What started as an enjoyable weekend in Anchorage turned into a stressful afternoon, one that…
Having avoided being trapped on Matanuska Glacier, I thought I’d share a few “survival” tips for a successful glacier hike.
7 Tips For a Successful Glacier Hike
1. Get your boots dirty.
Only step on the shale or black dirt aka moraine, the debris that has been deposited by the glacier as it moves. Shale or black dirt indicates there is solid surface under your feet.
2. Only walk on packed ice.
Ice pack indicates there is solid surface under your feet.
3. Avoid fresh snow.
While fresh powder is great on the mountain, it’s deadly on the glacier. Fresh powder without ice could be covering a crevasse. And while beautiful to look at, you don’t want to fall into one as there’s no way of knowing how far down the crevasse goes.
4. Pony up for a guide.
You can easily become disoriented and go in circles. Believe me, I know! If you’re traveling solo, you may want to consider hiring a guide or going later in the morning when other people arrive so you can team up with another hiker or two.
5. Wear hiking boots or study shoes.
Leave the heels at home. Plan on getting wet and/or muddy. That beautiful ice has a bunch of nasty things under it.
Put on sunscreen before you hike to avoid glacier burn. Wear layers as it gets cold the closer you get to the seracs. As with any hike, bring plenty of water…and a camera.
After all, where else can you drive to the trailhead of a glacier and then take an leisurely stroll and hike a free flowing, active glacier.
7. Don’t drink the water.
Just because it’s clear doesn’t mean it’s clean. While there is free flowing water through the glaciers, not all of it is clean or safe to drink.
Hope you enjoyed my 7 tips for a successful glacier hike. Do you have any tips I didn’t mention?
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