Almost Overlooked


CalTopo Map of Trip on right-side menu change base layer from Sential Weekly to Global Imagery.

Day 1

Fly 100mi

Starting at the Happy Valley Airstrip off the Dalton Highway, 415mi north of Fairbanks(or 75 miles south of the Arctic Ocean). We will fly out one at a time in a Piper Super Cub and travel 85mi northeast to a landing area near Northernmost Glacier. From there we will hike up to 5 miles to reach the glacier.

Seeing as the flight will be an hour each way it's reasonible to assume it will be 2.5-3 hours between each pick-up or drop off. Starting elevation will be somewhere between 2,000-2,500ft and camp either 4,000ft no the toe of the glacier or 5,200ft in the pass west of the glacier. It appears the sources of water are at 3,000ft where the glacier melt finally emerges from the rock, or 3,300ft on the drainage west of the pass, or melting snow from the glacier head.

Day 2

Document Glacier

Explore around Northernmost and rock glaciers.

Day 3

Document Glacier (Weather Buffer)

Spend the day getting additional data, and imagery of the glaciers for additional lighting and atmospheric elements. Further explore the area.

Day 4

Canning River
Hike 8.2mi | Packraft 13mi (21.2mi)

Hike west-south to Ikiakpaurak Valley (Map). Starting from the pass west of Northernmost Glacier it is a 3700 decent over 7 miles. Majority of the decent is on slope under 30° with possibilities of encountering 45° terrain. Most of the terrain should be barren alpine with a chance of shrubs along the way.

Once in Ikiakpaurak Valley it is assumed we should be able to packraft Cache Creek (Map). The float should be a decent 5° descent. Roughly 8mi down the creek There is a wash out on the southern bank. A .6mi portage south to Eagle Creek (Map). This looks to eliminate nearly .4 miles of bushwhacking at the Cache Creek and might allow for continued 4.5mi of floating across Canning River to exit right where we need to.

Day 5

South up Canning River
Hike 6.5mi (27.7mi)

Hike between 6-8 miles south, along the west bank of the Canning River. Might be 3mi of tussocks before reaching mountain slope.

Day 6

Canning to Kavik
Hike 6mi (33.7mi)

This is hiking to the west along the northern edge of the range. Hopefully slopes are mild angles and have good drainage.

Day 7

Kavik to Pass above Juniper Creek
Hike 7.8mi (41.5mi)

From somewhere near the Kavik River (Map) we'll travel roughly 9 miles to a pass between Pogopuk and Juniper Creeks.

Day 8

Juniper to Niviak Pass
Hike 7mi | Packraft 3mi (51.5mi)

From the pass we'll hike down to Juniper Creek, hopefully it will have deep enough channels we can float 3.5 miles to pull out. Then there's a 4-4.6 mile hike depending on terrain preference, putting up at the Echooka River, with a 7mi float and then a 4mi hike up to Niviak Pass

Day 9

Echooka River & Niviak Pass
Hike 4mi | Packraft 6mi (61.5mi)

From camp between Juniper Creek and Echooka River, hike to the Echooka River, then float the river and hike up to Niviak Pass.

Echooka River to Niviak Pass is 340ft elevation gain, and 4 miles from Echooka River over the pass to Ivishak River.

Day 10

Ivishak River (Optional Last Travel Day)
Packraft 22mi (83.5mi)

From camp on Niviak Pass it's a short walk if not on the unnamed fork that feeds Ivishak River.

If we're able to float from the pass directly it's a roughly 22mi float if we want to stop at the Silvertip Aviation lodge and fly to the road. Or 24.5 miles till we begin to hike up Saviukviayak River.

Day 11

Optional Last Day relaxing waiting for flight out or....
Hike 8.75mi (92.25mi)

Either hang out around Silvertip and wait for a ride or...

Hike west-south to across Ivishak River (Map). Then hike south along the Saviukviayak River just under 9 miles and camp along the river.

Day 12

Hike 7.5mi (99.75mi)

This would likely be the least fun day of the whole expedition. 7.5-8mi of boggy tussocks crossing. There looks to be a patch of dry summit in the halfway point but on a dry warmish day it could be wet feet, mosquitoes, and tussocks...

Day 13

Packraft 18mi (117.75mi)

This last day would be a float back to the Happy Valley Airstrip. It's 18 miles at less than a 5% grade.