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Ski Mountaineering in the St. Elias Range, Alaska

St. Elias Range | Alaska
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to ski mountaineer in the St. Elias

  • Trip Highlight

    Discover ideal terrain and diverse snow types in faraway Alaska

  • Trip Highlight

    Conquer Mount St. Elias, USA and Canada’s second-highest mountain

  • Trip Highlight

    Revel in the far-stretching vistas while shredding superb snow amid sky-piercing peaks

Bearing the title of the second-highest mountain in the US and Canada and sprawling across what seems like an endless surface, Mount Saint Elias and its surrounding peaks render even the most hardcore ski mountaineers speechless. With immense ski parks and ice fields larger than some US states, St. Elias Range gives you a plethora of tours and turns to choose from. It also houses a slew of unnamed mountains with various types of terrain, so you could be one of the few people to set foot on them in this icy wilderness. Couple that with the various snow types that the range boasts and you get a perfect skiing playground for the most passionate ski mountaineers! Get ready for a high-octane adventure in this remote location far away from the crowds and hire St. Elias alpine guides to navigate you through this colossal wilderness. If you’re looking for untrodden snow, fresh air, and calming silence, you can’t go wrong with this Alaskan gem!


April into early May

Nearest city

Anchorage, AK, is 4.5 hours away from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park


10 days

Skill level

Beginner to advanced


Book this adventure

10-day Ski Mountaineering in the St. Elias Range

10 days

Swell with a fierce sense of pride upon reaching the summits of numerous majestic peaks that the St. Elias Range has to offer. Explore a myriad of tours and turns, rappel onto rock faces while passing through the range, and traverse the massive ice fields stretching for miles on end. Join your reliable St. Elias alpine guides, fast-track your ski mountaineering skills, and soak in the stunning Alaskan vistas that seem almost surreal.

Trip Highlights


Day 0: Meet and greet

Before you embark on this expedition, there will be a meet and greet in Anchorage at a predetermined location in order to carry out a quick equipment check and make sure that you are prepared for the upcoming adventure. Your guide will also conduct the itinerary review to get you acquainted with the stages of the expedition.

Anchorage, Alaska

Day 1: Flying into the Range

A rental van will take you from Anchorage all the way to an airstrip in Chitina, a little town situated outside the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. You and the rest of the group will have to wait for the appropriate weather conditions to fly into the range. You’re in good hands because the flight will be performed by Ultima Thule Outfitters, a family-owned business specializing in mountain flying, glacier landings and transporting skiers and climbers.

Preparing for the flight into the St. Elias Range

Day 2: Establishing a Base Camp

If the weather conditions allow, you will fly into the St. Elias Range. This is also when you and your guide will establish a base camp and scope out the area and the conditions.


Flying into the St. Elias Range

Day 3 to Day 8: Summiting peaks and traversing icefields

Climb, summit, and ski some of the most splendid Alaskan peaks that tower above you in the St. Elias Range. You will make your way across the magnificent Bagley and Jefferies ice fields and to traverse them in their entirety, you’ll embark on a multi-day tour. Bear in mind that the weather conditions, the participants’ abilities and skills, as well as the snow pack will affect the established day-to-day objectives.

Skiers on a ski mountaineering tour in the St. Elias Range

Days 9 and 10: Planning and preparing for flight back to Anchorage

You will spend the last two days of this fascinating expedition making plans and flying out of the St. Elias Range and, in the end, heading towards Anchorage.

A plane arriving in the St. Elias Range

Reviews (1)

Matt Tosi about Alpine Guides International on Alpine Guides International website

Mark is an extremely competent and dynamic guide. The extent of his knowledge for systems is impressive and allows him to adapt to challenging situations that present themselves. His proficiency in the mountains ensures that clients will feel safe while still pushing themselves to achieve predetermined goals. Most importantly Mark has a profound respect for the mountains and understands that judgment can never be overshadowed by blind ambition or ego. He once said to me, “you never bag a peak, but rather the mountain decides whether or not it will be climbed”. This has stuck with me and will always be the view that I take. I have shared a rope with Mark many times and intend to many more.

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in the St. Elias Range

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the St. Elias Range, AK, please refer to the State of Alaska Government Website, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and Wrangell – St Elias National Park Service Website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      10-day ski mountaineering adventure
    • Two nights in a hotel—double bed occupation
    • Glacier flight into the Range
    • Van transportation to Chitina from Anchorage and from Chitina to
    • Anchorage
    • Office support
    • Base camp gear (sat phone and SPOT, cook tent, food, group medical kit, repair kit, stoves, fuel, maps, compass/thermometer, wax kit for skis, sled, ropes, crevasse rescue gear, wands)

What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Transportation to and from Anchorage
    • Rescue insurance
    • Travel insurance (optional but highly recommended)
    • Delays due to unpredictable circumstances (bad weather, avalanche hazards, transportation problems including planes, sickness, lost baggage, etc.)

