Updated May 5, 2020

In light of current events, we at St. Elias Alpine Guides and Copper Oar Rafting want to keep you updated on our response to COVID-19. We wish you and your loved ones the best during these challenging times and also extend our deepest thanks towards those working on the front lines in medicine, sanitation, and other essential industries – thank you for working so hard to keep our basic needs met while we navigate this global pandemic together. 

As of now, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park plans on remaining open for the season! The Park Service is in the midst of coming up with a contingency plan for its own operation this summer and how it will affect the local community, visitors, and guided trips, and we are lucky enough to lend our ideas to the Park Service as they come up with these plans and protocols. We’ll be sure to provide an update when more concrete plans are set in place, but for now, please check out the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park FAQ page for more information.

What Operational Changes are you making?

One of the biggest changes we are making for 2020 is the requirement of advanced reservations. This is in adherence with the Alaska State Mandates for the “reopening” of the State. While in the past we have prided ourselves on taking walk-in traffic, we are hopeful that this measure will help continue to slow the spread of the virus as the state restrictions are lessened. So if you’re planning on heading out to the Wrangells this summer, please make a reservation! It can be done very easily on our website through our new reservation system!

Social distancing is likely to remain a recommendation for the summer season and we are confident that we’ll be able to alter our operations to accommodate this recommendation. We will be providing masks to our staff, and highly recommend that our guests plan on bringing and wearing a mask for their trip as well. If a trip requires bush plane flights, it is likely that the air service will require all their guests to wear a mask while on the plane. We are also developing plans to increase sanitation of office surfaces and rental/loaner equipment, to ensure that it is properly sanitized between uses.

We would kindly like to remind everyone that resources in our remote area are limited, so we discourage all our guests from relying too heavily on Alaskan small communities to cover their needs. A great start is traveling with your own mask and hand sanitizer – lessening the need to find/or buy these items in our remote community.

What is your Cancellation Policy?

With the recent changes in the CDC recommendations and travel restrictions, we have reviewed our cancellation policy from March 23rd. We feel that it is still appropriate for the current travel landscape, and have provided a summary of the details below:

We’re sensitive to the fact that travel restrictions may affect your reservations and travel plans and because of this, we want to ensure you that we will be honoring our lenient day trip cancellation policy and also making an addendum:

Your payment is fully refundable up to 48 hours prior to the start of the trip, so if anything comes up prior to that time call or email us to cancel your reservation for a full refund. Within 48 hours, there is no refund for cancellations*. In the rare event that we have to cancel a trip due to dangerous conditions, you will be notified and receive a full refund. 

*If you are unable to travel due to official government travel restrictions, a full refund will be given within 48 hours of your trip. 

For our multi-day trips, we’ve updated our cancellation policy to the following:

We will continue to charge a $500 per person deposit (or $1,000 per person for packages and mountaineering trips) at the time of booking. 50% of your deposit will be refundable prior to 30 days before the trip should you need to cancel. Cancellations in this time-frame may also choose to apply the full deposit to a future trip in the next two summers (2020, 2021, 2022). We will collect the balance 30 days before the start of the trip.

*If you are unable to travel due to official government travel restrictions still in place by the date of your trip and need to cancel within the 30-day mark, we will refund you 50% of the total payments you made and keep 50% as a credit to use for a future trip in the next two summers (minus any cancellation fees incurred by other vendors). Cancellations in this time-frame may also choose to apply the full payment (minus any cancellation fees incurred by other vendors) to a future trip in the next two summers (2020, 2021, 2022).

We have never charged any rebooking or cancellation fees and don’t plan on starting now!  We understand that it’s probably the current uncertainty that is keeping you away and that your love for Alaska will persuade you to complete the trip you’ve already worked so hard to plan. If you currently have a booking and are interested in transferring it to a future date, just let us know and we’ll be happy to rebook you to later this summer or even to a future year! If you’re not sure when you will return but would like to support our business, we can convert your booking into a gift card to be used at a later date in the next two summers! Again, no extra fees will be applied for rebooking or gift card conversions.

