Bock's Lake to Congdon Creek


Distance: 55 km
Elevation Gain: 1017 m (3337 ft)
Time: 4-5 days
Difficulty: Moderate
Region: Kluane
Date Added: November 20, 2014
Last Update: November 20, 2014




This route connects Bock's Lake to Congdon Creek via the Duke River. It requires some route finding, but it is a fantastic hike through some amazing terrain in Kluane National Park.


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Driving Directions

Drive 100 km north of Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway. About 14 km north of the Congdon Creek Campground you will see a highway sign for Bock's Creek, as well as the wide creek bed. You can pull off the highway onto a road, just after the creek on the north side. This is an active mining road, so leave room for vehicles to get past.




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Trail Description

The first day follows the route to Bock's Lake. You can spend an extra day at Bock's Lake if you want to explore the area.

From Bock's Lake, follow the route to the pass between Bock's Lake and the Duke River. The descent from the pass is not bad, as the loose talus actually helps you plunge step down. At the bottom of the pass, you will follow the valley out to the Duke River. The valley is fantastic walking on grassy flats that have been mowed by the resident sheep. There is an interesting array of rocks strewn about further down the valley.

When you reach the bush line, you can continue walking through the small bushes, as they are pretty easy to avoid. Eventually you will get into some larger bushes, at which point you can descend on your right (north) to the creek below.

If water levels are low in the creek, you should be able to avoid it easily. There are a couple of canyon sections which will require a little navigating, either on the sides of the creek bed, or above on the adjacent hillside.

Once you are through the canyons, the creek bed becomes very wide and you can follow it down to tree line. As soon as you reach tree line, you will be at the Duke River.

The Duke River is a very wide river valley. You can follow it southeast on the river bed. You may be forced to cross it (or one of its many braids) if it meanders too close to the shore line.

After about 6.5 km, you will reach Dickson Creek. If you want to camp here, you can cross Dickson Creek and camp on the flat, open ground that is betwen Dickson Creek and the Duke River.

From here, you will be following Dickson Creek all the way up the valley. Creek crossing shoes come in handy here, and you might want to leave them on, as you may have to cross Dickson Creek up to a dozen times.

Further up Dickson Creek, three creeks will come to form Dickson Creek with beautiful rocky cliffs and hidden waterfalls. The easiest thing to do at this point is to climb up the hillside on your right (south). You may be forced to walk along side one of the creeks briefly before crossing it and getting up on the hillside again. You are aiming to get up and head towards your left (east).

When you are up on the hillside, it widens out but is a little convoluted with lakes and creeks. Aim to get close to the high shoulder to your left above Dickson Creek.

In the mountains up ahead and to the left is where the next pass is, the Right On Mountain pass. Continue climbing up the hillside. Eventually you can start sidehilling and descending down into the creek valley below. When you get to the creek bed and nearly reach the end, follow the left fork a bit further. You will reach yet another creek valley which runs down from the pass (on your left now). To climb to the pass, use the rightmost hillside.

Near the top of the pass, you will have to scramble over a few rocks briefly. When you reach the top of Right On Mountain pass it will flatten out and become a small plateau. Walk across the plateau and look down the other side towards Congdon Creek.

The descent from Right On Mountain pass can look intimidating. It looks narrow, steep, and very high up. But don't worry, there is a gentle route down. Make your way down the gulley until you can get back up on the hillside on your left (north). Follow the hillside downwards, staying just left of the gnarly rock formations.

At the end of the hillside, there is a narrow ramp that angles gently down to the creek below. Follow the ramp down. At the end of the ramp, follow the creek down until you reach the confluence of Congdon Creek.

At the confluence of Congdon Creek, you can look for a flat section to camp on, although there aren't many places to find. From here, you could hike out Bullion Plateau or follow Congdon Creek back to the highway.


Note: Overnight trips in Kluane National Park and Reserve require registration and approved bear resistant food canisters. Please visit the Park's website for details.

Elevations

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Arno Springer
August 28, 2015

We did a nice variation of this route where you start and finish at Nines Creek, so no shuttle involved. The real bonus is that there is a mining road up Nines Creek that takes you about 4.5 km up to the base of the mountains. Turn left off the highway at a road to a gravel pit 1.4 km after the 1674 mile marker (UTM 07V 0624892: 6786967). Follow this road around the gravel pit to its west side where you will find another road heading west to the mountains. If you have reasonable ground clearance you can follow the road all the way to the end (about 4.5 km). Regular car will get you in about 4 km. Be aware that there are limited places to turn around if you change your mind as you get to the end of the road.
The hike follows Nines Creek up to where you can easily cross over to Bock's Creek and follow the route description in this guide up to Bock's Lake and further on to Right on Mtn. From there you do a high traverse back into the south arm of Nines Creek which takes you back to your car.