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Introducing Exclusive New Ice Crevasse and Cavern Exploration in Denali National Park

July 14, 2021 / 2 months ago

At Sheldon Chalet we’re excited to introduce ice crevasse and cavern exploration as a new exclusive seasonal guest experience for fall, winter and spring. Descending into the belly of the Don Sheldon Amphitheater guests will find a frozen river of ice that slowly flows around the chalet’s nunatak [bedrock outcropping], exposing large glacial openings known as crevasses. Our world-class guides survey and identify the optimal areas for accessing ice caverns based on their stability and viability, inviting you to participate in a glacier spelunking expedition that is beyond extraordinary — to truly go where no one has gone before. Guests above the age of 10 can now explore inside sparkling caverns, which reach one hundred feet into the glacier. With a team of expert guides, you are fitted with harnesses for a glacier exploration; led seamlessly into the cavern to find themselves surrounded by millennial-old layers of ice and snow.

“As we’ve continued to explore on and into the Ruth Glacier, we marveled at spectacular ice caverns discovered while our guides conducted standard surveying for our glacier treks. We knew that our guests must experience these caverns, but we took time to carefully design an optimal and authentic immersion unmatched anywhere in the world. Due to our weather and glacier conditions, each year unveils new caverns for our guests to explore, making every visit unique and special. Seeing up close how the compressed ice and crystals sparkle in varying shades of blue, gray and white only seen at glacial depths is a rare experience we’re excited to debut this fall” says Robert Sheldon, owner of Sheldon Chalet.

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From September through April, the vivid and awe-inspiring blue, purple, and green colors of the Aurora Borealis reflect off the snowy peaks and glaciers — visible from the chalet with a clarity rarely experienced elsewhere on earth. In the upcoming fall, winter and spring seasons Denali also offers prime geophysical viewing, full moon glacier treks and pastel sunrises and sunsets.

At 63 degrees north latitude and an elevation of 6000 ft, our troposphere is some of the thinnest on the planet, allowing you to experience shooting stars more often and brighter than anywhere else. With little to no light pollution, the stunning landscapes frame the sky turning pastel evenings into nighttime heavenly displays of aurora and stars. Your proximity to the stars and the riveting topography of Denali National Park offers a surreal and uninterrupted stargazing experience above the glacier and mountains. Our guides are on hand to educate you about the aurora and offer insight into the night sky constellations, all enhanced by the cozy fire and satisfying beverages custom crafted by your private chef.

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In addition, to a luxury experience, you get an in-depth look into the geophysical nature of their surroundings. The guides lead you in reading the glacier’s centuries old layers, and how ice interacts with rock. Furthermore, the Sheldon Chalet and historic Mountain House will serve as the base for research in Spring 2022, studying the true depths of the glacier. Pending final scheduling, guests may participate with a team of scientists attempting to map the Don Sheldon Amphitheater and Great Gorge ice depth, as well as glacial floor using state-of-the-art technology unavailable to previous generations of explorers.

Since 1966, the Sheldon family has operated the historic Sheldon Mountain House, serving various purposes such as accommodations for recreationalists, as a communications base, and even for rescue mobilization efforts.

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Robert Sheldon adds, “As guests explore the Ruth Glacier, they’re also catalyzing scientific exploration of some of the most remote and untouched terrain on earth. Through sharing our knowledge of this magnificent landscape, creating optimal passages and providing Sheldon Chalet and the historic Sheldon Mountain House as an operations base we hope to continue contributions to science and geography, just as our dad, Don Sheldon, began here on Denali more than 70 years ago when he and Bradford Washburn surveyed the Alaska Range by air and ground. The two of them conquered the mapping of Denali we see from above; now we’re taking on the challenge to map below the icy surface.”

This research will hopefully unveil mysteries and stories locked away by time, both inside and beneath thousands of feet of compressed ice; an area which arguably has not been observed by humans for 120,000 years. In February of 2021, as reported in Frontiers in Marine Science, stationary life was discovered deep within Antarctica’s ice shelves proving that aquatic life can exist deep below ice, is incredibly adapted, and special to its extreme conditions. Leading glaciologists believe the Don Sheldon Amphitheater and the Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier may have its own surprises in store for humanity.

To book Sheldon Chalet and our exclusive explorations, please email visit@sheldonchalet.com or call us at 907-733-2414.

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