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Spencer Glacier Hike

Glacier access is by Alaska Railroad, then sea kayak across Spencer lake amidst icebergs. Paddle past ancient ice and then walk up on it with a professional glacier and kayak guide. Nowhere else in the world can you: ride a train, sea kayak and explore a glacier all in a day! Peer deep into crevasses, find ice caves and learn how glaciers are formed. Upgrade to the ULTIMATE tour with a Helicopter pick-up from the glacier. Experience the best blue ice glacier caves in Alaska- in a day tour from Anchorage!

THIS DAY TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Round trip train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop (2 different trains)
  • Deli boxed lunch, bottled waters, granola bars and snacks
  • 2 mile shuttle at Spencer Whistle Stop to Spencer Lake
  • All paddling gear: Necky Looksha Tandem Sea Kayaks, spray skirts, PFD’s, gloves, rain jacket and pants, dry bags, kayak safety equipment
  • All glacier hiking gear: crampons, helmets, harnesses, etc
  • Paddling and Glacier Hiking instruction and briefings
  • Small Ratios (min: 2:1 max: 5:1/client:guide)
  • Guides pace the trip and total mileage to the groups’ fitness level, interests and ice/water conditions
  • Bear Protection and satellite tracking and communication devices
  • Interpretative glaciology, ecology and natural history discussions
  • Ice Cave access and exploration if conditions allow
$379

Multi-Sport Day Adventure

Season: May 27- Sept 15, 2017 Ages: 13-70

Location

Departs: Anchorage & Girdwood

Group Size

Min: 2 People, Max: 20 People Ratio: 5/1

Activity Level

Previous Experience Strenuous
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DEPARTURE TIMES

Girdwood: Meet at our Yurt at Noon- Returning 9pm
Anchorage: check in at Depot at 8:45am- Returning 10:15pm

MILEAGE

  • Up to 2 hours paddling. Total paddling distance is 3 miles.
  • 2 hours glacier hiking. Total hiking mileage: less than 1 mile of rugged terrain on and off glacier.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

This is a strenuous activity; previous sea kayaking and hiking experience is preferred and guests ought to be prepared for several hours of moderate activity. However, no experience is necessary. To maximize your enjoyment, we recommend that you are capable of a few hours of cardio exercise each day or can hike/walk a few miles. See our Pre-Tour Fitness recommendations.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

  • Trips operate in most weather conditions- travel insurance is recommended
  • The lake water temperature is very cold: 34*-37*F, but there aren't tides and the icebergs are very reliable!
  • Boxed Lunch contains: Turkey or Vegetarian sandwich, chips, cookie, fruit and water.
  • Restroom facilities are located on trains and outhouses at Spencer Whistle Stop
  • All guests are required to fill out our online Adventure Application and Waiver after booking
  • After reserving your spot- you can easily login to our reservation system and make any changes or Add-Ons
  • Minimum weight: 90 lbs per person for crampons; Maximum weight: 250lbs per passenger; Maximum height is 6’7”; Maximum waist size is 44”; Crampon shoe sizes range from US Men's 4-14. 

AWESOME ADD-ONS

Upgrade to the ULTIMATE adventure with a chartered helicopter pick-up at 6pm from Spencer Glacier. The 3 person Robinson Ravin R44 flown by our friends at Alpine Air Alaska will deliver you directly to the Heli-pad located at Hotel Alyeska. You can be sipping wine at the 7 Glaciers Restaurant and reviewing your photos of the day- while our guides are still taking your kayaks back!
While dinner is available on the train, upgrading to GoldStar Dinner Service on the returning Coastal Classic train is worth considering. Due to time and cost- this option is recommended for those traveling back to Anchorage.

Overnight on the Glacier with a Helicopter pick up! 

A custom/private buy-out guarantees your own personal guide. Whether 1 person or a family of 5- the buy-out rate is the same. You can reserve this exclusive, custom request here.

Morning train options are now available on specific 2017 dates only:

May 30th, June: 5,6,7,13,19,20,21,27. July: 3,4,5,11,17,18,19,25,31. August: 1,2,8,14,15,16,22,28,29,30. Sept: 5,11,12,13.

Departing Anchorage at 6:30am or Girdwood at 7:20am. Returning to Portage at 5:15pm or Anchorage by 6:30pm via motorcoach. Get 2 hours more time for ice cave exploration!

EXCLUSIONS

  • Gratuities for your super cool guides

BOARD at Anchorage Train Depot:
411 WEST 1ST AVENUE

BEST 12 HR PARKING IS UNDER THE BRIDGE, ACROSS FROM THE ULU FACTORY



TRAIN SECURITY UPON CHECK IN:

The Transportation Security Administration requires that any Alaska Railroad passenger 18 years of age or older present a government issued photo ID, or two other forms of ID, one of which must be issued by a government authority. Children ages 2-15 may only travel in the company of an adult 18 years or older.

