I was lucky enough to go on a glacial adventure this weekend with the help of NorthStar Trekking!
Going underneath the Mendenhall Glacier is one thing, but putting on a pair of crampons and checking out all the features on top of it is awesome… as is scaling the face of a frozen slab of ice. In all, the exploring lasted about three hours. Throw in the helicopter rides and perfect weather and well, needless to say, it was a pretty epic afternoon.
Below are just a sampling of the nearly 500 photos I snapped. I did my best to capture the full breadth of the experience, but I would highly recommend making your own way onto the Mendenhall if you can, even if you’re from Juneau and you see it all the time. There’s nothing like it!
This was my third hike to the glacier cave at Mendenhall Glacier that has been the “go to” cave for the past few years. I went in July 2011 and October 2011 – for moving at glacial speeds, it’s amazing how much has changed in between visits!
Much more of the face has calved off and melted over these two short years and the entrance to the cave itself has receded at least 100 feet. It actually looks a bit more stable now, as the previous ice outcropping that was at the entrance before was relatively thin looking. Inside the cave is just as amazing – the bluest of blues and the sound of water rushing under the glacier. If you go, be safe and bring rain gear!
The summer of 2007 was a fantastic bear year in Juneau.
If you visited the Mendenhall Glacier anytime between late-July and August of that year, you were nearly guaranteed a black bear viewing. There were 13 black bears concentrated in a roughly 1.5 mile stretch of Steep Creek, feeding on the spawning salmon making their way upstream. The raised viewing platforms of the Moraine Trail – originally built to enhance salmon viewing – proved to be a wonderful and safe way to watch the bears and their cubs go about their feeding.