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First time visit to AK, suggestions?

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Canada and Alaska. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Canada and Alaska Climbing Partners forum.
 

Postby lcarreau » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:04 am

tigerlilly wrote:Looks like we're flying into Seattle, not Anchorage. Meeting buds there (one has a plane).

flying to Ketchikan. Flying to Juneau. Flying to ...... Valdez, etc etc....well. you get the idea.

Ketchikan should be skipped?



Geez, sounds like you'll spend your entire time FLYING!

Won't your arms get tired, Tiger ??????

:P
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Postby James_W » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:32 pm

tigerlilly wrote: fantasy mode for a moment..."if you could go ANYWHERE in AK, where would you go?"


The little Switzerland area.
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Postby Steve Gruhn » Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:19 pm

First, will your plane be equipped with wheels or floats? If floats, the Misty Fiords area has much to offer. If wheels, you should note that Ketchikan's airport is on a different island than Ketchikan (hence the whole "bridge to nowhere" issue). If you're in Ketchikan proper, the Deer Mountains and points north could be interesting.

For Valdez, try the Mineral Creek Valley and Solomon Gulch. If you'll have a car, the Worthington Glacier area is also a beautiful destination to consider.

For Juneau, the Mount Roberts/Gastineau Peak area is worthwhile. But since you'll have access to aircraft, I recommend flightseeing around the Juneau Icefield, too.

And since you'll have a private aircraft, the flight between Juneau and Anchorage can provide wonderful scenery (if the clouds don't obscure the view).

Hope that helps.
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Postby Tonka » Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:42 pm

tigerlilly wrote:Looks like we're flying into Seattle, not Anchorage. Meeting buds there (one has a plane).

flying to Ketchikan. Flying to Juneau. Flying to ...... Valdez, etc etc....well. you get the idea.

Ketchikan should be skipped?


I would take Sitka or kodiak as a stop over ketchikan any day of the week. Ketch is nothing more than a cruise ship stop in July.

The Gastineau peak trail right out of downtown Juneau is a nice hike with great views. You could use the cable car for a quick start or on the way down.

NOME!! You want a real tast go there.
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:41 pm

If you need a fuel stop at about the Ketchikan latitude as you come north, consider Craig. Beautiful spot, better weather. If on wheels, your airport for Craig would be next-door Klawock--seaplane base only in Craig itself.

I'd echo the endorsements of Sitka and Nome, but of course, Nome is several more hours' flying beyond Anchorage in a light plane and might be overextending your trip.

And on another note ... I have pilot friends, even ones with significant professional flying in their background. I find that they are very cautious of the kind of coastal and mountain flying you are considering. For example, if flying from the Lower 48 to Alaska they like to follow the highway so that they have somewhere to put down if the ceiling drops or they have engine trouble. As for personal experiences, I once flew with a new bush pilot, fresh from the lower 48, on a trip out of Cordova (a great coastal town you'll pass over or stop in). Let's just say that both I and the pilot had a very stressful trip, and now I do all my flying out of there with a grandmother who's been flying the area for decades. So ... be careful ... we like you and we want to read your trip report! Of course, if your friend has a Lear Jet and you're just going to rocket through at 25,000 feet, no problem :)
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Postby tigerlilly » Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:35 pm

We're are going into Ketchikan. Should be interesting. I've been researching day hikes around there. Perseverance trail looks promising.

I've picked up a book "short hikes in Juneau", which has been helpful. I'd recommend it.

I'm still pinching myself. :shock:

My buds fly around there a lot... they're smart and careful. But, it would be a bummer if we crashed....!
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Postby dskoon » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:05 pm

Pack rain gear! Southeast Alaska. . .
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Postby nickmech » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:29 am

Ketchikan has interesting Native culture stuff to see like the totem pole park. If your flying to Juneau I would take a boat ride at Glacier Bay NP. The ferry ride to Skagway is about 4 hours and beautiful if good weather. You could hike the Klondike Trail. Haven't done it but heard it was good.
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Postby Steve Gruhn » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:38 pm

I think Nick means the Chilkoot Trail starting from Dyea.
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Postby Outside » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:17 pm

fantasy mode for a moment..."if you could go ANYWHERE in AK, where would you go?"[/quote]

Breakfast at the Road House, spend the day kayaking on the Kenai penninsula then dinner at Humpy's in Anchorage. Stick around for the band after dinner. (since you'll have a plane at your disposal this isn't really such a fantasy. You could really do it!
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Postby Tbenner » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:53 am

if your going up perseverance trail, granite creek trail is a must. it splits off of perseverance. I also recommend West glacier trail (about 2hrs). Takes you up to the first ice fall and you get some great views of the glacier and the valley. weather has been great here so far.
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Postby tigerlilly » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:43 pm

I looked at the link for kayaking in Resurection Cove, it looks neat. Are there other areas in Kenai Fjords that you would recommend? How do your kayak skills have to be?

Anyone have good ideas for Valdez?

Oh, also, can you access the glacier from the West Glacier trail? Can you walk out onto it and explore it? (assuming I brought crampons)
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:03 pm

Kayaking skills at Kayakers Cove in Resurrection Bay don't have to be very developed because it's sheltered in there behind Fox Island. There's even a fun little "whitewater" aspect where you can portage the kayak a few yards to a lagoon on Fox Island and then run the exit stream (if the tide is right), but it's totally mellow and you can't get in any serious trouble. As you gain confidence, you can venture out from behind the island and down to Cape Resurrection, where the swells are bigger.

A more common Resurrection Bay kayaking trip is to rent a kayak at Miller's Landing and paddle to North or South Beach around Caines Head. Less sheltered and not quite as eye-poppingly scenic in my view, but Caines Head is very cool if you like World War II ruins (bring a flashlight).

Easiest access to a big walkable glacier for reasonably safe unroped walking is Matanuska Glacier on the road between Valdez and Anchorage. For closeup views of major calving, look into Childs Glacier (land in Cordova and rent a car for a few hours).
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Postby Tbenner » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:35 pm

yes you can hop on the mendenhall glacier from the end of west glacier. when you reach the end there is a little trail that takes you down to the glacier. It a little tricky to find but not hard. If your trail savvy you will have no probs. Also if your a rock hound, right at the bottom before you hop on the glaicer, there are lots of garnets to had. its one of my fave spots in Juneau.
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Postby MikeAlaskaCA » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:03 pm

Lilly, looks like your off to a great adventure in Alaska. Check out kayaking out of Whittier via the tunnel from Portage on the way down to the Kenai Peninsula - lot of fun in Prince William Sound - south of Girdwood and a lot of fantastic coves. I head back up to Girdwood in another week or two and look forward to Crow Pass now that the snow has disappeared (I think). Where ever you go in Alaska is an adventure that you will remember for a life time. Just too many places to see with your short time.
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