up to your trip.
All clothing (with a few exceptions) should be quick-drying and made of merino wool or synthetics. Warmth and comfort are the main objectives with this outline. Weather conditions can vary considerably in the north. It’s important to dress in layers so that you can maintain a comfortable body temperature no matter what Mother Nature may have in store. The inner base layer should move perspiration outside, where it can evaporate. The intermediate layer should insulate while the outside layer should act as a barrier to wind and rain.
Boatwear—Start with base layers for your torso and legs. Add additional layers of fleece, rain pants (consider rubber pants for in the raft) and the provided flotation jacket. We provide rubber boots, or you can bring your own. As the day warms up, layers can be taken off and stored in your small waterproof bag (provided). Outer waterproof pants should be large enough to accommodate base layers.
In Camp—Cotton pants and shirts make great camp wear. A dry set of long underwear is the perfect base layer under long pants and a fleece sweater.
Hiking Clothes—Choose lightweight fabrics that breathe well while walking. Base layers can be added or removed based on the weather. Whatever you choose, make sure you have comfortable freedom of movement, especially for uphill and downhill walking.
Boatwear—Most of the time you will want high-top rubber boots (such as those used for sailing or gardening) and warm socks. At times an amphibious shoe, or a comfortable pair of athletic shoes, with good soles may be appropriate. Sandals will not provide the protection you want from the water. Your feet will get wet getting in and out of the boat and the water is chilly. No-slip soles are ideal. Wool or fleece socks are recommended to help keep your feet warm while rafting.
*If you’d like us to provide tall rubber boots, be sure to let us know. When requesting a size, consider the thickness of socks you may be wearing.
Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
In camp—The athletic shoes or light hikers you bring for hiking can double as your camp shoes. It’s nice to put on dry socks and shoes after a day on the water. Flip flops or slip-on sandals are OK for wearing in camp only.
Hiking—We plan to hike and walk as much as possible. The importance of good footwear cannot be overstated. Given that our trails are often gravely or sometimes muddy, you need a good walking shoe or boot with a firm sole, a degree of water resistance and some ankle support. It’s easy to find a “hybrid” walking boot, which combines the lightweight, ventilated features of a shoe with the support and durability of a boot.
Socks—We recommend merino wool material, as they will keep your feet warm if they get wet. It may be a good idea to bring along some additional items such as foot powder, cushioned pads and/or bandage or 2nd Skin®, which provides cushioned comfort with an antiseptic for blistered and sore feet. Many people find a product called moleskin gives them great relief from blisters. It’s a good idea to change into clean, dry socks once you’re off the river at camp.
If you plan to buy footwear for the trip, allow time for break-in and wear your footwear until its comfy.
During the day— A wide-brimmed hat is a good choice for sun protection, or a ball cap. In colder temps, a beanie-style hat is desirable.
In camp—When the weather is cold, you’ll want a beanie-style hat to wear in camp. They are the perfect remedy for bed-head as you rise from your sleeping bag to secure your morning cup of coffee or tea, or for retaining warmth in the evening hours after the sun sets.
To Avoid Being Cold
Merino wool or synthetic long underwear is a must-have on river trips. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet, dries quickly and can be layered under your rain jacket and pants. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm if wet.
Pile or Fleece—This fabric is warm, dries quickly and is lightweight. It can be found in many different styles and colors. Bring good fleece tops and bottoms, along with a warm hat and gloves. You’ll want to double-up on your synthetic layers so that you’ll have a set to wear in the boat and a dry set for camp.
It is one of the essential items that all passengers should have, no matter what time of year you are traveling. We provide a hooded, waterproof flotation jacket to be worn on the raft. You will want a dedicated waterproof rain jacket and pants for day hikes and in camp. Look for jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended, with secure closures for your head, neck and wrists. Pants should be large enough to accommodate several base layers underneath.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must. In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs. Consider bringing a good hat that offers full coverage, such as a wide-brimmed hat.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location and time of year. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
We supply a sleeping bag, pad and pillow, as well as a tent on a shared basis. The complete sleep kit that we provide is designed for your comfort and maximizes available luggage space.
Equipment and Personal Items:
☐ Daypack: for day hikes. It should be large enough to carry raingear, jacket, camera and water bottle
☐ 1-liter water bottle: durable and reusable
☐ Locking carabiner (for clipping a water bottle or personal dry bag into the raft)
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Sunglasses (preferable polarized) with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Small, quick-drying towel (consider bringing two)
☐ Bathing towels/wipes: pre-moistened disposable wipes such as Coleman Swash Cloths
☐ Toiletries including biodegradable soap
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Personal first aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Cash for gratuities and incidentals
☐ High-top rubber boots: we can provide these with advance notice (plan for thick or multiple socks)
☐ Lightweight hiking boots or shoes: 1 pair, comfortable and with good tread for hiking and in camp
☐ Sandals with a heel strap or flip flops (such as those made by Chaco®)
☐ Socks: 3-6 pair (merino wool is best)
☐ Long-sleeved shirt: 2-3 quick drying (UPF rated shirts are great)
☐ Long pants: 1-2 lightweight and quick-drying
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap
☐ Rain jacket & pants: waterproof (not water resistant). A hooded jacket with secure closures is recommended
☐ Swimwear; a two-piece is recommended for women for changing and using the restroom. Tankinis and board shorts are a great option.
