An adventure through a tundra wonderland!
The Skolai Valley is a lush and vast landscape of colorful tundra, misty waterfalls, and enormous glaciated peaks. Picturesque in every way, this route allows you to explore a magnificent area of the Park without the burden of having to move camp every night. Split your time between backpacking to extra special camping spots and day hiking from there to explore every nook and cranny of this lush and vibrant wilderness.
Total Elevation Gain/Loss
Private 2 Participant
Private 3-6 Participants
Group Trip Dates
July 16-19, 2023
Private Trips with custom dates are available. Schedule a call with our Expedition Coordinator to plan your Private Trip today!
The “Alaska Factor”
There is a reason Alaska has such a rugged allure for the lower 48 and beyond: it is still wild! This raw and untamed landscape offers our clients the opportunity to authentically pioneer new territory and have real adventures. Part of embracing the “Alaska Factor” is understanding that things may not always go as planned and expecting the unexpected. Water levels might rise, snow might fall, glaciers may shift and move – the landscape is dynamic and unpredictable is what makes Alaska, Alaska!
All of our trips are customized as they unfold and your guide will fluidly make decisions based on weather, logistics, and group dynamics to maximize each day’s experience. There can be quite a bit of variation, but on each trip we promise a big slice of the real Alaska and authentic adventure!
The long and scenic flight into the backcountry allows you to get a sense of scale for the vast landscapes of Wrangell – St. Elias. After landing on the sands, you’ll carry your gear a little way from the airstrip to set up your camp. Explore the clear, blue pools of the old moraine and walk down to the confluence of the glacial rivers before dinner.
Staged and ready, you can’t wait to get out of your tent in the morning! Every direction you look, a spectacular view opens up, full of color and drama. Today you have the full day to hike and explore this unspoiled wilderness. A climb up a nearby slope takes you closer to a family of smaller glaciers and along the high benches behind your camp for even more expansive views of the magical valley.
A hearty breakfast fuels you up for another full day of exploring this undeveloped wonderland. Cross the rocks to see either the Bremner or Fan Glaciers a little closer and round the corner for changing views. Return to camp for enjoy a little walk around the sands while your guide prepares another outstanding wilderness recipe.
Today is all about soaking it in! Take your shoes off and walk barefoot along the river’s edge. Follow moose and bear tracks that tell the stories of their lives in the wilds. Set up on a grassy bank for lunch and channel beach vibes on the fine, white sands of glacial silt. The buzz of your bush plane pick-up will wake you up from your reverie and it’s time to return to the airstrip!
GET IN TOUCH
All the pictures and descriptions sound amazing! How do I know what’s right for me? Here are some things to think about when selecting a trip:
What is my #1 goal for this adventure? Do I want to relax and get away from a hectic schedule? Do I want to push myself on an epic and athletically challenging journey? Create life-long memories with my family or partner? Learn skills from the experts and grow my scope as a mountain athlete? See new landscapes and experience Alaska’s unique glaciated terrain?
What are my interests? Birding, animals, photography, geology, wildflowers, journaling, athleticism, spirituality, art, technical climbing, etc.
Will this trip be part of a bigger Alaska trip? Where else am I going and what else will I see? Our glaciated terrain, history, high-altitude peaks, and vast backcountry wilderness are what set us apart from other areas in Alaska.
What am I comfortable with at my current level of knowledge, experience, and physical and mental ability? Alaska is bigger and tougher than anything in the lower 48 and it’s a great place to push yourself, but you want to be realistic and make sure you have a good foundation to build upon if reaching for higher heights.
We pride ourselves on cooking healthy and delicious meals even under the most adverse conditions! Your exact menu will depend on the trip, your guide, and the dietary preferences/restrictions you list in your Trip Application. No matter what kind of cook your guide is at home, all our guides are well-trained backcountry chefs and use time-tested recipes from our proprietary cookbook for their trips. We carry a plentiful and varied stock of ingredients and most meals are prepared from scratch (allowing for easy substitutions, additions or subtractions of ingredients). We onlyt use pre-packed freeze-dried meals on summit pushes on our mountaineering expeditions.
On our backpacking and basecamp trips, you can expect 3 meals a day, plus snacks of your choice. Breakfasts and dinners are usually hot meals and lunches are served cold. On mountaineering trips lunches consist of a variety of snacks as it can be hard to organize group meals while on a rope team.
We use a combination of fresh, dehydrated, and freeze-dried ingredients to make our delicious meals, however on longer backpacking and mountaineering trips your guides will use more freeze-dried foods than fresh foods to keep pack weights as low as possible. On our rafting trips, we cook full multi-course meals with fresh ingredients and enjoy hot and cold breakfasts, cold lunches and hot dinners.
Meals for most trips start with Lunch on the first day and end with Lunch on the last day. *
*If you are signed up for a Custom Trip Package with us, it may include more meals. Check with us if you’re not sure. Mountaineering trips also include meals in McCarthy before and after the backcountry expedition.
Wrangell – St. Elias National Park is home to both black bears and grizzly bears and we are honored to share our home with such majestic animals. We treat the bears with respect and do our best to maintain their wild environment and nature. The bears out here are truly very wild and have very little contact with humans – this means that they are naturally afraid of us! Yes, even grizzlies! Bears do not hunt humans and our most common bear sighting is of a bear’s butt as they run away.
Although bear sightings may be exciting, we do our best to avoid close encounters with preventative measures at camp and while hiking that our guides will share with you. Just in case of unusually close encounters, our guides carry flare guns (to scare a bear away) and pepper spray (in case of an uncomfortably close meeting). It is very uncommon to have to use either.
If you want to, you can bring your own bear spray too, however, know that your guide has one and has been trained on how to use it. With 40 years of guiding in the Park, we have found that being bear aware, taking preventative measures and the flare gun and pepper spray to be sufficient mitigations.
Please refrain from bringing firearms with you on our trips. Not only does this make our other guests and guides uncomfortable, but they are also completely unnecessary for bear safety. We know that other areas of Alaska may recommend firearms for bear safety, but we specifically recommend against them.