On our four-day backpack in the Chugach Mountains, we learn backcountry skills and explore Alaska’s magnificent wilderness. Outside Seward, one of Alaska's oldest and most scenic towns, our group bonds during a full day service project with Alaskan youth. We then head to Resurrection Bay for an incredible sea kayak adventure among sea otters, orca whales and bald eagles. Bring your camera along for the Alaska Teen Adventure Camp of a lifetime!
ICE CLIMB: MATANUSKA GLACIER
On the powerful Matanuska Glacier, we’re outfitted with crampons, ice axes and climbing gear for an introduction to the exhilarating sport of ice climbing. Professional guides teach us the skills necessary for three action-packed days in this challenging and beautiful environment. Camping at the base of the glacier allows us spectacular views of the ice retreating through a valley of snow-capped mountains. With days full of sunshine, lots of mountains and glaciers to explore, Bold Earth offers an unforgettable Alaskan experience!
MT MCKINLEY: WHITEWATER RAFTING & BACKPACKING
On the Matanuska River, we spend two days rafting class III and IV rapids. Set amidst stunning alpine scenery, this is the best Alaskan river for teen summer camps! Our final adventure is a five-day exploration of the Denali region, where we backpack under the shadow of Mount McKinley, North America's largest mountain! On our epic finale, campers use the skills mastered over the past three weeks to assume leadership responsibilities including route-planning, daily logistics and Leave No Trace practices. This is not an average Alaska teen adventure camp - campers have responsibilities and learn backcountry skills.
- Sea Kayak Resurrection Bay
- Whitewater Raft: Alaska's Matanuska River
- Backpack the Chugach Mountains
- Ice Climb on Matanuska
- Glacier Backpack around Mount Mckinley
On our second day of ice climbing, we explore more of the Matanuska Glacier. In the morning, we expand on ice axe and crampon techniques. We also practice low angle ice climbing, top roping and belaying. In the afternoon, we focus on rope management, more top rope climbing and vertical ice climbing techniques.
On day three of our ice climbing course, we are ready for more challenging routes. In addition to more exciting top rope climbing, we also try rappelling and a Tyrollean traverse, which is a method of crossing an open space between two high points on a horizontal zip line. This is a team activity with some of the best photo ops on the trip!
Bold Earth’s day of service at the Boys & Girls Club is an eye-opening glimpse into the life of Alaskan youth, and offers us the valuable opportunity to give back to the areas and communities in which we travel.
After resupplying in Anchorage, we travel south beside towering peaks and crystal-clear bays to the port city of Seward. Dramatically positioned on the Kenai Peninsula on the shores of Resurrection Bay, the city is named after William Seward, who famously negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in the 1800's. Seward is one of Alaska's major ports and the state's railroad terminus, gathering and shipping goods and supplies throughout the entire state. We set up camp just outside of the city limits, and get some rest in preparation for tomorrow's kayaking adventure!
Before leaving Seward we will go on a hike to explore more of the beautiful area.
Buying Guide: The packing list above is mandatory for your trip; however, the linked items are just shopping recommendations. Backpacks, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads may also be purchased from an outdoor store that has tested gear for varied environments. More generic gear such as mess kits, duffel bags, etc. can be bought relatively inexpensive at Target, Walmart, etc. Feel free to find the gear that suits you and your budget best. The Bold Earth office welcomes and expects questions about packing and equipment!
Travel and Packing Tips: Don't worry about how your backpack is arranged right now. Once you arrive, your Trip Leaders will show you the most efficient way to pack your bag for a multi-day trip. If you have the space for it, a great idea for your airport and travel days is to pack your empty backpacking backpack into your duffel bag. This will reduce your checked bags from two to one.
Spending Money: Bring approximately $75 per week. For most campers this is more than enough. This is for personal expenses and gifts. Unless there is an emergency, Bold Earth will not advance money.
