Oshetna River

Would anyone like to provide some first hand knowledge of running the big Oshetna River? I have never been in that drainage but have heard a lot of good things about it. I have reviewed the Wilderness Classic reports on the Eureka-Talkeetna route but would like more detailed information on what running the Big O from its upper reaches (well above the confluence with the Black River) to the Susitna is like. This might be part of trip from Eureka to the train at Sherman via both the Big O and the Big Su. Obviously, I would portage Devils Canyon. Heck, just typing the name fills me with dread.

It is briefly mentioned in Embicks book, and I have heard that it is in the class IIIish range, but cannot remember the source. I have a friend who has had wheelers back there several times, I will ask him what he thinks.

But it’s just begging for the first packraft descent…

Thank you, Mark. I would appreciate that.

I have seen a recently shot video of two kayakers in a canyon on the Big Su. At first I thought a really good packrafter could make some of the same run. The location of the shoot seemed to resemble the location from which the grainy black and white footage of the second run of Devils Canyon was taken. Based on Embick’s lengthy (and harrowing) description, I can only wish anyone the best of luck.

The recently shot video I referred to above was just a short section posted at an anti-Watana dam site. I have now tracked down the original video. It really is Devils Canyon, but I do not see how a packrafter could do what these kayakers did, especially punching through the tops of big waves just before they break back on the boat.

Yes, packrafts are real boats, and they do not have to do everything a kayak can do to still be rightly considered legitimate whitewater craft. But kayaks can run some things that I just do not see as possible for a packraft.

I am having trouble embedding Vimeo viewer, but here is the link if anyone wants to judge for him or herself: http://vimeo.com/45682993

Shelton’s video is awesome. I love the section where he actually goes underwater.

I figure I’ll run it in a packraft this year, and next year on a large blowup banana or inflatable duck.

Never say never though, who knows what it will look like if a dam actually gets built.