Alaska Range Walk/Float Out

Okay - I know Roman has already done this trip as well as a few NPS folks, but I thought I’d write it down so it will show up on a google search for folks looking for fun things to do next season.

On July 6, 2009 Kevin Wright, Meaghan Loughlin and myself were flown to the Mountain House on the Ruth Glacier. Meaghan and I were acting as volunteers and Kevin is a seasonal climbing ranger employed by the National Park Service. After picking up trash on the Ruth we were transported to the Pika Glacier where we picked up more trash and climbed the guide book routes on the Throne and Middle Troll. We then walked down the Granite Glacier and down Wildhorse Creek. After several miles of some of the more hateful bushwhacking that I have ever done, including some white water walking down a small but formidable creek that we were forced into when the bushwhacking became unbearable. I am told that this section of bushwhacking could have been avoided, but Kevin had to report back to work so there was no time for investigation. We blew up the butt boats and put in on the lower Cannicula. We then floated into the Tokositna to the Chulitna and pulled out in time for craziness at the Moose Dropping festival in Talkeetna. Kevin and I managed the float sans drysuits as we were trying to go light. The water was big river style, but very reasonable. The biggest waves we encountered were caused by jetboats out of Talkeetna on the Chulitna, and were kind of fun to ride.

Cody Arnold

Chris B, Matt H and myself flew into the Pika glacier on June 24th. We climbed variations on the guide book routes on the throne and middle troll and then Chris and I walked and packrafted back to the Parks highway. Instead of taking the wild horse creek route we cut over to the toe of the kanicula glacier to avoid the more heinous bushwhack encountered on the wild horse creek route. Knowing better after an exit in years past
down the couloir near the S troll(rockfall and ice)we took lightweight snowshoes and went out exit and triple crown passes(several rappels were required to negotiate the down climbing and bergschrund on exit pass, easy to sling pinches and horns) lighter packs would have probably not required the rapps for the down but the 'schrund required one, a couple of minor crevasse falls were encountered but it was like pulling a humping chihuahua off your neighbors leg to get your partner back on terra firma. We encountered minimal bushewhacking but found the floating to be stiff PR 4 for the first mile of the kanicula after that about 3 miles of easy PR 3 and 2 brought us to the tokositna . We ran it without incident but I would reccomend full whitewater gear (drysuit,helmet,PFD etc). Being scantily clothed and equipped for the river we elected to hike out to the road as soon as we hit the Chulitna. An easier hiking route by far but we wished we had been better equipped for the whitewater.
-Cody A