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Wolverine - Mount Elliot Traverse


With MMR behind me I can finally relax a bit and get into the mountains for some fun and adventure. Alaska's been experiencing a pretty nice summer with dry days on end that encourage travel up high. Anchorage is close to awesome ridge cruising and trail running. I thought I'd do a few posts about some of my favorites to showcase what we have and give a sort of reference for others curious about what's involved.

Karol finally out of the trees and the bears behind usI'm a big fan of loops and this is a good one. Starting at Glen Alps trailhead, this run takes the scenic Middle Fork trail north to the junction with the popular trail to Wolverine. At just under an hour for this section, it's an amazing warm up for the day. It's a little creepy in that the whole thing is below tree line. I stopped counting at 12 big piles of bear shit on the trail. Bring your spray and make some noise. The trail feels pretty flat but actually loses almost 1,000 feet to the junction.

Half way up Wolverine about to hit the saddle at Rusty PointOnce there, you get to run/hike another hour to the summit of Wolverine. You can shed the bearanoinia for awhile even though I've seen bear shit on these ridges. At least you won't sneek up on them. From the summit it's a straight shot on wonderful goat paths another 90 minutes to Elliot. The views keep getting better as you get deeper into the front range. Williwaw looms in the distance. We also got a great view of the North Face of O'malley with its tasty ski lines gestating for the upcoming winter.

The final ridge to the summit of Wolverine

Onward to Elliot

Looking back along the ridgeline

North Face of O'Malley

Some interesting bits in the Chugach choss

Mt. Williwaw and the Williwaw Lakes

Nothing like AK tundra

Some great running sections along the way

Up into the Black Lake cirque

Just about to gain the Ball Field with the traverse ridge behindThe traverse has some tricky scree in places but is straightforward. The descent off Elliot has some patches of loose scree that make for quick travel. Once down to the Williwaw lakes it's back on cruiser trails. We stopped and lounged briefly on the tundra before descending into the valley and starting the traverse to the Ball Field via Black Lake. There's some great running along this stretch. The final descent down the O'Malley gulley and back up to the parking lot completes the day. Comes in at 26km and 1,900 meters of climbing. Highly recommended. 

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Reader Comments (3)

Super loop! That ridge is really spectacular, mostly easy travel, and you can bail off it almost anywhere if need be.
In the interest of clarity, you may want to edit a few place names. No offense meant!
The Campbell Creek trail is generally understood to be the paved bike path down in the city near the Peanut Farm. You ran the Middle Fork Trail down from Glen Alps to get to the Wolverine trail. The North Fork [of Campbell creek] is on the North side of the Wolverine/Elliot ridge. Rusty Point is a false summit of Wolverine that overlooks the Williwaw lakes. You get a good view of it when you hit the big cairn about halfway up the Wolverine trail and the easiest access is straight up from that cairn.
Once upon a time I ran your loop in reverse but continued out to Rusty from Wolverine and ran down its steep south face to get back toward Glen Alps. You get a little more time on ridges, a little less time on trails below treeline, and a potential micro bushwack (just to keep it properly Alaskan).

August 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdbass

Still a newbie, Dave. Not sure why I called it Campbell Creek Trail. Sort of knew that. Spending too much time on my bike, I guess. Fixed the map, though. Thanks for the edit.

August 13, 2014 | Registered CommenterBrian

Really beautiful mountains , thanks for sharing your experience. I just love doing mountain biking . I will be going for camp with my friends to enjoy winter vacations at location de ski avoriaz .

September 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermichaelpitter

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