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Gates of the Arctic National Park

Thu, 2023-08-10
Tanja Pietrass
Leader Email: 
Are dogs allowed?: 
Not allowed

Departure Date ABQ: August 10, 2023

Return Date to ABQ: August 22, 2023

This is a multi-day (ca. 65 miles) backpacking trip to the Gates of the Arctic National Park, traversing a small section of the Brooks Range. We will fly into Fairbanks (arrive on August 10), spend the night and buy bear spray and camp stove fuel. We will fly the following day (August 11) into Anaktuvuk Pass ($190). After a visit to the local museum we will begin our backpack, heading east towards the Dalton Highway via Oolah Pass. We will be picked up by the Dalton Highway Express Shuttle on August 20 at a specific mile marker and arrive in Fairbanks around midnight. I will fly out the following day - if folks want to spend more time in Fairbanks, everyone has that choice.

Environmental conditions: Nighttime temps in the 30's, daytime can go up to the 60's but may also linger in the 40's. Some rain is expected. August is getting cool enough for the mosquitoes to die off, but this will depend on conditions. July is mosquito prime time. There will be plenty of daylight. It gets dark only for a few hours at night - we will be north of the arctic circle.

Hiking conditions: There are no trails. We will move cross-country with frequent river crossings. We will try to stay high and out of the tussocks as much as we can. Do expect challenging hiking conditions and wet feet.

Wildlife: Grizzlies and black bears as well as other critters that won't eat you (caribou, arctic foxes, etc). The terrain is arctic tundra (no trees), hence it is less likely to surprise a bear close-up. Must carry grizzly-proof food storage and bear spray.

Why: Spectacular terrain. The most remote and least visited National Park in the US. True wilderness.

Safety: We will carry an emergency beacon such as an Inreach or similar. However, we have to be self-reliant and well prepared. We plan for only a modest mileage every day (7-8 miles) to allow time for route finding and river crossings. Participants must be proficient with map and compass. GPS shall serve as back-up only. Everyone needs to carry first-aid gear and have at least rudimentary skills in using it.

Group Size: Limited to 6, due to the complex logistics. I have a few folks interested, so you will need to commit pretty soon. Contact me.

Waitlist: There was a lot of interest in this trip, and our group already has reached the size limit. I'll be happy to add you to the waitlist in case someone jumps ship.



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