Identification: ID is required when checking in for flights. Bring along a picture ID, library card, school ID or state ID card. Your trip leader will be happy to hold any ID or important documents.
Helmets: Helmets are provided and required for rafting and ice climbing.
Laundry: We visit laundromats weekly. You will wash your own clothes, we provide the suds, coins and know-how. Many participants have identical jeans, socks, hiking boots, etc. A good practice is to put your name on items which are not unique to you.
Trip Journal: Bring along a notebook to record the challenges and successes of your adventure. Forest Service (“USFS”) and National Park Service (“NPS”): Bold Earth is required to notify all participants that, to the extent a court determines USFS and NPS restrictions on waivers of liability apply to Bold Earth as a matter of law, Bold Earth’s liability for negligence may not be waived while you are traveling on those affected lands.
Reading List: The people, places and activities you will encounter on your trip are diverse and incredible. These are a few books offering background information. We suggest you consider reading these books before, during or after your adventure. Also, you might like to read Outside Magazine, Backpacker Magazine, Climbing Magazine, Rock & Ice or Trilogy Magazine, available everywhere. For additional adventurous reading, check out Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time.
Into the Wild, by John Krakauer.
After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive.
Alaska: A Novel, by James A. Michener.
Using his characteristic writing style of starting at the very beginning (in this case, with native people living on the coastland we now know of as Eastern Russia) and then developing the story generation after generation through his rich and interesting characters, Michener tells the complete story of Alaska. The reader learns how Alaska was first settled, what animals first roamed its lands, what the native Inuit people were like in their unique culture and how they survived in the harsh environment, how the Americans bought the land from Russia, how the gold rush happened and what it was like for gold prospectors in the unforgiving wilderness.
Minus 148 Degrees: The First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley, by Art Davidson.
Coming down from the first winter ascent of Mount McKinley, three climbers get caught in winds of 130 miles an hour - and hence a windchill of minus 148°F and that melodramatic title. They dig an ice cave to survive, their hands freeze up, the wind just won't quit. A minor classic in the will-they-make-it? category.
Ultimate Alaska campers are looking for adventure. Ultimate Alaska attracts active, adventurous, fun, motivated, independent, mature, and AWESOME campers. That is Ultimate Alaska. This will be the greatest adventure you have ever been on- GUARANTEED!
Some Sweet Details:
- THE SUN almost NEVER SETS!
- Ice Climb
- Whitewater Raft
- Sea Kayak
- Backpack in the shadow of North America’s tallest mountain
- Explore the Wilderness of Alaska
- Epic Camping
- The BEST group of Friends
- Epic Bold Earth Trip Leaders who are EPIC outdoorsmen and WOMEN!
21 days of rugged peaks, massive glaciers and HUGE FUN on Bold Earth in the land of the midnight sun (the sun is STILL up at midnight!).
Spend three weeks on Ultimate Alaska and you will discover a summer of empowerment, rejuvenation and inspiration. Make new friends, experience new places, be challenged and have the the best summer of your life.
After twenty-five summers in the “Last Frontier”, Bold Earth has carefully built an itinerary that ensures the MAXIMUM amount of adventure, safety and FUN. All skill activities are guided by local Alaskan experts, who provide the highest level of safety and leadership.
Community Service is a Bold Earth core value. Bold Earth carefully chooses hands on community service projects that are active, engaging and . . . LIFE CHANGING! All Bold Earth participants will receive a certificate to document their service hours.
