These trips really don’t seem that far?

October 1st, 2016 by dev-ops

In Alaska, as with most off-trail hiking, route mileages are deceptive and often somewhat useless information. People often have a tough time hiking here simply because they don’t understand different it can be.

A 30 mile route may sound like a nice 4 day walk but in reality 30 miles of off-trail Alaska backpacking is probably a 6 day walk for most hikers.

Hiking off-trail often involves moraine and scree slopes, steep sidehill traverse, route finding and bushwhacking, stream and river crossings, etc. Suffice it to say that maintaining an average speed of 3 miles per hour is pretty tough going here for any real length of time. A 5-7 mile day will in most likely be a tough day for most hikers.

Most people think in terms of distance and elevation gain/loss, and that’s really not typically the main factor here in Alaska. The type of terrain you’re hiking on is typically the biggest factor. And that terrain can change drastically in a short distance. You might get an easy mile of walking over open, rolling tundra, then hit a glacial moraine and that WILL slow you down.

So don’t think of these trips in terms of the mileage. At best it’s an estimate and more often than not completely irrelevant information. I put it on the website only because it’s what many people want to know. It’s gives a rough ballpark about a hike but it’s really NOT a sound gauge of what a trip entails.

Expeditions Alaska
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