On the river

© Noel Hendriksson


A minimum of two boats per party is recommended for safety. 

  • Four-metre or larger rafts in good operating condition are recommended
  • Rigid kayaks and covered whitewater canoes with floatation are suitable only for paddlers experienced with Class III and IV rapids
  • Folding kayaks and open canoes are not recommended.
Emergency equipment

All rafts with fixed floors must carry a bailing bucket and should pack emergency rescue gear in case of an accident, including:

  • Throw bags
  • Rescue rope and pulleys
  • A comprehensive first aid kit
  • Repair kit
  • Spare paddles and oars
  • Extra food for unexpected delays

Emergency equipment is only useful if easily accessible, you know how to use it and have practiced with it.

Personal gear

Personal floatation devices (PFD's)

Ministry of Transport regulations require that one approved PFD must be worn by each traveler. A Type III or Type V PFD is recommended, as they offer a greater amount of floatation.

Thermal protection

The air and water temperatures are cold, particularly when it's windy. Warm clothing that retains heat when wet is recommended.

  • Synthetic fleece and wool layers are preferred to cotton
  • Wearing dry suits with warm layers underneath is strongly recommended when negotiating rapids

Whitewater helmets are recommended for all river travelers, especially when negotiating rapids.

In camp

© Noel Hendriksson

Food storage

It is mandatory to ensure that human food and garbage is secured or contained in such a manner that it is inaccessible to bears

Approved bear resistant containers (approved coolers, canisters, raft boxes) and/or portable electric fences are required to help prevent bears from accessing human food. Portable electric fences have proven to be successful in helping to deter bears from camp areas.

Fire pan

Fire pans are required for campfires. Camp stoves are recommended, since driftwood and deadwood are limited and difficult to obtain.

Human waste disposal system

All human waste must be packed out of the Alsek Valley. Human waste disposal systems are available for rent from commercial suppliers. Please be sure to arrive at the park with an appropriate waste disposal system. A dump station is available at Dry Bay.

Emergency communication

Satellite phones are recommended in case of the need for emergency contact. Other satellite GPS messenger devices, such as a SPOT® or inReach®, are also effective. Cell phones do not work on the Alsek River.

There is no single emergency contact number that is good for the whole river. It is important to know which number to call in the event of an emergency.

Kluane National Park and Reserve

24 hr emergency dispatch: 1-780-852-3100

Tatshenshini-Alsek Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

24 hr emergency dispatch: 1-907-697- 2651