Alaska Ice Climbing Itinerary

Your Alaska ice climbing adventure begins at our office in the historic copper mining town of Kennecott. From the deck of our office, don’t miss breathtaking views of 16,390’ Mt. Blackburn and the Kennicott Glacier as your guide fits you for a harness, climbing boots, and steel crampons.

Once you are geared up, you and your guide will follow an historic wagon road north from Kennecott to a trail that descends to the Root Glacier. This road was built in the ‘20’s to supply the Erie Mine, six miles up the Root Glacier. Depending on the time of the season, the unforgettable flora of the Wrangell – St. Elias splashes color alongside the path. Brilliant blue lupine blooms in May and June and, as summer matures, dwarf fireweed and wild rose show up pink and vermilion as you hike the 2 miles out to the glacier. This moderate trail has a few steep sections, so make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots, and a backpack to carry your gear.

As the trail descends down the lateral moraine towards the Root Glacier, the air becomes slightly cooler and, the vegetation changes dramatically as you near the edge of the ice and the newly exposed moraine found there. Here, you and your guide pause to strap on crampons and learn some basic cramponing skills. Cramponing is simply hiking on ice with the aid of spikes attached to the bottom of your boots. With simple instruction and practice, crampons open up an entire new world. You’ll feel like Spiderman, scampering securely around on the ice and feeling the crunch of the ice beneath your feet.

From the edge of the glacier you and your guide hike out onto the Root Glacier enjoying fabulous views of 6,696’ Donoho Peak, the impressive mile-high Stairway Icefall, and if you’ve got sharp eyes, the historic Erie Mine Bunkhouse. You’ll also pass serene blue pools, rushing waterfalls, and roaring moulins on the way to the wave walls where the climbing begins.

People of all ages have found our ice climbing guides to be experts in tailoring the day’s activities to their personal abilities and goals. A typical day may include instruction on topics such as proper equipment selection and fitting, an explanation of the climbing system, proper belay technique, crampon and ice tool technique, and lots of fun climbing. The goal is to learn and have fun and our guides promote an atmosphere of support and encouragement. From learning the basics, to climbing on more advanced terrain, our guides are there to make your Alaska ice climbing adventure a memorable one.