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Adventures / Kayak Journeys

Kayak Glacial Lake Meltwater in the Remoteness of British Columbia

Fly over some of Canada’s most untouched wilderness and then paddle across the turquoise waters of a glacial lake and its channels.

Board a helicopter for a scenic flight over endless valleys and mountains, spotting waterfalls, forests and wildlife far below. Land at a remote glacial lake, far from civilisation and explore the meltwater channels on the glacier itself, or later in Summer paddle across the icy waters with the glacier towering high above you.

Your hassle-free adventure includes

  • Scenic 60-minute round-trip helicopter flight
  • Once-in-a-lifetime kayaking experience
  • 4 hours at the glacial lake
  • Kayak or SUP equipment
  • Personal flotation devices
  • Experienced, English speaking helicopter pilot and guide
  • Professional photos
  • Gourmet picnic lunch

Perfect for

Adventurous travellers looking for a truly unique kayaking experience far off the beaten track.

Need To Know

Melt water channels and ponds are highly dependant on weather conditions daily and as a whole throughout the season. Total Winter snowfall, Spring precipitation and Spring temperatures play a crucial role in how the conditions will shape up prior to the arrival of Summer. Rain and wind melt snow faster than the sun. A drier than average Spring can result in lower melt water levels while a wetter Spring would result in higher water levels. The melting snow forms the water channels or ponds on top of the ice. These channels often do not encompass the entire lake due to avalanches that run out over the ice and compact into hard snow. Channels can vary in length from 100ft to 500ft long. These old avalanche debris paths take longer to melt than the surrounding snow. A snow bridge is often left behind, separating one melt channel from another. Multiple avalanche paths can create melt water ponds instead of channels. A typical melt water channel or pond is highly layered and can contain water 1-6ft feet deep on top of a layer of slush that’s 2-3ft thick sitting on top of a layer of ice that’s up to 6 feet thick that sits on top of a lake!

Conditions can also change hourly during peak melting periods. For example, the melt water can freeze over during cooler temperatures. Snowfall in May/June is not uncommon. Snowfall accumulations create slush, which absorb the water creating very difficult paddling conditions.

Conversely, hot temperatures may detach the bottom slush layer from the ice and float it to the surface, again resulting in challenging paddling conditions. The blue colour remains constant whether it’s slushy or not. Deeper water means darker blues, shallow water means lighter blues.

Bottom line is, the quality of conditions are impossible to predict, and you as the client must be aware of that before you book. If that sounds like a gamble, consider booking in August when the ice and snow are gone and the lake is wide open for exploring.

This trip is seasonal and runs from June to October.

If you’re visiting in late May or June you’ll explore the vibrant blue channels and ponds created by snow melting and pooling on top of the frozen lake. You should be aware that this is unpredictable and very dependent on the weather over winter and spring, but can also change hourly.

By July, the snow and ice have mostly melted and instead you can paddle the lake surrounded by icebergs.

Later in summer (August and September) the ice has completely gone and you can explore sandy beaches and paddle right up to the face of the glacier itself, looking into ice caves and spotting rare wildflowers as you go. If you’re looking for the most reliable conditions then this is the time to visit!

Yes for CAD$480 we can pick up your group (of up to four people) from your accommodation in Vancouver and drop you back afterwards.

The trip price is based on round trips departing from our home base in Abbotsford. For an additional charge, guests can be picked up and dropped off at the Vancouver Heli-Port or any other airport. With advance notice and written property owner consent, we can pick up from private residences, golf courses and wineries.

You should be aware that the weather in the area we fly to is changeable and there are no weather forecasts available - an overcast day in the city could still mean there is blue sky in the mountains! However, your safety is our main priority. Our pilots have decades of experience and extensive local area knowledge. Based on the latest aviation weather forecasts and responsible pilot decision making, it is ultimately up to the pilot in command whether to cancel the flight or not. In the event that we choose to cancel a trip, you may reschedule at a time and day convenient for you if it does not conflict with an existing booking. Alternatively, a credit or full refund will be issued. The weather can deteriorate rapidly in the mountains; the pilot/guide has the right to cut a trip short due to weather-related concerns.

