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Mendenhall Ice Cave

Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
6 posts
2 reviews
Mendenhall Ice Cave

Hi everyone!

We will be cruising the Celebrity Millennium on July 2018 to Alaska and Juneau is our third port (jun 3). Arrival time is 9 am and departing at 9 pm.

We would love to see the Mendenhall Ice Cave but unfurtunatly the Above and Beyond's tour i'ts too expensive for us. Does anyone know of a good tour guide that can take us to the ice cave with an affordable price?

Many thanks!

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
Level Contributor
13,999 posts
242 reviews
151 helpful votes
1. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

What do you consider affordable?

I’ve paid $125pp for a 3hr guided trek on the Matanuska Glacier. I think that’s a great value for the experience.

From what I saw/read the A&B activity is approx. 8 hrs. and $230pp (2 person minimum). Seems like a fair price to me.

Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
8,429 posts
2. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

You won't find a tour cheaper--or better--than Above and Beyond. Be aware this is a 7 to 8 hour hike, and some of it is strenuous You are not guaranteed to see an ice cave--that depends on how safe it is. All caves eventually collapse. People have been killed in them.

Edited: 5:56 am, January 04, 2018
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
6 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

The price for Canoe Paddle and treck tour on A&B website is $349 per person (plus 5% local sales tax)..

We're willing to pay even a local if available..

Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
8,429 posts
4. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

So how do you know that some random "local" will be able to evaluate the safety of the ice cave???

Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
6 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

i'll never know, and i don't even know if he does exist but if he is local and he can guide us to the cave, i suppose that he can evaluate the security of the cave..

Edited: 8:47 am, January 04, 2018
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
537 posts
25 reviews
25 helpful votes
6. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

There are photos on the Juneau Photo Group on Facebook of people at the Mendenhall caves. You might be able to contact them to see if they would take you. I think it’s unlikely due to the safety risks. Another consideration is that any vendors operating at Mendenhall need to be permitted and pay fees to operate there.

People do access the caves on their own via the West Glacier Trail. Certainly an option although the city conducts multiple recues from the area each season.

Juneau, Alaska
Level Contributor
51 posts
8 reviews
3 helpful votes
7. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

Guided tours in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area have to be permitted by the US Forest Service. At present there are only 2 companies that go where the ice caves are located, one is a long hike and the other is a canoe trip. I would NOT recommend going there without a guide, and there is no guarantee that there will be caves --- they melt away or cave in regularly.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
Level Contributor
13,999 posts
242 reviews
151 helpful votes
8. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

J.Cabby said the salient point to me about ice caves....

"...cave in regularly"!!!!!

Orange County...
Level Contributor
86 posts
15 reviews
9 helpful votes
9. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

I can vouch for the reliability of Above and Beyond Alaska as I did the Mendenhall Glacier hike through Tongass Forest late last summer. As others have pointed out his is a rather strenuous hike climbing through dense forest as well as up and over slippery rocks – and I don’t mean over a few fallen logs and pebbles either, I’m talking large boulders and rock walls. Figure about 3 hours each way plus another 1 to 1.5 on the glacier. If you’re going to do this you need to be well prepared – one person showed up in jeans and sneakers (and not in the best of shape either), needless to say she didn’t make it very far. The weather can change on a dime as well – when I started the hike I was in a tee shirt, by the time we ended it was a full downpour. That said, was it worth it – ABSOLUTELY. The time on the glacier was magnificent, simply stunning, and like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

One thing to bear in mind: the ice ‘cave’ (at least the one that was present when I was there last summer) is really more of a tunnel, and wasn’t particularly long inside, maybe 75 feet or so (rough estimate) and of course this is constantly changing as the glacier melts and water carves out areas of the cave. It was very very cool, but you’re only inside for a few minutes. For some reason I was expecting long, winding caverns or something, I guess my imagination got the best of me. Not saying I was disappointed but just so you know, you’ll probably be able to look in one end and see out the other end a short distance away. Here is a picture taken from inside (not very great, super over-exposed and dark), but this probably halfway to 2/3 of the way in looking back towards the entrance: https://www.tripadvisor.com/SavedPhotos-g105…

Anyway, as resplendent as Alaska is, I can’t say that it will be a regular stop for me, so my philosophy was and is. If this is your only chance, YOU HAVE TO GO FOR IT and take advantage of your opportunities. Spend the money for these (what might be) once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it’s worth it. You're going to Alaska to experience it's majesty and splendor up close- the last thing you want to be thinking about is “man looking back I wish we had done that instead of fretting over a couple hundred dollars”. IMO the experience will be well worth the cost. This is particularly true for an attraction such as Mendenhall Glacier which is rapidly retreating.

Also, if you have any questions about the cruise itself feel free to ask as I was on Millennium myself for our cruise last August. Not sure if you're seasoned cruisers or not but as I had the same itinerary as you I may be able to help.

Edited: 1:15 pm, January 31, 2018
Orange
Level Contributor
13 posts
10 reviews
8 helpful votes
10. Re: Mendenhall Ice Cave

Looking at a glacier walk via helicopter, I will be Denali, Juneau, and Haines. Where is best