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Amazing! Hard! ...and would definitely do it again! #SisterTrip2020 My sister and I did the Glacier and Tundra 4 night/5 day backpacking trip *girls only* with Kelly as our guide in August, 2020... read more#SisterTrip2020 My sister and I did the Glacier and Tundra 4 night/5 day backpacking trip *girls only* with Kelly as our guide in August, 2020 (hey! better a late review than never!).
We had such a great trip and made great memories. I will say this was HARD! I trained at home (Utah, at altitude) with a 40# pack for months before I went, about twice a week with crossfit the days I wasn't hiking. What I failed to do was train w/a heavy pack consecutive days in a row, which I think is a must. I would guestimate our packs during the trip to be around 50#, if not more. Kelly, our guide, obviously had the brunt of the weight when we started and then as we consumed, the weight was distributed evenly daily.
Once we got to Anchorage, we stayed at the Townplace Suites Anchorage Midtown which was great because it was walking distance to the Moose Tooth Pub & Pizzeria which is a must!
Once in McCarthy, the accommodations at Blackburn Cabins were great and kind of fun. The bathrooms and showers are shared and outdoor. Took my by surprise at first but it really added to the experience. Unfortunately by the time we got to McCarthy, met with Kelly, loaded up on snacks, did our pack checks and had dinner it was already 9:00 by the time we got to our little cabin and of course the pick-up shuttle was there bright and early to start our backpacking adventure. I will recommend when they give you a gallon size bag to fill up on snacks, you no kidding fill it up with snacks! They're snack selection is excellent! I wish I would have grabbed more individually wrapped goodies (like hi-chews) that could easily fit in my pockets for easy access.
Once dropped off in the backcountry (super cool experience btw) it was an unbelievable 5 days.
I won't go into every detail, just know the moraines are tough, slippery and much more difficult than they look. I fell soooo many times! LOL, we all did.
The weather god's shined down on us and we had sunshine for the majority of our trip which allowed for me to do the Blue Pool Plunge! I would SOO recommend this if you can pull it off.
I also did some skinny dipping in the lower Donahoo lake (I think, that's the problem w/writing a review months after the trip.
On the last day, we met up with Anya and Anna for ice climbing and what a way to end the adventure! Amazing. I've never climbed before and I loved it!
The walk back into town seemed like the hardest couple miles of the entire trip bc we were exhausted. Once in Kennicott, we stayed at the Kennicott Lodge (all accommodation and transportation besides Anchorage were arranged by SEAG.) which was super comfy but we did have problems with the hot water which is no bueno when you haven't showered in a week and are on a time schedule to get to dinner.
Would I do this trip again? Absolutely!! Things I would do differently:
bring water purifying tablets-we drank right from standing puddles/holes and ponds (and running glaciers)...which might be fine for someone use to it but my sister and I both had the poops for several days.
Pack sunscreen, our guide didn't recommend we bring any since we had bug spray w sunscreen in it. I would recommend you bring them separately. Didn't really like spraying/rubbing bug spray on my face constantly.
Pack more toilet paper than 1-2 squares a day- again, our guide was definitely a minimalist. Not a bad thing but...I like to be clean.
Make sure there is enough coffee! Somehow we ran out (and no, we didn't drink more than planned). Just whatever is a "must" for you, like coffee is for me, make sure there is enough packed!
The way home was long, with our flight not departing Anchorage until 2:00 am and a long layover in Portland. it was SOOO worth buying the Alaskan Air Lounge Day pass. It was only $25 if you have the card and the day pass is good for 24 hours so we were able to use it at both airports. The Lounge in Portland is the nicest one I've ever been in!
Anyway, hope this was helpful and feel reach out to me if you have any questions! read lessKcMae111/14/2020
Great way to see Wrangell St Elias! During our stay in McCarthy, we took 3 tours with Wrangell St. Elis Guides. I will outline them below.
The first day we took a... read moreDuring our stay in McCarthy, we took 3 tours with Wrangell St. Elis Guides. I will outline them below.
The first day we took a full day glacier hike. You hike 2 miles out to the glacier and then strap on crampons and begin your hike. For the full day tour, you hike 4-6 miles on the glacier itself, and then head back on the trail you hiked out on. Out of the three tours we took this was the most disappointing. I think some of this was my own fault as I underestimated the effort to walk on ice for that for that long. The other dissatisfier however was the guide. Our group consisted of my boyfriend and I, the guide and the guide’s friend. I don’t feel the guide gave a proper safety talk (avoid crevasses, how to safely walk in crampons etc..), we just kinda took off. I was nervous as I wasn’t sure if there were areas I shouldn’t walk close to, so I tried to stay as close to the guide as possible. However, I couldn’t keep up with his pace and fell behind. We didn’t stop very often to take photos or just enjoy the scenery, which I would have liked. Eventually, I just began stopping when I wanted to since I couldn’t keep up anyway. It was a fun experience, but I wish the guide was a bit more attentive. They ask you to bring gloves on this trip, and I recommend non fluffy gloves, but rather something that would dry quick or stay dry. I fell at one point and my gloves were soaked, making for cold hands the rest of the trip. I would my experience on this trip 3 ½ stars.
