Alaska Glacier Trail Hike with optional Ice Climbing
Hike through an ecological timeline and lush rain forest to the might Mendenhall Glacier! On this active adventure, you will be introduced to glacier trekking and the natural history of the area.
Your professional guide will instruct you step-by-step on how to trek in crampons and use an ice ax on glacial terrain.
The trip begins with a drive from your pick up point to the West Glacier Trailhead in the Mendenhall Valley. At the trailhead, you’ll be outfitted with a backpack that includes all of your necessary glacier gear before embarking on a 4.5 mile trail hike to the glacier through a temperate rain forest.
The first mile of the trail is well maintained and relatively flat with the exception of a shore uphill switchback section. The next 3.5 miles are unmaintained and strenuous, comprising mud, slippery granite, loose gravel, areas of rock scramble, and multiple short/steep uphill/downhill sections.
If you choose to experience the ice climb, your guide will help you suit up in your glacier gear and locate the safest point to access the glacier. Following a safety briefing, your group will spend about an hour on the ice (dependent on the group’s hiking pace and the weather). You will explore accessible features such as crevasses, ice caves, moulins, melt water streams, pools, etc.
After glacier play time, you will repack your gear and head back to the trailhead. Make sure you save energy for the return hike!
Hike duration will vary according to the speed of the group, so please do not plan any other activities immediately before or after this trip.
Privately Guided Hikes Available
- Must be capable of hiking for 6 to 6.5 hours, covering about 9 miles while carrying backpack weighing about 10 lbs (backpack provided).
- Must wear sturdy hiking boots that provide good ankle support while hiking on uneven, rocky terrain.
- Minimum age of 10 years. If you have children under 10, a private hike would be preferable.
- All participants will be required to sign a waiver form before beginning the hike.
Trip Activities: Hiking, Glacier trekking, Optional Ice Climbing
Glacier Trek/Ice Climb Time: Sample Itinerary (about 7.5 hours total time):
- 30 minutes transportation from cruise ship harbor to trailhead
- 30 minutes Gear up and orientation
- 2 hour hike to glacier
- 30 minute introduction to glacier trekking
- 1 hour glacier trekking and ice climbing
- 2 hour hike back to trailhead
- 30 minute transportation back to cruise ship harbor
Tour Operator Provides: Certified guide, mountaineering gear, backpack, rain jacket and pants, hearty snack/bottled water, roundtrip transportation.
You Bring: Sturdy hiking shoes or boots, comfortable hiking pants (rain pants suggested), warm hat, fleece gloves, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- The amount of time on the ice cannot be guaranteed. The time available is dependent on the group's pace, skill and weather conditions.
- The glacier is always changing, so the features available to explore will vary over time. Specific features cannot be guaranteed. Your guide will assess the hazards on the day of the trip to determine if a particular area is safe to trek upon or enter.
- This trip operates in all safe weather conditions as determined by your guide. Please dress appropriately.
- If you are interested in climbing with a top rope or wish a slower pace or more customizable hike, please request a privately guided hike.