A Wrangell - St. Elias Classic!
Fly to Bremner mine where relics of a bush mining camp from the turn of the century will inspire you to take on the wilderness. High in the alpine of the Chugach, the Seven Pass route traverses rocky slopes, tundra valleys, spectacular glaciers, and, of course, a few high mountain passes, but it’s only 3 passes, unlike the historic name suggests! Alaska’s finest expansive views accompany dips in alpine lakes, blueberries found among the tundra, and grizzly bear sightings in the distance. The rugged landscape forged by ice, challenges even experienced backpackers with terrain variability, moraine, elevation gain, and stream crossings – making this one of the most epic routes in the Chugach Mountains!
Total Elevation Gain/Loss
Private 2 Participant
Private 3-6 Participants
Group Trip Dates
Aug 10-16, 2023
Private Trips with custom dates are available. Schedule a call with our Expedition Coordinator to plan your Private Trip today!
The “Alaska Factor”
There is a reason Alaska has such a rugged allure for the lower 48 and beyond: it is still wild! This raw and untamed landscape offers our clients the opportunity to authentically pioneer new territory and have real adventures. Part of embracing the “Alaska Factor” is understanding that things may not always go as planned and expecting the unexpected. Water levels might rise, snow might fall, glaciers may shift and move – the landscape is dynamic and unpredictable is what makes Alaska, Alaska!
All of our trips are customized as they unfold and your guide will fluidly make decisions based on weather, logistics, and group dynamics to maximize each day’s experience. There can be quite a bit of variation, but on each trip we promise a big slice of the real Alaska and authentic adventure!
Start the trip with an extended flight South across the Chitina Valley and into the Chugach Mountains to the abandoned Bremner Mine. Nestled high in an alpine basin, it’s hard to imagine what this place looked like over 100 years ago when the Valdez Tribune claimed “The Bremner Is It!” Set up your camp quickly and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the old buildings and artifacts scattered in the tundra!
Today you officially set off on your Seven Pass backpacking route! After being dazzled by your first backcountry breakfast, you’ll pack up camp and ascend the lush green alpine steps of the high alpine. Teeny and bright tundra plants give way to snowy slopes and a jagged ridgeline. Reaching the mirrored surface of a blue-green alpine lake just below your first pass, you’ll set up camp, staging for the next day’s ascent.
The day dawns bright and fresh over a hot cup of coffee as you admire the high peaks reflected on the surface of the lake. Pack up and ascend the rocky slopes to gain the pass with expansive views of the Monahan Creek drainage opening up below you. Descend steep scree to the grassy meadows below to find a camp near a sparkling stream. You’re looking forward to tonight’s culinary delights with a growing appetite and sleep under the midnight sun comes easy.
As you set out from camp this morning you are pleasantly surprised. The valley that looked like a difficult boulder field from camp offers relatively easy walking. Soon you are standing at the base of the next pass admiring the truck-sized granite boulders that litter the landscape. Count your marmot sightings as you crest the next pass and get your first glimpses of the North Fork Lobe of the Bremner Glacier. Descending towards the ice you’ll set up an epic camp at the glacier’s edge.
Getting an early start today will be worth it so you have more time to enjoy the glacier! Winding your way through hills of loose moraine, you’ll step out onto the white ice and enter another world. Crampons on your feet will feel a little funny at first, but soon you’ll be an expert at traversing through a crevasse field, catching the bright blue colors from deep inside the ice. Make your way across the glacier to another pristine alpine lake and listen to the ice tumble and roar through the night.
Exhilarated and fueled up by another tasty and powerful breakfast, you’ll pack up camp and be so excited to move uphill again! Gaining your final pass, you’ll drink up the views of the towering snow-capped peaks of the Bagley Glacier and beyond and your feet will rejoice at the soft and grassy tundra of the valley floor below you. Pops of bright color catch your eye as you identify the wildflowers and perhaps even share the bounty of a carpet of fresh blueberries with some furry friends (at a safe distance, of course).
Waking up to bittersweet feelings you soak in your final day in the backcountry. Making your way into the Iceberg Lake valley, you’ll cross the most mellow terrain you’ve encountered thus far, a brightly colored valley floor with dramatic hanging glaciers cascading down rocky spires all around. The icy water of your final creek crossing will feel amazing and bring a rush of blood to your hard-worked feet. Make your way to the sandy airstrip with a little time to spare to get the most of your final moments of wilderness. Flying back to McCarthy, you’ll see parts of your route from the air and get a true sense of scale to the landscape you called home…
GET IN TOUCH
WITH AN EXPEDITION
All the pictures and descriptions sound amazing! How do I know what’s right for me? Here are some things to think about when selecting a trip:
What is my #1 goal for this adventure? Do I want to relax and get away from a hectic schedule? Do I want to push myself on an epic and athletically challenging journey? Create life-long memories with my family or partner? Learn skills from the experts and grow my scope as a mountain athlete? See new landscapes and experience Alaska’s unique glaciated terrain?
What are my interests? Birding, animals, photography, geology, wildflowers, journaling, athleticism, spirituality, art, technical climbing, etc.
Will this trip be part of a bigger Alaska trip? Where else am I going and what else will I see? Our glaciated terrain, history, high-altitude peaks, and vast backcountry wilderness are what set us apart from other areas in Alaska.
What am I comfortable with at my current level of knowledge, experience, and physical and mental ability? Alaska is bigger and tougher than anything in the lower 48 and it’s a great place to push yourself, but you want to be realistic and make sure you have a good foundation to build upon if reaching for higher heights.
We pride ourselves on cooking healthy and delicious meals even under the most adverse conditions! Your exact menu will depend on the trip, your guide, and the dietary preferences/restrictions you list in your Trip Application. No matter what kind of cook your guide is at home, all our guides are well-trained backcountry chefs and use time-tested recipes from our proprietary cookbook for their trips. We carry a plentiful and varied stock of ingredients and most meals are prepared from scratch (allowing for easy substitutions, additions or subtractions of ingredients). We onlyt use pre-packed freeze-dried meals on summit pushes on our mountaineering expeditions.
On our backpacking and basecamp trips, you can expect 3 meals a day, plus snacks of your choice. Breakfasts and dinners are usually hot meals and lunches are served cold. On mountaineering trips lunches consist of a variety of snacks as it can be hard to organize group meals while on a rope team.
We use a combination of fresh, dehydrated, and freeze-dried ingredients to make our delicious meals, however on longer backpacking and mountaineering trips your guides will use more freeze-dried foods than fresh foods to keep pack weights as low as possible. On our rafting trips, we cook full multi-course meals with fresh ingredients and enjoy hot and cold breakfasts, cold lunches and hot dinners.
Meals for most trips start with Lunch on the first day and end with Lunch on the last day. *
*If you are signed up for a Custom Trip Package with us, it may include more meals. Check with us if you’re not sure. Mountaineering trips also include meals in McCarthy before and after the backcountry expedition.
We understand that you may have luggage or things you don’t want to bring into the backcountry with you so we have a designated area at our headquarters where your guide will label and store your stuff while you’re out. This area is not locked, however, we have never had any issues with loss or damage. If you have a small item of great value that you are particularly nervous about, we may be able to store it in our office for you – just ask your guide.
On the Chitina River, Copper River, Source to Sea, or Custom Trips with different start and end points, any luggage you leave behind with us will be brought out to meet you at the end of the trip.