Level 4: Alaska Adventure

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Why Alaska is different

There are many Wilderness Areas in the lower 48. But they’re generally much less wild than the name suggests: they are laced with trails, pockmarked with heavily impacted campsites, neutralized with bridges and blazes, and oddly full of people.

Alaska is different. Areas might not even technically be managed as “wilderness,” but they certainly feel that way. You’re unlikely to see other people or signs of their passage. The trails are “maintained” by wildlife. You have to swim or bring a boat in order to cross big bodies of water. And if you ever need to bail out, that’s usually when the real adventure begins.

I call it Big Wilderness. If you think you might want to take a trip in it, keep reading.

Critical trip info

  • 7 days/6 nights
  • Max client/guide ratio: 4:1 (or less)
  • Primary objectives: learning & adventure
  • Teaching level: intermediate or advanced
  • Physical intensity: moderate to high, depending on the session
  • Prerequisites & Expectations: yes
  • Trip itinerary

Who should take this trip?

There are two components to every backpacking trip: hiking and camping. My clients are typically interested in learning to optimize their hiking experience — making it fun, not work — without compromising their safety or comfort.

Within that context, this trip is ideally suited for:

  • Intermediate backpackers
  • Advanced backpackers without experience in Alaska with a packraft
  • Former clients who have already taken a 7-day with me, or possibly a 3-day trip

Why should you take this trip?

If you are considering this trip, you probably are already a competent and experienced backpacker. Thus, I intend to skip intro-level skills, like how to pack your backpack or purify your water, though I’m still happy to address those topics if you have lingering questions. Instead, this trip is designed for someone who wants to:

  • Learn about the unique gear, supplies, and skills that Alaska requires;
  • Master advanced skills like off-trail navigation, campsite selection, and grizzly bear best practices;
  • Learn to packraft;
  • Join a fun group of peers;
  • Be led and kept safe by expert guides;

There are other reasons to take this trip, too:

What will you learn?

Learning is still a primary objective in this trip. For a full list of subjects taught, view the Curriculum. We will focus on the advanced topics like:

  • Gear selection
  • Off-trail navigation
  • Map & compass
  • Foot care
  • Campsite selection
  • Wildlife precautions
  • Fire-starting in inclement conditions
  • Coping with bugs
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