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ T-shirts/tops: 3–4
☐ Base layers/long underwear—tops & bottoms: 3 sets, light to mid-weight merino wool or synthetic
☐ Fleece pants (medium to expedition weight)
☐ Jacket: fleece or down/synthetic fill puffy
☐ Camp clothes: comfortable and appropriate for season. Cotton recommended for hot weather trips. Women may prefer an athletic skirt or dress
☐ Beanie-style hat and gloves—wool or fleece are ideal
☐ Binoculars: small
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Paddling gloves for in the boat—often neoprene
☐ Small bags: stuff sacs, zip locks or similar for organizing items in your dry bag
☐ Large empty bag: laundry bag, pillow case or similar for putting clothes into after your trip
☐ Lightweight cord and clothespins for drying clothes
☐ Sarong: useful for sun protection, evaporative cooling, changing clothes, etc.
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Fishing rod with case and tackle (fishing license is required)
☐ Whiskbroom: small (no long handle) to sweep wet sand off tent
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Packing Your Gear
At the pre-trip meeting each person will be given a large waterproof bag (approximate sealed size: 33” tall x 16” diameter; 6635 cu in; 110L). This bag will be for your clothing and personal items and will be your “checked luggage” and accessible only in camp. Tents and sleep kits are stowed separately. We also provide a small waterproof bag for day use where you can keep items such as rain gear, camera, sunscreen, lip balm, etc. (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter), but you may want to bring your own. The bags are cylindrical in shape and pack from the top. At the end of the river trip, you will return to Whitehorse with your waterproof bag, where you will be able to unpack your gear before your trip home.
We recommend you take on the river only what’s absolutely necessary. Keeping gear to a minimum ensures it will fit into the waterproof bags we supply and reduces unnecessary packing and unpacking in camp. If you have extra items needing storage, you may be able to store it at your hotel in Whitehorse – check with your hotel in advance.
We recommend that you leave your valuables at home. For necessary personal items such as a wallet, passports, etc., we recommend putting them in a zip-lock bag and at the bottom of your waterproof bag with your clothing.
Tipping is optional but appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on approximately 10% of the OARS trip cost. It is customary for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader, who will then distribute appropriately among all the guides and support staff. You’ll want to plan ahead and have cash with you, however a gratuity can also be provided via check, credit card or PayPal.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll note a $1 per person per day donation to the Alaska Wilderness League, a non-profit conservation organization leading the effort to preserve Alaska’s wilderness by engaging citizens, sharing resources and collaborating with other organizations, educating the public and providing a constant voice for Alaska in the nation’s capital. Currently the League is fighting to permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, promote the sustainable future of the Tongass National Forest and check the unbalanced and potentially destructive development of Alaska’s Arctic waters and Western Arctic public land. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to Alaska Wilderness League and your contribution is tax-deductible. Please notify our office if you would prefer to delete the donation from your balance.
If you enjoyed your trip, consider donating to The Pam & George Wendt Foundation. This organization is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the express goal of providing opportunities for young people to experience the magic of the outdoors. Visit http://www.oars.com/oars-foundation to learn more about how a tax-deductible donation can change young lives for the better.
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Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
A $1000/person deposit is required at the time of reservation. The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible. The cancellation fee after you’ve made your deposit can range up to the entire trip cost, based upon the number of days prior to your trip that we receive your cancellation notice. We regret we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies. For this reason, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan (see Travel Protection).
|DATE OF CANCELLATION||CANCELLATION FEE|
|90 or more days prior to your trip||Full deposit ($1000)/person|
|89 to 0 days prior to your trip||100% of the trip price/person|
Requests to transfer a date will be treated as a cancellation, per the terms above.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS International People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
We offer the OARS Travel Protection Plan to help protect you, your travel investment and your belongings before and during your trip. Travel Protection can reimburse you for non-refundable payments if you should have to cancel your trip for a covered reason such as your illness or the illness of an immediate family member. For complete details go online to: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Please note, we require all participants have a minimum of emergency medical evacuation coverage to participate. This coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or is typically included in a travel protection plan. If you don’t have proof of coverage at the start of the trip, you cannot take part in the expedition. For a basic policy that includes coverage for emergency medical and evacuation situations, visit www.oars.com/tmp
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release form before the trip, acknowledging awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with OARS. International cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. International, Inc., ROAM Adventures, Inc. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 6 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time.
OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, it is important that all travelers obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc. On advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. Prices subject to change without notice.
R.O.A.M. Adventures, Inc.
R.O.A.M. Adventures, Inc., a travel partner of OARS International, is the operator of this trip. A representative will escort you throughout the program. These staff members are the very best and will strive to ensure your complete satisfaction.