The Valdez Ice Climbing Festival is coming up February 18 - 20 in Valdez! Ice Fest is a long standing annual event in Valdez's Keystone Canyon, where stunning frozen waterfalls act as climbing walls for outdoor adventure enthusiasts just like you! Dozens of instructional clinics for all ages and ability levels are taught by world class ice climbing instructors.
Getting to Valdez, even in the winter, is easy. The Richardson Highway, which leads to Valdez, is open year-round. However, if you're driving, you should be prepared for winter driving conditions, especially in Thompson Pass. You can check on the latest road conditions at 511.Alaska.gov, and additional information on snow conditions in the area is available at AlaskaSnow.org.
Don't have a ride? No problem! Regular flights to Valdez from Anchorage are provided by Ravn Alaska, and charter flights with Midnight Air are also available. Ravn currently has flights from Anchorage arriving in Valdez on February 16th and February 18th.
If you're staying in Valdez for the Ice Fest weekend, don't worry: you won't be left out in the cold! There are several hotels and B&Bs open in Valdez throughout the winter. Even better, the Valdez Adventure Alliance has arranged a special discount on lodging at the Valdez Best Western Harbor Inn for those visiting for the Ice Climbing Festival. Just call the Best Western front desk at 1-907-835-3434 and use the promo-code ICE while booking. The Best Western is located in Valdez's scenic harbor waterfront, only a few minutes walking distance from several seaside restaurants.
Open climbing and climbing clinics out in Keystone Canyon are available throughout the weekend. Parking isn't available in the canyon, but the Valdez Adventure Alliance offers a shuttle bus that departs from the Valdez Airport. Clinics are available for beginner, intermediate and advanced climbers, and there are also special clinics available for youth, women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC climbers.
Other clinics on special topics are available, including the Adventure Photography Clinic which teaches the "ropes of lifestyle, portrait & action photography as well as tips for managing your camera gear in the cold", and the Intro to Alpine Climbing Clinic which introduces "advanced techniques to climb steep peaks...such as simul-climbing, running belays, route selection, objective/ subjective hazard management, and bivouacking". You can view all available clinics and register online at the VAA's website.
Photo by Jiyeon Juno Kim
Before heading out, consider checking out a few of Valdez's other winter activities that you're sure to love. Guided snow-machine tours are available, and Valdez also boasts miles and miles of groomed winter trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing or winter hiking. You definitely won't want to miss exploring the ice-caves on the frozen Valdez Glacier Lake, just at the end of Airport Road.
Need assistance with planning your travel to Valdez? No problem! Just contact us at Discover Valdez. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-907-835-2984 during normal business hours.