Bear Glacier Kayaking: A Journey of Adventure and Adaptability

Imagine embarking on a thrilling kayaking adventure through the breathtaking Bear Glacier Lagoon. The anticipation builds as you prepare to explore one of nature’s most awe-inspiring wonders. This article unveils the evolution of Bear Glacier kayaking, revealing the intriguing reasons behind its transformation.

A Pioneer in Bear Glacier Exploration

In the 1990s, our team blazed a trail as one of the first operators offering kayak trips in Bear Glacier Lagoon. Utilizing float planes and foldable kayaks, we embarked on daring expeditions in this untouched paradise. We even established a cache in the lagoon to store our kayaks and gear. Accessing the cache required a small water taxi and a hike. However, as the saying goes, “Times change, and you need to change with them.”

Embracing Change: The Power of Listening

We discovered that to provide the best experience for our guests and manage risks effectively, it was necessary to adapt. Bear Glacier’s popularity soared over time, attracting a growing number of visitors. The stunning allure of the icebergs captured people’s imaginations, but the striking still-life photos failed to convey the potential dangers. These icebergs could break, crack, roll, or even collapse at any moment, transforming their haunting beauty into a serious hazard.

While more travelers ventured closer to these colossal bergs, many guided trips emerged, some promoting the ability to touch or paddle through/under the ice. The serene atmosphere of the lagoon morphed into an environment teeming with uncontrolled factors. It was no longer a realm where we felt comfortable bringing our guests.

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Furthermore, Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) emerged as an additional element of risk and unpredictability. Tour companies often had to cancel trips due to these floods, which occurred with increasing frequency. These outbursts were difficult to predict and posed immediate hazards to anyone paddling in the lagoon during their release.

A Shift in Focus: Guest Experience and Wildlife

Listening to our customers played a crucial role in reshaping our approach. Feedback consistently pointed to the Aialik Glacier Day Trip as a superior experience. The journey to Aialik Bay involved a boat ride through the Gulf of Alaska, where encounters with humpbacks, orcas, sea lions, sea otters, eagles, mountain goats, puffins, and other sea birds were more probable. Our boat captains expertly integrated a wildlife tour into the journey, often making it the highlight of the day for our guests.

Additionally, guests yearned for the spectacle of a classic large tidewater glacier face and the reverberating “white thunder” as it calved into the ocean. They sought the raw and powerful force of ice carving through mountains and plunging into the sea. Aialik Glacier, unlike Bear Glacier, fulfilled these desires magnificently. As a tidewater glacier, Aialik boasted a face over a mile wide and retained its status as the most actively calving glacier in the national park.

Choosing the Ideal Adventure

When selecting an outfitter for your kayaking adventure, it is vital to inquire about safety protocols, gear quality, guide training, and risk management. We welcome your inquiries and are more than happy to discuss these details. Our Aialik Glacier Day Trip guarantees superior wildlife viewing, an awe-inspiring tidewater glacier encounter, and more reliable paddling conditions.

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Bear Glacier Kayaking

Note: Image courtesy of UpStreamPaddle

In conclusion, Bear Glacier kayaking has undergone a remarkable transformation, guided by the principles of adaptation and listening to our valued customers. Although the allure of Bear Glacier’s icebergs remains undeniable, the risks and limitations compelled us to venture towards Aialik Glacier. Join us on an extraordinary journey, where the majesty of wildlife and the sheer power of a tidewater glacier will leave you in awe. Book your adventure today with UpStreamPaddle and experience the magic of Aialik Glacier.