Base Camp Anchorage Hostel Staff
May began the start of our third season as Base Camp Anchorage. We are excited to welcome the courageous travelers coming through our doors. Our hostel’s success begins with our staff. This year we welcome Jake, Britanie, and Corey to the family. Jake and Britanie both come to us from Minnesota. Jake has a passion for music where the piano is his calling and Britanie is an adventurous traveler. Together they decided to venture cross country exploring the United States in their van. They have put thirty thousand miles since February and arrived in Alaska this April. Our paths crossed in slab city California and they headed Alaska’s call.
Corey loves traveling to Latin America and is a long-distance hiker. He has hiked both the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. I am excited to have them join the family and look forward to another year of community driven social exchange focused on our love of nature and Alaska.
Happy Trails !!!
Many outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to Alaska’s mountains. During the winter, the backcountry is a skier’s paradise. Luc Mehl has explored hidden gems all over Alaska. Last winter, he and some friends traversed 150 miles from Thompson Pass to Palmer near Anchorage. Below is a video produced with Fairweather Ski Works showing a close look at back country skiing in Alaska. Fair-weather Ski Works harvests and handcrafts their skis in Haines, Alaska.
Neal Brown lives in Fairbanks, Alaska and is passionate about the Aurora Borealis a.k.a “Northern Lights”. On Jan 20th he took an amazing video with his sony camera of the Northern Lights as it looks to the human eye. We send Neal enormous appreciation for capturing and sharing this gorgeous display.
James came to Alaska in the summer of of 2015 with the hope of getting a job salmon fishing. He got his opportunity in Kodiak, a beautiful island off the southern coast of Alaska known for some of the biggest brown bears in the world. For many travelers the soul yearns for adventure. The outer physical journey is often only a vehicle for the spiritual growth of the soul. Thank you James for staying with us at Base Camp Anchorage and becoming part of our family. Below are some of his reflections of his experiences in Alaska.
“… I want you all to know I carry your love with me and it keeps me pushing forward to chase new adventures, to continue to dream out loud. I could tell you about how I do not feel any older, or some other cliche. The truth is I am older, but I have never felt more alive and free. Some of you may know I have been salmon fishing all summer in Kodiak, Alaska. This summer in Alaska has opened up my eyes, my mind, and my heart. I have seen things I have only seen in photos. I have seen the sun shine for 24 hours and the grace and beauty of the northern lights. I have learned that the mind can push the human body farther then you could ever imagine. I have learned another new way of living. I have opened my heart up and let me tell you it feels liberating. Experiencing a love that is body and mind numbing. And that same love to be the source of a pain so fierce it purifies your soul.
If I had to give my past self some brief advice I would say :
Breathe it all in. Dive into your surroundings and appreciate its unique beauty. Let love in. Let it all the way in. Let it burn. Feel it to the depths of your being. Let it take you for a wild ride. And just when you feel the need to hold on for dear life, let go and put your hands in the air. Chase your day dream. The dreamers of the day are dangerous, they act on their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.
I will leave you with this. One of my closest friends, a beautiful human, once said, “Why grow up when you can grow in so many other directions.” “
Climbing Mount Denali in Alaska is an arduous journey. Ultimately it is the mountain that permits you to pass when conditions are favorable. At 20,310 feet (6,190 m), Mount Denali has some of the coldest temperatures of any mountain in the world. Temperatures of – 100 F or -73 Celcius have been recorded. This past Spring, Wojciech and his three friends from Poland arrived at Base Camp Anchorage to prepare for their climb of Mt. Denali. They left our hostel on May 17th and by May 31st they had reached the summit. They had ideal weather windows with many clear skies and calm days. Often mountaineers become stranded at base camps along the mountain for days or weeks waiting for weather to improve. We congratulate Wojciech and his friends with their successful summit of North America’s tallest mountain.
Upon returning from Mt.Denali, Wojciech’s journey wasn’t finished. He purchased a motorcycle and cruised throughout the United States and south into Mexico, Central and South America down to Patagonia, Argentina.
We send Wojciech an abundance of joy and love from the Base Camp Anchorage family!
Below is a photo of Denali taken by Eric Chandler on May 31st, 2015 the day Wojciech summitted Denali.
There is no shortage of beautiful rivers in Alaska. “Six Mile” river is well loved by locals. About an hour drive from Anchorage, Six Mile River is famous for its scenery and glacier fed white water rapids reaching class five intensity.