Service Credit: 8 Hours
Project #1: The site of our first group backpack, the majestic Chugach State Park, is the perfect place to give back to the areas in which we travel. Our day of service involves partnering with the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. We put in a hard day’s work with the goal of helping ecological and conservation efforts with the AWCC. Projects vary depending on the current needs of the Center, but may include gardening, feeding animals, trail restoration or anything else they might ask. To learn more about the center visit: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Project #2: We also “give back” to Alaska by volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club in Anchorage. The Club allows youth to have a safe place to learn and grow, to develop ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals and to participate in life-enhancing programs and character development experiences. Boys & Girls Clubhouses are open before and after school, when kids have free time and need positive, productive activities. As volunteers, we provide key supplementary support in the areas of club maintenance, administrative support and active participation with club members. Visit the website for more information about the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club
Click to View: ALL Bold Earth community service projects
Big. Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. (about half the size of the continental U.S.) Known for its ruggedness, Alaska is known as the “Last Frontier,” and renowned for its incredible natural beauty, wildlife and outdoor adventures!
Alaska is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent. Bordering Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia (specifically, Siberia) further west across the Bering Strait. Although it had been occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, from the 18th century onward, European powers considered the territory of Alaska ripe for exploitation. The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in the late 1800s for $7.2 million… Good Deal? WOW! Alaska officially became a State in 1959. Alaska’s population is 739,000 people.
The geology of Alaska is incredibly diverse. The region where Bold Earth travels is known as South-central Alaska. The area includes Cook Inlet, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound, and the Copper River Valley. Tourism, fisheries, and petroleum production are important economic activities. Mountain regions dominate a tremendous amount of the landscape. Throughout our trip we will be able to view the Kenai Mountains, Chugach Mountains, Talkeenta Mountains, Wrangell mountains and the famous Alaska Range where Mt. McKinley (Denali) rules as the largest peak in North America.
Incredible camping! Spending 3 weeks in Alaska can only be described as incredible.
Fresh air, lingering sunsets, picturesque wilderness and great friends define the camping on Ultimate Alaska. Over 20 years, Bold Earth has scouted the most pristine campsites you could imagine! On Ultimate Alaska, you will share a tent with 2 or 3 other Bold Earth campers of your same gender. Bold Earth provides tents. Camping is an amazing way to get to know the other campers on your trip!
Ultimate Alaska campers almost always have access to amenities (such as bathrooms) and shower every 3-4 days. Whether camping with 20,000 ft peaks in view or along rivers and lakes with the bountiful wildlife as our only neighbors, Ultimate Alaska enjoys the best camping, biggest views and sweetest adventures. Why camping? Because Bold Earth takes you on an adventure that feels GREAT! You are probably not exactly sure about camping, but what about:
• Sitting around a bonfire with a group of friends for life?
• Reading a book without a light at midnight?
• Cooking dinner with an amazing backdrop?
You will return home feeling incredible and empowered. Speak to Ultimate Alaska alumni from your area and they will tell you the camping was AMAZING!
Over the last 30 years, Bold Earth has carefully crafted the Ultimate Alaska Packing List to include everything a participant needs to be comfortable in Alaska. Click to view: Ultimate Alaska Packing List for a detailed description of exactly what to bring. Anything not included on the list is provided by Bold Earth.
Checking Bags? On airport day, campers will check the large duffle bag and backpack. We recommend using the small daypack as a carry-on. Campers should either bring a credit card or enough cash to check their bags home.
Give Bold Earth a call at 303-526-0806 if you have any questions. The Bold Earth Trip Advisor team is always available to help answer packing questions or provide gear recommendations.
Small group size = SUCCESS!
- Maximum of 13 fun and enthusiastic campers
- 2 adult trip leaders (one male and one female)
Especially on an outdoor adventure trip – group size is incredibly important. Can you imagine camping with 40 people??? LAME! Small group size allows campers to dive into Alaska without 39 people following them…
Bold Earth campers are leaders who seek independence, responsibility and fun. We know teenagers and we understand that a small group size is ESSENTIAL to camper success – especially on Ultimate Alaska. Leadership is a planned part of every day. Everyone has a chance to be Leader of the Day (LOD) and will have the opportunity to step into a leadership role and help to run the trip! The challenges and rewards of Ultimate Alaska bring the unity and bonding of the group together
Absolutely! Bold Earth has spent the last twenty-five years perfecting the minute-by-minute details of Ultimate Alaska. Every activity has been reviewed and selected to ensure the best and most balanced experience possible. Whether ice climbing, rafting, sea kayaking or backpacking, we see what the Alaskans see, do what they do and live how they live. This is not a teen tour. This trip is FUN and ADVENTUROUS. Year after year campers come back from Alaska with new found passions in their hearts – for wilderness, for camping and for adventure.
