The Juneau Icefield Research Program's mission is to provide an unrivaled educational and expeditionary experience in the stunning Coast Mountains of Alaska and British Columbia. We give students a wide range of training in Earth sciences, wilderness survival, and mountaineering skills, and provide unique opportunities for team building and personal growth.
Participants are active partners with leading scientists pursuing groundbreaking research. We stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration among students from the United States and around the world with scientists engaged in all aspects of Earth systems science.
The field-based curriculum and stunning mountain environment has inspired students for over sixty years, leading many to careers in science but also as teachers, doctors, artists, and explorers. Students learn from leading scientists in a wide range of disciplines, including glaciology, geology, climatology, and biology. The science curriculum is augmented by presentations by professional photographers, film makers, and doctors specializing in wilderness medicine. Student-faculty interaction extends past lectures to mentoring, training in the field, and conversations. Students have near round-the-clock access to the faculty during meals, on field trips and around camp.
The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) is an eight-week immersion in the wilderness of the Juneau Icefield, during which participants (undergraduate, graduate, and high school juniors and seniors) traverse from Juneau, Alaska to Atlin, British Columbia.
The program starts in Juneau where students receive initial mountain safety training, introductory lectures to prepare them for what they will see on the icefield, and field trips to nearby glaciers.
From Juneau, students are led by faculty and staff members on a one to two day hike up to the first of JIRP's primary field camps, Camp 17, located at the edge of the icefield by the Lemon Creek Glacier. The focus at Camp 17 is field safety training and glacier travel, as well as more academic lectures.
From Camp 17, students and staff ski two days to Camp 10, the second camp, located above the Taku Glacier. Here students start their individual projects, guided by faculty mentors, assist in faculty research, and continue with the academic program.
After field research, exploration, and in-camp academics at Camp 10 participants travel to Camp 18, perched between two icefalls above the awe inspiring Gilkey Glacier. Here research is continued, and projects are further developed and refined.
The final leg of the journey consists of a whole day ski from Camp 18 to Camp 26, followed by a full day's hike down the Llewellyn Glacier to Atlin Lake. Students complete their projects in Atlin, where they communicate their results to local residents during a public presentation before returning to Juneau by bus and ferry.