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jordansahls

Waddington range air charter logistics

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I'm thiking about flying in to the Waddington range this summer to get in some climbing and I have a few questions for those who have any expirience in the area.

 

I hear it is best to fly 3 people per helicopter flight so an extra gear run is not required? Has this been peoples expirience? I'm planning on going in with 6 people.

 

Costs (yeah, I know everyone asks about this). I know that the cost of fuel changes constantly but I'm curious as to the average flight costs (pertaining to white saddle air). I hear it's usually about 2,000$ per hour of flight time on average? or somewhere around there. I'm going to shoot white saddle air service an e-mail here soon but I thought It would be better to iron out my questions before hand.

 

the plan in to stay in the area for 2-3 weeks.

 

I'm a noob when it comes to planning anything this big so any advice (or criticism) is appreciated.

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I'm thiking about flying in to the Waddington range this summer to get in some climbing and I have a few questions for those who have any expirience in the area.

 

I hear it is best to fly 3 people per helicopter flight so an extra gear run is not required? Has this been peoples expirience? I'm planning on going in with 6 people.

 

 

It depends on your gear weight vs. your gear bulk . a person weighs about 175 lbs in a compact package so if you go, say, 4 with no gear and 2 with lots of gear it may work out better than 3 and 3 with each a smaller amount of gear.

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Thanks for the info G-spotter.

 

I see that White Saddle flies a Bell 206 L-4 Long Ranger which has a carrying capacity of around 640kg (with around 45 min of fuel). Don Serl's guide says that flying into the range takes around .7-.9 hours return per flight (not exactly sure what that means). So 10 years ago it was around $1000 per flight hour. Now it's at least double that. So I'm guessing that it's safe to assume costs to be in the range of $3000 for a trip in and out? It also seems like 6 people is a good number.

 

Anyone have any expirience flying by float plane in to dumbell lake or Ephemeron lake? I'm guessing there is a good reason most climbers use White Saddle over other flight options.

 

 

Edited by jordansahls

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I did a bit of research on this last year but didn't end up going. I didn't get a response by email so just picked up the phone. The owner answered all of my questions right away.

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Though I havent visitied the Waddington Range (yet) I've chartered a few chopper flights and most (all?) chopper services charge in 1/10 (tenths) of an hour. Every six minutes the total bill increases.

 

The pilot most likely will record total flying time and use this to calculate your final bill.

 

As far as finding the magic # that makes it the cheapest for all parties involved I would say see what the least # of flights is you can get away with... can you squeeze 2 people + gear into one flight? 3 people + gear? Depends on you.

 

I will add for 2k you could do a couple central range AK trips.

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Again, thanks for the information everyone.

 

Rad, I am planning on giving White Saddle a call. I mostly am asking the silly questions now to help organize my thoughts. Don't want to forget anything.

 

John, I have been considering Alaska for a while but the nice thing about the coast range is that it is relativly close and doesn't require the flight to Alaska. If only I wasn't going to grad school in the fall I might be able to justifiy the extra 2k. Oh well, soon enough.

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In my experience with White Saddle, it was much less formal than counting 1/10th's of an hour. I'm sure that's because Mike has made the flight 100's of times to all areas and knows what to charge based on flight time. We went in about 8 years ago and were carged $500 a head for four of us in 2 trips including gear. Good luck getting 6 people and gear for 2-3 weeks in 2 trips. Mike is great about answering all questions on the phone.

 

Have fun. It's an unbelievable place and as wild as it gets.

Edited by cfire

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Anyone have any expirience flying by float plane in to dumbell lake or Ephemeron lake? I'm guessing there is a good reason most climbers use White Saddle over other flight options.

 

 

I was in a party that flew in from Middle Lake to Ephemeron Lake and out he same way except we shuttled from Ephemeron to Dumbell because we could only take off from the former with two on board. This was in 1974 in a DH Beaver out of (I think) Tatla Lake. It was super cheap; I imagine that the economics of fixed wing vs chopper haven't changed even though the numbers are up.

 

We did an air drop near the Tellot hut and spent one night on the walk up. It was a reasonable day down to the lake for pickup. Dumbbell lake was marvelous with swimming and dragonflies after two weeks on the ice.

 

Wonderful, fascinating country with endless climbing possibilities.

 

Go there.