The second day we took a full day rafting and flightseeing trip with Sarah and Cody. This was one of our highlights during our 18-day Alaska trip. We ended up totally lucking out and getting a private trip with just us and the guides. After suiting up and getting the normal terrifying speech about what to do in every worst-case scenario, we were off. When we first started out it was a bit cloudy and the water was COLD, the day warmed up rather quickly however. For the first half of our trip we were with Cody. He was very nice and taught us a lot about the river and the area. The scenery was beautiful. We made a stop in the morning to go find wild animal footprints in a sandy area, and we saw several. Half way through the day we stopped for lunch. We walked around the area while Sarah and Cody prepared food for us. The lunch spread was very nice, including a really yummy salmon salad. We sat around and talked over lunch, we had a great visit with them! After lunch we were with Sarah in the raft and she was great too! She was very nice and told us lots of great stories about her time as a guide, and more info about the river and the area. After one more quick stop, we landed at shore and explored while they broke down all the boats for the flight back to town. The plane arrived, they loaded it up and we were off! We got to see root glacier from above as well as Kennecott and the McCarthy area. The pilot was also very friendly and explained the area as we flew over it. This trip was phenomenal and we loved both our guides. Easy 5 stars on this trip!
The last day we did a mine tour with another guide named Sarah. Due to work being done on the actual mill building we couldn’t go inside of it (This was very clearly stated on their website and I knew that when I signed up for the tour) but there was still a lot to see! I really liked the ammonia leaching building and the power plant. Sarah was very informative, and was a great story teller. Gave us plenty of time at all the stops to look at all the displays and did not feel rushed at all. 5 stars for this trip too.
Overall, 5 stars for this company. Easy booking, nice folks checking you in, and great guides for the most part. Thanks for the memories, we loved Wrangell St Elias! read lessGarfieldluvr9/16/2020
Excellent Guiding I have used this guide service four times. Each time has been better than the last. The guides are friendly, knowledgeable, and very... read moreI have used this guide service four times. Each time has been better than the last. The guides are friendly, knowledgeable, and very fun to be with. If you are lucky enough to visit Wrangell-St. Elias national park, you should certainly use these guys to get the best experience. read less10cherylk9/08/2020
High Pass Odyssey 6 day We did the high pass odyssey in 6 days. Exceeded every expectation. Harrison was all time. The food was unreal. The sights were truly breathtaking.... read moreWe did the high pass odyssey in 6 days. Exceeded every expectation. Harrison was all time. The food was unreal. The sights were truly breathtaking. Harrison kept us safe and sound. Anya the owners handled the logistics and was amazing. 10 out of 10. Also... glad we trained for this one 😉 read lessBmjansma9/06/2020
Phenomenal way to see Alaska St. Elias National Park is spectacular, and this was a fantastic group to lead our exploration of it! From the first point of contact to... read moreSt. Elias National Park is spectacular, and this was a fantastic group to lead our exploration of it! From the first point of contact to our departure at the end of the trip, at every step they were friendly, professional, and reassuring that we would not be eaten by bears. They designed a trip that perfectly matched our level of experience and adventure, and we had a blast hiking around the basin, crossing glaciers, and eating incredibly good food in the backcountry! Special shoutout to our guide Michael Hampton, who immediately felt like one of our crew and was a great hang for four days. read lesssparker149/05/2020
Amazing Glacier Hike and Ice Climb Experience Tristan is an amazing guide. He knew the glaciers and mountain like the back of his hand. Completely trusted him with guiding my family and... read moreTristan is an amazing guide. He knew the glaciers and mountain like the back of his hand. Completely trusted him with guiding my family and I around during our first time glacier hiking and ice climbing. Highlight was the blue pool jump which my husband did. He got some cuts from the ice but Tristan was ready with his first aid kit. Will definitely do it again! read lessthreestripes338/31/2020
Alaskan highlight Fantastic outfit! I did the full day glacier hike and it was incredible. Walking with crampons was a joy and our guide introduced us to... read moreFantastic outfit! I did the full day glacier hike and it was incredible. Walking with crampons was a joy and our guide introduced us to so many hidden wonders of the glacier. The cup of tea produced out of nowhere midway was hugely appreciated too! Highly recommend, this was one of the highlights of my whole Alaska trip. read lessMatthews-ec8/21/2020
Half-day Glacier & Mine Tour The half-day Glacier hike and mine tour were so amazing! The glacier is incredible and even though it's possible to hike it on your own,... read moreThe half-day Glacier hike and mine tour were so amazing! The glacier is incredible and even though it's possible to hike it on your own, having the knowledge and insider tips of a guide takes it to the next level! I'm not much of a hiker, but this was very do-able and safe. read lessTara M8/18/2020
