Ruth Glacier to Talkeetna via Backside Lake

We heard that K2 Aviation is running a floatplane service to Backside Lake which is on the South side of Mt. Church at the toe of the Backside Glacier, giving access to the lower reaches of the Ruth Glacier and the Takosha Mountains, avoiding the icefall on the Ruth. Meaghan Loughlin, Chris Brehmer, Eric Nordstrom and I chartered a K2 beaver off of Fish Lake in Talkeetna for a reasonable price and were dropped at the SE corner of Backside Lake. We initially had plans of exploring the Takosha Mountains and possibly travelling the length of the ridge from Backside to the Takosha Gap as Meaghan had done on skiis a few seasons ago but we quickly realized on our flight in that just getting to the Tokasitna River was going to take up most of our alotted time. We started out walking down on a perfect bench on the West side of the Ruth to a point where we could access the glacier. The glacier walking was easy on a patch of old ice that took us 5 miles down glacier. We then worked our way into the morrain in line above alder creek where giant piles of crap slowed our pace somewhat. We camped where alder creek meets the Ruth after 12 hours on the go from backside. Another 12 hour day of mostly bushwacking and river walking and a mile of floating brought us to the Tokasitna River. Alder creek was not floatable for us in the state we were travelling, throw ropes, drysuits, pfd and helmet and ability to run pr4 drops would be needed to avoid about half of the bushwacking we encountered. We were able to float the last mile of alder creek after the gradient backs off. The last day was a leisurely float out to Talkeetna down the Tokasitna and Chulitna RIvers.

Cody A

Two of us ran the upper reaches of Alder Creek from the Whistler/Alder confluence down to where it dives back in to the Ruth. Then we ran/schwacked our way down the lower part (really a different river alltogether) like Cody & Meagan’s crew. Not going to give too much info on it so we don’t spoil the fun … but the upper Alder is mega-classic and very scoutable from the flight in. You will want lots of water. Have fun.