Custom trips, extra options and more
Rather than build a separate webpage for every single trip option available in Alaska, this page collates and explains some of the potential trips and possibilities for you. There are virtually endless options available; the more adventurous you are, and the more your skill set matches your interest, the more creative we can get with putting something together for you. Read on.
Want to put your own trip together? Look over the options of trips on offer and inquire about a combination of options that appeal to you; rafting, sea kayaking, packrafting, photography, hiking and backpacking. One great option is a combination sea kayaking trip with a few days basecamping & dayhiking. Icy Bay and Iceberg Lake, or Icy Bay and a few days over at Samovar Hills. Or how about backpacking Hidden Creek with a packraft trip down the Lakina River (Class II - III+ water) to finish? One great adventure is the Malaspina Glacier/Lost Coast trip, combining a multi-day backpack and glacier traverse, with packrafting and hiking the Lost Coast. This could be anywhere from 7 - 14 days, depending on the route and options.
Another combination might be a few days backpacking in the Arrigetch Peaks with a 3-day packraft trip
down the Alatna River. Another multi-sport trip might be a few days basecamped at Skolai Pass, followed by a backpack down the Goat Trail and a 2 day packraft trip down the Chitistone/Nizina Rivers. The options are endless, the logistics are open, and the adventure as big or as benign as you choose it to be. Give me a call @ 770. 952 4549 to discuss what might work.
Exploratory Trek: Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve
An exploratory route for 2014; I've hiked part of this route a couple of times, but we're planning on doing the whole section this coming summer. Packrafts in hand, we'll hike west to east, along the coast of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park. We'll have (weather permitting) great views of the mighty St. Elias Mountain Range nearby, without the task of constantly climbing and descending; on one hand, it'll be easy, with no elevation loss/gain. On the other, it's one of the least visited areas of the park, indeed of Alaska, and we'll have numerous opportunities to explore this little traveled region. Expect this trip to be simply dripping with solitude.
I have a full trip page posted for this trip online now: click here for details. This one is a really cool trip - camped along the beach with a small campfire after supper, watching the Pacific Ocean roll by as the St. Elias mountains watch over from behind is a treat indeed!
Snowshoeing in the boreal forest of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park.
The view north from Capital Mountain.
Spring Snowshoe and XC ski trip
This trip is one added a couple of years ago, and is definitely one of my favorites. Alaska winter wilderness is indescribable; the stillness of the north woods in winter is something that I can only tell you has to be experienced to fully realize what that means. It's an incredibly unique experience. March and April offer a great balance between the feel of a winter trip, but with longer days, warmer temperatures, shorter nights, and generally great likelihood of even catching the northern lights one night (they're most common around the Equinoxes; vernal equinox is Mach 22).
We stay in a cabin in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, and avoid the hassles of tent camping at -10degrees Fahrenheit. Day trips in various areas of the park, skiing and snowshoeing through the boreal forest provide a flexible and comfortable way to experience that Alaska winter mood; the trip can be as moderate or as strenuous as you choose it to be.
There's simply nothing else quite like an Alaska winter trip; in March/April we can expect temperatures above zero most of the time, and even above 32F with some luck; it's not unusual at all to have glorious blue skies and excellent spring crust skiing in late March/early April. Earlier in winter we'll have shorter days and colder temperatures, but also that deep, indescribable winter starkness. An amazing Alaska experience.
Other Custom Trips
For a full page and details on this trip, see this link; the Malaspina Glacier Traverse.
Have you ever wanted to hike across the largest piedmont glacier (meaning the glacier's terminus is on land) in the world? In 2012 we walked from the St. Elias Mountain Range across the Malaspina Glacier to the Alaska coast at Yakutat Bay. The Malaspina Glacier, generally regarded by geologists to be a piedmont glacier, actually reaches the Pacific Ocean. I confirmed this with some friends on a month long expedition in Nov 2011.
The Malaspina Glacier at its widest is about 40 miles across. On this trip you'll backpack from the St. Elias Mountains across the glacier to the coast of Yakutat Bay, and then hike east along the beach, walking over glacial moraine and through some fantastic old growth Sitka Spruce forest; a real treat indeed.
This trip is a real Alaska classic; I hiked portions of the trek this fall, in November, with Erin and Hig as part of their "Life on Ice" journey. What an amazing landscape the Wrangell - St. Elias coastal region is. Thunderous breaking waves, crashing on the shore, towering moss-covered Sitka Spruce trees, miles upon miles of empty beach, bald eagles and trumpeter swans flying overhead, and a very rarely backpacked part of the park.
This is a great area for beginners to intermediate hikers. The broad open expanse of the tundra on Capital Mountain offers big views - huge views, even. The walking here is mostly brush free, easier than much of the steeper mountains to the south, but with views second to none. Capital Mountain lies immediately north of 16 237' Mt. Sanford.
Wildlife are present, though not usually in great numbers. Moose and bears most likely, and possibly mountain goats as well.
Looking for a simple, easy trip to Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve? The Capital mountain hike could be what you're looking for. We fly in from Glennallen, which saves the long drive to McCarthy. A short flight drops us on the north side of Capital Mountain. From there we can basecamp and dayhike, or do a traverse around the mountain. This is a good option for a 4 or 5 day easy walk, with plenty of exploratory side hikes along the way. Caribou, moose, bear and wolves live in the area, as do Dall sheep.
This area lies just east of the Chugach Mountains in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve. A spectacularly scenic region, it offers both basecamp and some backpacking options. A more common route was from Ross Green to Iceberg Lake, but the Tana Glacier, which lies between the 2, is so crevassed and ever-changing that the route is not always possible. Other options for Ross Green Lake include a traverse on to the Bagley Icefield to Jupiter Island, a small outcropping of granite just south of Thompson Ridge. Crampons required.
There are a few other possibilities here, including a trek south towards Martin Creek, southeast towards the Kiagna river, or, for the really adventurous, east toward Goat Creek and on to Huberts Landing and the Chitina River. This last one is NOT for the meek.
Gates of the Arctic National Park
A 2nd trip option we'll consider at a later date is a return to the Gates themselves, on the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River. The Gates area is a little more accessible, though still a fly-in trip. This a great area for a week long hike in the Brooks Mountains. These 2 trips both fly in from the Dalton Highway at Coldfoot. Either of the trips can be a "point to point" trip, or a loop hike, or a basecamp and day hike trip. Either can be combined with a packraft adventure for the ultimate artic travel.
1 week to 2 weeks is good, and timing is really pretty flexible in Gates of the Arctic, but before the end of August is recommended; old man winter comes early up north!