New business offers puzzle-solving prospecting adventure up the Stikine

Ever dreamed of being a hardened-but-hopeful gold prospector, heading up the Stikine in a steamship to strike it rich in the Klondike gold fields? Thanks to Wrangell's new escape room, you can experience the excitement and adventure of the prospecting days without blowing your life savings on a dubious venture.

Lisa and Luke Messmer's new business, "You Escape Me," offers customers the chance to test their mettle as they race against time to identify clues, solve riddles, complete puzzles and unlock the escape room's hidden mysteries.

The activity officially opened last Thursday in the Kadin Building.

Lisa Messmer doesn't want to spoil the game for potential customers, but she will reveal that the story begins on the fictional Steamboat Millie, which she named after her late grandmother, Millie Grant. Unlike some escape rooms, the storyline isn't scary. It focuses on puzzle-solving - one of the Messmers' favorite pastimes. "We love Scrabble, we love anything that's a puzzle," Lisa said.

The pair came up with the idea to bring an escape room to Wrangell in 2019, after exploring - and enjoying - the activity in other communities. "I thought in Wrangell, for the cruise ships, there's nothing to really do," Lisa said, particularly for the non-hiking set. Tourists could "come to the escape room and just do something for an hour, get out of the rain, maybe."

She worked with a Canadian company to design an intricate plotline and puzzle series, but when the pandemic hit, she had to put her plans on hold for a few years.

Now that tourism is back in full swing, she explained, it seemed like a good time to open. Groups have already begun to book the space.

Creating the escape room was a labor of love, both for Lisa and Luke. The pair spent countless hours designing the layout, painting murals, sculpting bespoke set pieces, accumulating props and hand-carving wooden chests. Years of preparation aside, the final build took a concentrated month of work.

Doing the same escape room twice spoils the element of surprise, so the business is geared primarily toward tourists. Lisa is still deciding whether she will be open only for the summer season, or whether she'd consider taking bookings during the winter. In the meantime, locals and newcomers alike can enjoy the activity in the coming months, at least until the cruise ships stop coming in.

The escape room is located at 215 Front St. on the second floor. Each session lasts one hour. Four to eight people are allowed in per session and tickets cost $40 per person. To book, call 907-305-0555 or reserve your spot at


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