Read more on Rail Logistics PDF (Printable)

ENJOY THE RIDE:

Guests who board the Glacier Discovery Train in Anchorage: your AP guide will meet you on the train at the Second Portage stop (1:15pm- After you take a quick trip past Girdwood, Portage, hang in Whittier for 30 minutes- and back to Portage)

TIMELINE:

  • CHECK IN: 9:00 AM GLACIER DISCOVERY TRAIN
  • 9:45am Glacier Discovery Train departs from Anchorage Train Depot. (meeting AP guide on train at 1:25pm)
  • The "Disco Train" stops in Girdwood, Portage, goes to Whittier, waits for 45 minutes, then comes back to Portage
  • 1:25pm PORTAGE 2nd Stop- AP guide finds guests and hands out lunches to eat on train.
  • 1:45pm arrive SWS for vehicle shuttle to lake edge
  • 2pm arrive to Weatherport and Kayak Cove
  • 3pm finish gearing up/paddle briefing
  • 3-330pm- Iceberg paddling to access the toe of the Glacier
  • 4pm Step onto the Glacier
  • 4:15pm Crampon practice, training and safety review
  • 4pm-6pm Explore Spencer Glacier
  • 6:20pm Depart Lake edge via kayak for paddle back
  • 7:20pm Arrive Kayak Cove pack up gear, walk to bus
  • 7:50pm Depart Lake edge for SWS
  • 8:10pm Flag Down Coastal Classic Train
  • 10:15pm Anchorage Clients: Arrive Anchorage train depot on Costal Classic Train. 

MEET IN GIRDWOOD/BOARD GLACIER DISCOVERY TRAIN IN PORTAGE:

AP Yurt at Hotel Alyeska: 1000 Arlberg Ave 



TRAIN SECURITY UPON CHECK IN:

The Transportation Security Administration requires that any Alaska Railroad passenger 18 years of age or older present a government issued photo ID, or two other forms of ID, one of which must be issued by a government authority. Children ages 2-15 may only travel in the company of an adult 18 years or older.

Read more on Rail Logistics PDF (Printable)

TIMELINE:

Girdwood Glacier Hikers receive a courtisy Sprinter shuttle from AP yurt at Alyeska to Portage train depot and evening shuttle from Girdwood train depot back to AP yurt at Alyeska

  • 12 Noon- Check-in at AP yurt at Hotel Alyeska (return at 9pm)
  • 12:30pm Leave for Portage Train depot via courtesy shuttle
  • 1pm Arrive Portage train Depot.
  • 1:15pm Board Glacier Discovery Train in portage.
  • 1:25pm Eat lunches on train.
  • 1:45pm arrive SWS for vehicle shuttle to lake edge
  • 2pm arrive to Weatherport and Kayak Cove
  • 3pm finish gearing up/paddle briefing
  • 3-330pm- Iceberg paddling to access the toe of the Glacier
  • 4pm Step onto the Glacier
  • 4:15pm Crampon practice, training and safety review
  • 4pm-6pm Explore Spencer Glacier
  • 6:20pm Depart Lake edge via kayak for paddle back
  • 7:20pm Arrive Kayak Cove pack up gear, walk to bus
  • 7:50pm Depart Lake edge for SWS
  • 8:10pm Flag Down Coastal Classic Train
  • 8:55pm Arrive Girdwood Depot. Disembark for Sprinter shuttle to Hotel Alyeska.
  • 9:15pm Arrive Hotel Alyeska and AP yurt

WHEN SHOULD I BOOK THIS SUPER POPULAR TRIP?

Due to high demand and limited space available we recommend reservations be made several months in advance. Bookings made 1 week in advance of departure date may be cancelled and fully refunded if we cannot accommodate.

RECOMMENDED CLOTHING?

Cotton clothes are not recommended. Wear comfortable warm synthetic clothes dressing in layers (long sleeved shirt, long pants, fleece jacket, rain jacket, rain pants, gloves, wool/fleece hat, sunglasses, ball cap) hiking boots or trail shoes. Bring a small backpack for layers, water bottle and binoculars, don't forget your camera! For specific advice on what to wear, read our Be Prepared Document.

DO YOU MAKE EXCEPTIONS?

On a case-by-case basis we consider exceptions, usually we recommend buying out a trip as a private with your own guide. This is only available with advanced reservations and as space and staffing is available. Please email or call to make your request, we are more than happy to think of solutions- just to make it happen for you.

IS IT WORTH IT?

Yes... just read our Trip Advisor Reviews! Tours include top of the line paddling and glacier gear, world-class glacier and kayaking guide, round trip train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop, small ratios: (min: 2:1 max: 5:1- client to guide) and interpretive natural history, ecology and glaciology discussions. A catered deli boxed lunch, snack and water is provided. Guests visiting Spencer Whistle Stop come away with better respect and knowledge about glaciers, icebergs, kayaking and history of Alaska, not to mention cool photographs!

WAIT... WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL GLACIER ACCESS LOGISTICS AGAIN?

There are two different trains involved on this trip. From the Spencer Whistle Stop, hikers load onto a shuttle bus for a 1 mile drive to AP’s basecamp at the edge of Spencer Lake. Due to glacier melt from global warming, we now only use kayaks or helicopters to access the ice. After a safety briefing, groups of 6 or less paddle sea kayaks 1.5 miles across Spencer Lake, enjoying outstanding views of the Glacier and Icebergs floating in the lake. Groups land the kayaks on shore and leave the boats for a short off trail (rugged terrain) walk to gain access onto the glacier. At the glaciers’ edge guests gear up with helmets, harnesses and crampons. After safety lessons and crampon practice by skilled and experienced glacier guides, groups travel onto (and sometimes under!) the glacier and have about 2 hours to explore the amazing Ice features (blue ice, crevasses, ice caves, moulins, etc.). The 6 hours spent off the train includes many photo and rest stops to learn about interesting local wildlife, Alaskan natural history and glaciology. AP maintains a weatherport shelter for safety and gear storage at Spencer. We actually flag down the Coastal Classic train at 8pm- and usually enjoy a nice dinner on board.

If you have questions about the physical requirements of this trip, please read our Essential Eligibility Criteria on our FAQ's page, email or call us and we would be happy to talk with you and determine if this trip matches your abilities.