Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Backpacking Trip: The Seven Pass Route (Iceberg Lake to Bremner)
Distance: 27-32 miles
Approx. hiking time: 7-9 days
Total elevation gain: +6722, -7386
Best season: July - early September
Access: Bush flight - McCarthy to Iceberg Lake
Maps: USGS Bering Glacier D-6, D-7; McCarthy A-6,
Challenges: Glacier crossings, difficult moraine, streams, steep scree, boulder fields, route finding
The Seven Pass Route is one of the classic Alaska backpacking routes in the park. It travels through dramatic and ever-changing country – from lush, verdant valleys, to glacial landscapes, to barren, rock-strewn mountain passes. The variety of terrain on the route is one of the big attractions. It begins in the world of glaciers and ends in a lush green valley.
There are two glacier crossings on the route, neither of which should present any great difficulties if you are prepared with crampons, a dose of common sense and some experience and training in how to cross glaciers. Both glaciers are flat, valley glaciers so there is no steep ice. There is one stream crossing that may be challenging, depending on water levels. If you aren't experienced at Alaskan wilderness travel then you might want to consider a guided trek on this challenging route.
Bears are frequently spotted especially in the Iceberg Lake valley and even an elusive wolverine can sometimes be seen.
If you're looking for a truly great Alaska backpacking trip then you couldn't do much better than the Seven Pass Route.
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 Seven Pass Route in Alaska's Wrangell St. Elias National Park.