No, it’s very unlikely! We exclusively use angling/fishing kayaks. These are also known as sit-on-top kayaks and are considered incredibly stable. Upon arrival, you’ll be given a safety briefing that includes a kayak instructional and emergency response procedures. Personal Floatation Devices are supplied and these must be worn at all times while on the water.

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights to Canada
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for your guides (optional)
  • Travel to and from the base in Abbotsford - a round-trip transfer can be arranged from Vancouver for your group of up to four people for an additional CAD$480.

This trip will run with a maximum of 4 people. If you are a group of 4 yourself, then the trip will be exclusively for you. If you are a smaller group than this and would like to keep the costs down, then it’s best to be flexible on dates and we will try and pair you up with other guests. You can also join this trip as a solo traveller.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people. We’ll do our best to keep the costs down for you, so it’s best to be flexible on dates and we will try and pair you up with other guests to fill the helicopter.

Your host recommends to pack:

  • Please keep your personal bag to 10lbs/4.5kg or less.
  • Long trousers
  • Long sleeved or short sleeved t-shirt
  • Wind-breaker fleece
  • Rain jacket
  • Appropriate outdoor footwear - hiking boots or trail shoes
  • Merino wool socks
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun glasses
  • Change of clothes - you are likely to get wet!
  • If it’s really hot - sandals, a towel and a swimming costume

Start point?
You’ll meet your guide and helicopter pilot at the base in rural Abbotsford at a pre-arranged time.

End point?
You’ll return to the base in Abbotsford around five hours later.

Getting there and away?
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has a wide range of direct and indirect flights from the UK, Europe and the USA, including with British Airways and Air Canada.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

Yes. Children of all ages are welcome. Toddlers under 2 can sit on a parent or guardian’s lap or in an aviation approved child restraint system (not provided). Parents/guardians must have good control of their children and please keep in mind that the trips are 5 hours in duration. Children under 10 can double in the tandem kayaks with a parent/guardian, or in a single kayak provided the combined weight does not exceed 300lbs.

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Encompassing the Pacific coast and the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia is Canada’s most Westerly province, home to a rich wilderness of lush forests and towering, snow-capped mountains. As well as spotting wildlife such as bears and humpback whales, visitors travel from all over the world to experience the huge range of outdoor activities available - from skiing in winter to hiking and kayaking in spring and summer.

Your host will decide between several locations depending on the time of year and weather conditions on the day. All locations are classified.

Start point

You’ll meet your helicopter pilot and guide at the base in rural Abbotsford. For an additional charge you could be collected from the Vancouver Heli-Port or any other airport.

Finish point

You’ll return to the base in Abbotsford, or any other airport as arranged for an additional charge.

What to Expect

Day Trip: Take off and Kayak on Glacial Water

Make your way out to Abbotsford to meet your pilot, then board the helicopter and strap in ready for take-off.

Fly over the spectacular Coast Mountains and enjoy the views of endless valleys, rivers winding their way through lush temperate rain forests and waterfalls cascading over granite cliffs. Watch closely and you might even see the occasional herd of mountain goats or elk.

Set down beside a turquoise, glacial lake, deep in the Canadian wilderness and only accessible by air. Take a moment to experience the peace and quiet surrounding you as you gaze up at the glacier towering above.

Choose between either kayaking or stand up paddleboarding and after a short safety briefing head out onto the icy, turquoise water.

If you’re visiting in June you’ll explore the vibrant blue channels and ponds created by snow melting and pooling on top of the frozen lake. By July, the snow and ice have mostly melted and instead you can paddle the lake surrounded by icebergs. Later in summer the ice has completely gone and you can explore sandy beaches and paddle right up to the face of the glacier itself, looking into ice caves and spotting rare wildflowers as you go.

Once you’ve had your fill of the lake, enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch beside the shore, then board the helicopter for the scenic flight back to Abbotsford, where your wilderness adventure will end.

Melt Water Conditions Disclaimer:

Melt water channels and ponds are highly dependant on weather conditions daily and as a whole throughout the season. The quality of conditions is impossible to predict and it cannot be guaranteed whether you’ll be able to paddle through the blue melt water channels. For more information, please read the FAQ “What is the Melt Water Conditions Disclaimer?”.

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Dates & Prices

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Equipment · Guide · Local Transport · Meals As Described · Happiness Guaranteed · 100% Financial Protection · No Single Supplements

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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