Your ice climbing trip will begin at our office in the historic copper mining town of Kennecott, Alaska. Step out on our back deck for a few minutes to enjoy the stunning views of 16,390’ Mt. Blackburn as your guide outfits you with ice climbing boots, a harness, and crampons (metal spikes that attach to your boots and grip into the ice).
After you’re all geared up, you and your guide will head out the historic wagon road that runs north out of town. Eventually, this turns into the trail that will take you down to the Root Glacier. Keep your eyes peeled for the rainbow of colors as the Alaskan wildflowers are blooming into blues, purples, pinks, and yellows throughout the summer. Your guide is extremely knowledgeable in the local flora and fauna, so they will point out the alpine lupine, dwarf fireweed, and goldenrod.
Upon reaching the edge of the white glacial ice, it’s time to gear up. Put on an extra jacket, as the glacier is typically about 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than it was back at the office. Your guide will teach you how to strap on your crampons, and instruct you in the proper way to walk on the ice. Some folks think the crampons feel like “Velcro shoes,” as you can “stick” to slopes surfaces without sliding off! After a few minutes of instruction and practice, it’s time to head over to the ice climbing walls.
Enjoy the beautiful mountain views as you hike out across the Root Glacier – you’ll see 6,696’ Donoho Peak towering over the Root Glacier, catch views of the impressive mile-high Stairway Icefall, and even can catch glimpses of the old Erie Mine Bunkhouse. It’s perched way up on a rocky ridge and is another one of the visible remnants to the mining history of the past. On the surface of the glacier, you can enjoy hiking past sapphire blue pools, cascading waterfalls, and babbling brooks as you hike to the climbing walls.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a nervous novice, our ice climbing guides will tailor the day’s activities to your personal abilities and goals. Our guides will provide instruction in the proper form and technique for ice climbing, and will also cover proper belay technique, and proper equipment selection and fitting. Of course, the best way to learn how to ice climb is to do it, and there is lots of opportunity for that! The goal of the day is to learn and have a lot of fun, and our guides provide an atmosphere full of support and encouragement. Whether you are learning the basics, or perfecting your technique on more advanced terrain, our guides are there to make your Alaskan ice climbing adventure a memory to last you a lifetime.
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