Kongakut River - Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Multisport in Alaska with Alaska Alpine Adventures
- Experience the spectacular Kongakut River as it carves its way through mountain gorges of rock
- Wide open tundra expanses, alpine ridges, and open gravel bars to explore
- Incredible wildlife: caribou, polar bears, grizzlies, muskoxen and the highest concentration of nesting golden eagles in Alaska
Rafting and hiking in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is simply a trip of a lifetime. ANWR is one of the least visited and remote areas left in North America, and, despite the media attention it receives, it offers the opportunity for unparalleled exploratory adventure.
Though the exact number is unknown, it is estimated that the 19 million acre refuge–an area the size of South Carolina–receives approximately 1500 recreational visitors a year. It is this type of trip in this type of wilderness that inspires Alaska Alpine Adventures, and we will visit the refuge again in 2010 to lead this spectacular trip down ANWR’s Kongakut River. ANWR lives up to its description as "America’s Serengeti" and this vast area supports more species and habitat diversity than any conservation area in the northern hemisphere. The US Fish and Wildlife Service calls the refuge, "The only conservation system unit that protects, in an undisturbed condition, a complete spectrum of the arctic ecosystems in North America." Caribou, polar bears, grizzlies and muskoxen wander the north slope of the Brooks Range and the highest concentration of nesting golden eagles in Alaska make the Kongakut River corridor their summer home. Humans also have a long history in the Arctic and the Gwich’in people of northeast Alaska and northwest Canada have depended on this vast area and its porcupine caribou herd for thousands of generations.
Our schedule on the Kongakut and our ten full days in the refuge will allow us ample opportunities to hike, fish, photograph, and savor this phenomenal ecosystem. Using inflatable rafts, we’ll paddle the 75 miles of the Kongakut at a fairly leisurely pace, taking time at the put-in and along the river itself for day hikes and exploration. The river is mainly class II with one short section of class III whitewater and is an excellent choice for those with little to no rafting experience. As we float and paddle our way down toward the Beaufort Sea, breathtaking scenery will accompany us. This interactive visit to one of Earth’s most spectacular conservation areas will allow you the opportunity to contemplate the inherent value of wilderness in your own life and those of future generations.
- All group gear (tents, inflatable canoes, stoves, fuel, dry bags, etc.) and safety equipment
- Trekking poles
- Roundtrip air transportation from Fairbanks to Arctic Village
- Roundtrip air transportation from Arctic Village into the wilderness
- Lodging on night one in Fairbanks
- Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 client to guide ratio
- All meals from dinner on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
- Lodging in Fairbanks prior to and after your adventure
- Personal gear (sleeping bags, packs, rain gear, etc.)
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Alcoholic beverages
- Guide gratuities
Day by Day Itinerary
About The Operator:
Alaska Alpine Adventures
Alaska Alpine Adventures was conceptualized during many seasons of exploration throughout Lake Clark National Park by founders Dan Oberlatz and Derek Nelson. During this time, we held odd jobs and lived a life focused on climbing, skiing, and hiking as much of Lake Clark as we could possibly afford. Work simply meant the means to pay for our next flight into the wilderness, and time spent in the wild was the currency we preferred to earn. From first ascents and descents of remote peaks of the Alaska and Aleutian mountain ranges, to extended backpacking trips and speed hikes, our lives were rich with Alaska experience and the lifestyle was wealthy. Our explorations fostered a profound appreciation and respect for the Alaska wilderness, a remarkable skill-set, and a passion for pure wilderness travel. Furthermore, our collection of experiences became the seed for Alaska Alpine Adventures, which became a reality in 1998.
Since our early days on Lake Clark, it is the blend of "what we do" and "who we are" that has made AAA. We are quite simply a group of explorers and naturalists sharing with our guests the incredible beauty of Alaska—The Great Land. Our goal and passion is to give participants the opportunity to experience, through pure adventure travel, the exhilaration, the wonder, the grandeur, and the solitude of Alaska's magnificent national parks and wildlife refuges.
As guides, however, we are more than simply leaders into the areas we venture. Throughout the Alaska Alpine Adventures' experience, we endeavor not only to share these amazing landscapes on foot, raft, skis, or kayak, but also to help our clients develop a sense of commitment to and appreciation for the vast public lands we visit. We strive to be good stewards of the truly wild and intact ecosystems we explore, and are committed to educating ourselves and others to respect and protect the wilderness areas that make these wonderful experiences possible.
Because we promote the educational component of our expeditions, we tend to attract visitors bent on exploring and experiencing "real" Alaska - rather than simply "peak bagging" or "thrill seeking." We believe that this is also due in large part to the fact that we project conservation ethics, cultural awarness, and environmental commitment throughout all aspects of our enterprise.
Our impressive collection of experiences represents not only our history, but also the blueprint for the future of Alaska Alpine Adventures. When you choose to travel with us, you can rest assured that your trip has been meticulously planned and executed by real Alaskans with authentic Alaska know-how, skill, and ability.