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Re: Crow Pass

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Crow Pass
June 29, 2012 10:19AM
Tomorrow I will be attempting to hike Crow Pass just outside of Anchorage, Alaska with a a MeetUp Group. Crow Pass is a one way trip through the Chugach Mountains from Girdwood to Eagle River. The route is 21 miles with the 2,100 ft. of elevation gain coming entirely in the first few miles. Perhaps most importantly, there is a significant river crossing of Eagle River about 13 miles into the hike. The river is a glacial river and will be extremely cold---estimated 33 degrees. Depth varies but it will most likely be up to our knees. Most hikers will carry an extra set of shoes for this portion of the trip. Since we are doing this as a one day hike, we will not have the advantage of crossing the river at the preferable early morning hours before the glacial melt swells the river later in the day. As you would expect, warm days will cause the river crossing to be deeper.

The hike will include traversing small snowy sections of glaciers and moose, caribou, dall sheep, and of course bears are prevalent. Bear spray is almost mandatory on this hike.

River Crossing Video
video: http://www.dnr.alaska.gov/parks/safety/trailcrossing.mp4

Crow Pass Trail Guide

Interest link with description of trail and comments regarding the annual trail race: Crow Pass Race
Re: Crow Pass
June 29, 2012 12:00PM
Update: Someone in the group just talked to a Park Ranger at the Eagle River Nature Center and apparently the water level has risen to 5 feet and is impassable. Looks like we are postponing the trip.
Re: Crow Pass
June 29, 2012 11:10PM
Well, the hike is back on. We leave 8 hours from now. Apparently the report of 5 feet of water and impassable was in a completely different portion of the river. If the depth was that much where we are crossing, the entire valley would be flooded. So good news. Biggest concerns remains the river crossing, the skies have cleared up but we may get some showers, and being bear aware. Hope to post lots of pictures--maybe tomorrow night.
avatar Re: Crow Pass
June 30, 2012 07:24AM
Have fun. I'd be bringing my Scuba Booties for that crossing.

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Crow Pass
July 01, 2012 10:23PM
An unbelievable day. Weather is such an important factor on this type of hike and it simply could not have been better. Many of the pictures show partly cloudy skies but the forecast called for showers. Because thunderstorms are a non-factor, the hike was on no matter the weather. The elevation gain at the beginning of the hike wasn't as steep as many hikes here but the 20+ miles afterwards were interesting to say the least. Anyone remember the scene is Jurassic Park where the group is travelling across a big open meadow with very tall grass and the velociraptors start picking them off one by one? Our group of five recalled that scene as we intermittently cried out, "Hey Bear!"

The actual "Crow Pass" ends up as a higher elevation than Raven Glacier. Pretty cool site to right next to it with the great blue colors. A couple of the lakes at top (only 3,500 ft elevation!) are still frozen over. An additional river crossing than the main one had an adequate enough snow bridge where we were able to cross dry. Our group of five never did see a bear but others out with us saw two. We saw a nice bull moose out on an island. And in perhaps the strangest site, we also ran into two pack llamas.

One person in our group bought special "water proof" socks for the river crossing. The crossing ended up close to mid-thigh for me. The flow and stability of the water wasn't as bad as I had feared. But man it was cold! They say 33 degrees. It took a good bit for the pain to go away after the numbness had gone away. But as I mentioned the say was just unbelievably warm and by fortune the sun came out to soak in a few minutes just after our crossing..

Since the river is about the halfway point, there were a lot of miles to cover. And I found myself sweating even on the relatively flat land. As we came up on a beautiful and clear lake that was not cold glacier water but only cold snow melt water. So four of us decided we had to swim. Yes it was really cold but I never imagined I would have the opportunity to swim on a Crow Pass hike. I was prepared for 40s and rain. I had katoohlas in my bag. Snow hat and gloves. And I was swimming in an alpine Alaskan Lake!

It is hard for me to pick a few photos to post. Here is a link to the entire album:
Crow Pass Album

Re: Crow Pass
July 02, 2012 07:49AM
One more thing I forgot to mention: Yesterday, the day after our hike, the trail was closed. A brown bear killed a moose on or near the trail and the bear is still in the area protecting its kill. The only thing worse on the trail than coming across a moose carcass would be coming across a bear cub.

I'm sore today.
Re: Crow Pass
July 05, 2012 09:26AM
In the newest news from Crow Pass, the trail is still closed due to the moose kill. They are estimating the closure will remain in effect for another week or two. A discovery flight allowed authorities to see the bear feeding on parts of the moose on the trail within the last couple days. The bear is thought to have buried part of the moose elsewhere. In theory, this could be the same moose pictured above. I also narrowly avoided needing to reverse course on the hike and go twenty miles, uphill about 3,500 ft, the other way. That would have completed a nice 40 mile day hike! The day ended up being very warm, upper 60s, but I did have winter gear. So I suppose we could have stopped and slept if we needed. But it doesn't get dark anyway...
avatar Re: Crow Pass
July 06, 2012 08:18PM
Thanks for the trip report and the link to all the photos. They're wonderful. It's great that the weather was cooperative the day of your hike.
Re: Crow Pass
June 19, 2013 05:23PM
Looking for a Crow Pass hiking partner this Saturday. Anyone happen to be in the area and have time for a 12 hour hike?
Re: Crow Pass
June 21, 2013 12:06AM
There is normally a log to walk across here. Yikes!

Re: Crow Pass
September 26, 2013 12:34PM
I plan on attempting a Crow Pass Hike this weekend with a friend-Friday/Saturday. Anchorage and the area just got a big dump of snow a few days ago so it will be interesting. I spoke with a Ranger and there are reports of a 4 foot snow drift at the top of pass and there is almost always snow on the 45 degree scree field descent from the pass to the start of the valley trail. We are overnnighting this trip to give us extra time to explore one of the glaciers. Weather has warmed up to 40-50's and we expect rain. Bears will also be looking for their last meals before their long sleep. We will definitely be taking bear spray.

Hopefully I will have some pictures to post Saturday or Sunday.
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