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Thread: June backcountry trip

  1. #1

    Default June backcountry trip

    Myself and 2 others are making the trip to Anchorage at the end of June. Our objective is to head out on a back country trek for 6 days. We have 3 goals for the trip; epic scenery, wildlife, and to be off of the beaten path. We will be flying into Anchorage, and renting a car. So I would say that to stay within a day's drive of Anchorage would be a requirement. We really aren't set up financially yet to charter any planes. We all will be in good shape, and well prepared with equipment. I have pretty much ruled out Denali national park because we will be carrying a firearm, however I would still be interested in the preserve lands if anybody knows of an epic trip out there. Let me know what you've got, we want to remember the trip forever. Thanks!!!!

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    When you say "off the beaten path", how off do you mean? Do you still want a trail to follow, or are you thinking more of a point A to point B kind of trek, with bushwhacking, glacial river crossings, and the like. Personally, I highly recommend that you go with at least a rudimentary trail, but before I make recommendations...what are you thinking?

    Would you be willing to do two hikes? I've got a couple of ideas that should fit the bill.

  3. #3

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    Brian,
    Thanks for the interest and reply. Yes we would be willing to go off trail. I understand that it isn't always the best option because of how slow the travel can be. My biggest concern for my "off the beaten path" requirement is that I don't want to be on a very populated trail or area. The solitude that is achievable in Alaska is quite appealing to me. Obviously being on a trail is the best case scenario, but we are not opposed to taking on a point A to B trek if it leads to a great experience.

    I would not be opposed to a trip that consisted of 2 hikes. Certainly let me know of what you have in mind, I am very open to suggestions.

    Thanks again for the help.

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    Default Backcountry Trips

    Being that you are looking at the end of June, the sky is the limit, with most areas passable by then, plenty of daylight, and usually decent weather. Scenery, wildlife, and being away from others is not hard at all within Alaska. Since you have 6 days to work with, you could easily start at a "popular" trailhead and just venture deeper into the parks/wilderness than most folks can do on a weekend.

    If you can find a library or friend that stockpiles Backpacker magazine, the Sept 2006 issue had a few adventures that part on- and part off-trail. I would entertain the idea of starting in the Hatcher's Pass area and playing in the Talkeetnas or maybe staying close to Anchorage in the Chugach SP/NF.

    We may be able to offer some more specific ideas if you want to refine your criteria. Are you looking for a base camp with day trips from there? Six days of continuous backpacking? Looking to climb any mountains (technical or non)?

    Bryan

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the reply Bryan. I had not planned on a base camp, but rather a more continuous trip. I wouldn't mind the possibility of 2 different locations if it would be worthwile. I had been looking into the possibility of finding a glacier to trek to. Having said this, I would think that a mountain climb would be interesting. It would have to be non technical as we don't have that equipment or background.
    Like you mentioned, the 6 days should give me enough time to really get out into some interesting terrain. I will do some looking into the Hatcher's Pass area and see what it is all about. Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    The two hikes that initially come to mind are Kesugi Ridge and Crow Pass. You will not be completely alone on either, but you would likely see at most 3-4 other groups per day. Both have spectacular mountain scenery and plenty of wildlife, and both can be done in 2-3 days depending on speed.

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    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn Wx View Post

    We may be able to offer some more specific ideas if you want to refine your criteria. Are you looking for a base camp with day trips from there? Six days of continuous backpacking? Looking to climb any mountains (technical or non)?

    This is an excellent question.
    If there is one thing that I have learned since hiking and climbing in Alaska, it's that you should first take the chance to become at least educated about the different kinds of climbs and hikes there are here. A hike could easily turn into a climb and if you are not fully aware of the area that you are climbing in, it could very well be dangerous.

    I suppose my first question is... what is your experience in hiking? Have you hiked somewhat or extensively?
    Are you prepared for extreme weather transitions and microclimatic weather changes?

    Here are a couple of things I would take into consideration when considering a hike.

    +Gear
    Do you have a water filter?
    What kind of tent do you have?
    Is your sleeping bag weather resistant and what is the temperature register on it?
    Maps and compass?

    +Food
    Do you plan on packing 6 days of food?
    Are you going to kill any sort of small game for meat?

