Many years ago I made my first visit to Lake Clark National Park. I did a route that ended up at lower Twin Lakes where I was picked up by float plane.
I was only at Tiwn for the last two days and I got to head up one of the many moderate summits that ring the lakes. I always thought it would be fun to spend a week at the lakes and do a combination of backpacking and base camping, using the base camp days to check out some peaks.
Well this winter I figured, why not? Let's do it! And so the Twin Lakes Summit Ramble was born. This will be a six day trip with a landing at lower Twin and pickup at upper Twin Lakes. We're calling it a ramble because we're going to be footloose on this one with no hard and fast itinerary. So the attitude will be relaxed.
We'll setup our first camp on lower twin, pull out the maps and see what looks like fun and just make up a route and plan as we go.
It's a trip that will appeal to a wide range of folks. If you're in good hiking shape then you will do well on this trek. Some days we might shoulder the packs and find a route up a "back alley valley" or hike along the lake. When we get to a peak we want to do we'll drop our loads, set camp and scoot up to the top.
On nights when we camp near the lake we will wet our lines and see if we can catch some grayling or trout to add to our dinner menu.
We don't have firm dates set for this trip yet. If you are ready to sign up then you can influence the start date.
1 night in Anchorage, Alaska
6 days/5 nights trekking in Lake Clark National Park
Difficulty: Moderate +
Duration: 6 days trekking
Season: Early July - Early September
Elevation Gain: Variable
Distance: 30-35 miles
After a quick breakfast we gather at Merrill field for an early morning flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth. In Port Alsworth we change planes and board a small float plane for the flight to Lower Twin Lake. In a matter of a few hours we are transported from downtown Anchorage to pristine wilderness. The plan for our first day depends on what time we arrive at Twin Lakes. We will likely set up camp near the lake and then head up a nearby ridge where we can spy out the territory and get the lay of the land.
Day 2 - 5
It's hard to give a detailed itinerary for this trek, because we don't have one - and that's what makes this trip so special. We are free to make a plan as we go. From the top of the ridge on day one the guide will spread out the maps and give you a feel for that possiblities. The group will then arrive at a consesus and off we go.
We might decid to head up the valley just behind the ridge to see what we can see, or we might hike up lake a bit, set up a base camp and bag a few summits before moving on.
The emphasis on this trip will be exploration, moderate summits and a free-wheeling itinerary.
On our last day we'll boogy on up the shore of upper Twin to our pickup spot where we will hop in a float plane for the flight back to Port Alsworth and then on to Anchorage. We will arrive late afternoon.
What's Not Included
Meals: What To Expect
All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.
Gear We Provide
What Clothes To Bring
Please refer to the gear list for recommended clothing (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (a few reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon ), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour.
How do We Get to McCarthy;
There are several options.
If you have more than 2 in your group then renting a car out of Anchorage can be a good option.
A shuttle service provides van transportation between Anchorage to McCarthy, Alaska. The shuttle departs Anchorage at 8:00 am arriving around 5:00 pm in McCarthy. This is the most economical way for one or two people to get to McCarthy and back.
If you are driving or taking the shuttle it takes about 8 hours to drive Anchorage to McCarthy.
Round Trip: US $390.00
The van service is operated by Wrangell-St. Elias Tours. Once you have a hotel reservation in Anchorage you will need to let them, as well as me, know where you will be staying. Also give them your cell phone number if you will have one with you.
Wrangell-St. Elias Tours
Contact: Jennifer Titus
Ride n Fly
The last 60 miles from Chitian to McCarthy is on the McCarthy road. 40 miles of the road are unpaved. It's usualy in good shape and any vehicle can easily drive it. But some folks prefer not to.
An alternative is to drive to Chitina and from there take the Wrangell Mountain Air shuttle that flies three times daily to McCarthy.
Wrangell Mt. Air - http://www.wrangellmountainair.com/getting_to_alaska.htm
Wrangell Mt. Air can also arrange a charter flight just for your group. Contact them about current rates.
There is a mail plane that flies between Anchorage and McCarthy twice a week - on Mondays and Thursdays. This is a good way for one or two people to get to and from McCarthy. Beautiful flight and no long drive in the car. With only two flights weekly you would likely need to arrive a few days early in McCarthy.
Where Do We Meet?
You'll meet your hiking guide and group in McCarthy for an orientation meeting around 6:00 p.m. the evening before the trip begins. You will be in contacted approximately 2-3 weeks before your trip and we will specify the exact location of the orientation meeting at that point. The morning of departure it's a short walk across the street to Wrangell Mt. Air where we catch a shuttle van to the airstrip for our departure into the backcountry.
We like to get an early start on the first day as it might take two flights to get everyone into the backcountry. Departure times of 8:30 a.m. are common. Our pickups on the last day are usualy around mid-day to allow us time to get back to McCarthy and get cleaned up and relax before dinner.
Your safety is our top priority. Our treks are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are certified wilderness first responders or EMT's, each with years of wilderness experience. On most treks the guide carries a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 9074.554.1088 for more information.
Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
We prefer to run small groups and our clients like it that way too. The standard group size on backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 907.554.1088 and we'll answer all your questions. If you have a larger group than ten give us a call as there are ways we can work with bigger groups such as scout groups.
Weather in the Wrangells
Alaska is pretty far north and like any mountain evirronment we are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures in Wrangell-St. Elias. July is especialy variable and we have had temps hit the low 80s some summers. Mid August is when things start to cool down a bit but still great hikng weather.
|Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)|