Harding Icefield Hike - AWESOME!!!

While visiting my sister in Alaska in August/2013, we drove down to Seward for some fishing and other misc. fun. The highlight of the trip was a hike up to the Harding Ice Field. This starts just outside of town at the Exit Glacier nature center. This is a very popular destination, but most people just do the easy walk to the foot of the glacier (which is pretty cool by itself) rather than climb the 3,000 vertical feet/4 miles to the Harding Ice Field that feeds dozens of glaciers from above. But the hike is well worth the effort and even with marginal weather, it is truly awesome to look out on America's largest ice field!

Panoramic of the Harding Icefield - click here to see in full-res ... plus iPhone panoramic

harding icefield hike panoramic

harding icefield hike panoramic

An early view of the ice as we start up the trail

harding icefield hike start

This is actually the Exit glacier coming down from the Harding icefield

harding icefield hike exit glacier

Some people were rappelling into the crevasses

harding icefield hike exit glacier crevasse

harding icefield hike crevasses descend

Kyle, Dirk, Wendy, Stephanie (and Hannah & Sophia in the back) at about the halfway point

harding icefield hike halfway

I jump into the picture - click to see in full-res

harding icefield hike halfway exit glacier

A fairly steep section through the brush (watch out for bears) goes uphill from there

harding icefield hike second half

Less vegetation as we get higher

harding icefield hike less vegetation

The top of the Exit Glacier

harding icefield hike Exit Glacier top

A marmot hanging out - mouseover image to see him in action

Harding Icefield Hike Marmot

We also saw Ptarmigan's nearby - this is the one of a couple of chicks

harding icefield hike ptarmigan chick

Here's the nearby Mom - mouseover image to see how well camouflaged they are!

Harding Icefield Hike ptarmigan camouflage

Near the top of the trail is this cabin with ice on the surrounding peaks

harding icefield hike cabin

Earlier, a hiker said they had seen a bear - mouseover image to see it walking in the snow

Harding Icefield Hike Bear

Here's 3X actual pixels from a Canon 7D and 200mm lens - this bear was over a mile away!

harding icefield hike bear closeup

Stephanie, Hannah, Dirk, Sophia, Kyle, & Wendy at the top overlooking the Harding Ice Field

harding icefield hike overlook

Funny picture from a few days earlier of the airport pickup as we all crammed into the Subaru
Once Kyle was in his "spot", we packed bags all around him - it was pretty cozy! ;-)

subaru seward kyle

Same panoramic as seen at the top of the webpage - what a treat!

harding icefield hike panoramic

Photography Notes: Pictures taken with a Canon 7D and 18-200 lens - needed the "big dog" 500/F4 lens for that bear!