YES, we will teach all skills to empower you to enjoy Ultimate Alaska. No Experience is required, just a spirit of adventure and willingness to go for it.
Bold Earth partners with local companies and uniquely knowledgeable natives to create a safe and authentic summer of true adventure.
We will be traveling by 15 passenger vans, with a roof-rack for all of our personal gear. The van will be driven by your experienced and carefully screened leaders. All travel is carefully planned to minimize time spent in the van (we try to never drive for more than 2 hours) and optimize the trip experience for active adventure. Driving is not considered a desirable activity… Bold Earth maximizes adventure and minimizes time wasted in the van.
Shorts? Yes, most days the weather is perfect for shorts and a light jacket.
Summer is the BEST time to travel in Alaska! The climate in South-central Alaska is mild by Alaskan standards due to the region’s proximity to the seacoast. Alaska during the summer is a very comfortable place to travel. With the sun out 20 hours a day, temperatures will stay at a fairly consistent level during both the day and night. Most days will be in the 55 to 65 fahrenheit degrees, (12.7 – 18.3 degrees Celsius) with most nights never dropping below 45 (7.2 degrees Celsius). By the glacier and mountains, we can experience some cooler rainy nights, so check your packing list for a detailed list of necessary items.
Alaska Summer is perfect for Adventure!
The goal of the entire Bold Earth team is to teach repeatable skills to safely enjoy for a lifetime. Simply put, we share our passion for the outdoors with you and together create unforgettable adventures – it is that simple.
Most people who join Ultimate Alaska have never Ice Climbed! Not everyone has immediate access to glaciers and frozen waterfalls. Bold Earth hires professional climbing guides to meet each student at their level of expertise (even if you have none). Our professional guides not only offer us incredible hands on lessons, but are fun, friendly, and LOVE Bold Earth campers.
The guides are seasoned veterans who primarily lead people up huge mountains like Mount Mckinley. They are literally the best in the business. We will be climbing on the Matanuska Glacier. This 27 mile long glacier provides us with the best and safest ice climbing spots in the region. Campers participate in a 3-day mountaineering school designed specifically for Bold Earth that will teach you everything you need to know about the sport.
All other Bold Earth activities are under the same guidelines – we use only the highest rated professional guides. Whether kayaking, rafting or anything else, it will be highly supervised and incredibly fun.
1. Chugach Mountains:
We start out with an introductory backpack designed to show you the ropes of living in the backcountry. Our backpack will take us through meadows and into amazing and abundant lakes at the base of enormous peaks. This 4 day experience is challenging but not designed to wear you out. Our goal is to make you fall in love with both the area and the activity. Learn how to enjoy, cook, dance and live in the wild!
2. Denali State Park:
Our second and final backpack is at the end of our Alaskan adventure, so it is the best of the best – period. Located in the shadow of Denali – North America’s tallest peak standing at 20,237 feet (6,168 m) – we will trek along the Kesugi Ridge of Denali State Park. We will share in this one final adventure together for a total of 4 days. We will practice all that we have learned in the past two and a half weeks and grow together as a family. Campers will lead this backpack – showing the trip leaders everything they have learned.
You do not need to be an experienced backpacker, but we do recommend runs, walks or hikes before your trip to get in shape. The hike is the most physically challenging aspect of Ultimate Alaska – but the reward is totally worth the effort! Your experienced Bold Earth Trip leaders will teach you all the fundamentals you will need for a successful and inspiring backpacking experience.
