— Iceberg Lake Basecamp/Ice Climbing – Itinerary —
Remote Ice Climbing in the Chugach Mountains
DAY 1 – Your trip begins in the historic Motherlode Powerhouse, where you’ll meet your guide, get outfitted with ice climbing gear, pack some personal snacks, and do a final “gear shakedown.” Then it’s off to the airstrip, and into a bush plane, where you’ll be flying across the wide Chitina valley, and deep into the rugged Eastern Chugach Mountains. Don’t forget your camera, as the rugged mountain views are beautiful! As you touch down on the sandy airstrip and unload your bags, take a moment to revel in the surrounding beauty before you hear the rev of the engine, and the bush plane takes off and disappears from view.
After orienting yourselves and muscling-up your backpacks, it’s time to stretch those legs and head off towards your camp. Hiking a few miles away from the airstrip places you by a good water source, and shortens your hike to ice climb the glacier the following days. Coming into camp, you take a few minutes to set up your tent before packing a lunch and exploring the surrounding area. You may choose to head south, scrambling up a rocky hillside towards a high alpine pass, affording beautiful views of the valley and a turquoise alpine lake on the back-side. Returning to camp, it’s time for a hot meal, as you revel in the surrounding natural beauty. Then, it’s time to snuggle up in those sleeping bags, awaiting the excitement of ice climbing the following day.
DAYS 2 & 3 – As the morning dawns clear and cool, you enjoy a hot breakfast before packing up your ice climbing gear and hiking off towards the glacier. At the edge of the ice, your guide will assist you with strapping on your crampons, and provide instructions in their usage. Then, it’s time to explore the icy glacial terrain! Coming to a steep wall, you can enjoy a snack while your guide sets up the ropes, and outfits you with a harness, helmet, and ice tools. Now, it’s time to get climbing!
You may choose to climb at one location all day, or move to a second (more challenging) spot in the afternoon – whatever you choose, you’re sure to have a great time scaling the vertical ice! As your body tires and the light begins to fade, it’s time to pack up the gear and return back to your cozy camp for a hot meal and a good night’s sleep.
DAY 4 – Today you must break camp and return to the airstrip for your flight home. But there’s still plenty of time before the plane arrives for you to take an exploratory hike. Packing up camp, you return to the airstrip, drop your heavy packs, and continue on southward with light daypacks full of layers and snacks. Approaching the iceberg filled lake and expansive glacier to the south, you scramble over rocky and sandy terrain, remnants of the exposed land where a glacier once flowed. Gazing over to the Bagley Icefield, you can enjoy your lunch, and take some time to explore the glacier’s edge before returning to your airstrip for your flight home. Back in McCarthy, it’s time for a hot shower, and a tasty meal before continuing onto the next phase of your adventure.
- Guiding and instruction from skilled professionals. Our personable guides have extensive experience and local knowledge, as well as medical and rescue training.
- Bush plane flights to and from the backcountry.
- Delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners while in the backcountry, including hot and delicious meals morning and evening, and plenty of trail snacks and lunch food for mid-day nourishment.
- Group equipment: stoves, pots, tents, fuel, etc.
- Technical gear: crampons, climbing boots, harnesses, helmet, etc.
All you need to bring is your personal gear. You can find a detailed list of the backpacking gear that we recommend you bring on our base-camp hiking equipment list.
If you would like us to arrange your transportation to McCarthy/Kennecott and/or lodging while in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, we offer this as a free service to our multi-day clients. Please email or give us a call to discuss the details.
“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!