Kanaaupscow River

CanadaQuebec09 Hudson Bay, Upper James Bay
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Lester Kovac
Trip Date : 
July 21 - August 9, 2013
Location Map: 
Additional Route Information
450 km
20 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
1620 m
Longest Portage: 
400 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

This River has easy access at both ends via the access roads to the LA-1 and LG-2 hydroprojects.

We drove to Radisson where we had rented a van & trailer & hired a driver who drove us to the LA1 dike at the end of LA1 road (off Trans-Taiga Highway). The road is rough & needs tough vehicles.

Technical Guide: 

Kanaaupscow River


This River has easy access at both ends via the access roads to the LA-1 and LG-2 hydroprojects. It is not an easy river. Within the overall length of 450 km, (including more than 100km of reservoir at the end), we encountered many flats interspersed with difficult rapids. The general direction of the river had us paddling into the prevailiing westerlies. This waterway runs through taiga, which makes for frequently overgrown (alder-choked) riverbanks, making scouting difficult and time-consuming at times. An esker follows the river for about one third of its course and there are two canyons which have to be portaged around. 
The one 'trip report' we had before tackling this river told us "it is mostly R1&2's with occasional falls" but, at the water level we experienced it at, we'd revise that to "mostly R1&4's (4!!!) with occasional falls". On our way in, at our last gas-up, we were warned that the 2 groups ahead of us that season had had to be evacuated by helicopter, but we have not been able to find out why. During one scouting climb, we happened upon another (a few years older) helicopter evacuation site with the remains of a wrecked ABS canoe. We 'followed' red & purple "ABS tracks" for about the 1st 1/3 of the trip, after which we saw no further sign of humans until the last 3rd, where human sign is much older. We did not encounter people until the end of the trip at the final take-out. We were challenged with only 3 weeks to paddle this river - we might have enjoyed it more if we'd had 4 weeks. 

Words of Caution

These maps were created based on notes taken during our canoe trip in July/August 2013. Our trip report is available at http://sites.google.com/site/landltrips/Trips/kanaaupscow2013. I marked our maps according to what we saw at that time, in order to provide information to any future visitors, however, by no means can I take any responsibility for how this information will be used. I cannot guarantee that our information does not contain errors, whether made by us personally or by bugs in the software used. Rapid classification is subjective. Our subjective evaluation of the class level of these rapids does NOT take into account the remoteness of the region (i.e. distance and time from help etc.), the water temperature (cold kills) and the size and power of this river (any swim could be a very long swim). Moreover, the class of rapids depends on the water level and that can change immensely through the season. Use the information provided here with caution. YOU are the ONLY one responsible for your own decisions and for your own safety. Waterways described here are wild and very remote. Weather can be also very tough. DO YOUR OWN scouting and reconnaissance. I am not taking any responsibility for the information provided here or for your safety.

An Important Word from our lawyer

The information conveyed here, on our maps, on our website and in our trip reports is the sole opinion and perspective of Lynette and/or Laco alone and should not be taken as a basis in fact. Many of L&L's observations during the period reported were made after only a very brief period, in very specific weather and water level conditions and often in a fatigued state. All readers are strongly encouraged and advised to do their own independent research (scouting) and form their own independent conclusions before deciding on any facts or actions in relation to any of L&L's freely published information.
It is a well known fact that rivers can and do change completely, depending on multiple factors such as water levels, ice conditions, flood and/or drought conditions, continual erosion and altering seasonal and weather patterns. Each person who undertakes to travel any of these routes is responsible for their own judgements and safety. 

Route description

This river was mapped during our trip July 20 - August 9, 2013. All markings are subject to the water levels we had at that time, which we suspect were probably quite a bit lower than average. As for the logistics, we drove to Radisson where we had rented a van & trailer & hired a driver who drove us to the LA1 dike at the end of the LA1 road. The road is slow, rough & needs tough vehicles. We camped at the put-in ramp.

Map 2:
At km 433 we came to a narrow, shallow pass that we had to carry/drag our heavily-laden canoes over. Looking at the map, we think it is possible to paddle the more northern route to avoid this shallow spot.

Map 10:
At km 332, the R2 leads into an ugly R5 rapid. We kept left in the R2 & landed RL before the dangerous blind corner. We portaged the island & walked one empty canoe (paddle in more water?) via the narrow, shallow left channel.

Map 17:
At km 264, we lined the R4-5 on river right and portaged First Canyon on the left. The approach to the put-in is steep & difficult.
At km 254, the approach to the river left portage is a short pull-up through a small incoming creek into a small pond. The portage starts in the south-west corner of the pond. We camped in the middle of the portage (up high) overlooking the Second Canyon, however, we had to walk for water to the put-in, which is again steep & difficult.

Map 18:
At km 249, we were able to line, paddle and carry-over the entire R5 and Nose Falls on river right.

Map 26:
Absolutely beautiful Twin Falls. Portages are on river right on both and it is possible to camp there.

Map 30:
We sneaked and portaged right side of right channel of Wawipikinasi Falls. Looking from below, it seemed to us that there might be a portage on river left of the main (left) channel.

Maps 31-32:
km 104 - although it may seem on older topo maps that it is possible to use a narrow channel through the south-west marshes, it was overgrown and paddling south-east is the much more preferred route.

Our trip report is available at http://sites.google.com/site/landltrips/kanaaupscow2013
HydroQuebec LaGrande:  http://www.hydroquebec.com/visit/ http://www.hydroquebec.com/hydloandfriends/publications/the-la-grande-hy...
James Bay & Trans Taiga Roads:  http://jamesbayroad.com/index.html 

For feedback, corrections or contributions to this information, the author of these maps can be contacted via the link at bottom of the main page at http://sites.google.com/site/landltrips/
Life is short - paddle hard!





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