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View Full Version : How to get Equipment into the Backcountry??

12-14-2012, 12:57 PM
I am moving off of the beaten path and into the remote backcountry. What is the best way to get a trailer loaded with everything back into where it needs to be?

Too much stuff to economically fly it in. I am talking dredges, food, fuel...everything to set up camp and stay for the summer. Leave it there for long term work. Fly out at season's end. Would a snowcat work? And if so, how much will they pull?:cool::cool:

12-14-2012, 02:29 PM

The answer depends on your definition of back country. Are there "winter trails" into the area? If you have trees or brush cutting requirements in order to make a trail - it requires permitting.

Mining companies that use overland methods of transport in winter use snowmobiles for light haulage. Heavy haulage requires a bull dozer and sled. Because of the possibility of getting stuck, equipment break-down, etc. it's important to have contingency plans to include a second way back out i.e. an extra snow machine. Depending on the extent of the travel, fuel may need to be pre-positioned for refueling at strategic points. It's definitely an exercise in logistics.

- Geowizard

12-14-2012, 03:38 PM
You are right about the exercise in logistics, Geo. There is a trail but only useable during winter. In an ideal world, I would use a Cat pulling that sled all the way from the haul road. Permits are in place. I want to sample the creeks this season before committing to heavier equipment next season. This is my "boots on the ground" in a new area for me. Backup is available. Equipment going in during Feb. Just not sure how...yet. I have been a river dredger many decades. Still got dredges buried in the bushes on several rivers. Some are 40 miles from nearest road but has access via water. Overland in winter is new to me, that's all.

12-14-2012, 04:41 PM
A winter trip overland will be your best bet. With the freeze we had this fall, travel should be excellent once we get some more snow. Depending on your location though. I don't think you as a Dredger could find enough equipment and supplies to overload a snowcat. My friend and mining partner operates four or five snowcats during the winter season and could very well be your answer. They operate out of willow but have traveled as far north as bettles before for cat work. If you are interested I can pm you his phone number. Good luck

12-14-2012, 07:30 PM
If it were me I'd get a buddy and a couple good snowmachines in the Spring. Haul anything you are going to need.
For several years I hauled all my fuel in 55 gallons drums over the trail in March with a snowmachine.

12-15-2012, 06:57 AM
Dick, what kind of skid did you use? And how much load per trip?

Funny that y'all should mention Bettles. Gonna be some 25 miles from there.

12-15-2012, 01:09 PM
I haul my fuel in to the mine with snow mobile too, I built a sled that fits 2 drums and tow with a arctic cat bearcat, this year I am going to try to tow 2 sleds with 4 drums total, last year we had 3 snowmachines towing a sled each hauling 6 drums per trip,

12-15-2012, 08:16 PM
Friend of mine has to haul an annual supply of fuel in to his remote residence (20-25 miles off road). On a packed trail, he can haul 4 - 55 gallon drums at a time using an Alpine pulling an old military surplus freighter sled (flatbed model). Mostly fairly flat country with only a few short steeper pitches (mostly stream banks). I think he said it takes 3 trips for just the fuel.

12-15-2012, 08:42 PM
I've got a sled that will hold 2- 55 gallon drums. One behind the other. Because of terrain I can only haul 2 at a time with the Skidoo Skandic machine. Once you get a good packed trail in it is amazing what you can pull behind one of these work snowmachines.

12-16-2012, 06:22 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=Ti6jyMfxofM I don,t know how useful this would be? Jim

12-16-2012, 05:44 PM
I am in the process of completing An AHEA (Alaska Hardrock Exploration Application). Of course Cross country travel has to be "permitted". Specifically, travel off of an all-season road. The 2013 APMA probably has similar if not the same requirements. The Apps. have to provide 4 weeks minimum notice. The Land manager has to know the proposed time window and he will approve based on snow conditions... There's more.

- Geowizard

12-16-2012, 05:48 PM
Another note of possible interest. Air carriers are NOT hauling fuel with passengers. Apparently, new FAA rules. So, when planning logistics to include air, plan on at least two charters if fuel is part of the plan.

- Geowizard