Super interesting tour of the Kennecott mines with Leah. Very knowledgeable and friendly guide... read more
Super interesting tour of the Kennecott mines with Leah. Very knowledgeable and friendly guide... read more
Kelsey, you were awesome. Nice paced hike to the glacier. She tempted a few of us to do the blue... read more
#SisterTrip2020 My sister and I did the Glacier and Tundra 4 night/5 day backpacking trip *girls only* with Kelly as our guide in August, 2020 (hey! better a late review than never!).
We had such a great trip and made great memories. I will say this was HARD! I trained at home (Utah, at altitude) with a 40# pack for months before I went, about twice a week with crossfit the days I wasn't hiking. What I failed to do was train w/a heavy pack consecutive days in a row, which I think is a must. I would guestimate our packs during the trip to be around 50#, if not more. Kelly, our guide, obviously had the brunt of the weight when we started and then as we consumed, the weight was distributed evenly daily.
Once we got to Anchorage, we stayed at the Townplace Suites Anchorage Midtown which was great because it was walking distance to the Moose Tooth Pub & Pizzeria which is a must!
Once in McCarthy, the accommodations at Blackburn Cabins were great and kind of fun. The bathrooms and showers are shared and outdoor. Took my by surprise at first but it really added to the experience. Unfortunately by the time we got to McCarthy, met with Kelly, loaded up on snacks, did our pack checks and had dinner it was already 9:00 by the time we got to our little cabin and of course the pick-up shuttle was there bright and early to start our backpacking adventure. I will recommend when they give you a gallon size bag to fill up on snacks, you no kidding fill it up with snacks! They're snack selection is excellent! I wish I would have grabbed more individually wrapped goodies (like hi-chews) that could easily fit in my pockets for easy access.
Once dropped off in the backcountry (super cool experience btw) it was an unbelievable 5 days.
I won't go into every detail, just know the moraines are tough, slippery and much more difficult than they look. I fell soooo many times! LOL, we all did.
The weather god's shined down on us and we had sunshine for the majority of our trip which allowed for me to do the Blue Pool Plunge! I would SOO recommend this if you can pull it off.
I also did some skinny dipping in the lower Donahoo lake (I think, that's the problem w/writing a review months after the trip.
On the last day, we met up with Anya and Anna for ice climbing and what a way to end the adventure! Amazing. I've never climbed before and I loved it!
The walk back into town seemed like the hardest couple miles of the entire trip bc we were exhausted. Once in Kennicott, we stayed at the Kennicott Lodge (all accommodation and transportation besides Anchorage were arranged by SEAG.) which was super comfy but we did have problems with the hot water which is no bueno when you haven't showered in a week and are on a time schedule to get to dinner.
Would I do this trip again? Absolutely!! Things I would do differently:
bring water purifying tablets-we drank right from standing puddles/holes and ponds (and running glaciers)...which might be fine for someone use to it but my sister and I both had the poops for several days.
Pack sunscreen, our guide didn't recommend we bring any since we had bug spray w sunscreen in it. I would recommend you bring them separately. Didn't really like spraying/rubbing bug spray on my face constantly.
Pack more toilet paper than 1-2 squares a day- again, our guide was definitely a minimalist. Not a bad thing but...I like to be clean.
Make sure there is enough coffee! Somehow we ran out (and no, we didn't drink more than planned). Just whatever is a "must" for you, like coffee is for me, make sure there is enough packed!
The way home was long, with our flight not departing Anchorage until 2:00 am and a long layover in Portland. it was SOOO worth buying the Alaskan Air Lounge Day pass. It was only $25 if you have the card and the day pass is good for 24 hours so we were able to use it at both airports. The Lounge in Portland is the nicest one I've ever been in!
Anyway, hope this was helpful and feel reach out to me if you have any questions!
During our stay in McCarthy, we took 3 tours with Wrangell St. Elis Guides. I will outline them below.
The first day we took a full day glacier hike. You hike 2 miles out to the glacier and then strap on crampons and begin your hike. For the full day tour, you hike 4-6 miles on the glacier itself, and then head back on the trail you hiked out on. Out of the three tours we took this was the most disappointing. I think some of this was my own fault as I underestimated the effort to walk on ice for that for that long. The other dissatisfier however was the guide. Our group consisted of my boyfriend and I, the guide and the guide’s friend. I don’t feel the guide gave a proper safety talk (avoid crevasses, how to safely walk in crampons etc..), we just kinda took off. I was nervous as I wasn’t sure if there were areas I shouldn’t walk close to, so I tried to stay as close to the guide as possible. However, I couldn’t keep up with his pace and fell behind. We didn’t stop very often to take photos or just enjoy the scenery, which I would have liked. Eventually, I just began stopping when I wanted to since I couldn’t keep up anyway. It was a fun experience, but I wish the guide was a bit more attentive. They ask you to bring gloves on this trip, and I recommend non fluffy gloves, but rather something that would dry quick or stay dry. I fell at one point and my gloves were soaked, making for cold hands the rest of the trip. I would my experience on this trip 3 ½ stars.