White water Kayakers and commercial rafters regularly paddle this river to appreciate its beauty and power. Packrafting is also an Alaskan activity gaining popularity on this river. These rafting boats weigh about 6-8 pounds and can handle up to class 5 rapids by skilled packrafters. Packrafts are often taken with hikers on multi day backcountry trips requiring multiple river crossings. It is also an excellent option when it’s raining in Anchorage and other outdoor options are limited.
On a rainy Saturday a few friends and I ventured down six mile River. Appreciation to Eric Chandler for photographing our whitewater rafting trip. We had packrafters, kayakers, and whitewater canoes on this adventure.
Bicycling around the world takes courage and a discipline. Over the past two years at Base Camp Anchorage many bicyclists on inspiring journeys have stayed with us. Michael Conway arrived to our hostel earlier this year with a goal of bicycling from Alaska to Argentina. That’s a little over 8000 miles or 12,874 km. He set aside 2-3 years for this trip and assembled his bicycle using parts from different bicycle manufacturers.
Mike has logged over 17,000 miles bicycling in various countries throughout Asia and through his Native Australia. Riding through the outback desert of Australia can be especially harsh as water or supplies may not be available for miles and days. To get around this hurdle Mike improvised and built an extra compartment on his bicycle capable of holding several liters of water. You can see that compartment in the above picture.
Michael began his Alaska to Agentina trip in May and when we last checked he had arrived in Mexico City. You can follow his journey on his blog at
We are appreciative Mike stayed at Base Camp Anchorage and become part of our family. He is an inspiration to many travelers and motivates many to pursue their dreams.
We wish him a continued smooth journey
Nature’s beauty reveals itself vividly in Alaska’s night skies. The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis mystifies and draws travelers from around the world. A mosaic of colors; the lights dance, swirl, and twists into the darkness. In other moments it changes intensity as it slowly meanders and becomes a mural for the eye to contemplate.
Underlying this magic is an interaction between the sun and the earth. Particles from the sun collide with gaseous particles in the earths atmosphere creating its entrancing colors. When this collision of particles occur at low elevations in the sky; green tends to predominate. At higher elevations red, purple, and blue forms.
Photographer Eric Chandler has fallen in love with Alaska’s Northern Lights and has captured some amazing images. Check out has website for more enchanting images of Alaska at
The end of October completed the end of our second season as Base Camp Anchorage. We smile when we think of the amazing people who came through our doors. Many stories were shared and friendships created. A positive community of travelers has much to teach us about our love for the earth and each other. I send along my gratitude to Nate, Tim, and Eric for creating and fostering a community of kindness, generosity, and passion for Alaska. There were many others who were a regular part of our family, we send an abundance of appreciation to Anya, Valerie, Megan, Petr, Eric, Emily, Jessie, Norah, and Bernard. Quyana, thank you, to all travelers for choosing to stay with us. We will continue to share stories of Alaska and travelers experiences during the off season.
Happy trails !!!
Backcountry enthusiasts are beckoned to the outdoors by a deep-seated yearning to explore and experience the awe that only Nature can provide. And every such enthusiast who has pushed the risk threshold–whether by rafting powerful rivers, paragliding in the skies, or climbing the worlds tallest peaks—knows that inherent risks are part of the journey.
In late April of this year Heraldo Javier Callupan arrived at our hostel to prepare for his climb of Denali, North America’s tallest mountain at 20,237 feet. Denali draws mountaineers from all over the world who marvel at it’s beauty and the opportunity to stand at it’s peak. Among the many challenges for mountaineers is Denali’s extreme weather changes where severe snow storms, sub zero temperatures, and hurricane force winds can prevent climbers from summiting its peak.
Javier’s passion for climbing mountains radiated when he spoke about mountaineering, almost as though he was reciting the famous words of Albert Camus “Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”
An experienced and skilled climber from Argentina, Javier began his ascent of Denali on May 1st as a solo climber. We were saddened to hear that his body was found at the 17,200 foot base camp on May 10th. There were no signs of trauma and no other climbers at the camp. In the three days prior a severe snow storm swept through the mountain. Camps lower on the mountain reported up to three feet of snow in three days with windy conditions preventing other climbers from continuing up the mountain. It is likely conditions higher at 17,200 feet were much worse.
It was a privilege to cross paths with Javier when he came through our hostel. He cooked us up a delicious rice dish to go along with our salmon feast and became an immediate part of our Base Camp family. We will remember him fondly and send along our love and condolences to his family in Argentina.