Guided Eklutna Ski Traverse, Chugach Mountains
The Classic Chugach Ski Tour
Alaska's favorite ski mountaineering traverse. The trip follows a 38-mile route along a glacier corridor from Eklutna Reservoir to Girdwood. A crossing from one side of the Chugach Mountains to the other. Along the way we'll stay at dramatically perched huts, which keep our packs light. The traverse is mostly moderate touring on lower angle glaciers. The route involves two long descents totalling 7,000 feet. If time and energy allow, we’ll make ski runs around the huts.
While most of the trip is low angle glacier touring, there are several cruxes that require advanced skiing ability and basic mountaineering skills. These cruxes include cramponing up 35-degree glacier ice to get onto the Eklutna Glacier and descending the 40-degree Raven Headwall. While crevasses do exist, and we will carry glacier gear, the glaciers are relatively benign and rarely require a rope. This tour requires stamina for consecutive full days in the mountains carrying a 45-pound backpack. You will also need proficiency with your backcountry ski system.
Route description, photos and maps in The Alaska Factor.
Return to Skiing Overview.
Advanced alpine skiing skills and endurance for consecutive full days in the mountains.
One to six days in March through May. Privates trips only. Sorry, no open scheduled trips.
- 1 customer: $450 per day
- 2 customers: $300 per person per day
- 3 customers: $225 per person per day
- 4+ customers: $200 per person per day (second guide added over four customers)
- In partnership with Alaska Alpine Adventures.
- Click here for booking.
- IFMGA* guide Joe Stock. Second guide added over four customers.
- Fuel for stoves
- Repair, first aid and navigation kits
- Emergency shelter and communication
*Joe is the only internationally certified mountain guide living and working in Alaska.
Does Not Include
- Travel within Alaska. Using a rental or your personal car is the best option.
- Food and drinks.
- Personal gear. See Alaska Backcountry and Ski Mountaineering Gear List.
- Membership to the Mountaineering Club of Alaska. You must be a member ($15 individual, $20 family) of the MCAK to use the huts.
- Rescue insurance
- Trip insurance. See Booking for details.
Note: Below is the typical six-day Eklutna schedule. If you are very fit, we can skip huts and stay several nights at the same hut to ski peaks in the area. Another option is day-touring the Eklutna, but we must have done previous trips together.
Day 1: From Anchorage, we'll drive 45 minutes to Eklutna Reservoir and spend the day touring past the reservoir to the log and glass Serenity Falls Hut.
Day 2: The next day we ski up a constricted rock canyon lined with frozen waterfalls to the Eklutna Glacier. Here glacier ice is exposed from drainage winds and there is a short section of cramponing to get up onto the Eklutna Glacier. Once onto the snowy glacier, it’s an easy tour to Pichler's Perch hut.
Day 3: Day three is a steady and scenic climb to Hans' Hut, high on the Whiteout Glacier.
Day 4: This is an extra day for weather issues or skiing. If the weather cooperates, we can ski around Hans' Hut with possible descents of Whiteout and Insignificant Peaks, two of the highest summits in the Western Chugach.
Day 5: From Hans’ Hut we have an easy day of skiing down the Eagle Glacier to Rosie's Roost.
Day 6: Beyond Rosie's is the tour's second crux–the Raven Headwall, a 40-degree slope that drops down to the Raven Glacier. Once past the Raven Headwall it's a fast descent to the trail head near the town of Girdwood where we'll re-nourish at Chair Five restaurant. If you’d like to finish the trip in luxury, then make reservations at Alyeska Resort.
Touring across Eklutna Reservoir toward the Eklutna Glacier. Notice the fata morgana mirage above the lake from cold air sitting on the lake ice.
Skinning above the Eklutna Glacier. Peril Peak (7,040') in background.
Climbing up the Eagle Glacier toward Hans Hut.
Near the summit of Goat Mountain before descending Goat Ridge. This 5,000-foot descent is one of the biggest in the Western Chugach. An alternative to Goat Ridge is skiing the Raven Headwall to the Raven Glacier and Crow Pass to the Crow Pass Trailhead.