Skiing the Neacolas
Lake Clark National Park

Skiing the Neacolas - Lake Clark National Park

Remote, stunning, diverse, and magical, are just a few adjectives that we’ve come up with to describe the Neacola Mountains. Located approximately 100 air miles west/southwest of Anchorage, the Neacola Mountains comprise the southernmost portion of the massive Alaska Range. At roughly 150 square miles, this small portion of Lake Clark National Park offers some of the finest ski touring and ski mountaineering potential in the entire state of Alaska. What’s even more enticing is the fact that the Neacolas have seen very little in the way of skiing or climbing activity. This means we will be skiing some beautiful first descents! Given the northern nature of Alaska, these relatively low elevation mountains provide excellent skiing with great snow quality on a variety of terrain within easy touring of our glacier basecamp locations.

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 12 days
LENGTH 40+ miles
INTENSITY Level 4
SEASON March-May
MIN AGE 12
BEGINS IN Anchorage
ENDS IN Anchorage
AIRPORT Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
WILDLIFE/
SCENERY
glaciers, remote mountains

Welcome to Alaska’s most remote and spectacular guided ski mountaineering adventure! Accessing this part of the Alaska Range by ski plane, we’ll spend our first week camped on the glacier practicing backcountry and glacier travel skills while searching out memorable first ascents and descents. The second part of the trip will be spent touring European-style through glacier passes and dramatic peaks.

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
  • Van transportation from Anchorage to the air taxi in Kenai
  • All necessary bush flights
  • Accommodations in Anchorage on night one
  • 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

This morning, your guide will meet you after breakfast at 7:30AM at the B&B to start the day 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 10am and, weather permitting, will board our airplane and fly into the Neacolas in a bush plane equipped with wheel-skis. 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 an exciting landing on the glacier, we’ll begin the task of digging in and positioning our basecamp.  By late afternoon, we’ll rope-up for a quick tour of the glacier. During this exercise, you’ll learn how to tie-in, how to travel on a roped team, and how to assess the aspects of traveling on the ice. By early evening we’ll be back at camp and enjoying our first of many fantastic meals.  All meals included.  Distance: 2-3 miles, Elevation Gain 500'-1000'

Days
3-7 

We’ll spend these days touring from our basecamp and exploring the surrounding peaks and glaciers. As we get used to our equipment and the nuance of traveling on glaciers, we’ll spend the first couple of days assessing the snow pack on differing aspects and skiing mellower terrain. As our confidence (as well as the weather and the snow stability) allows, we’ll slowly begin to venture into steeper country. The Neacolas offer suitable skiing terrain for intermediate to advanced skiers & riders and we’ll travel in groups of three to five skiers per guide in order to accommodate people’s various abilities and aspirations.  All meals included.  Average daily distance: 5-8 miles, Average daily elevation gain 3000'-5000'

Days
8-11

After a healthy breakfast, we’ll load up sleds and backpacks and prepare for our 4-day tour of the Neacola Mountains. There are countless tours possible from our basecamp and we’ll likely choose to head into new country on a route that piques everyone’s interest, yet one that your guides deem to be safe and appropriate for the given snow and weather conditions. Regardless of the exact route, our objective will include an attempt of at least one significant peak in the region and crossings of at least two glacier passes. During this trip, you’ll learn firsthand the art of snow shelter construction, safe route-finding techniques, basic crevasse rescue methods, and how to move camp in a winter and glacier environment.  All meals included.  Average daily distance: 5-8 miles, Average daily elevation gain 3000'-5000'

Day
12

We’ll schedule a mid-morning ski plane back to civilization and will make the 3-hour 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.

*Whenever possible Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written. However, on occasion our trips deviate from the written itinerary due to weather conditions, group preference, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what some have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Therefore we suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

Got Questions?

We thought you might. We've prepared some answers to our most commomly asked questions about this trip.

What To Pack?

Download this helpful list of suggestions and recommendations for gear for this trip.

Logistics

Get detailed information about how to get here, reservation policies, trip insurance and more.

Need more details? Download a detailed itinerary of this trip

Trip Gallery

Need more details? Download a detailed itinerary of this trip

Tales from the Tundra

See more tales from the tundra

Gear Rental

Travelling to Alaska, but short a few items on your gear list? We offer a few of the "must have" items for rent at reasonable prices.

The Best Food

Our healthy, flavorful, filling, and nutritious Gourmet Backcountry Cuisine has won multiple awards!

Find Your Level

Are you ready for one of our amazing trips? Choose the adventure that is right for your activity level.

Get social with us!