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powderhound

Backpacking in Alaska Wilderness

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I have a ticket to go to Alaska for a Month & 1/2, all of july and the first two weeks of august. I am looking anyone with personal experience of multi-week trips into either the Brooks Range or the Aleutian Islands. This will be a nonclimbing trip as I unfortunately do not have the time to prepare and train.

 

Any information on the best guides(book) to buy or websites ( my searches have only turned up guided trips) that will provide this type of information will be greatly appreciated.

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There is a guide who does tons of work in ANWR in the eastern Brooks Range who I have travelled with and is great. Macgill Adams. His company is Wilderness Alaska. Website is wildernessalaska.com. While you obviously don't want a guide, he offers a service whereby for a fee he can help you plan a route, help set up bush flights, get you maps etc. He calls it No Guides & No Gear. The webpage where he discusses what this is: http://wildernessalaska.com/No%20Guides%20No%20Gear.html

 

Even if you didn't use this service, he has been guiding up there for a long time and knows ANWR better than most. You could always try to contact him through the email on his website for some beta.

 

It is a sweet place to visit... hopefully you can pull it off.

 

 

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The Aluetians don't really lend themselves to backpacking... unless you're talking more about Katmai which is technically on the Peninsula. For Katmai you will fly to King Salmon and then take another hop into Katmai. Expect to pay about $500 to fly RT to King Salmon. I have not been there but I've heard the backpacking is exceptional. So are the bears. You will routinely see 100 lb brown bears so be aware. A friend of mine who went down there last summer saw 45 in one day!

 

The Brooks Range is excellent for backpacking. Ideally most trips combine rivers (packrafts) and hiking but you can do basic backpacking trips. Fly with Dirk of Coyote Air (http://www.coyoteair.com). Dirk is an excellent resource and can drop you about anywhere you want to go. Relatively inexpensive trips can be planned that involve being flown in and hiking out. Dirk can also arrange pick up for hiking out to the road.

 

The only trip I have done in ANWR was a river trip with climbing on the side. We floated the Hulahula and were out for 14 days. The backpacking at the headwaters would have been quite fun... but to get the full experience of ANWR you need to combine it with a river trip... a big huge long river trip where you hike and climb in the mountains and then float out the the Arctic Ocean.

 

Another option you might consider is backpacking in the Wrangells. There are some excellent trips that can be put together in this region. Bears are generally less of an issue in the Wrangells as well. Likewise there are actually guidebooks for this region.

 

As for sites to help with ideas and plans:

 

Check out various links on this site (Look for Kongakut / Anaikchak and the Wrangells):

http://jtlindholm.com/photos.htm

 

Hig & Eriin do some amazing trips.... prepare for a suffer-fest if you do anything like this:

http://www.aktrekking.com/trips.html

 

And there is lots of info on hiking / river trips on this page:

http://www.alpackaraft.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=6

 

 

 

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Hey, powderhound, what would be your desires exploring the Aleutians? I have been to most areas with the CG and can pass along some information depending on what you are looking to do.

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I did some backpacking in Brooks Range, long time ago. It's a great country for backpacking: fairly dry firm tundra, no bushes, can go anywhere - no trails needed. We did it without a bush plane: drove to Attigan Pass, parked our vehicle on the side of the road and went backpacking for a week.

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I spent a month Backpacking the Healy area (east of Denali park) with NOLS last summer. Conditions were awesome, though we were still a couple hundred miles south of the Brooks Range. The NOLS base in Palmer may be willing to help you out, they've got a killer library of maps and guidebooks, plus tons of experienced locals. You might just see what they say. You can grab the office info through www.nols.edu

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Hey Bergretter, any info on Shishaldin on Unimak? Thinking about a ski trip there in the next month or so. False Pass is the point in, and then ~25 miles of muskeg to get there!

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