Revelation Mountains: Stony River Loop

You'll need multisport skills to scramble, glacier-trek, and paddle through these rarely seen towers.
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You'll need multisport skills to scramble, glacier-trek, and paddle through these rarely seen towers.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 171.6

Waypoints

SRL001

Location: 61.360767364502, -153.666702270508

Despite being mere state land, the Revelation Mountains between Lake Clark and Denali National Parks are filled with unnamed peaks far more jagged and glacier-clad than anything in the Sierra or Cascades. The entire range, more than 90 miles long, was largely unknown until the Harvard Mountaineering Club climbed here in 1967. Over the years, we've sampled a lot of Alaskan scenery, but for visual impact and exploratory opportunity, the Revelations are second to none.

The loop described here includes rugged trekking, roped scrambles, and swiftwater paddling in small, inflatable packrafts. Some adventurers have done parts of this route, and Sled Pass was used by ancient Athabaskan Indians, but the trip is not for rookies. Despite the efforts of our strong party, the loop remains unfinished.
To be the first to complete it, you'll need intermediate whitewater paddling skills, as well as climbing and glacier gear, packrafts (alpackaraft.com), collapsible paddles, and inflatable PFDs. There's at least one deep river ford between dangerous rapids. We recommend going with a guide and allowing 11 to 14 days for the attempt.

Begin from a gravel bar in the narrow gorge of the Stony River's upper East Fork.

SRL002

Location: 61.3679008483887, -153.646057128906

Continue NE

SRL003

Location: 61.3823165893555, -153.600173950195

Continue NE up steep, narrow valley

SRL004

Location: 61.3948822021484, -153.554489135742

Near mile 5, hug S cliffband

SRL005

Location: 61.3969841003418, -153.552520751953

Good campsite

SRL006

Location: 61.4003562927246, -153.547744750977

Tough river crossing between dangerous rapids

SRL007

Location: 61.4052658081055, -153.551666259766

Begin climbing up a short strech of 5.5 rock slabs

SRL008

Location: 61.4054832458496, -153.552825927734

Top of slabby climb; continue ascent

SRL009

Location: 61.4090003967285, -153.558654785156

Continue N, eventually you'll ascend a long glacier

SRL010

Location: 61.4161148071289, -153.557983398438

Nice campsite

SRL011

Location: 61.4231643676758, -153.563858032227

Hard, gritty ice en route to the upper East Fork of the Stony River

SRL012

Location: 61.4766426086426, -153.560287475586

Unnamed pass; route drops E

SRL013

Location: 61.4828338623047, -153.54963684082

At mile 12.2, the land eases with flower-filled tundra

SRL014

Location: 61.4891662597656, -153.506454467773

Possible campsite

SRL015

Location: 61.5589828491211, -153.463165283203

Launch on the South Fork of the Kuskokwim's gravel creekbed for a class II-III whitewater ride into a wide valley.

SRL016

Location: 61.5767822265625, -153.4560546875

Good campsite off the Kuskokwim. EDITOR'S NOTE: Our scouting party was forced to turn-around at this point. The route from here to Waypoint 20 is the route suggested by others who've done sections of this loop and bush plane flyovers. Actual track might be slightly different.

SRL017

Location: 61.7346878051758, -153.366470336914

Leave Kuskokwim and hike due west to the Hartman River and ascend its Pass Fork to Sled Pass's broad tundra saddle.

SRL018

Location: 61.6958122253418, -153.629318237305

Head SE up Pass Fork

SRL019

Location: 61.6436882019043, -153.715057373047

Sled Pass. Drop SSW off the pass, then descend the upper reaches of the main Stony River and relaunch rafts once river conditions allow. Paddle challenging water past the East Fork confluence.

SRL020

Location: 61.3571319580078, -153.722747802734

Confluence. The Stony becomes broad and placid.

SRL021

Location: 61.2722663879394, -153.798446655273

Float past Harrower Lodge, a super remote yet posh retreat for hunters and corporate events.

SRL022

Location: 61.0710334777832, -153.996383666992

Option 1: Bush plane fly-out spot.

SRL023

Location: 61.0744361877441, -154.011184692383

Option 2: Bushplanes fly out of this small lake off the Stony.

*****

Logistics: Fly Lake Clark Air's regular air taxi from Anchorage to Port Alsworth, then a bush plane to the gravel-bar landing.
Guide Service: Alaska Alpine Adventures: (877) 525-2577; alaskaalpineadventures.com
Contact: Lake Clark Air: (888) 440-2281;