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Ultimate Glacier Overnight Adventure

The Ultimate Overnight Adventure includes AP's regular Spencer Glacier Hike by train and sea kayak with an added overnight camping on Spencer Glacier and then a helicopter ride back to Alyeska Hotel. On this glacier "glamping" experience you will paddle past ancient ice, hike and camp on it with a professional glacier and kayak guide. Peer deep into crevasses, find ice caves and learn how glaciers are formed. Glacier access is by Alaska Railroad, then sea kayak across Spencer lake amidst icebergs. Experience the best blue ice glacier caves in Alaska- a day tour from Anchorage! This trip ticks off a lot of Alaskan adventures on the bucket list in 24 hours. Nowhere else in the world can you: ride a train, sea kayak, explore ice, sleep and dine on a glacier as well as experience a scenic helicopter flight all in two days! 

Since you will be staying the night on the glacier, you will have extra time to explore the ice, take photos or longer time to paddle your kayaks at your pace. You will enjoy dining on the glacier during the midnight sun with panoramic glacier, mountain and lake views eating a memorable locally sourced Alaskan salmon dinner. Your sleeping arrangements will be in a comfy North Face 2 Meter Dome or Space Station tent on the glacier with cots, pillows and sleeping bags. The next morning will include a hot breakfast and a helicopter pickup for a scenic flight back to Hotel Alyeska.

THIS DAY TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop
  • Scenic helicopter ride off the Spencer Glacier in the morning back to Hotel Alyeska
  • Shuttle at Spencer Whistle Stop to Spencer Lake
  • Paddling and Glacier Hiking instruction and briefings
  • 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, glacier safety equipment.
  • All glacier camping gear: 2 Meter Dome, Space Station tent, cots, pillows, sleeping bags, toilet tent.
  • Catered deli boxed lunch, bottled waters, granola bars and snacks
  • Catered dinner and dessert on the glacier
  • Hot breakfast on the glacier
  • Small Ratios (min: 3:1 max: 6:1/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
  • Ice Climbing upgrade: includes ice axes, hardware, ropes, mountaineering boots and other glacier safety equipment
starting at $999/person

Multi-Sport Overnight Adventure

Season: June 1- Sept 17, 2018 Ages: 13-70

Location

Departs: Girdwood Tuesday's and Wednesday's only

Group Size

Min: 3 People, Max: 6 People Ratio: 1-6

Activity Level

Previous Experience Strenuous
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DEPARTURE TIMES

Girdwood: Day 1: Noon............Return Day 2: 9am

MILEAGE

  • 2-4 hours paddling. Total paddling distance is up 3 miles.
  • 2-4 hours glacier hiking. Total hiking mileage: 1-3 miles 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 exercise each day or can hike/walk 5 miles. See our Pre-Tour Fitness recommendations.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

  • Bring your sense of adventure!
  • 2 days/1 night
  • Trip Minimum: 3 paying spaces to run the trip
  • 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!
  • Catered boxed lunch contains: turkey or vegetarian sandwich, chips, cookie, fruit and water.
  • Dinner: hors devours, salmon pasta, dessert and hot drinks. 
  • Breakfast: hot oatmeal, hot coffee, tea and cocoa.
  • We can accommodate special diets.
  • Sleeping: TNF 2 Meter Dome with cots, sleeping bags and pillows
  • Guide(s) & camp manager(s) sleeps in separate tents.
  • Restroom facilities are located on trains, outhouses at Spencer Whistle Stop, on glacier bucket with seat.
  • All guests are required to fill out our online Adventure Application and Waiver after booking
  • 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

  • Dine on Crab Legs on the glacier ($1124/person; 3 person minimum)
  • Try ice climbing ($1047/person; 3 person minimum)
  • Both upgrades of Crab Leg dinner and ice climbing ($1199/person; 3 person minimum)

A custom/private buy-out guarantees your own personal guide. Whether 1 person or a family of 3- the buy-out rate is the same. Email us for a quote for this exclusive experience. 

EXCLUSIONS

  • Gratuities for your super cool guides or pilot.
  • Alcoholic beverages

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 Overnighters receive a courtesy Sprinter shuttle from the Hotel Alyeska to Portage train depot.

  • Noon: Check-in at AP yurt at Hotel Alyeska
  • 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
  • 3-3:30pm: Iceberg paddling to access the toe of the Glacier
  • 4pm: Step onto the Glacier
  • 4:15pm: Crampon practice, training and safety review
  • 4-6pm: Explore Spencer Glacier
  • 6-7pm: Glacier camp set up and hors devours
  • 7:30pm: Dinner and dessert on the glacier
  • 8:30pm: Optional hike, card games or retire to your tent for relaxation.
  • 8-8:30am: Breakfast and coffee on glacier. Pack up camp.
  • 9am: Heli Pickup
  • 9-9:30am: Scenic heli flight from Spencer Glacier to Alyeska Hotel Helipad.
  • 9:30am: Arrive Hotel Alyeska lobby.

WHEN SHOULD I BOOK THIS SUPER COOL TRIP?

Due to high demand and limited space available we recommend reservations be made 1 year to several months in advance.

RECOMMENDED CLOTHING AND ITEMS TO BRING

Cotton clothes are not recommended. Wear comfortable warm synthetic clothes dressing in layers (midweight long sleeved long john top and pants, fleece jacket, Patagonia Simul Alpine Pants (or similar), rain jacket, rain pants, down jacket or parka, winter ski-type gloves, 1 pair midweight wool socks, lightweight fleece gloves, wool/fleece winter hat, sunglasses, ball cap) and hiking boots. Bring a small backpack for extra layers, 1 extra pair midweight wool socks, small travel size toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste and any medications needed, binoculars, small paperback book (if desired), water bottle and don't forget your camera and extra battery! Due to limited space in the helicopter, pack as minimal as possible. 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.

IS IT WORTH IT?

Yes... just read our Trip Advisor Reviews! Tours include top of the line paddling, glacier and camping gear, world-class glacier and kayaking guide, train ticket to Spencer Whistle Stop, helicopter ride, small ratios: (min: 2:1 max: 5:1- client to guide) and interpretive natural history, ecology and glaciology discussions. A catered deli lunch, dinner and breakfast. 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?

You take the Glacier Discover Train to Spencer Whistle Stop. 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 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 several hours to explore the amazing Ice features (blue ice, crevasses, ice caves, moulins, etc.). The time spent paddling and on the glacier includes many photo and rest stops to learn about interesting local wildlife, Alaskan natural history and glaciology. At camp: you will have dinner on the glacier, camp in a Space Station tent with cots, sleeping bags, pillows and a bucket-toliet. The next morning you will have a hot breakfast on the glacier, before getting picked up off the glacier for a helicopter ride back to Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood.

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.