— Summer Ski Mountaineering Course Itinerary —
Hone Your Skills on a Remote Alaskan Glacier
DAY “0” – Travel to Anchorage. In the afternoon you will meet your guide for introductions and a gear check (this will be an opportunity to pick up any last minute items), followed by a welcome dinner.
DAY 1 – Drive to McCarthy (about 8 hours). Discuss equipment selection, trip planning, and risk management for a remote expedition. Finalize packing and preparations for the following day.
DAY 2 – Ski plane flight into the Eastern Chugach Range (weather permitting). This is an hour long flight and the scenery is spectacular. We land on the Bagley Icefield where we establish our base camp for the next six days.
Topics for the day: Glacier camping techniques, avalanche rescue, knots & hitches.
DAY 3 – Morning ski tour emphasizing weather observations, snowpack and stability assessment, terrain selection, uphill touring techniques, and glacier skiing techniques.
Afternoon skills clinic: Self-arrest, snow anchors, and crevasse rescue systems.
DAY 4 – Full day ski objective moving through a variety of terrain, stopping for teachable moments along the way. Skills covered on this tour: route finding, glacier travel, steep snow climbing techniques, steep skiing techniques, and group management.
Evening session: Emergency shelter construction & improvised rescue.
DAY 5 – Ski objective involving a peak ascent. Our goal is to ski from a prominent summit! Along the way we’ll practice setting up a rappel, and run through an improvised rescue scenario in steep terrain.
Evening session: Tour planning and navigation. Participants create a tour plan for the following day.
DAY 6 – Participants lead a full day ski mountaineering objective! Possibilities include a peak ascent, ridge traverse, long couloir… Guides offer helpful hints and coaching from the back seat. In the afternoon we debrief the day and offer individual participant feedback for the trip. We review the skills we’ve learned, and discuss where to proceed from here.
DAY 7 – Short morning tour, ski plane arrives to pick us up in the afternoon. Fly back to McCarthy for a celebration dinner!
DAY 8 – Van trip back to Anchorage. Goodbye!
- Guiding and instruction from skilled professionals. Our guides have extensive experience, as well as medical, rescue, and avalanche training.
- Round trip transportation between Anchorage and McCarthy.
- Ski plane flights to and from the mountain range.
- Delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners while in the mountains.
- Group equipment: stoves, tents, ropes, fuel, etc.
What you’re responsible for:
- Personal gear – check the gear list for this trip for a complete description.
- Lodging for the nights before and after your trip (see below).
- Food while not on the mountain.
- Guide gratuity – Please let us know if you have any questions about this.
If you would like us to arrange your transportation to/from 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!