Skiing the Chigmit Volcanoes
Iliamna

Skiing the Chigmit Volcanoes - Iliamna - Lake Clark National Park

Iliamna Volcano hasn’t seen a volcanic eruption in over 100 years, and though conditions change daily, seismologists and geophysicists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory have said that for now Iliamna won't be erupting any time soon.  Therefore, this peak provides the perfect ski mountaineering adventure for someone wanting to climb a big glaciated Alaska peak without severe altitude or crowds.

We’ll fly from Kenai with pilot Doug Brewer and land at 3000-feet on the Tuxedni Glacier on the north side of the volcano.  Over the next several days we’ll review climbing, crevasse rescue skills, and roped skiing techniques as we prepare for our ascent. When weather allows, we’ll ascend almost 6,000 feet from our base camp to the summit. The climbing difficulties will involve sustained 35-degree slopes and possibly some short sections of steep ice through crevasses. Our itinerary allows extra time for weather delays for flying onto the mountain, for summit attempts, and for flying out.

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For nearly 20 years, Alaska Alpine Adventures led skiing and ski-mountaineerng trips in Alaska's remote mountain ranges.  It was one of the proud pillars of our business!   But in 2017 we decided to suspend operations of our backcountry ski program and instead focus our efforts on summer trips.  We also wanted to help former employees Joe Stock & Nick D'Alessio build their ski guiding businesses, and so we are now directing all inquiries to the Alaska Guide Collective!    Whether you're looking for a multi-day ski mountaineering clinic or a day tour of the local Chugach or Talkeetna Mountains, Joe & Nick are highly trained and internationally certified guides - true big mountain professionals.  Below are itineraries that they'd absolutely LOVE to run, so give them a call, and let them know we sent you their direction!

 

Trip Details

DURATION 10 days
LENGTH 6000 ft
INTENSITY Level 4
SEASON April-May
BEGINS IN Anchorage
ENDS IN Anchorage
AIRPORT Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
WILDLIFE/
SCENERY
glaciers, volcanoes

One hundred miles southwest of Anchorage, stand the Chigmit Mountains—a desolate and heavily glaciated, sub-range of the mighty Aleutian Range. The giants of the Chigmits, Iliamna (10,016), and Redoubt (10,197), are active volcanoes rising directly from sea level to summit. On a clear day, these volcanoes are visible from Anchorage and inspire the ski-mountaineer in all of us. Despite their proximity to Anchorage, these stunning peaks offer isolation and moderate glaciated challenges.

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*Images courtesy of Joe Stock & Dan Oberlatz

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, large group tent, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Complimentary airport transfer
  • Round-trip van transportation from Anchorage to the air taxi in Kenai
  • All necessary bush flights necessary
  • One night of accommodations in Anchorage
  • Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 guest to guide ratio
  • All meals from dinner on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
  • Storage for your extra travel items while in the field
Day
1

Your trip begins today in Anchorage, Alaska.  You can arrive at any time and enjoy an included van transfer to the bed & breakfast.  You’ll be staying at the Susitna Place or the Copper Whale Inn, which are both located close to the airport and adjacent to downtown Anchorage.  Depending on your arrival time, the remainder of the day is yours to relax after your flight or to explore some of the city’s notable sites including the Anchorage Museum of History & Art or the city Park Strip.  This afternoon, you’ll meet your guide at 4pm and head to our Anchorage facility for an orientation and gear check, followed by a  group dinner featuring gourmet pizza and local craft brews.  The orientation will include a discussion of the itinerary, an introduction to our unique style of Alaska winter wilderness travel, a familiarization of the principles of glacier travel, a conversation about traveling safely in avalanche country, and camping in a winter environment.   Dinner & accommodations included.

Day
2

Your guide will meet you at the B&B by 7:30am, when we’ll get started with the three-hour drive to Kenai.  Our route will take us down the scenic Seward Highway and through the Chugach and Kenai mountain ranges.  We’ll arrive in Kenai by 11am, and, weather permitting, will board the airplane and begin the flight(s) into the wilderness of Lake Clark National Park.  Our pilot has spent years flying in this area and you’ll immediately understand why we choose to fly with him.  The flight will take about an hour and will take you over some of the most remote and beautiful country in Alaska.  After landing on the glacier we’ll say farewell to our pilot as the airplane lumbers off the glacier, and leaves us alone in silence.  We’ll load our packs & sleds, tie into the rope, and begin ascending to camp one, located between 4000 & 5000’ on the upper Tongue Glacier.  All meals included. Distance: 3 miles, Elevation gain: 1000-2000'

Days
3-8

From camp one, we’ll make a carry of equipment and food to our high camp situated at the 8000’ to 9000’ level.  We’ve built in ample summit days into the itinerary and plenty of time to ski when the weather cooperates.. Iliamna volcano offers a challenging summit day on moderately steep snow and short patches of ice.  It is possible to ski from the summit in the right conditions.  There is excellent ski terrain all over the mountain and off the adjacent peaks that we’ll sample as well.   All meals included.  Distance: 6 miles, Elevation gain: 2700'

Day
9

We'll descend today to our pick up point on the Tuxedni.  As we enjoy our final dinner in the wilderness, you'll surely begin to digest the euphoria of a successful Alaska expedition.  All meals included.  Distance: 3 miles, Elevation loss: 2700'

Day
10

After a final breakfast and breaking camp,  a scheduled mid-morning ski plane will return us to civilization and we will make the drive back to Anchorage from Kenai.  If you are leaving Alaska on this day, please schedule all homebound flights from Anchorage for after 10pm.  Breakfast & lunch included.

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

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