Alaska | Mountaineering

Discover the remote, technical terrain of Alaska’s soaring peaks, as you trek across rugged wilderness on a 14-day mountaineering adventure.

Questions? Call NCOAE Support (910) 399-8090

At-a-Glance

At the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we know adventure. Immerse yourself in outdoor adventure, while learning the technical skills to travel & explore remote destinations!

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Ages:  
18+
Duration:  
14 days

$3,290.00

Course Information

Adventure First

Alaska is synonymous with adventure.

With NCOAE’s Alaskan Mountaineering course, you’ll explore remote territory on a rugged route that is distinctly Alaska. Our adventure begins and ends with Alaskan wilderness, and in the middle you’ll find Alaskan solitude. Our route takes you across remote glaciers, cold-mountain streams, high-mountain passes, and wide-open tundra. And, all of this provides the true mountaineering adventure of a lifetime, with food and supplies airdropped by plane to remote locations.

During your expedition, you will have the opportunity to sharpen your technical wilderness skills, including glacier travel technique, snow and ice climbing skills, avalanche safety, crevasse rescue, backcountry navigation, hazard assessment, and personal skill development. You may even get the chance to apply your new skills in the last few days of the course with a “graduation climb” up a mountain peak.

During this 14-Day Alaskan Mountaineering Course, you’ll find yourself exploring the heart of the least visited National Park in the United States. As you travel through the Chugach or Wrangell mountain ranges, exploring snow covered glaciers, rocky ridges, and tundra, you’ll be learning, sharpening, and practicing the skills to plan and lead adventure-based experiential education trips.

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  • Duration: 14 days
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Tuition: $3,290.00
Available Dates
Jul 23, 2019 - Aug 05, 2019
Jul 23, 2020 - Aug 05, 2020

Education Always

  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer certification
  • Expedition planning and logistics
  • Mountaineering skills
  • Remote wilderness camp craft, including backcountry cooking and food planning
  • Ice and snow gear and travel techniques
  • Teaching-level knowledge of the NCOAE
  • Itinerary
  • FAQs
  • Credits
  • Outcomes
  • Downloads

Itinerary Highlights

  • NCOAE core curriculum
  • LNT Awareness training
  • Gain experience in expedition planning, wilderness risk management, mountaineering skills, environmental studies, backcountry navigation, leadership in the wilderness, outdoor technology skills, and more
  • Ice and snow gear and travel techniques
  • Fly-in mountaineering and remote Alaska trekking

Why Take This Course

  • Develop Mountaineering skills
  • Explore Alaskan mountain ranges, wide-open tundra, and snow covered glaciers
  • Advance your knowledge of environmental science and outdoor leadership curriculum — while living and learning in Alaska’s wild, beautiful places
  • Discover which areas of outdoor and wilderness education are best suited to your strengths
  • Acquire the skills needed to travel in remote, pristine destinations around the world!

Where You’ll Be

  • Wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve — America’s largest National Park
  • Chugach & Wrangell Mountain ranges
  • Anchorage, Alaska
Where does the 14-day Alaska Mountaineering course take place?

Beginning in McCarthy, Alaska, you’ll fly to a remote base camp in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, relying solely on yourself and your group for everything.

Wrangell is the largest and least visited National Park in the United States. Spanning 13.2 million acres it’s as big as Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Switzerland combined. The park stretches from sea level to the top of one of the tallest peaks in North America — Mount St. Elias (18,008 feet).

You will be traveling and living in an area that is so remote, the only way in or out is by bush plane. Food and supplies will be airdropped.

How far will I be hiking?

You and your party will travel more than 30 miles across mountains, glaciers, snow-melt streams, and tundra, practicing backpacking, climbing, & mountaineering skills needed to explore rugged, remote areas around the world!

Where will we be staying?

We’ll be living in tents and enjoying our evenings in different areas most nights, identifying the stars and sharing highlights of our learning.

What wilderness skills will I develop during this adventure?

The 14-day Alaska mountaineering course begins by helping you develop foundational outdoor and adventure education skills. You will gain hands-on experience in expedition planning, logistics, backpacking, mountaineering, backcountry cooking and food planning, remote wilderness camp craft, ice and snow travel techniques, environmental and civic responsibility, backcountry navigation, wilderness risk management, Leave No Trace (LNT) outdoor ethics, leadership and communication styles, as well as decision-making and teamwork.

What level of experience do I need to take this course?

No prerequisites are required. Throughout the course, you will acquire the knowledge and skills required to complete the course and to navigate and thrive in the wilderness and in life in general.

Who should take this course?

This course is best suited to those who want to challenge themselves in remote, rugged conditions.

How different is the 14-day Mountaineering course from the Outdoor Educator and Semester courses?

