Since the glaciers are one of the most unique aspects of Alaska"s geophysical environment, if you are visiting the state, you should plan on taking one of the many types of Alaska glacier tours. Given that due to global warming, many of the glaciers are receding, you should plan on taking this trip sometime within the next few years. Alaska glacier tours are available for people of varying levels of skill and fitness. They can be taken by land, sea or helicopter. Some Alaska glacier tours allow you to observe the glaciers from your mode of transportation. Others will actually let you go out and explore the glaciers by foot.
If you are interested in taking an Alaska glacier helicopter tour, a company called Northstar Trekking offers three levels of glacier trekking experiences on the glaciers of the Juneau Icefield. The treks are specifically designed for people with no mountaineering experience. This Alaska glacier helicopter tour company provides three levels of treks, as well as the appropriate mountaineering gear for each level.
Each of the Alaska glacier helicopter tour treks includes approximately 30-35 minutes of helicopter flight time to and from the glacier-landing site. Throughout the ride, you will be fascinated by the way the landscape changes from lush forests at sea level to the majestic granite peaks surrounding the Juneau Icefield.
These Alaska glacier tours provide ample time to explore, while learning valuable skills such as proper equipment usage as well as how to move with safety and efficiency while hiking around the glacier"s surface. The Level 1 Trek on this Alaska helicopter glacier tour is a non-strenuous, 1-hour interpretive walk. Your highly experienced guide provides you with a detailed explanation of the glacier environment.
The Level 2 trek on the Alaska helicopter glacier tour consists of a two-hour hike. You will learn the proper use of the mountaineering gear and gain an understanding of the glacier features and hazards. Some of the more remote areas are accessed on this trek. While no previous trekking experience is necessary, you should be comfortable walking 2 miles over uneven terrain.
The Level 3 trek on this Alaska glacier helicopter tour includes four hours hiking and climbing over the rugged and challenging terrain of the glacier. After the helicopter lands, your guide will teach you the basics of glacier travel. Then, your group will explore some of the most remote areas of the glacier. You will be introduced to basic climbing and rope techniques that will allow you to climb and descend the ice walls. The amount of walking is extensive. It is often done on steep terrain, along with some technical climbing.
Whether you decide to see the glaciers by land, sea, or air, an Alaska glacier tour is a trip well worth taking.