Strenuous: The Tana Notch
This backpacking trip begins in a valley so pretty you won’t want to leave. Start at the far end and make your way easily down the broad open valley floor that is blanketed in wispy cotton grass. Your progress will be slowed somewhat by the frequent stops required to take in the surrounding views of peaks and hanging glaciers.
Disappointment at leaving the valley behind will quickly give way to new delight as we make a gradual ascent to a turquoise green lake just below the first pass of the route. The lakeside perch gives commanding views of the valley behind.
The route continues in a never ending variety, moving from high lonely passes then dropping down to verdant valleys only to rise up again to the next wind-swept pass.
An easy glacier crossing adds to the excitement on this challenging backpacking adventure. Finally you will “shoot the notch”, climbing up two narrow passes in succession. After the final notch, drop down to a lovely lake perched up high with an awesome view of the mighty Tana River below. If you are looking for a rewarding Alaskan backpacking trip where few ever go then this is one to consider.
Glaciers: Route involves glacier crossings. Some experience with glacier travel and crampons is advised.
Streams: This route involves stream crossing.
Terrain: Some steep scree slopes. The final descent to the Tana River involves some thick brush. Route finding skills are required. This is a trip for experienced wilderness travelers or as a guided adventure.
USGS maps: Bering Glacier D6, D7 and McCarthy A7, A8, B8
Duration: 5-7 days
Length: 20 miles
$705 per person, unguided.