“A beautiful and scenic tour leads to a stunning cirque loaded with world-class terrain.
— James Smith
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
This flat but long route leads to one of the finest stashes of powder and terrain in the Eastern Alaska Range.
Starting at the Richardson Monument pullout, head up valley toward the looming Gulkana Glacier. After about 4 miles, you'll reach the "Indiana Jones Bridge." This suspension bridge crosses College Creek and is used for access to the Gulkana Glacier during the summer months.
At this point, head east up College Creek. Be careful; the next 3 miles can have spots of open water even in the depths of winter, and the valley walls create a terrain trap. The valley eventually opens up and begins to turn north. You'll now have your first views of the cirque. Peak 8100 dominates the rear of the valley with the College Glacier and its smaller pocket glaciers filling the space below.
As you head up onto the glacier itself, keep in mind that crevasses, moulins and deep meltwater channels lurk beneath the snow. Roping up is advised.
Eventually, the glacier flattens out at about 5,500 feet. From here, take one of the many routes to access the areas around the glacier.
This route is often snowmachined to decrease travel time.