Day Trip Difficulty Ratings

Choosing the perfect day trip:

Putting on cramponsOur trip difficulty ratings are meant to give you an approximation of the difficulty of a specific trip in relation to the other trips we offer.  Keep in mind that many factors can be involved in making a trip challenging or difficult and each trip will be unique.  The physical strength and/or endurance to complete the trip, the weather, and less than ideal gear are a few of these factors.

 It’s also good to remember that the Wrangell St. Elias is some of the most rugged and remote wilderness left in the world today.  While most of our day trips involve some time on trails or dirt roads you’ll also be travelling over the land in its natural form.  This means loose rock, soft alpine tundra, uneven terrain, and beautiful blue glacial ice.  You’ll do all of this while carrying your day pack, hiking uphill, wearing crampons, and eating lunch outdoors in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.  Many people haven’t experienced wilderness to this degree.  It can be humbling and awe-inspiring.

 Our best advice is to lean towards the conservative side when assessing your abilities and come prepared.  Good physical fitness and gear can make the difference between the trip of a lifetime and a “Why did we ever do this?” waste of a day.    If you’re not sure about what trip is right for you or how to prepare we’re happy to talk to you more and make some recommendations.

Minimal experience required

Experience:  Whether you’ve done the activity before or it’s your first ever trip of this kind these trips are less strenuous with gentler terrain.  Many are even suitable for younger kids.  Half Day Root Glacier Hikes fall into this category.  Our friendly, knowledgeable guides are there to give you a great introduction to the outdoors.

Gear:  You’ll need most of the gear on the appropriate equipment list.  Some rental/loaner gear is available and our office staff is happy to assist you with any questions .

Fitness:  If you’re already in good shape it’s likely that you will have no problem completing these trips without further preparation.  If you’re questioning your physical ability we’d recommend you start trip-specific training (ie: hiking with a day pack) at least a month in advance. You’ll need to be able to carry a day pack for about half a day over moderate terrain with stops every hour or so to rest.  For our Kennecott Town Tours you’ll need to be able to climb a short steep dirt road and navigate the stairs in the buildings.

Moderate

                Experience:  These trips are ideal for folks who have some experience with the activity or are looking for a more active adventure.  Full day hikes to the mines fall into this category. 

                Gear:  You’ll need most of the gear on the appropriate equipment list.  Some rental/loaner gear is available and our office staff is happy to assist you with any questions.

                Fitness:  These trips take you farther out of town and you’ll need to be in good shape.  You’ll want to be comfortable carrying a day pack uphill and over rough terrain for most of the day with stops every hour or so to rest.  If you’re in good shape already, think about adding some exercises involving carrying a loaded day pack into your routine.  If you’re not in good shape you may have to start trip specific exercises a month or more in advance to build your fitness base. 

 For the fit & experienced

            Experience:  For fit, adventurous folks, the Wrangell St. Elias is a playground just waiting to be explored.  Scrambling over rough glaciers, into ice caves, and up peaks are just a few of the activities you may participate in.  These adventures take you farther afield and well off the beaten path.

                Gear:  You’ll need all of the gear on the appropriate equipment list.  Some rental/loaner gear is available and our office staff is happy to assist you with any questions.

                Fitness:  You’ll need to be in good physical shape for these adventures.  Good balance, endurance, and insatiable curiosity are prerequisites.  If you’re not in great shape you’ll need to start preparing a month or more ahead of the trip.  Hike off trail all day with a loaded day pack.  Hit your local climbing gym or mountain bike trail.  Whatever your chosen form of torture is, try to approximate the conditions you’ll experience on your trip to build your fitness & comfort level up.

Customized based on goals & ability

People like to experience the outdoors in many different ways and we’re excited to facilitate your experience.  These are trips that have multiple options so we can customize the level of challenge based on what you want.  Contact us today to talk about your ideas.