The second day we took a full day rafting and flightseeing trip with Sarah and Cody. This was one of our highlights during our 18-day Alaska trip. We ended up totally lucking out and getting a private trip with just us and the guides. After suiting up and getting the normal terrifying speech about what to do in every worst-case scenario, we were off. When we first started out it was a bit cloudy and the water was COLD, the day warmed up rather quickly however. For the first half of our trip we were with Cody. He was very nice and taught us a lot about the river and the area. The scenery was beautiful. We made a stop in the morning to go find wild animal footprints in a sandy area, and we saw several. Half way through the day we stopped for lunch. We walked around the area while Sarah and Cody prepared food for us. The lunch spread was very nice, including a really yummy salmon salad. We sat around and talked over lunch, we had a great visit with them! After lunch we were with Sarah in the raft and she was great too! She was very nice and told us lots of great stories about her time as a guide, and more info about the river and the area. After one more quick stop, we landed at shore and explored while they broke down all the boats for the flight back to town. The plane arrived, they loaded it up and we were off! We got to see root glacier from above as well as Kennecott and the McCarthy area. The pilot was also very friendly and explained the area as we flew over it. This trip was phenomenal and we loved both our guides. Easy 5 stars on this trip!
The last day we did a mine tour with another guide named Sarah. Due to work being done on the actual mill building we couldn’t go inside of it (This was very clearly stated on their website and I knew that when I signed up for the tour) but there was still a lot to see! I really liked the ammonia leaching building and the power plant. Sarah was very informative, and was a great story teller. Gave us plenty of time at all the stops to look at all the displays and did not feel rushed at all. 5 stars for this trip too.
Overall, 5 stars for this company. Easy booking, nice folks checking you in, and great guides for the most part. Thanks for the memories, we loved Wrangell St Elias!
Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a detailed and mostly positive review! We are so glad that you enjoyed our Full-Day Raft and Flightsee Trip and the Mill Town Tour! You're absolutely right that even with the Mill under construction, there are still plenty of super cool historical artifacts to explore and learn from in the other buildings!
I'm sorry to read that your Glacier Hike didn't hit the mark as safety is our top priority and we always aim for a 5-star experience. I would love the opportunity to further discuss the details of this hike with you to make sure we can improve our service. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a reference to this review and I will gladly follow up. I appreciate your time!
I have used this guide service four times. Each time has been better than the last. The guides are friendly, knowledgeable, and very fun to be with. If you are lucky enough to visit Wrangell-St. Elias national park, you should certainly use these guys to get the best experience.
After +40yrs of guiding in the Wrangells, we like to think of ourselves as experts in the area. And it sounds like you're becoming one too!! Thanks so much for your continued support over the years, and especially this year! We're happy to hear that you look forward to coming back to this magical spot and enjoy sharing your adventures with us!
Let us know if you have any more feedback you'd like to share - we're all ears at email@example.com
We did the high pass odyssey in 6 days. Exceeded every expectation. Harrison was all time. The food was unreal. The sights were truly breathtaking. Harrison kept us safe and sound. Anya the owners handled the logistics and was amazing. 10 out of 10. Also... glad we trained for this one ;)
So psyched you guys were able to join us for one of our most epic backpacking trips - the High Pass Odyssey! You guys chose the speedy 6-day version, which is a natural butt-kicking challenge, but with preparation and training, you guys totally crushed it!
Our backpacking guides work off of a proprietary cookbook of practiced and approved meals - so glad you enjoyed Harrison's cooking!
We are happy to help with the logistics surrounding your trip to ensure things run smooth and you're not bogged down with the details - transportation, lodging, other activities, etc. Glad to hear you liked that package we customized for your group!
Once your legs recover, we can start planning your next adventure out here ;)
St. Elias National Park is spectacular, and this was a fantastic group to lead our exploration of it! From the first point of contact to our departure at the end of the trip, at every step they were friendly, professional, and reassuring that we would not be eaten by bears. They designed a trip that perfectly matched our level of experience and adventure, and we had a blast hiking around the basin, crossing glaciers, and eating incredibly good food in the backcountry! Special shoutout to our guide Michael Hampton, who immediately felt like one of our crew and was a great hang for four days.
Thanks so much for the awesome review! Our multi-day hiking, backpacking, rafting, skiing, and climbing excursions are some of the best ways to see this incredible Park. With over 13.2 million acres of Park land, there is something for everyone here to see.
We work hard to match our guides to our clients to ensure that your trip is truly a trip of a lifetime! And that you don't get eaten by bears :D
So glad you could join us on this incredible adventure and we hope to see you and your friends up here again sometime!!
Tristan is an amazing guide. He knew the glaciers and mountain like the back of his hand. Completely trusted him with guiding my family and I around during our first time glacier hiking and ice climbing. Highlight was the blue pool jump which my husband did. He got some cuts from the ice but Tristan was ready with his first aid kit. Will definitely do it again!
Thank you so much for joining Tristan on the glacier the other day! Like all of our guides, he is professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful. Trained in wilderness first response, our guides are prepared to help with any situation.
So cool that your husband went for a blue pool jump - that'll be swim to remember!
If you'd like to share any more feedback, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org