    +Protection
    I see that you are bringing a gun.
    Do you have a knife?
    Do you have a beacon or sat phone for emergencies?
    What does your first aid kit look like? (I ask this because mine used to only be bandaids for blisters... ridiculous)

    +Transportation
    I see you plan on renting a vehicle and driving within 1 day of ANC.
    Are you planning on doing a loop hike, meaning, start and end at same point or are you interested in doing a trail that will get you on the otherside of a mountain and end there?
    You don't always need a 4x4 that time of year, but if you are interested in being more remote, this may be a possibility for you.

    I know that I am missing a ton of questions, but at least this will get you started.
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    You may want to think about Mount Sanford and Mount Drum I have heard some really great things about the valley between the two and I don't believe that the area gets a whole lot of use.

    More info on Sanford

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    Mt Drum looks absolutely WONDERFUL to hike and climb!
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  10. #10

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    What is the general area of Mt.Drum? Would it be accessible from Anchorage via car? Thanks for the tip, I am anxious to look into it.
    I may be off base, but Mt.Sanford looks like quite a climb, would it be considered technical? Like I mentioned earlier, I have quite a bit of wilderness experience, and in good shape, but I don't have the experience or equipment to handle a signifigant mountain climb.

    Has anyone ever explored the southern portion of Denali National Park in the preserve lands. I see that there are a number of glaciers in the area, and that you could access the area from the western portion of Denali State Park. It looks really interesting but I am not sure how realistic it would be to actually make the hike. Any thoughts?

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Hiking in the southern portion of Denali requires additional permits and skill levels. It's full of "ice fields, sheer rock, heavily crevassed glaciers, extremely large rivers, and very dense brush.

    If you would like info on hiking other areas of the backcountry in Denali, I'd be happy to help. I've been in most sections and backpacked deep into several of them. I wont go into detail yet as you said you will probably not be going into Denali. Let me know if you change your mind.
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  12. #12

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    After a lot more reseach I have fallen in love with the hike from Crow pass to Eagel River Nature Center. It seems to have all of the qualities that I am looking for; glacier views, good distance, few people, and lots of wild life. I am really looking forward to it.
    I am however having a bit of difficulty with the transportation. I had planned to rent a car to get around, thus allowing us more freedom to do multiple hikes. However, we won't have the luxury of having 2 groups to drop off a vehicle at one trail head. Will our only option be to hike the trail back, or is there a loop that we could make? I didn' really see a viable option to get transported back to either side once we complete the hike. Any opinions or thoughts?
    Thanks again!

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    There is a new shuttle service running out of Girdwood to anchorage and back. No matter where you start or end you can get at least back to anchorage. Then try to get a friend or a cab to flat rate you to Eagle river or from it. You can find information on the shuttle through the alyeska hotel and im sure with some searching on here you can find it
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  15. #15

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    As Danattherock mentioned, I think Wrangell would be an amazing and epic trip. However, my impression is that most of the best areas are only accessible by plane. Is this true? If there are any 6 day treks in Wrangel that are accessible from Anchorage, and that beat Kesugi and Crow Pass, by all means fill me in. Like I mentioned earlier, we want a back country trek, not a mountain climb. Other than that we are up for any suggestions.
    Our current plan is to do Crow Pass, then head up to Kesugi Ridge.

    Thanks for all the suggestions. They are all very helpful.

  16. #16

    Default How about....

    How about Crow Pass to Eagle River, and then through Ram Valley, Peter's Creek Drainage, over Thunderbird Peak and along the ridge, then down to Eklutna Lake? 46 miles and that would be "epic". It's very doable, but you would have to be very prepared.
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  17. #17

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    That sounds very interesting to me. Would you expect this to be a five day trip?

    Would there be any need for special climbing equipment to get over Thunderbird Peak?

    I am going to be calling the Chugach Park office today to see if they have any maps of the Crow Pass area that I can purchase. What is the best trail map of the immediate area, and from where?

    I would like to know more about the route you mentioned if anyone has experience with it.
    Last edited by maxracer; 01-16-2008 at 06:47. Reason: redundant questions

  18. #18

    Default Route

    I have done the Eklutna Lake to the Peter's Creek side of Thunderbird and back, but not the Ram Valley portion. There are a lot of people that do the Ram Valley portion, and I've come across some trip reports online also. Try alaskamountainforum.com, I believe there are some trip reports for that portion on there. No special equipment to get over Thunderbird, just good boots and some determination. I could give you some ideas of routes up the peak if you get that far in the planning.
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

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