Last year a group of us set out to check out the Arrigetch and see how easy the journey to the Awlinyak or Noatak rivers would be. It turned out to be an amazing trip, but we never made it up and over Ariel. One member of our group caught some sort of bug out of the gate and we were too heavy to navigate the steep climb up and across Ariel’s talus covered backside.
I really like the concept of the Arctic circle traverse, but am looking for ways to do the circle that doesn’t involve so much steep talus. Unfortunately, that trade off is likely going to come at the expense of tussocks and bushwhacking. I’ve been doing some research and found some trip reports of folks who have started their journey at the north end of walker lake and followed the Kaluluktok creek drainage into Arrigetch valley. That seems a little painful to me, but it does seem like the Kaluluktok creek drainage (and surrounding ridges) might offer an acceptable travel route the headwaters of the Noatak. Also offering up the opportunity to see Mount Igikpak and the peaks just east of it up close. Has anyone hiked or floated around the Kaluluktok creek drainage or adjacent ridges? I’d be super interested to hear about your experiences.