Which brings us to gift cards. We’re happy to announce that we are now offering gift cards as a flexible option for guests who need to cancel or reschedule their trip, and as a way for our guests to help support us through these challenging times. Both small businesses and the tourism industry are taking quite a hit, and unfortunately, we fit into both of those categories. Although this pandemic is quite unprecedented, as the longest continuously-running business in McCarthy (over 40 years!), we’ve survived natural disasters and economic recessions and are confident that we’ll be there for you in the coming years. That said, we are working very hard to soften the impact the virus will have on our business and employees so that we are able to operate for another +40 years. Converting your payment into a gift card would be a huge help to us. 

Where can I get additional information about COVID-19?

Our management team will continue to monitor the ongoing pandemic and encourage safe practices as outlined by the CDC. Here are a few websites that we thought you might find helpful:

We will continue to update this page with any policy, logistical or schedule changes we make, if and when we make them. If you already have a reservation with us, we will contact you directly via email if there are updates that may affect your reservation.

We find the remote wilderness that surrounds McCarthy and Kennecott to be peaceful and restorative and truly hope that you are able to join us this summer in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park to experience it for yourselves!

—————

Updated April 15, 2020

In light of current events, we at St. Elias Alpine Guides and Copper Oar Rafting want to keep you apprised of our response to COVID-19. We hope you are staying healthy and safe during these unusual times and we send our deepest appreciation for those working on the front lines in the medical field, and other essential industries keeping everyone’s needs met as we navigate this global pandemic together.

As of now, we still hope to be in operation for the 2020 summer season. Many of our decisions about how we operate are dependent on federal, state, and local government mandates, National Park Service actions, and current CDC recommendations. Although so much is outside of our control, you can rest assured that we are working tirelessly to make decisions that are best for our guests, our local community, and our business. Currently, our position is to follow all government mandates, safety guidelines, and recommendations set in place, and operate to the fullest and best of our abilities for as much of the season as possible.

What Operational Changes are you making?

We’ve made the challenging but responsible decision to cancel all our May mountaineering trips (including our very fun guide training trip, full of fun ski lines and team bonding), in order to adhere to government mandates and CDC recommendations. With the main part of our season still more than a month and a half away, we have been devising in-house guidelines that adhere to the CDC recommendations that will help mitigate the risk to our employees and guests. We hesitate to release any such information now as it is likely to change closer to the date but want you to know that we are thinking about it and are coming up with creative solutions to maintain our full service. Like many other small businesses, especially ones that are summer tourism-focused, the financial prospects of having to shut our doors for a season are incredibly crippling, so we are working hard to responsibly avoid this possibility. Now more than ever we all need an opportunity for wellness, nature, and adventure, and we are hopeful that restrictions will ease up enough for our guests to come out to us and experience this with us in beautiful Wrangell-St. Elias.

What is your Cancellation Policy?

With the recent changes in the CDC recommendations and travel restrictions, we have reviewed our cancellation policy from March 23rd. We feel that it is still appropriate for the current travel landscape, and have provided a summary of the details below:

We’re sensitive to the fact that travel restrictions may affect your reservations and travel plans and because of this, we want to ensure you that we will be honoring our lenient day trip cancellation policy and also making an addendum:

Your payment is fully refundable up to 48 hours prior to the start of the trip, so if anything comes up prior to that time call or email us to cancel your reservation for a full refund. Within 48 hours, there is no refund for cancellations*. In the rare event that we have to cancel a trip due to dangerous conditions, you will be notified and receive a full refund. 

*If you are unable to travel due to official government travel restrictions, a full refund will be given within 48 hours of your trip. 

For our multi-day trips, we’ve updated our cancellation policy to the following:

We will continue to charge a $500 per person deposit (or $1,000 per person for packages and mountaineering trips) at the time of booking. 50% of your deposit will be refundable prior to 30 days before the trip should you need to cancel. Cancellations in this time-frame may also choose to apply the full deposit to a future trip in the next two summers (2020, 2021, 2022). We will collect the balance 30 days before the start of the trip.

*If you are unable to travel due to official government travel restrictions still in place by the date of your trip and need to cancel within the 30-day mark, we will refund you 50% of the total payments you made and keep 50% as a credit to use for a future trip in the next two summers (minus any cancellation fees incurred by other vendors). Cancellations in this time-frame may also choose to apply the full payment (minus any cancellation fees incurred by other vendors) to a future trip in the next two summers (2020, 2021, 2022).

