Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Backpacking Trip: Hanagita Peak Traverse
Distance: 45 miles
Difficulty: Very strenuous
Approx. hiking time: 7-9 days
Total elevation gain: +7922, -9584
Best season: July - early September
Access: Bush flight from McCarthy to Steamboat Hills
Maps: USGS McCarthy A-7, A-8, B-7, B-8
Challenges: Difficult stream crossings, extended bushwhacking, serious route finding.
A rugged and challenging 7-9 day Alaska backpacking trip that travels through diverse terrain and sometimes rugged terrain.
If you are looking for an extended Alaska backpacking adventure on a route that has only been done by a handfull of people, then check this one out. It starts in an almost idyllic settting an a gently rolling plateau filled with hidden lakes, streams and waterfalls that begs for exploring and lollygagging around. But when you drop down into the Hanagita river valley things start to get more interesting.
Carefull planning and route finding is needed to avoid the worst of the brush. When you get into the Klu valley you will have to cross the Klu River which can be very challenging in places. This is an Alaska backpacking route that offers up a lot of variety and a good helping of challenge. But the rewards are there. The valley at the foot of Hanagita Peak is worth some exploration and at the very least you will want to check out the cool waterfalls there.
It's very unlikely you will encounter anyone else on this entire route with the possible exception of the endpoint in the Bremner valley. Solitude is certain on this adventurous trip.
This challenging Alaska backpacking route is recommended only for experienced travelers who feel confident crossing very swift streams and possess excellent navigation, route finding and other Alaska backpacking skills.
Even detailed route descriptions such as those found in the book are not a substitute for skills and experience. If you would like to do this route but don't feel that you are ready to tackle the Alaskan wilderness on your own, consider a guided trek.
If you are interested in doing this route or one like it as part of a guided trek, click here for more information on the guided backpacking treks in Wrangell St. Elias National Park.