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Portage Glacier

Camping Overnight on a Glacier

The entire team at AP by far surpassed our expectations. We had been working with them for months to plan an overnight trip onto Portage Glacier and it was an absolutely incredible experience. Our guides, Geoff and Mike, were extremely knowledgeable and very diligent when it came to safety. Their enthusiasm for what they do was inspiring and made us more excited for all the activities we did. We started off at their Yurt in Girdwood. From there they drove us to the train station and we hopped on the infamous Alaskan railway. The only way to get to the area on the glacier was to Kayak there (darn) so we took about a 45 minute kayaking adventure around the glacier lake to a nice landing area that was beach-y, rather than glacier-y. Our guides fitted us for crampons in order to climb the snow—we had a lot of questions along the way, especially regarding safety, and they answered them all. We then hiked up the glacier, stopping along the way for Geoff to point out interesting features and allowing us to explore. Camp was already set up for us so we dropped our packs and geeked out over the glacier some more while our guides made us a snack and got the anchors in for ice climbing. Cots were set up for sleeping, along with sleeping bags, fleece liners, and a goody bag with some ear plugs and tissues in it. Ice climbing was phenomenal, Geoff was very encouraging while we all climbed for the first time. Mike made us a delicious dinner and hot cocoa. We had everything we could have needed. There were a couple hiccups here and there but nothing that the guides were not prepared to take care of. All-in-all a great experience.

Recommendations: bring sturdy hiking/climbing shoes! You can get by with trail shoes but it makes climbing very difficult. Rent some climbing shoes at REI if you do any ice climbing. Also, bring a headlamp if you do the overnight, it doesn't get fully dark out but it does get very dim in the tents so it's nice to have. For kayaking: bring a pair of extra gloves. They provide gloves for actual kayaking but they can get wet so it's nice to have a dry pair to wear when you are done. I highly recommend Ascending Path to anyone who wants to experience something truly fantastic.

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6 months ago