Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Backpacking Trip: Martin Creek to Ross Green Lake
Distance: 27 miles
Approx. hiking time: 6-9 days
Total elevation gain: +3862', -6444'
Best season: July - early September
Access: Bush flight from McCarthy to unnamed valley west of TwelveMile Creek
Maps: USGS Bering Glacier C-5, D-4, D-5
Challenges: Stream crossings, glacier crossings, route finding, bushwhacking, lots of rock/moraine.
A 6 to 9 day backpacking trek through country that is as little traveled as it is rugged. A demanding route with a serious glacier crossing - but the rewards are great. This is one of the more adventurous routes in this collection of alaska backpacking adventures. You will be left with a feeling of deep satisfaction after passing through this ruggedly majestic country. Most of the route is little to never-traveled, so solitude is assured. The highlights of the trek are two high ridges that offer light-filled vistas of the Tana Glacier and beyond.
Even for Wrangell St. Elias National Park, this is a challenging Alaska backpacking route. It begins at a seldom used airstrip in a beautiful, broad valley near a small gem of a lake. There is some rugged, rugged terrain on the trip including a huge boulder field that stretches all the way across the first valley. You can avoid the worst of it but still you will need to do some scrambling through monster boulders.
There are several stretches of rock on the trip. Another is up some gnarly moraine, but when you reach the top of the ridge you will feel that it's been worth the effort. The effort required is more than your usual Alaska backpacking trip, that's for sure.
The crossing of the Tana Glacier may be the biggest challenge of the trip. In fact you need to check with the local pilots to find out of the Tana is even crossable. In recent years the crevasses have become much more severe and more numerous. Crossing safely may prove impossible.
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 a guided trek, click here for more information on the guided hiking treks in Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias National Park.