Expedition Training: River Travel & Backpacking The learning objectives of expedition courses are to develop skills necessary to be your own wilderness packraft guide. You will be involved with the “big picture” planning & preparation process- professional guidance gaining insight & experience before executing an Alaskan backcountry packraft trip.

Registration: Contact Alaska Packraft School for questions. 

Detailed Itinerary, Gear List, and FAQ PDF's below:

 

DETAILS & ITINERARY

GEAR LIST

FAQ & WHAT’S INCLUDED

 

Course Description: Expedition courses are comprehensive “hybrid” learning opportunities: you’ll also receive skills coaching & refine your river paddling ability during the trip.

Having established foundational packrafting skills through previous APS courses, expedition members will meet with instructors on day one.  We review gear & get on the water together as a group before 4 days of wilderness travel.  

All participants will be self-supported: carrying food, camping equipment and shared group items. This allows you to become familiar with & develop confidence in your personal gear while refining “systems” you’ll use on future packraft trips.

 

Curriculum Outline:

  • Trip planning, logistics, food packing, gear selection & prep
  • Packing tips, techniques & pros/cons: cutting on weight, not safety 
  • Gear management while in field & post trip
  • Gear repair & in field fixes: packrafts, river gear & camping equipment
  • Group travel techniques & communication
  • Paddling & handling loaded boats
  • Self & group rescue in wilderness environments
  • Group communication & travel techniques
  • Identifying & avoiding hazards: “Read and run” boat vs land scouting
  • Advanced paddling techniques (based on river features and group pace)
  • Morning meetings: establish daily objectives
  • Evening meetings: debrief experiences & plan following day
  • Satellite communication options & evacuation considerations
  • Cultivating “Situational Awareness.” Logistics & safety discussions to build better risk management & decision making skills in the field.
  • Leave No Trace Ethics & Bear Safety Protocols

 

Expedition Training also includes:

  • Backcountry drop-off flight into Wrangell-St. Elias
  • 3 hours of group zoom meetings (1.5 hrs each: Mid June & July, date/time TBA)
  • 30 minutes hour of private consultation, in person or remote.  We’re here to support & guide you!

Prerequisites

    1. A desire to learn and adventure with a team of capable packraft enthusiasts.
    2. Physically capable to comfortably participate in BOTH sports: paddling & off trail backpacking.  Must be able to carry a 40-60 lb backpack w/ all personal paddling & expedition gear through challenging terrain for 3 consecutive days.  Must be capable of paddling for 4-6 hrs on class II/III.
    3. Individuals who do not want a “guided” trip, but want to be an active participant in the planning process and success of the group.
    4. Team members should be emotionally & physically fit; have ability & willingness to adjust to changes inevitable in wilderness environments & what “The Alaska Factor” may throw at us.
    5. Proficient swimmer.
    6. Minimum 18 yrs old.
    7. Having taken a packrafting clinic or course prior & experience on class III moving water.  ACA packraft paddling clinic (2-day), or equivalent training or significant previous kayaking or packrafting experience may also qualify. Qualification/acceptance remains at the discretion of APS.
    8. Having taken Swiftwater Rescue Training within 3 years (certification course, training OR instruction with APS).
    9. Familiarity with your own personal packraft, river gear & camping equipment; you should be willing to acquire the gear needed for this expedition and to plan and prepare with other team members.  Review the gear list for more info on what’s essential for this trip.  Some rental items are available, please contact the school.

 

Dates

August 14-18th, 2024

Length

5 Days

Location

McCarthy, AK: "Lakina Traverse"

Wrangell St Elias National Park

Cost: $2000

Tuition includes backcountry airfare/dropoff

$500 deposit required to hold space

Trip Dates

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Related Courses & Trips

Level 1: Packraft Foundations

Perfect for the “never ever” packrafter or those who have paddled a few times, but without formal instruction. This course exposes you to the essentials of packrafting- both the hiking & paddling aspects. You’ll leave with a strong foundation in packrafting basics.

Level 2: Whitewater Essentials

For paddlers with previous packrafting experience wanting to strengthen their ability to read & paddle class II-III rivers.  River safety, rescue skills & risk assessment is also practiced.

Week of Rivers: Class II

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