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a very good level of fitness and backcountry skiing experience. You need to be a solid intermediate to advanced skier confident in variable snow conditions (powder, hardpack, breakable crust, corn and packed powder) across diverse terrain including glaciated avalanche terrain. You’ll be required to ski on tours for around 6-8 hours with a 25 lb pack covering up to 5,000 ft (1500 m) skinning and perform link turns for speed control. The climbs and descents are in the range of 1,000-3,000 ft. Being relatively low in altitude (10,000 ft), this expedition doesn’t require acclimatization. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging black-level resort runs.

What if I’ve never ski mountaineered before?

No ski mountaineering experience is needed for this adventure. However, you have to be an intermediate to advanced skier with previous skiing and riding experience in the backcountry and confidence in variable snow conditions. Your guide will help you master all the possible technical mountaineering skills along the way.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

    • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis with bindings and skins (can be rented)
    • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
    • Ski crampons and 12 point crampons (can be rented)
    • Ice Axe (can be rented)
    • 2 locking pear shaped carabiners
    • 2 non-locking oval carabiners
    • 7 mm perlon cord for anchor material (5.5 meters/18’)
    • 6 mm perlon cord for prusik loops (1.5 meter/4’)
    • Long rubber ski straps (1 or 2)
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe
      • Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring)

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet (can be rented)
    • Sunglasses, glacier glasses or ski goggles
    • 2 polar fleece or wool ski hats
    • Baseball hat or visor (dark underside of visor)
    • Buff or fleece neck warmer
    • Synthetic or wool t-shirt
    • Lightweight synthetic or wool long sleeve base layer
    • Expedition weight synthetic long sleeve shirt
    • Wind and waterproof soft shell jacket with hood or heavy weight fleece (Mammut Ultimate Jacket recommended)
    • Hard shell jacket (waterproof and breathable) (Mammut Ultimate Jacket recommended)
    • Lightweight hoodie
    • Synthetic or down insulating jacket/puffy
    • Lightweight gloves for ski touring
    • Insulating gloves with Shell and gauntlet
    • Puffy synthetic or wool mitts
    • Hand warmers
    • Light- or midweight synthetic long underwear bottoms
    • Soft shell pants (Mammut Champ or Glacier pant recommended)
    • Lightweight shell pants (must have side zippers to at least knee high)
    • Puff Ball insulated pants or pile/fleece pants
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
    • 2 pairs of big fat expedition socks for camp use
    • Mukluks with down booties or sorel-type boots
    • Pack towel for drying feet
    • A sleeping bag rated to at least -10
    • Air mattress incorporated within a chair/pad unit
    • Ensolite pad
    • Four season tent
    • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
      2 1-liter water bottles (with insulation covers) or 1 if thermos
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Headlamp
    • Toiletry kit (toothbrush and small tube paste, lip balm, gold bond, feminine hygiene, ear plugs, toilet paper, handi-wipes or hand sanitizer, hand lotion)
    • First aid kit
    • Pee bottle (used wide mouth Nalgee best)
    • Insulated cup/bowl with utensils
    • Small stuff sacks to organize clothing and gear
    • Prescription eyeglasses (as a backup to contact lenses)
    • Sunscreen and lip screen (min 30 SPF)
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
    • Camera — optional
    • Paperback book and journal
    • Lighter on a leash
    • Compass and/or GPS — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

Ski rental locations are in Anchorage and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes:

    • For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1. All prices are per person.
    • If joining alone, you’ll be placed with peers that share a similar level of experience.
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

Ski touring in the St. Elias Range can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A deposit of $500 per person is needed to secure your spot. Full amount should be paid three months prior to departure. If you cancel the trip over 48 hours after booking, the deposit is not refundable.
For cancellations of 60 or more days prior to departure, Alpine Guides International will charge a $100 fee and refund the remaining amount.
There will be no refunds for cancellations made within 60 days of the departure date.
If Alpine Guides International cancels the trip you can expect a full refund.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to the St. Elias Range, most people fly into Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport 4.5 hours from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to downtown Anchorage.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet at a predetermined location in Anchorage. From Anchorage, you’ll depart via rental van to Chitina Airstrip. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

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Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding

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