Sheldon Mountain House, Talkeetna, Alaska
Quite possibly one of the best backcountry huts on the planet; Sheldon Mountain House is one of the most remote. Built by one of the first pilots to fly mountain climbers to the base camp of Denali, the 14-foot-wide cabin is located in the midst of the Don Sheldon Amphitheater above the gigantic Ruth Glacier, and accessible only by air taxi from Talkeetna. A 45-minute flight will deposit you on a glacial airstrip only 300 yards from the steep slope you must hike to get to the hut. But the trek is worth every ounce of effort. With Denali casting a shadow from above, and a 360-degree view of ragged mountains, unskied lines, and glacial outflows, the opportunity for adventure is boundless. Toss in the complete severance of communication with the outside world (satellite phones sometimes work), and you have one remote vacation.
You need to be physically fit, able to pack in all of your gear, and have at least one person in your party with a lengthy resume of backcountry adventuring. The hut can sleep up to five people, and larger groups can set up additional tents on the property. One thing to remember, though — you can get stranded if the weather turns inclement, so plan accordingly.
Getting there: Fly into Anchorage International Airport and either fly, drive, bus, or train to Talkeetna. Once there head over to K2 Aviation for your trip out to the glacier.
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