Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Backpacking Trip: Mt. Wrangell Plateau to Nugget Creek (a.k.a. The Skyscraper Route
Distance: 49 miles
Difficulty: Very strenuous/advanced
Approx. hiking time: 7-10 days
Total elevation gain: +10,577, -13,341
Best season: Mid July - early September
Access: Bush flight - McCarthy, or Gulkana Mt. Wrangell Plateau
Maps: USGS Valdez C-2, D-1, McCarthy C-8, D-8
Challenges: Stream crossings, glacier crossings, serious route finding, extended bushwhacking, rock/moraine.
The Skyscraper route extended Alaska backpacking trip that defines rugged, remote trekking in the Wrangells. This is an extremely demanding trip through dramatic and challenging terrain. This route will take you through some of the most impressive country in the Wrangell range – across glaciers, up and over three high ridges and through some very demanding and stunning terrain. The route features impressive views of Mt. Blackburn, Mt. Drum Mt. Wrangell and more.
The route begins on a plateau at the foot of Mt. Wrangell and drops to the Long glacier for a challenging and fascinating crossing on the ice. From there it's up Fall Creek Pass where you start to realize that this is going to be strenuous backpacking trip. There is some challenging route finding on this trek and you really need to be experienced at off trail exploring. One two days you will have some extended bushwhacking in willow and alder brush. Also the crossing of the Kotsina River can be very challenging so you need skills and confidence to venture across.
The rewards of this trip are fantastic, but do not underestimate the challenges. Don't try this one on unless you have some very solid Alaskan, backcountry experience with excellent route finding abilities. Other wise consider using a guide.
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 as part of a guided trek, click here for more information on the Mt. Wrangell/Skyscraper Traverse in Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias National Park.