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“Andy is the man!”

Alaska Backcountry Access LLC
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Alaska Backcountry Access is a multi-sport adventure company dedicated to providing unique adventure activities in the Chugach National Forest and around Alaska. Access to the remote lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers and trails is key to exploring the mountains surrounding this remarkable glaciated area. Finding the real Alaska is difficult so let the guides at Alaska Backcountry Access share their backyard with you. Get away from the crowds, off the beaten path and into world class backcountry adventure! Specializing in jetboating, canyoneering, rafting, gold panning, hiking, kayaking, ski trekking, snowshoeing, sled dog mushing, Iditarod and snowmobiling.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Level Contributor
1 review
“Andy is the man!”
Reviewed 22 November 2013 via mobile

We was in Alaska searching for something to do and Andy helped us and supported us a lot.
He gave us all options and guided us in a incredible hiking to the glaciers.
I recommend 100%

Thank Caio P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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51 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
32 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“water was fun”
Reviewed 12 September 2013

We did the gold panning and rafting with Ashley and Opie. They were great fun and helpful. Nice hike to the creek with lots of info on the old mine co. We injoyed the rafting. Its a good run for kids and beginners. Thanks guys

Visited September 2013
Thank Rhonda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Gold panning, white water rafting”
Reviewed 17 June 2013

We booked a package with akback.com the owner and assistants were extremely competent informative, they gave us an amazing adventure one we would never forget.

Visited June 2013
Thank Leonie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
110 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Cancelled last minute due to boat repairs....”
Reviewed 11 June 2013

I contacted Andy at Backcountry Access to get information. I told him I found out about his business on tripadvisor. He told me that the only not so good tripadvisor reviews came from people who didn’t go and typically they tried to use a Northern Lights 2-for-1 coupon. He told me that he only would accept a Northern Lights coupon if there were other paying passengers on the trip – as in he wouldn’t just go out for a Northern Lights passenger only. He stated that he no longer was doing Northern Lights as it caused issues. Perhaps he meant he didn’t renew with Northern Lights but in the current book I just bought (June 2013) his coupons are still good through October of this year.

I booked my jetboat tour for June 7, 2013 with him and subsequently bought a Northern Lights book but did not ask him to use the coupon as I had already booked. I gave him my credit card number which he told me he would charge a 20% deposit. I kept looking at my credit card and never saw the deposit come through so I figured he just told people that to ensure they show up and if they don’t show then charge the deposit.

My party was to meet Andy on June 7 for a 1:00 tour at the Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood. We arrived at 12:45 PM and I called Andy to let him know we were there. We were staying in Anchorage and Girdwood is almost an hour away. I got him on the phone and he tells me that he was just about to call me as his boat broke down and we would not be able to go out. He says I didn’t charge the deposit so there is nothing to refund and apologized. I was a bit stunned as we were almost at pickup time and he is just looking for my number. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt and told him we really wanted to do the tour and could he call me the next day if the boat was running. Now I realize he’s stressed out as he just had a large expense come his way but I felt like he took a bit of it out on me. He got testy with me and tells me that he is the owner who has to do everything and he basically didn’t have time to call me. However, he would try and text me. At that point, I decided to make other plans as I was no longer interested in spending $159 per person for each of the three of us with someone who just got testy with me that I was trying to be understanding to.

Andy texted me the next day saying he could take us out at 1:30 but at this point we all had other plans and declined his offer. I would have thought that he would have at least offered me a discount to go out the next day (which he did not) given that we drove almost an hour to be told at the last minute that the boat was under repair. My sense is that the tour is most likely very good if everything goes according to plan but that Andy needs to understand how to handle situations better when things go awry.

Visited June 2013
Thank LA_Travelers_1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AKBackcountryAccess, Owner at Alaska Backcountry Access LLC, responded to this review, 12 June 2013
Once again folks, please give us the benefit of the doubt and read reviews of those who actually participated on one of our tours. You will be hard pressed to find a guide service that offers as exciting adventures on a small scale with such a personal touch! Yes we are real Alaskan guides who deal with the real struggles of adventuring in the backcountry so you can be our guests and enjoy the ride.

We are also one of the only jetboat tour operators who guide on the Twentymile River which is an incredibly difficult permit to obtain and maintain with the Chugach National Forest on this wild and scenic river. The commercial capacity on the Twentymile is limited to protect the wilderness values, which means that you will be one of about 800 folks a year that will experience this magical area. These capacity limits also limit the size of our operation, please read into this that you will likely be communicating with the owner who handles all aspects of the operation including mechanical issues with our boats. Honestly, I can say in our 8 years of operating on the Twentymile breakdowns have been minimal!

Yes we run our jetboat motors at their limits on a daily basis to navigate the Twentymile River. This client seemed to understand our breakdown but felt compelled to leverage us while we were having a bad day. Believe me loosing a $7000 boat motor is no fun, what makes it worse is someone who uses the power of the web to try to manipulate us and make the pain a little worse. To clarify, we stopped offering tours in the tour saver book this year (as in no longer in there) we are in the 2013 NLCB and will gladly accept them in 2013 but because of this review we will not renew our contract in 2014, sorry folks.