We have never charged any rebooking or cancellation fees and don’t plan on starting now!  We understand that it’s probably the current uncertainty that is keeping you away and that your love for Alaska will persuade you to complete the trip you’ve already worked so hard to plan. If you currently have a booking and are interested in transferring it to a future date, just let us know and we’ll be happy to rebook you to later this summer or even to a future year! If you’re not sure when you will return but would like to support our business, we can convert your booking into a gift card to be used at a later date in the next two summers! Again, no extra fees will be applied for rebooking or gift card conversions.

Which brings us to gift cards. We’re happy to announce that we are now offering gift cards as a flexible option for guests who need to cancel or reschedule their trip, and as a way for our guests to help support us through these challenging times. Both small businesses and the tourism industry are taking quite a hit, and unfortunately, we fit into both of those categories. Although this pandemic is quite unprecedented, as the longest continuously-running business in McCarthy (over 40 years!), we’ve survived natural disasters and economic recessions and are confident that we’ll be there for you in the coming years. That said, we are working very hard to soften the impact the virus will have on our business and employees so that we are able to operate for another +40 years. Converting your payment into a gift card would be a huge help to us. 

Where can I get additional information about COVID-19?

Our management team will continue to monitor the ongoing pandemic and encourage safe practices as outlined by the CDC. Here are a few websites that we thought you might find helpful:

We will continue to update this page with any policy, logistical or schedule changes we make, if and when we make them. If you already have a reservation with us, we will contact you directly via email if there are updates that may affect your reservation.

We find the remote wilderness that surrounds McCarthy and Kennecott to be peaceful and restorative and truly hope that you are able to join us this summer in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park to experience it for yourselves!

—————

Updated March 23, 2020

In light of current events, we at St. Elias Alpine Guides and Copper Oar Rafting want to reach out and let you know our response to COVID-19. We recognize that we cannot eliminate the risk of contracting the virus and that the ultimate decision to participate in our trips rests with our guests.

As of now, we will still be in operation for the 2020 summer season. We’re sensitive to the fact that travel restrictions may affect your reservations and travel plans and because of this, we want to ensure you that we will be honoring our lenient day trip cancellation policy and also making an addendum:

Your payment is fully refundable up to 48 hours prior to the start of the trip, so if anything comes up prior to that time call or email us to cancel your reservation for a full refund. Within 48 hours, there is no refund for cancellations*. In the rare event that we have to cancel a trip due to dangerous conditions, you will be notified and receive a full refund. 

*If you are unable to travel due to official government travel restrictions, a full refund will be given within 48 hours of your trip. 

For our multi-day trips, we’ve updated our cancellation policy to the following:

We will continue to charge a $500 per person deposit (or $1,000 per person for packages and mountaineering trips) at the time of booking. 50% of your deposit will be refundable prior to 30 days before the trip should you need to cancel. Cancellations in this time-frame may also choose to apply the full deposit to a future trip in the next two summers (2020, 2021, 2022). We will collect the balance 30 days before the start of the trip.

*If you are unable to travel due to official government travel restrictions still in place by the date of your trip and need to cancel within the 30-day mark, we will refund you 50% of the total payments you made and keep 50% as a credit to use for a future trip in the next two summers (minus any cancellation fees incurred by other vendors). Cancellations in this time-frame may also choose to apply the full payment (minus any cancellation fees incurred by other vendors) to a future trip in the next two summers (2020, 2021, 2022).

We have never charged any rebooking or cancellation fees and don’t plan on starting now!  We understand that it’s probably the current uncertainty that is keeping you away and that your love for Alaska will persuade you to complete the trip you’ve already worked so hard to plan. If you currently have a booking and are interested in transfering it to a future date, just let us know and we’ll be happy to rebook you to later this summer or even to a future year! If you’re not sure when you will return but would like to support our business, we can convert your booking into a gift card to be used at a later date in the next two summers! Again, no extra fees will be applied for rebooking or gift card conversions.

Our management team will continue to monitor the ongoing pandemic and encourage safe practices as outlined by the CDC. Here are a few websites that we thought you might find helpful:

We will continue to update this page with any policy, logistical or schedule changes we make, if and when we make them. If you already have a reservation with us, we will contact you directly via email if there are updates that may affect your reservation. 

We find the remote wilderness that surrounds McCarthy and Kennecott to be peaceful and restorative and truly hope that you are able to join us this summer in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park to experience it for yourselves!

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