Trip review: Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes.

September 3rd, 2008 by Carl D

Backpackers hiking through field of wildflowers in the Chugach mountains, between Bremner Mines and Tebay Lakes, along the Klu River valley, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

I finally get a chance to catch up quickly here – it’s been one trip after another, and though the weather’s not been the best, the trips have all been a ton of fun. I’m heading out in a few days for another basecamp/photo trip, which should be great, and then the season is over – it’s gone WAY too quickly!

One of the highlights this year was our Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes trip – the first ever commercial trip here, and one of the first groups of people to complete the route. We had an awesome group of experienced hikers, adventurous all, and we had a blast. The route was challenging at times, but enough long mellow stretches of easy hiking that we all enjoyed it. This photo was taken along the middle of the Klu River valley, where we passed through some amazing wildflowers stretches – it’s always a treat to see a great bloom of alpine flowers, but never more so than after you’ve been hiking over moraine and talus and through willow and dwarf birch for a few hours. The lupine here was fantastic.

We sure had a variety of weather on the route – our flight in to Bremner was delayed nearly 24 hours due to weather, and when we finally DID get in, a short hailstorm greeted us. We hiked the 25 minutes up to the Bremner Bunkhouse without too much chatting or laughing, all of us trying to keep tucked in from the hail. The weather pushed to a unanimous decision to spend the night in the bunkhouse, before heading out in the morning over the first pass. We ran into a short snow flurry the following morning, but had clearer weather after that – in fact, though we had cloud cover most of the time, we got almost no rain at all for the rest of the trip – 10 days! Awesome!!!! Nice cool weather with no rain. It was a little cloudy for great scenic photography, but the respite from precipitation was much welcome.

One of the favorite places was Harry’s Gulch, and the hiking the few miles east and west of that – a sweet section of mountain terrain, for sure. Certainly the bear trail up in the pass was WAY cool – a narrow trail where individual footprints, embedded in the soil over millenia, reflect the steps of countless grizzly bears, each walking in the footprints of the predecessors. But I think for me the Klu River valley was the most scenic – and I look forward to hopefully getting the opportunity to photograph that area a little more in the future. I’m fairly certain, on the other hand, that everyone agreed the alder was the least likable hiking – but we were lucky, I think, and didn’t hit as much of that as we might have had our route been a little different.

The finish was great, with a quick bushwhack down to Tebay Falls, some blueberries, and a relatively easy walk over to the lake for our final campsite. Tebay falls are really something else.

I think this trip will become a classic hike over the next few years – I’m looking forward to running it again and learning it a bit better, and exploring the area further. There’s no doubt the terrain and scenery is on par with any I’ve seen – really a fantastic hike. A huge thanks to Mike, Sergei, Sveta, Geoff and Jodee for coming along on this trip – I couldn’t ask for a better group to do such a hike – you guys were all awesome, thank you.



4 Responses to “Trip review: Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes.”

  1. Hey Carl,
    This trip was fantastic, thank you a lot! Now I know why Sergei joins your trips every year. We have a great group, it was really good luck to meet very nice people. And the weather was not bad at all. As I remember I was freezing only one time – during your long talk about hypothermia 🙂
    Now I am feeling that I am missing all this beauty and wildness, and jealous that you can spend whole year in Alaska. I will definitely go to another trip to Wrangell.
    Your pictures from the trip are awesome, hope you will post more.

  2. Hey Sveta

    Thanks for the note. What a great trip it was, and I’m glad you were along to share it with us. You’re right, the group was awesome – I’m lucky to have had such a great group of people, for sure.

    That’s funny about the hypothermia talk – the same thing happened on our next trip.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip and Wrangell St. Elias National Park, and look forward to hiking with you again when you come back. We’ll plan another great hike in the Park.

    Thanks for the kind words about the photos – I’ll get a bunch edited and up in October, after I finish this season.



  3. Hi Carl,
    The variety of terrain, massive scale and incredible scenery made for a special hike – one that ranks high, if not at the top of my outdoor experiences.
    Returning to the ordinary world is as much of a challenge as the first few days in Wrangell/St Elias. I really hanker for those wide-open and beautiful spaces.
    Much has been said about the group, so I won’t say anymore except that the leader was fantas.. well OK too ;-).
    No really, you did a great job of route finding, chased off a grizzly, saw us safely across two serious river crossings and over many miles of difficult footing. All this and more while carrying a huge pack and talking a lot about Maria and the Sound of Music (I still don’t know what it is you can’t face), dacite, rock glaciers and forget-me-nots, and teaching me correct pronunciation (Tebay rhymes with Ebay).
    So thanks for organizing a great trip, having me along for the ride and for the many memories.

  4. Hey Geoff,

    Thanks man .. and this ranks as one of my top outdoor experiences as well!

    I appreciate the kudos, thank you. And actually, it was Mike, not I, who can’t face his love for the Sound of Music. I was too busy singing “Many Rivers To Cross”. 🙂

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the trip Geoff, your company and help was great man .. here’s to many more great hikes!



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