If you’re looking for a longer course with more time for additional exploration and adventure, we suggest you consider joining us for an Outdoor Educator or Semester / Gap Year course. You’ll go even more in-depth, combining the highlights of local topography, geography, and culture with our exceptional Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course.

These courses allow for a wide variety of activities against the backdrop of lush greenery, winding rivers, and some of the oldest mountains in the worldExplore the mountains to the sea, while earning the top certifications required in the outdoor industry, such as Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification, Leave No Trace (LNT) certification, AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) Single Pitch Instructor training, American Canoe Association (ACA) Swift Water Rescue certification, and ACA ‘Trip Leader’ certification in Sea Kayaking.

What do I need to do physically to prepare for this course?

You do not need to be an “Ironman” to participate in this course. That said, you will be required to carry your own pack, with your own gear and some group gear. Your pack will weigh between 40 and 50 pounds at any given time. You will be hiking over rugged terrain, crossing rivers and glaciers, making high altitude ascents, and negotiating deep valleys and steep ridges.

Will we be traveling in bear country?

Yes, Wrangell – St. Elias is home to all three species of North American bears. The Wrangell is land of harsh landscapes in which bears like to travel looking for food. Statistically, it’s unlikely that you will encounter a bear in this 13.2 million-acre park, but it’s possible.

That said, NCOAE follows recommended best practices to mitigate the risks associated with bear encounters. You will learn and practice these risk management techniques as part of the course.

What is the average group size and instructor/student ratio?

Each group has two or three instructors and eight to 15 students. We maintain an instructor-to-student ratio of no less than one instructor for every five students.

What are the minimum and average ages of students in the 14-day Alaska Mountaineering course?

The minimum age for this course is 18 years, and the average age is about 30 years. Typically, participants range in age from 25 to 34 years old.

What gear and equipment do I need?

NCOAE provides all necessary group gear and food, but you will want, or be required, to bring certain items for yourself. We encourage you to contact NCOAE with all of your gear questions as early as possible. Start planning now by viewing the NCOAE 14-day Alaska Mountaineering course pack list.

Beyond my tuition, what will I need to pay for in Alaska?

Your tuition with NCOAE covers all major costs related to your room, board, and lodging, except when specified in the itinerary. You may request an optional meal out when we are in an urban area, which you would need to pay for separately. Additionally, you’ll need to budget a small stipend for your personal items, including souvenirs, extra snacks, and gifts.

What kind of food will I be eating?

Since we will be carrying all of our food on our backs, we’ll be eating many of the items that begin in their dehydrated forms; water weight is not something we want to carry. Expect meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, and even fresh baked bread and pizza! Of course, you’ll be making them all from scratch — learning to cook backcountry gourmet on the trail.

Academic Credit

This course is NOT currently eligible to receive college credit through the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. If you wish to attend a course and receive academic credit. If you are interested in earning credit for a course, learn more about our Outdoor Educator and Semester / Gap Year courses which may be eligible for up to six college-level credits.  The following courses are currently eligible for up to six college-level credits through The University of North Carolina – Wilmington:

All courses are found in SeaNet under the following Course IDs:

  • EVS 485 — Issues in Sustainability: 6 credits
  • EVS 592 — Issues in Sustainability: 6 credits

Course Outcomes

This 14-day course is strenuous and will test your route-finding skills, stamina, and ability to excel in the outdoors. You will bushwhack, travel steep side-hills, navigate challenging terrain, cross multiple ice-cold streams and rivers, and encounter untouched flora, fauna, and landscapes.

Where do you want to go (physically, mentally, socially, academic, etc.)?

Traveling through Wrangell – St. Elias National Park will allow you to rely on yourself and your fellow outdoor leaders – for everything. Additionally, you’ll learn environmental and civic responsibility, backcountry navigation, wilderness risk management, outdoor ethics, leadership and communication styles, as well as decision-making and teamwork. You will return home confident in your ability to lead others and guide, and instruct groups in the backcountry using your newfound skills.

How will NCOAE help you get there?

The 14-day Alaska – Mountaineering course is the affordable adventure option if you are seeking extraordinary outdoor skill development, including: wilderness risk management, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, backcountry cooking and living, and expedition planning. Best of all, you’ll advance your opportunities to travel in the wilderness, and to affect positive changes in the world.

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NCOAE Pack List: Alaska 14-day Mountaineering Course
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Upcoming Dates / Reserve Your Spot

This 14-day Alaska Mountaineering course is only offered through NCOAE, which is why we’re excited to offer it in the remote Alaskan wilderness.

Available Dates
Jul 23, 2019 - Aug 05, 2019
Jul 23, 2020 - Aug 05, 2020

You’ll develop your personal leadership style, gain wilderness skills, and learn effective tools for communication. Finally, you will acquire skills with self and group assessment and develop the ability to teach and share your appreciation of the natural environment with others.