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bivchad

Ski/Climbing Tour of Wrangell-St. Elias

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I would like to hear from anyone who has climbed and skied in this park. I am in touch with Paul Claus of Ultima Thule Outfitters who I am discussing options with but would enjoy thoughts/ideas/trip reports from anyone who has spent multiple weeks there?! I intend to spend at least 3 weeks in the back country from mid-May through the month of June. I will be traveling as a group of 3-5 people and will not be guided...

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Yowza! Thank you for that! We have considered touring off the Bagley Ice field down Goat Creek to a cached raft at Chitina River. I am curious to know more details/cost of having a raft and gear flown in for you?

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I've climbed Blackburn & floated the Tana. The flight to Blackburn was $650 RT / person (4 people). The flight for the Tana was around $225 OW / person (10 people). We flew with Claus for Blackburn & Wrangell Mtn Air for the Tana.

 

If I were to go there for skiing only I would go to the Nebesna Glacier and go for climbs / ski descents of Jarvis and Wrangel.

 

FWIW combining a ski trip with a rafting trip in late May / early June could be tough in terms of conditions... early June on the Chitnia could potentially be raging (if it's sunny and warm) or a drag fest (if it's cold and cloudy). A better option might be to get a hop down to Jake's Bar at the confluence and then raft from there. If you did that you also wouldn't have to worry about a bear or porcupine eating your raft.

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Thanks for more opinions! I agree that rafting at that time of year could be hairy! Basically I do not want to spend a solid 3-4 weeks in blinding snow, we'd like to get a taste of the lowlands also either at the beginning or end...

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I assume you already know that April has the lowest amount of precip and May isn't very different. June however sees about 3X as much precip as May. Average daily temps in June (~11degC at 500m) are 2X that of May, which combined with precip amount suggests that rafting in June could indeed be an adventure. Perhaps moving your trip up by a week or two to ski and climb before the onset of melt would be a good idea if you can manage it.

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I've got a couple climbing buddies that may have some beta for you... One is a bush pilot that does mostly climbing support flights for Wrangell. The other buddy has done at least one extended ski/climbing trip there (or maybe a few). PM me if you would like me to put you in touch with either of them.

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