Wrangell - St. Elias National Park: Iceberg Lake Basecamp Trip
This basecamp trip is the consummate Alaskan adventure, impressive vistas at every turn and mile after mile of open, pristine wilderness. We fly in from McCarthy, Alaska, landing on the edge of Iceberg Lake, on southern range of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Spend a few days hiking the area, discovering the geological wonders that have created this fascinating region. Watch as chunks of the glacier calve into the lake,the ice floes groaning and creaking as they shift and turn across the water.
Hiking through some fantastic country, every time I arrive here I'm reminded of my bush pilot's words when he dropped me off; "Welcome to Antarctica". It's a pretty unique and amazing region, in eastern end of the Chugach Mountains, surrounded by massive jagged peaks, endless glaciers and an ever-changing landscape. Cool clear alpine lakes, fresh rushing streams and snow capped peaks sparkle in the Alaskan sun.
This basecamp and hiking trip is a little more difficult than some of the other basecamp trips. The hiking here is a little more challenging, with a lot of rock and boulder walking. Glacial moraine requires a little better balance and attention than walking on tundra. That said, there are a number of hiking opportunities here that allow us to wander almost infinitely in any direction.
Crampons are not required, but certainly can be helpful. Trekking poles should definitely should be on your gear list for this trip. Due to the heavier snowfall received in this area over the winter, it's typically not snow free until mid-July; the air taxis can't get us in to the landing strip until the snow has melted off, so this trip works best Mid-July through mid-September. That can certainly vary somewhat year to year.
This trip has a few different options. We can camp right by the landing strip, but it's really better to be a little more flexible, and move camp up the valley a mile or 2. From there we can dayhike north, west, south, east and other other direction we'd like. Perhaps the best way to experience this area is with a backpacking loop, moving camp once or twice over a 5 day trip, so this trip works well for people interested in either an easier backpacking trip, or a moderate dayhiking trip for those of you who'd rather basecamp.
It would be remiss of me to not mention the campsites in this area - superb! We camp in some of the prettiest spots in the park, if not Alaska. Alpine lakes, crystal clear mountain streams and magnificent mountain passes with stunning views all around make this trip a favorite.
We travel from Anchorage to McCarthy, overnight in McCarthy and then fly in to the backcountry. A week in the Skolai Pass area and we fly back to McCarthy, show and eat, and then enjoy the afternoon relaxing in the slow-paced rustic town of McCarthy, or venture up to Kennicott and look at the historic copper mine Mill buildings and leftovers of this ghost town. We spend the night in McCarthy, and travel back to Anchorage on the final day.
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Where are we?
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