Half day glacier and ice climbing St. Elias Alpine Guides are absolutely amazing! We did an afternoon half day glacier hike on our second day in Kennecott. The experience was so... read moreSt. Elias Alpine Guides are absolutely amazing! We did an afternoon half day glacier hike on our second day in Kennecott. The experience was so awesome we opted to go back out on our third day for the ice climbing. Our guide Tristan was extremely knowledgeable, very personable and made the whole experience that much better. The half day glacier tour was a good bit of hiking and exploring. Tristan did an excellent job coaching us through how to safely navigate the glacier with the crampons. The views are absolutely incredible and you get to learn so much about glacier formation and changes over time. The ice climbing is a completely unique opportunity. We started on a glacial cliff face and practiced using the tools and equipment. Then we headed to a moulin (a giant water carved hole in the glacier). Tristan showed us how he sets up the anchor safeties and then you slowly lower yourself into the moulin with his help. Then you get to admire the view until you climb back out. Absolutely breathtaking being inside a glacier. It was an absolutely unforgettable trip and I would definitely recommend the team to anyone heading to the park and looking for an adventure. read less740kaitline8/11/2020
Historic Bonanza Mine hike with great views in the end This hike was one of the best hikes we have ever done and we have done many challenging hikes throughout various national parks. The... read moreThis hike was one of the best hikes we have ever done and we have done many challenging hikes throughout various national parks. The view at the top was an incredible reward for the awesome vertical hiking challenge. The mine was very interesting to learn about and see. We all loved it! Our guide Tim was fantastic with a great sense of humor and always providing interesting information about the mines and surrounding area. read lessMark S8/09/2020
Fantastic day! What a fabulous day on the Root Glacier. Merritt was super friendly, knowledgeable and fun. He worked hard and never missed a beat teaching these... read moreWhat a fabulous day on the Root Glacier. Merritt was super friendly, knowledgeable and fun. He worked hard and never missed a beat teaching these 50- (nearly 60-)somethings the basics of ice climbing. We’d do it again in a heartbeat. read lessPortland38/07/2020
Awesome full day glacier hike Amazing glacier hike today. Bryce was an awesome guide. Great sense of humor but also kept us safe and let us help plan... read moreAmazing glacier hike today. Bryce was an awesome guide. Great sense of humor but also kept us safe and let us help plan the day - what an adventure?!?! read lessMiscleo8/04/2020
Amazing day! We did the half day glacier hike. It was terrific. The glacier is stunning and we were able to explore lots of it.... read moreWe did the half day glacier hike. It was terrific. The glacier is stunning and we were able to explore lots of it. Our guide Gus was very knowledgeable. It was an amazing day and we were both tired after our 10 plus mile hike! read lessDMH_in_NH8/04/2020
Private Kennecott Glacier Tour Can't plan the weather and boy did it rain ... but our guide, Gus was great. Booked a private all day glacier tour so... read moreCan't plan the weather and boy did it rain ... but our guide, Gus was great. Booked a private all day glacier tour so we could hike and photograph the glaciers at our own pace. Glacier hikes happen rain or shine and even though the weather left something to be desired Gus's positive attitude along with his expertise made our day special. read lessN4811EQellen8/03/2020
Outstanding Employees !!! Gus and Harrison are top notch. Great job taking care of Carolina and I and making sure we got the tour we wanted. And thanks... read moreGus and Harrison are top notch. Great job taking care of Carolina and I and making sure we got the tour we wanted. And thanks for fixing my hat Harrison!!! Great tours and great fun!!! See you soon for ice climbing and cave exploration. read lessJerryT1278/01/2020
Ice climbing birthday adventure We had an amazing ice climbing adventure. Our guide was outstanding, patient and talented. This was a surprise for my sweethearts 48th birthday and everyone... read moreWe had an amazing ice climbing adventure. Our guide was outstanding, patient and talented. This was a surprise for my sweethearts 48th birthday and everyone at the office was sure to say happy birthday to him they made it all very special. I highly recommend this adventure and this very knowledgeable and professional company. read less503brandier7/28/2020
Fantastic I had the pleasure of utilizing St. Elias Alpine guides over a 6 day period, which would not have been the same experience without them.... read moreI had the pleasure of utilizing St. Elias Alpine guides over a 6 day period, which would not have been the same experience without them. From the mine tour with Tica to a glacier guide outing with Tristan and passing of other guides on day and overnight tours it was incredible. I highly recommend using them as a constant resource while in McCarthy and Kennicot. read lessJdog345677/26/2020