Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Hiking Trip: Erie Lake / Stairway Icefall
Distance: 17 miles out and back
Approx. hiking time: 3-4 days
Total elevation gain: +1747, -418
Best season: June - early September
Access: Trail starts on road north out of Kennicott
Maps: USGS McCarthy B-6, C-5, C-6
Challenges: Glacier crossings, very difficult moraine
The Stairway Icefall is the highlight of this trip. Though the icefall is visible all the way from McCarthy, this route gets up close and personal with this impressive glacial feature. The route includes some challenging work on the moraine of the Root.
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 guided backpacking treks in Wrangell St. Elias National Park.