— Ice Cave Exploration Itinerary —
To begin your trip to the world under the ice, you will meet with your guide at our office in Kennecott. Here you will grab helmets and headlamps for your adventure.
NOTE: This trip is only for sure-footed people who don’t mind getting wet and dirty! The way down to the caves is steep over loose rock, and one inside the caves it is dark with water, rock and mud. If you’re claustrophobic you will not be happy, and if you aren’t able to hike of trail on loose terrain you won’t make it. Of course our guide is there to lend a hand, so don’t be scared away too easily, but be sure you’re ready and excited for a challenge!
The caves we choose to visit depend on the day and current conditions. Sometimes caves collapse or fill with water and are unaccessible or unstable. Sometimes the entrances get too steep to navigate. Most days throughout the summer we will be able to take you to a location where we can access some amazing blue ice under the glacier. Most commonly we visit the Jumbo Ice Cave, so the itinerary will continue with that in mind.
You’ll hike about a mile and a half from our office along the trail to the Root Glacier. If you haven’t already hiked ON the glacier, we recommend that you do that as well, by signing up for one of our glacier hikes. On our full day hikes we sometimes visit the ice caves as well as the surface of the glacier (if the group is up for it and time allows). From Jumbo Creek you’ll leave the trail and scramble down the steep hillside to the cave entrance.
Before entering the cave, your guide will go over some guidelines for safety and communication while inside. You’ll put on rain-gear (it’s often wet in there) and helmets to protect yourself from falling rocks. You’ll want to move quickly but carefully through the entrance area to avoid these hazards. Once everyone is safely inside the cave you’ll look around at the amazing world you have entered.
The caves are constantly changing, so it is impossible to predict the plan from here. You may be able to venture far beneath the ice, out of sight of the entrance into pitch blackness. There may be several caves in the area to explore. You may find huge caverns with light coming through the ceiling, sandy bottoms and smooth walls. Or you may find yourselves in a narrow canyon with water pouring out of perfectly round holes in the wall. The glacier is always changing and amazing us with new terrain to explore.
When you emerge from the caves you’ll feel like you just had an experience that cannot be described. The photos are amazing too, and you’ll be eager to show them off back home! On the trail back to the office, your guide can share information on the local natural and human history or you can simply revel in your experience of the day.
These trips leave daily at 10am and 2pm or on demand for groups of 4 or more.
“A fantastic experience — wild Alaska at its best!”
Click on the markers below to view important points along your trip. Check out that zoom feature!