Yes! Ultimate Alaska and all Bold Earth trips are designed to be combined to make a 4 or 8 week Bold Earth summer. For example, A popular combination is Ultimate Alaska and Ultimate Hawaii. If you are interested contact our Colorado office – 303 526 0806 – for more information! A Bold Earth Director will handle all the arrangements to create an incredible summer for you!
A true joy on Ultimate Alaska is how hungry you get.
DELICIOUS Food is essential! The food will be healthy, delicious, local, fun and lots of it. We do not have restrictive food budgets and we learn to cook new meals, eat plenty of local fish and other fresh food. Alaska does not have a specific cuisine, but lots of seafood is featured in the local diet. Yes, we will enthusiastically accommodate vegetarians, gluten free, kosher, allergies and most special diets.
Cooking on Ultimate Alaska is a combination of planning, preparing, grocery shopping, cooking our own food and eating out. A few times during your trip you and three other campers will have the chance to make a meal for the group. Most campers find this to be incredibly fun and rewarding! Your leaders help you as much or as little as necessary and of course everything is included. We eat out once a week to celebrate our accomplishments and enjoy a night out between adventures.
GREAT we can help! Some campers will vacation in Alaska after the trip with their families. This is a great idea! Campers will know Alaska and have wonderful stories to tell – but campers will be tired so don’t plan too much. Contact the Bold Earth office and we can arrange a drop off/pick up point with you and your family.
Ultimate Alaska is a very authentic Alaskan Teen Trip – specifically designed for high school students who want to adventure in Alaska for 21 days. Experiencing a perfect blend of adventure, service and fun, Alaska is an opportunity to have an experience truly like none other. Bold Earth’s Ultimate Alaska program has been in operation for over 20 years and during that time it has developed into an experience as big as the state.
Bold Earth has fostered connections in Alaska, enabling us to provide an itinerary and camping experience unparalleled to any other teen travel company. A summer with Bold Earth Teen Adventures means travel in a different way – discovery through leadership, education, and FUN! Please view The Ultimate Alaska Blog for a students perspective of Ultimate Alaska.
Best 23 days ever!
PARENTS, Janna & Joseph: Diana said that Ultimate Alaska was the best trip ever - that's saying something and good enough for me! Diana loved both Tyson and Alex - the best was that they were relaxed, fun and funny!
PARENTS, Marcy & David: On Ultimate Alaska Ethan gained confidence and made great friends! This was a perfect trip for him. Tyson and Alex were very sensitive to Ethan and were overall fun and involved with the group.
I am excited to say that my second summer with Bold Earth (Ultimate Hawaii, Ultimate Alaska) was as amazing as my first. I had a blast on Ultimate Alaska! All of the activities were incredible (especially ice climbing) and the trip leaders exceeded my expectations. My two Bold Earth trips have helped me become more confident, and have shown me how to truly appreciate and enjoy the outdoors. Thank you so much!
Ultimate Alaska was such a fantastic trip. It was beautiful and the leaders were so fun to have around. There aren't enough words to describe how much fun it was to do all the activities, and with such amazing people. The friends I made on the trip are people I wish lived in my own town. I miss them all so dearly. I don't think I'll ever forget the experiences we had! Definitely my best summer yet!
It was an amazing trip in Alaska! I had so much fun and the leaders did a GREAT job. I have only good memories about the trip and I just want to thank you guys for this perfect summer!
PARENTS, Gerlind & Sebastian: Our sons have loved every trip with Bold Earth (Wild Coast Discovery, Bold West, Ultimate Alaska)! But Sascha liked Alaska best! Wish we adults could have trips like that! You’ve done a great job!
A TREMENDOUS EXPERIENCE TO DISCOVER THE WORLD...
Ultimate Alaska was a awesome trip, with awesome people and trip leaders in an awesome country! Thanks a lot for this experience!
