Tag Archives: University Range

Chitistone River

Chitistone River and University Range, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Chitistone River and University Range, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Another frame from the evening after crossing the Goat Trail, this one looking west down the Chitistone River, as it pours toward the Nizina River a few miles down from here.

This hike is the first trip I ever made in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, and one of the first I ever did in Alaska. It’s always a real treat to return to the area and walk this valley again. The Chitistone Canyon is absolutely spectacular, and a fantastic backpacking trip.

Views like this don’t happen everyday, which made this particular trip even more fun. We had pretty good weather most of the trip, no bugs, and lots of laughs. Just what a trip to the mountains should be.

Cheers

Carl

Sunset over the University Range

University Range, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Sunset over the University Range and Chitistone River, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A shot from a recent hike down the Chitistone Canyon; this frame looks south toward the University Mountain Range and the Chitistone Glacier. We’d hiked across the Goat Trail, a series of steep scree slopes that require a little attention, and made camp on a nice little plateau high above the Chitistone River. Dinner on the hillside and an evening with a spectacular view made a great end to a great day’s hiking.

The trip was a blast. We had good weather for the bulk of it, which cleared the way for great big views. We saw all the major mountains in the area, including the massive Mt. Bona and Mt Churchill, the Grand Parapet and the Twaharpies. We also saw a gaggle of grizzly bears (7 total, including a sow with 3 spring cubs), a fox, ground squirrels, golden eagles, ravens, ptarmigans, Dall sheep, mountain goats, and myriad ground nesting migratory birds.

Flowers were in full bloom and we had a good time with the guide book reviewing images and identifying as many as we could. Verna Pratts’s great guidebook on Alaska wildflowers is a great reference. For the most part we figured all of them, but a couple of mystery flowers had us all scratching our heads.

Mostly though, we hiked, napped, looked around, joked and chattered our way through a truly wonderful landscape; mountains and glaciers piled on top of mountains and glaciers. Good times indeed. And I’m heading back to the area this week for more of the same.

Cheers

Carl

Mt Churchill and Mt. Bona, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.

Tallest peaks in the University Range, Mt. Churchill and Mt. Bona rise dramatically from Russell Glacier, catching the last rays of the day, Fall colors in the foreground, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Tallest peaks in the University Range, Mt. Churchill and Mt. Bona rise dramatically from Russell Glacier, catching the last rays of the day, Fall colors in the foreground, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s an image that I am amazingly lucky to have made. Probably luckier than I deserve to be. Not because of the luck involved in catching this scene like this; this image has been a long, long time in coming. The scene is taken from the south end of Chitistone Pass, near Skolai Pass, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. I’ve spent more time here than I probably should admit to, waiting, hoping and wondering if I’d ever actually happen to catch it in the light that I knew graces these peaks from time to time. Finally, this September, I was up there with our phototour and we were really blessed with some great weather. I was giddy with excitement and I’m sure the folks along on the trip were wondering just what they’d got themselves into. Within 20 minutes of landing we’d already found and photographed a Least Weasel, which I’d never had the opportunity to photograph inside the park previously. Next up we ran into some Woodland caribou, apparently the only woodland caribou herd in Alaska, so that was pretty awesome. Then we saw some Dall sheep rams, and managed to stalk up on them a little. Next up was sunset, Continue reading