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Base Camp: The Matanuska Glacier

camping overnight on a glacier

Camping on A Glacier

Each day exploring the Matanuska Glacier feels like stepping into a whole new world. With each new sunrise the glacial universe shifts; meltwater carves new canyons, crevasses fill and empty, and blue ice caves appear in days. Every time the crampons go on and the ropes go up, it seems as if times slips right through our fingers. A full day on the ice just never seemed to be long enough.

Exploring Matanuska Glacier

A group looks over ice features in the backcountry of the Matanuska

Taking Flight

It wasn’t long until we realized maybe our adventures didn’t have to end at sunset. With the help of Matanuska Glacier Helicopters and the MICA Guides crew, we were ready to extend our stay on the Matanuska Glacier. After gearing up at the base in Glacier View it was off to the helicopter launch pad just down the road. Climbing into the helicopter passenger seats we were off to enjoy the most epic views of the Matanuska Glacier. Not to mention, cutting out a huge amount of time and spent energy with the quick flight out.

Our pilot, graced us with their favorite tunes in the personal head sets given to us upon entry. As we lifted and hovered over the forests into the valley, the cameras came out and the videos started to capture some of the best views around. It wasn’t long before we were far from the crowds and landing onto a secluded section of the glacier.

family walking on glacier ice

A family treks across the backcountry of the Matanuska with ice tools in hand

Ice Climb, Rest, Repeat

Landing soon followed with us unpacking our gear and organizing our ideas and goals for the day. Our method of exploration, ice climbing. The experiences ranged from climbing out of the deep blue depths of moulins, repelling over glacier caves, and trekking through the winding rivers of melt water. As the sun drew closer to the horizon, our exhaustion became more apparent.

To our pleasant surprise, coming back to our bag cache meant arriving to the newly established base camp. Equipped with personal tents and a bonfire, right on the ice. Stories and laughter circled the fire as everyone sat back into their chairs. With the smells of a freshly made dinner filling our senses we sat back and enjoyed an Alaskan sunset from the ice. A warm and delicious meal tasted that much better knowing our beds were only a few steps away.

Not long after the sun disappeared behind the ice, we all retired to our tent by some of the brightest starlight we had ever seen. Our tents kept us warm and comfortable through the night. The bright morning light welcomed us with fresh coffee and a full breakfast already prepared. After quickly eating, we were ready to get on the ice again. This time to check out different features we hadn’t had the time to get to the day before.

With an helicopter pick up in the afternoon we made the most of our pristine and secluded glacier time. Once the helicopter arrived we were ready to sit back and enjoy the spectacular views of the Matanuska Valley. It seems no amount of time could ever be enough to explore the glacier. An unforgettable overnight camping experience on the Matanuska sure did bring us closer than we have ever been though.