In 2007, my friend Dan Oberlatz and his longtime client Mark Stevens made a 55 mile traverse of the Neacola Mountains in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Since that trip he has told me its one of the best trips in the Neacolas. So next week I will be tagging along on that same traverse with a Alaska Alpine Adventures guide and his two clients. I won’t be guiding the trip, just tagging along, but will help out if need be.
The Neacola Mountains are the southern anchor of the Alaska Range, jumbled together with the northern end of the volcanic Aleutian Range. My first Alaska fly-in backpacking trip was to the Neacolas in 2002, Turquoise and Twin Lakes area. I also did a trip in the northern end of the Neacolas in 2007, Shamrock Glacier area.
This trip is consider one of the hardest trips that Alaska Alpine Adventures offers. It’s all off trail with 30+ miles of glacier travel, 4 high passes, lots of scree and moraine, deep river crossings and even some good old fashion bush-whacking, sounds awesome! This trip will take us across the longest glacier in the range along with the highest peak, Mount Neacola.
Because I am a guest and not a paid guide or paying client, I need to be able to handle anything and be self-sufficient. When it’s not your trip, you need to be conscious of the other members, their desires and skills. The last thing you want to be is a burden, you want to contribute to the team. Weight is a major concern on this trip. Food for 11 days will be heavy, and the rugged terrain will be awkward with a heavy pack, so my camera gear needs to be minimal.
I have really enjoyed using the 70-200 f4 with my D800e but I just can’t justify the extra weight of a second lens. Everything needs to fit in my Naneu C7 bag. So I will bring the following:
D800e with L-plate, Nikon 24-70mm lens, 10-stop B+W ND filter, B+W polarizer, 2- 32gb media cards, remote release, 4 batteries and my trusty old Gitzo Mountaineer tripod with its Linhoff head.
Like my other trips, I have partnered with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation and will be looking for ice worms along with collecting water samples from various sources.
This should be a great, tough trip and I am looking forward to the challenge. See you in a few weeks.