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Ice Climbing at Spencer Glacier

Feel the rush of ice climbing! Thump an ice axe into walls of ice in the Alaskan summer. Nowhere else in the world can you: ride a train, sea kayak and ice climb on a glacier all in a day! Learn from expert and fun climbing guides who teach the basics of ice climbing.

THIS DAY TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Round trip train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop (2 different trains)
  • World-class ice climbing, glacier and kayaking guides.
  • Catered 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 and ice climbing gear: crampons, helmets, harnesses, ice axes, plastic mountaineering boots, ropes and ice climbing equipment.
  • Paddling and Climbing instruction and briefings
  • Small ratios (min: 2:1 max: 4:1)
  • 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
$499

Multi-Sport Day Adventure

Season: May 26- Sept 17, 2018 Ages: 13-70

Location

Departs: Anchorage & Girdwood Sunday-Thursday only

Group Size

Min: 2 People, Max: 20 People Ratio: 4/1

Activity Level

Previous Experience Strenuous
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DEPARTURE TIMES

Girdwood: Check in: 7:30am..........Return: 6pm
Anchorage: Check in: 6:00am.................Return: 6:45pm

MILEAGE

  • Up to 2 hours paddling. Total paddling distance is 3 miles.
  • Up to 4 hours ice climbing & glacier hiking 
  • Total hiking mileage: less than 1.5 miles of rugged terrain on and off glacier.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

This is a strenuous activity; previous sea kayaking and rock climbing experience is preferred and guests ought to be prepared for several hours of moderate activity. To get the most out this experience, we recommend that you can hike or walk a few miles a day, have previously rock climbed, even in a gym is better than nothing. However, no experience is necessary. See our Pre-Trip Fitness recommendations. 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

  • Trips operate in most weather conditions- travel insurance is HIGHLY 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 person 
  • Max height is 6’7”
  • Max waist size is 44”
  • Crampon and mountaineering boot sizes range from US Men's 4-14.

AWESOME ADD-ONS

Upgrade your 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.

Consider our ULTIMATE Overnight stay on the Glacier with a morning Helicopter pick up!

A custom/private buy-out guarantees your own personal guide. Whether 1 person or a family of 4- the buy-out rate is the same. You can reserve this exclusive, custom request here.

EXCLUSIONS

  • Gratuities for your awesome ice climbing guide

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.

ENJOY THE RIDE

  • For guests who board the Coastal Classic Train in Anchorage, the Ascending Path guide will meet guests on the train after the Girdwood stop (8:00am).
  • Guests who book from Anchorage with the motor coach return, will return on the Glacier Discovery train from the Spencer Whistle stop and get off at the first Portage NB stop. They will then get on the motor coach in Portage, which will take them back to Anchorage directly. This option will shorten the return train trip by 2.5 hours.

Read more on Rail Logistics PDF (Printable)

TIMELINE:

 

  • 6:00 am: Check in the Anchorage Train depot for the Coastal Classic Train. (Tickets on will call).
  • 6:45am: Coastal Classic Train departs from Anchorage Train Depot. (meeting AP guide on train at 8:00am)
  • 8:00am: Girdwood Stop- AP guide finds guests.
  • 8:30am: Arrive SWS for vehicle shuttle to lake edge
  • 8:45am: Arrive to Weatherport and Kayak Cove
  • 8:45-9:15am: Intro, gear up, Kayak and safety briefing.
  • 9:15am-10:15am: Iceberg kayaking to Spencer Glacier 
  • 10:30am: Hike to glacier edge and gear up for glacier hiking
  • 11:00am- 3:00pm: Glacier hiking and ice climbing/caving. Lunch on the glacier.
  • 3:00-4:00pm: Kayak back to cove.
  • 4:40pm: Embark the Glacier Discovery train to Portage.
  • 5:15pm: Glacier Discovery Train arrives Portage train Depot. All Ascending Path clients disembark Glacier Discovery train.
  • 5:20pm: Depart Portage train Depot in AKRR motorcoach for Anchorage train depot.
  • 6:45pm: Arrive Anchorage train depot by motorcoach from Portage.

where trips MEET

Trips start and finish at the Tramway Circle at the Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska at trip meeting time.

Tramway Circle at the 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 Ice Climbers receive a courtesy Sprinter shuttle from the Hotel Alyeska to Girdwood train depot and evening shuttle from Portage train depot back to the Hotel Alyeska

  • 7:30am: Check in at the Tramway Circle at the Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood.
  • 7:45am: Leave for Girdwood Train depot via courtesy Sprinter shuttle
  • 8am: Arrive Girdwood train Depot and board Coastal Classic train
  • 8:05am: Coastal Classic Train departs Girdwood Depot
  • 8:30am: arrive SWS for vehicle shuttle to lake edge
  • 8:45am arrive to Weatherport and Kayak Cove
  • 8:45‐9:15am: Intro, gear up, Kayak and paddle briefing
  • 9:15am‐10:15am: Iceberg kayaking to Spencer Glacier
  • 10:30am: Hike to glacier edge and gear up for glacier hiking
  • 11:00am‐ 3:00pm: Glacier hiking and ice climbing/caving. Lunch on the glacier
  • 3:00‐4:00pm: Kayak back to cove
  • 4:40pm: Embark the Glacier Discovery train to Portage
  • 5:15pm: Glacier Discovery Train arrives Portage train Depot
  • 5:20pm: Depart Portage Depot in courtesy Sprinter Van for Girdwood
  • 6:00pm: Arrive Hotel Alyeska

WHEN SHOULD I BOOK THIS SUPER POPULAR TRIP?

Due to high demand and limited space available we recommend reservations be made 1 year to several months in advance. Bookings made 1 week in advance of departure date may be cancelled and fully refunded if we cannot accommodate. Our senior guides' schedule fill fast, so book early.

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 with a rugged sole. Bring a small backpack, camera and binoculars. 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. 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.

Can my travel partners just watch?

YES! Glacier Hikers are welcome to watch ice climbers.

IS IT WORTH IT?

Yes... just read our Trip Advisor Reviews! Tours include top of the line paddling, glacier and ice climbing gear, world-class glacier and kayaking guide, round trip train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop, small ratios: (min: 2:1 max: 4:1- client to guide) and interpretive natural history, ecology and glaciology discussions. A 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. Due to glacier melt from global warming, we now only use kayaks or helicopters to access the ice.
After a cool train ride to the Spencer Whistle Stop, ice climbers load onto a shuttle for a 1 mile drive to AP’s kayak cove at the edge of Spencer Lake. After a paddle talk/ kayak briefing, groups of 4 or less paddle their sea kayaks 1 hour and 1.5 miles across Spencer Lake, enjoying outstanding up-close views of the Glacier and Icebergs floating in the lake.
Groups land the kayaks on shore for a short off trail (rugged terrain) walk to gain access onto the glacier. At the glaciers’ edge clients gear up with helmets, harnesses and crampons. After safety lessons and crampon practice by skilled and experienced climbing guides, clients travel onto the glacier and have about 4 hours to Ice Climb near blue ice, crevasses, caves and moulins. The 8 hours spent off the train, includes many photo and rest stops to learn about interesting local wildlife, history and glaciology. AP maintains a weatherport shelter for safety and gear storage at Spencer. We catch the Glacier Discovery train at 4:40pm and you are back to your hotel with plenty of time to enjoy a nice dinner.