Access to any of the backcountry units to the west is technically possible, but only by making long climbs over steep scree, rock, and/or glacial moraine. One pass leads into the upper Sunrise Glacier valley (Unit 12), but this route requires good map and compass skills due to the hidden nature of the pass and the natural hazards that surround it. Getting to Sunrise Glacier also involves navigating several miles of glacial moraine on both sides of the pass and crossing steep snowfields. Other passes lead to Upper Stony Creek (Unit 11) and Gorge Creek (Unit 12) on the north side of Green Dome. Both of these routes usually contain steep snow until July. Watch out for hidden waterfalls in the drainages that are difficult to navigate around – this unit has many surprises. Access to the east into Unit 9 is covered in the description for that unit. Scott Peak at the head of this unit is only attempted by experienced mountaineers and is very rarely climbed from the Toklat side.
Additional Notes and Hazards
The West Branch of the Toklat is a major glacial river and it may be impossible to cross on foot without being swept downstream. Plan your river crossings carefully and to the abilities of everyone in your group. Every year the river changes its course; ask at the Backcountry Information Center (BIC) about the current conditions when you get a permit for this area. There are frequently grizzly bears traveling or hunting along the edge of the river and sometimes you must actively avoid them. The Toklat River area can have high winds coming from the south, so place your tent in a protected area if possible.
The Park Road is less frequently visible from the upper portions of the river when compared with Unit 9, but the large Toklat Rest Stop tent is visible even up to the headwaters, 7 miles away. You do not need to camp out of sight of the tent, just out of sight of the Park Road – but aesthetically speaking, you will likely want to camp where you cannot see the tent.