PARENTS, Odile & François: Good organization, good leaders and tremendous experience to discover the world and people coming from other horizons. The blog was highly appreciated to follow up the group evolution. The benchmark is very high to find out a new trip for next year with such ingredients (mountains, "extreme" adventures!)
Adee had one of her best summers on Ultimate Alaska - she loved the group, the activities. We enjoyed the pictures & blog tremendously! Adee had an amazing summer & we are extremely pleased. Thank you!
Ultimate Alaska experiences was one of the best of my life and I look forward to many more adventures with Bold Earth.
Laura: I was very happy with the Bold Earth experience and would recommend it highly to other parents. Both Tyson and Alex were great. I knew that Jason was safe and having a great time. I would send him away with them again with no worries
UNFORGETTABLE FRIENDS AND AMAZING EXPERIENCES!
f I weren't going to college next summer I would definitely be going back on a Bold Earth trip. I loved doing these trips the past two years (Ultimate Hawaii, Ultimate Alaska) and have really made some unforgettable friends and had amazing experiences on the way. Keep up the good work!
PARENTS, Karen & Frank: Tyler had another great experience with Bold Earth. It meet all expectations and gave him a great love of adventure and “outdoorsmanship”. Tyler had a fabulous time with the leaders. He really seemed to bond with them and form a good relationship based on mutual respect and trust. It seemed to be a good mix of fun and seriousness. Thank you to Tyson and Alex for allowing him to be himself.
JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!
I used to think of Bold Earth as the lesser version of another teen travel company I've been on, but I was so wrong. Bold Earth was amazingly fun, and that was just what I was looking for in this Alaska trip. All of you guys are doing an amazing job, and I was glad to be a part of it.
PARENTS, Christine & Robert: This was Adam's first trip with Bold Earth. He had previously always gone with another company. In comparison, Adam claims he likes Bold Earth, their leaders and the way the trips were ran, much more than the other trips
Perfect as expected. You never let me down (Ultimate Alaska, Bold West). Impossible to live another summer like this. Tyson was a cool guy. Alex was the best person I’ve ever met with the biggest heart I’ve ever seen.
All in all, my time in Alaska was one of the best experiences of my life. I'm so glad I went!
PARENTS, Joanna & Jeff: We knew Olivia was going to have a great trip from our first communication with the Bold Earth staff! Everyone we talked with prior to the trip was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Their enthusiasm for Bold Earth was contagious. Olivia's trip to Alaska was life-changing -- the scenery, activities, conversations, friends... Tyson and Alex were fantastic leaders. Olivia couldn't say enough great things about them. Tyson called to introduce himself, and was very helpful with all of our questions prior to the trip. Very positive and upbeat! She continues to stay in touch with friends she met from all over the country, and world. And... she is actually traveling overseas during the holidays to visit one of the friends she met! Olivia continues to tell us stories -- all of them with a big smile :) Thank you!
My trip to Alaska was just amazing thanks to Bold Earth.
PARENTS, Stephanie & Mike: Tyson and Alex seemed to connect very well with the campers. Cameron had a great time and is interested in another trip.
ALWAYS COMES BACK A DIFFERENT PERSON!
PARENTS, Julie: Sydney always comes back from Bold Earth (Ultimate Alaska, Kayak Climb Colorado, Ultimate Hawaii, & Wild Coast Discovery) a different person. She has more compassion and patience. She feels better about herself. Thank you so much for everything.
I had a great time in Alaska going on the most amazing adventures with the most awesome group of people. The memories will last me a lifetime.
Travel Made Easy!
- Fly Together: Our goal is to fly together as a group. All students are met upon arrival and families are called immediately from the airport.
- We recommend participants book flights three months before departure. Booking around April 1st allows the Bold Earth team to guarantee low fares and maximum coordinated group flights.
- Combine 2 Trips: Many Bold Earth participants combine Bold Earth trips. Call or e-mail our office for more information.