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Last season Mike wasnt flying in so you had to go from Williams lake or further...the cost increase was astronomical. I think I was quoted 2 thousand a head with 6

 

I bailed

 

last couple times I was in before that, it was around 700$ each for three of us

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MisterMo, sounds awesome. I enjoy the adventure and have no problem with taking a day or 2 to make an approach/deproach. '74 was a while ago, but who did you fly with? I have checked the Tweedsmuir air service website and they still do many flights in and around the area, but they don't list any of the main lakes (dumbbell, Ephemeron, ect)as destinations. I guess I will have to give them a call. Also, you are right on about the economics of fixed wing vs. helicopter. Tweedsmuir air taxi charges $750 per hr of flight time on a Beaver which is much less than the Bell 206 L-4 long ranger helicopter.

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MisterMo, sounds awesome. I enjoy the adventure and have no problem with taking a day or 2 to make an approach/deproach. '74 was a while ago, but who did you fly with? I have checked the Tweedsmuir air service website and they still do many flights in and around the area, but they don't list any of the main lakes (dumbbell, Ephemeron, ect)as destinations. I guess I will have to give them a call. Also, you are right on about the economics of fixed wing vs. helicopter. Tweedsmuir air taxi charges $750 per hr of flight time on a Beaver which is much less than the Bell 206 L-4 long ranger helicopter.

 

I am sorry, I do not remember who we flew with. It may well have been Tweedsmuir if they have been around that long. Out of Nimpo Lake they are probably as close as anyone to your destination. If you have multiple loads it would help lessen costs to fly out of Middle or Bluff Lakes.

 

If you go to either Dumbbell or Ephemeron I would greatly appreciate your posting a photo or two. I would be interested in seeing how far the Tellot has receded in 38 years.

 

Enjoy

 

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I did a bit of research on this last year but didn't end up going. I didn't get a response by email so just picked up the phone. The owner answered all of my questions right away.

Rad, what did your research turn up? What did they quote you?

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The most recent time I flew in a heli was an A Star out of Port MacNeill in December and it was $2000 an hour then so that's some idea of fuel cost anyways. Probably more expensive by this summer especially if Iran gets bombed or whatever.

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jordansahls, 6 people is an awkward number. You should try for 4 or 8. Am in the midst of planning a trip there this July with some friends. Have looked deeply into a number of options, including flying out of Campbell River. Nothing beats Mike King/White Saddle Air out of Bluff Lake for price, machines and experience.

 

Mike has a couple of machines - an L4 with a high altitude tail rotor and a new 407. The L4 carries 4 guys/gear + pilot. Payload for 4 guys and gear is 1,300 lbs (590 kg). Mike recently quoted me no more than $3,000 for a drop off and pick up to and from Rainy Knob on Wadd. Price may fluctuate a bit due to fuel. Includes VHF radios as well.

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Lots of good info all around.

 

Bigtree, Thanks for the specifics. 6 seems to me to be a difficult number, not only for flight reasons but also because that's a lot of individual schedules that need to align for things to work out, especially this far in advance. I imagine climbing as a team of 2 is much more desirable than 3/3+ so 4 makes a lot more sense to me than 6.

 

$3000 sounds about right. That is the number I keep consistently seeing. Obviously there is going to be some variance on that number but I don't think I can go all that wrong by assuming the price to be around there.

 

Seriously, thanks everyone for the info. It's really helping to clear things up in my mind.

 

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Mike has a couple of machines - an L4 with a high altitude tail rotor and a new 407. The L4 carries 4 guys/gear + pilot. Payload for 4 guys and gear is 1,300 lbs (590 kg). Mike recently quoted me no more than $3,000 for a drop off and pick up to and from Rainy Knob on Wadd. Price may fluctuate a bit due to fuel. Includes VHF radios as well.

 

the L4 has better payload and flies faster than the old 206, but with 4 people, especially for 2 weeks, you DO have to pack carefully to get everything into the craft - space, rather than weight, is the challenge. keep most 'packaging' small, so stuff 'goes into' corners.

 

as for 'the old days', and float planes, that was wonderful in its own way, but as soon as choppers appeared on the scene, float plane access disappeared. being able to fly directly to where you want to go, and saving a day or two's walk at either end, is worth quite a bit of money, it turns out.

 

p.s. if you really want to save money, fly in and walk out... still good clean fun!

Edited by Don_Serl

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Just came across this post,

 

 

Tyax Air Service with Beaver aircraft can transport 1000 lbs from Tyax Resort (just north of Pemberton) to Ephemeron Lake for $1600 +tax

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