Want stunning scenery, arctic wildlife, and a good workout? Head up into the Arrigetch Peaks for a week of backpacking and day hiking and see the best of Gates of the Arctic National Park.
As we fly into Gates of the Arctic National Park, we will get tantalizing glimpses of the Arrigetch Peaks, gray against a blue sky. After landing near Arrigetch Creek, we will don backpacks and head up the valley deeper into the mountains towards the famed granite spires. Once we gain the alpine terrain and leave the trees behind the hiking and the scenery are splendid. Arrigetch means “fingers on the outstretched hand” in the local native language.
In the Arrigetch, razor-sharp ridges surround rugged and inviting headwater basins. Sheer granite walls shoot 2,000 – 3,000 feet high. Spires pierce glaciers on their way to the sky.
All this is amid a landscape of gentle meadows, rushing streams and alpine tarns. We will backpack about 30 miles in total, immersing ourselves in the most dramatic scenery in the Brooks Range.
Our backpack follows the shortest route to the peaks. At times we are on a small animal trail, but mostly the route is cross-country over tussocks, boulders, and streams. Three layover days are planned for side explorations. Previous backpacking experience is recommended. Participants must be in good shape and able to carry a 50-pound pack (including 15 – 25 lbs. of food, fuel, and community gear).
Last updated: January 23, 2020
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm in Fairbanks at Arctic Wild headquarters.
Fly north from Fairbanks across the Yukon River to the tiny town of Bettles, Alaska. Here, we board a smaller plane and continue on into the Gates of the Arctic National Park, landing near Arrigetch Creek and beginning our adventure.
The trip is less than 30 miles, but some of the terrain is difficult. There are no constructed trails and six miles with packs is enough to make you feel you have earned your dinner. It usually takes a couple days of hiking to get into the high alpine basins. Once in the high country, we have a day or two to explore the spires, tarns and high passes. The descent back to the Alatna Valley is easier than the ascent, as we will have lighter packs and trail-hardened legs. If we want more mileage and challenge, we may elect to cross a pass into hot springs creek and walk back to the Alatna a bit further south.
Await the arrival of our bush plane. The busy world awaits. Weather permitting we fly to Bettles and from Bettles, back to Fairbanks. Shower.
The trip met all my expectations which were very high. Of course the star is the Brooks Range – but your guides are excellent. So knowledgeable about so many things and adding that warm touch (while also being a fine guides).
Round-trip airfare from Fairbanks
Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter
Safety & repair gear
Professional guide service
A variety of weather should be expected including rainy periods and bright sunny conditions. Temperatures can range from in the 70’s or higher down into the 30’s. Generally at this time of the year we get some sunny and some rainy weather. This is often the warmest part of summer. Bugs could be an issue so carry a head net and one bottle of DEET insect repellent.