World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Baranof Cross-Island Trail

Article Id: WHEBN0002638515
Reproduction Date:

Title: Baranof Cross-Island Trail  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Baranof Warm Springs, Alaska, Hiking trails in Alaska, Camp Lake (Alaska), Mount Furuhelm, Mount Bassie
Collection: Hiking Trails in Alaska, Protected Areas of Sitka City and Borough, Alaska
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Baranof Cross-Island Trail

Baranof Cross-Island Trail
A group of two crossing the icefield on Mt. Bassie.
Length 16 mi (26 km)
Location Baranof Island, Alaska, United States
Trailheads Sitka, Alaska;
Baranof Warm Springs
Use Hiking
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Strenuous
Sights Baranof Island
Hazards Severe weather, crevasses

The Baranof Cross-Island Trail is an informal trail located across Baranof Island, Alaska from the community of Sitka to Baranof Warm Springs. The trail is popular among resident Sitkans, but also attracts visiting backpackers. From start to finish, the trail spans approximately 16 miles (26 km) long, but owing to the difficult terrain covered, the average crossing requires two to three days. Very-fit distance runners, however, can complete the trail in a day, the record being held by Sitka resident and ultra-endurance athlete Steve Reifenstuhl who has completed the trail in seven hours.

Contents

  • Route 1
    • Alternate route 1.1
  • Safety 2
  • Equipment 3
  • External links 4

Route

The usual direction of passage is west to east, or Sitka to Baranof Warm Springs. Since Baranof Warm Springs has no permanent transportation options inbound or outbound, backpackers must either turn around and hike back to Sitka, or arrange float plane or boat transportation.

The trail begins at Medvejie Hatchery, accessible by boat or by hiking from Herring Cove on the 3.5-mile (5.6 km) private road to Medvejie Hatchery. The trail begins in the Medvejie Lake valley and continues up to Camp Lake, a popular campsite due to the scenic views, abundant water for bathing and drinking, and a comfortable alpine meadow for camping. The trail climbs up Mount Bassie and crosses its western face and a small but crevasse-ridden icefield. Especially in the late summer, when snow bridges have melted and blue ice is prevalent, this portion of the route can be the most dangerous and difficult part of the trip. An orbicular ridge leads north after Mount Bassie, splitting the Blue Lake watershed on the western side of the island from the Baranof River watershed on the eastern side of the island. The geology of the ridge (which also features basalt dikes) offers many locations to make camp with access to small pools for drinking water.

The ridge descends to two separate roughly mile-long icefields that are locally known as the Indigo Glacier. These icefields are flat with a small rocky isthmus separating them (it is marked as one icefield on USGS maps, however the icefield has since receded into two separate icefields). After the icefields, the trail passes several alpine lakes and descends down to Baranof Lake through a mix of temperate rainforest and cliffs. An informal trail leads from Baranof Lake to the boardwalk of Baranof Warm Springs.
The two primary icefields on the Baranof Cross-Island trail.

Alternate route

An alternate route terminates on the southern side of Warm Springs Bay. It has increased opportunities for skiing in the winter. This route shares no common segments with the traditional route.

This route begins with the approach to Peak 5390 and continues down past Mount Furuhelm and down to Warm Springs Bay. Once at Warm Springs Bay, a pick-up to shuttle is required to cross the bay to Baranof Warm Springs.

Safety

In the past ten years three separate parties have had to be rescued by the United States Coast Guard, including one near-death incident. The primary causes for complications on the trail are poor weather, poor decision-making after bad weather sets in, lack of equipment, and poor physical fitness.

Local guides are available informally. There are currently no commercial guides, although such a venture has been planned in the past.

Equipment

Standard backpacking gear is required for a crossing, but also gear that accounts for alpine campsites exposed to high winds and severe weather elements. Ice axes and crampons are useful for traversing ice. Climbing rope, with or without harnesses, is suggested in case of exposure to crevasses.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.