When exploring the Alaska, especially Prince William Sound or Matanuska Valley, it is important to be prepared for any weather. These features sits in a valley where the weather is unpredictable and quick to change. At Exposure Alaska, in conjunction with MICA Guides, we tell our clients to dress in layers: a base layer, an insulating layer, and a waterproof layer. Dressing this way will ensure that you are prepared to trek or climb in any precipitation or fluctuations in temperature during your trip.
The base layer: we recommend a wool or synthetic base layer shirt and wool socks. Typically, any wool material is best. If you were to get wet, the wool will still insulate you and keep you warm, whereas cotton does not keep you warm if you get wet. This is especially important for your feet, so make sure to wear wool or synthetic socks! A small puddle could actually be a very deep moulin, and a wrong step could mean a very wet foot.
The insulating layer: over your base layer shirt you will need an insulating jacket, something to keep you warm. This could be a down or fleece jacket. With this layer, you can wear it when the glacier is cool and breezy, or put it in your backpack when the sun is strong and glaring. Since the weather can change so drastically and so quickly, it is important to have something to keep you warm even on sunny days.
The waterproof layer: a rain jacket is necessary for traveling the Matanuska Glacier. Some days start off cloudless and sunny and turn into thunderstorms and angry skies. We trek in all weather and we expect to experience all weather each day. A rain jacket keeps you dry on rainy days and also acts as a protective covering to your insulating layer if you slip or slide against the sharp ice. Along with technical gear you will need for your trek, MICA also provides this waterproof layer if needed.
By looking at the weather forecast, it may be tempting to only bring a sweater and wear a t-shirt and jeans to your glacier hike on a hot day. Please remember that this weather can change in a second, and you’ll be thankful for having dressed in layers when the rain comes and the cool breeze starts to blow. It’s better to bring more than what you need and be prepared, instead of being wet and cold in the middle of a giant ice cube!
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