As peak experiences go, few can match hiking on the gleaming surface of a glacier. Crisp, clean air embraces you at every step. Snow-covered slopes rise for miles to dramatic peaks. And the only sound you hear is the crunch of your crampons digging into the snow and ice. It is tranquility and serenity at its most sublime.
Thanks to the small group size of our Discovery Tours trips, you can do all of this along the breathtaking Wrangell range in Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park. One of America’s natural treasures, the park was established in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. Remarkably, the park is larger than the nation of Switzerland.
Root Glacier is one of North America’s few accessible glaciers, and your adventure with Discovery Tours leads you into a virtually untouched and pristine wilderness. Because this majestic mountain range is almost completed draped in white glaciers, geological studies have never been conducted of the rocky contours of its slopes. Despite this lack of in-depth surveys, it is believed that the mountain range has an ancient, eroded wall that once surrounded a volcano’s crater. In this primitive environment, it’s easy to imagine a time eons ago when lava and fire exploded into the sky and poured down the mountainsides.
Root Glacier is more than a mile wide and flows for 15 miles through the dramatic valleys. As you can imagine, this surely once played a part in the lives of the people of Kennecott, an abandoned mining camp where copper was once extracted. Today, the camp is a National Historic Landmark District, rich in history and lore. A fascinating walk among its preserved shacks and work houses will get you acquainted with this often overlooked corner of the United States.
Your glacier walk begins right from the old mining camp. With your guide, you will strap on crampons and venture onto the thick ice floe. All around you, a white wonderland of unforgettable beauty stretches upward and outward as your guide helps you understand the glacier’s minuscule movements and the ways it has carved out this magnificent landscape. Above you, Mt. Blackburn soars into the sky, the highest peak in the park. As you explore, you’ll walk past the stunning, mile-high Stairway Icefall, a 7,000-foot vertical wall of ice alongside the shores of Erie Lake. This is just one spectacular natural feature you’ll marvel at during your walk. Turquoise blue pools and massive formations of ice sculpted by the elements mark your progress during this truly incredible outing.