In case any of you are wondering the ‘testy’ situation that this client mentioned went something like this: On our morning departure within a mile of the boat ramp our motor had a catastrophic failure, when we returned I immediately called the guests scheduled on the next tour, she literally called me as I was calling her. I apologized for the breakdown… then a few minutes later texted her that we would be working all night (which we did) to get a new engine installed which she replied “Any chance for tomorrow?” yes, I did just text you to let you know that…then the phone call two seconds later, so we can go tomorrow? Yes mam if all goes well tonight, just like I texted you… her: call me at 10 AM, me: its going to be a long night and I have a tour at 9:30 so I will not be able to call you, please just keep in touch. Folks this is what made me ‘testy’.

We rocked the project, got a brand new motor installed, still got sleep and took 12 VERY happy guests out on the river the next day, I checked back with this client at 9:20 AM after breaking the motor in that morning and seeing lots of moose and eagles. Apologizing again we offered to take them out at 1:30 PM, believe me it is all good that they did not then want to go because I was ‘testy’ and had a bad day on June 7th. June 8th was the best day of our summer so far, big high 5’s within our crew :)! Please understand we are working our butts off to show you the best time of your lives, again see the reviews of those who took our tours but if you push our buttons too hard when we are having a bad day and you know it, you might get a reaction from us, for this I once again apologize.

Take care,
Andy Morrison
907 783-3600 call or text
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
43 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Don't know how to review because we didn't get to go”
Reviewed 2 February 2013

My husband and I scheduled a jet boat kayak tour for August 29, 2012 with Andy at Alaska Backcountry Access using our Northern Lights Coupon and were stood up at our boat ramp meeting location. Andy contacted us about a week before our scheduled date to try and reschedule something more to his liking, which was unprofessional to begin with, but his poor communication (not answering calls and late responses to emails) led to no confirmed changes before our trip. To be fair, we did not have cell phone service once in Alaska, but we did have e-mail at our B&B. His e-mail message the day before our trip stated we were still on. However, he simply decided not to show up for our scheduled tour. As you can imagine, we were a little disappointed and decided to see if he might be at his business to get some answers. We could not find any identifiable Alaska Backcountry Access business at the listed business address. We went to the post office in Girdwood and the employee there told us which building he worked out of, but it was closed. Don’t waste your precious Alaska vacation time. I don’t think he’s a scammer because he did not charge us for a trip we didn’t go on, but still unprofessional. Judging from other Trip Advisor reviews I’m thinking if you plan to use a coupon for your tour you might want to make back-up plans.

Visited August 2012
Thank alpine79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AKBackcountryAccess, Owner at Alaska Backcountry Access LLC, responded to this review, 25 May 2013

This review was recently brought to our attention, being backcountry guides means we spend more time in the wilds than in front of a computer, we appreciate the chance to reply.

It is unusual for us to have any complaints from our customers so we were surprised. For those wondering, there is a big part of this story missing -- we had a mechanical issue with our jetboat which is also unusual and we apologized for this and do again.

After reviewing correspondences we hope to clarify the situation for future customers:

On August 24th these clients emailed "We leave tomorrow afternoon and won't have access to e-mail after that. If you need to call us the # is..." We did try to call both of the numbers listed however neither worked and went directly to voice mail.

On Aug 28th as we were dealing with the mechanical issue we emailed since we had no luck calling, likely due to their cell phones not being turned on, most all cell phones work here. We wrote "Just wanted to touch base about tomorrow, please call when you get a chance." since we were unsure if we would have the mechanical problem resolved.

We answer our business cell phone at all hours, within reason :) but they did not want to bother us, writing the morning the tour was scheduled: "We didn't get in last night until late and didn't want to bother you. We call this morning, but will call again in a few minutes.before leaving our B&B."

Again we tried to call back at the B&B, on their cell phones... with no luck. Figuring at some point we would get a hold or vice versa we headed to Anchorage to limit our down time and pick up parts for the boat (actually hoping to fix it before the trip).

Often if we are driving the Seward Highway we cannot answer our business cell phone so we may have missed the call from the B&B. When they did get in touch we explained the situation, apologized and offered to reschedule. These clients declined and of course we never charged the credit card because we were unable to operate the trip.

We have not had a storefront for several years; we do not know where the postmaster sent them. To keep our operation running efficiently and costs down we store equipment at our houses and meet our guests at Alyeska. Typically we greet clients in the front lobby so if you do not have a communication device you can ask the concierge or front desk to contact us. Unfortunately these folks had no means to call us at the boat ramp. In our experience all cell phones work near Portage, in Girdwood and in Alaska where there is pretty good cell service.

Again, we do apologize for the communication issues these clients had. Lets be fair about the situation we are not scammers, we do not waste precious vacation time (quite the opposite), answer text messages and phone calls. We do gladly accept certain coupons for our backcountry jetboat ride, glacier valley trekker, canyoneering and glacier snowmobile tour. These reservations can be added on a space available basis (its a 6 passenger jetboat) if we have an existing tour on our books.

Incidentally we do not offer coupons for jetboat kayaking so it appears this traveler was trying to scam us, unfortunately leaving a bad feeling with us. Most all or our reservations originate from the best tour companies, travel agencies, concierges and cruise lines in Alaska so feel free to have them book your adventure with us and ask about our reputation. Virtually all our activities are unique to our operation and Alaska, you will be hard pressed to find a more personalized adventure in AK.

Our business line is a smartphone in a waterproof case for our active guiding lifestyle. Please feel free to call or text or leave a voicemail, just realize we might be hanging on a rope, on the river or in another backcountry spot. There are a few hours during the day when we are in the backcountry so please try to plan ahead and make reservations between a couple days or weeks in advance.

Thanks for the opportunity to explain.

Andy Morrison

907 783-3600
call or text
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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