Denali

Climb North America's tallest peak! With the greatest vertical relief on the planet (18,000') this is definitely a world class climb.

Trip Photos

  • Climbing at 16,000' on the Denali's West Buttress Climbing at 16,000' on the Denali's West Buttress
     

Trip Notes

Location: Alaska/Yukon
Meeting Point: Anchorage, AK
Destination: Denali
Duration: 22 days
Price: $8700 (+ tax, in USD)
Activity Type: Mountaineering
Season: May, June, July
Guide to Guest Ratio: 1 to 3
Difficulty Level: 5 out of 5
Paperwork Required: Registration, Health Form, Risk Acknowledgment

Related Trips:

Trip Description

Denali is one of the most sought after high altitude climbs in the world.

It is a demanding snow and ice climb to over 20,000 feet that involves the continuous use of roped travel and winter camping skills. The route uses four camps minimum, with a high camp located at an elevation of 17,200 feet. Summit day will be between 8 and 14 hours. Bring your camera for the phenomenal views of Mt Foraker, Mt Huntington, Mt Hunter, and the Alaska Range!

The climb is as rewarding as it is challenging; fantastic views of the Alaska Range, active participation as an expedition member, and a strong sense of personal accomplishment all combine to make Denali an incredible mountaineering experience.

Technical climbs of the West Rib are also available. Please contact us if you have any questions, or, if you would like any additional information.

ANCHORAGE: Anchorage will be the start and finish point for this trip. It is Alaska’s largest city and a central hub for both domestic and international flights, making for convenient travel options to get here. The city has a great selection of restaurants and breweries and on clear days offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

TRAVEL TO THE MOUNTAIN: From Anchorage we will take a private van for the two and a half hour ride to Talkeetna. From Talkeetna we will use a flight service to enter the park and fly onto the Kahiltna glacier, our starting point on the mountain.

THE CLIMB: Our standard route follows the West Buttress. The route uses four camps minimum, with a high camp located at an elevation of 17,200 feet. Summit day will be between 8 and 14 hours.

ITINERARIES & ALTITUDE: Our itineraries include ample time for rest and acclimatization days. They are designed to provide participants with a positive high altitude experience!

OUR GUIDES: Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School Inc. instructors and guides are professionals. They are special individuals who have a passion for being in the mountain environment. They bring a wealth of experience from guiding throughout Alaska, and the world, to every trip. Their skill and positive attitudes help our guests to have the best possible experience during their trip. All of our guides are also professional climbing instructors who genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge. This is an important consideration for individuals who have not spent a lot of time at altitude and are interested in learning the safest, and most efficient ways to climb.

PULSE OXIMETERS: Pulse oximeters are small, precise, medical instruments that essentially give a digital readout of how you are acclimatizing. With this information we can make more informed decisions as to how we can best tailor the trip to meet your individual needs. We use them every step of the way, on every trip to altitude. In our opinion all high altitude guides should have one to help assure your safety!

Trip Itinerary (in a printable PDF format)

The below itinerary is designed to give guests an understanding of the climb, the itinerary is extremely flexible in order to accommodate different weather and route conditions. This trip is primarily an expedition summit climb and may be shorter or longer in length as weather and conditions permit.

Day 0: Arrive in Anchorage in time for pre-trip meeting at 6:00pm. We’ll go over your personal equipment and answer any questions that you might have.

Day 1: We’ll take a private van to Talkeetna, a two and a half hour drive. From there flight to the Kahiltna Glacier (approx. 7,300′) will take us into the park and to the staging area for this expedition. The flight into the Kahiltna is very scenic and offers potential views of the surrounding mountains, including Mt. Foraker and Mt. Hunter.

Day 2: Skills Review. An important step to make the trip more enjoyable, we’ll spend the day acclimating and preparing for the climb. The guides will review important topics such as expedition climbing, using fixed lines, glacier travel, and crevasse rescue.

Day 3: Move to Camp I. We’ll begin moving up the mountain to around 7,800′. We’ll carry loads and set up camp, snowshoes may be required depending on conditions.

Day 4: Haul to Camp II. We’ll bring loads up to the vicinity of Camp 2 approx. 9,600′. The route to Camp 2 climbs a slope known as “ski hill”. We’ll cache gear and descend back to Camp I for the night.

Day 5: Move to Camp II. We’ll retrace the route to Camp 2 and bring the rest of our equipment up. We’ll establish camp and spend the night at around 9,600′ of elevation.

Day 6: Haul to Camp III: We’ll bring gear up to Camp 3, located at 11,200′ in a small cirque at the base of “Motorcycle Hill”.

Day 7: Move to Camp III: We’ll haul additional supplies to Camp 3 and set up camp for the night.

Day 8: Haul Equipment to Windy Corner: We’ll set out up Motorcycle Hill, followed by Squirrel Hill and eventually a traverse along a section known as Windy Corner, a long extending plateau between Camp III and Camp IV. We’ll cache gear approx. 1,000′ below Camp IV and descend back down to Camp III for the night.

Day 9: : Move to Camp IV. We’ll head back up to Windy Corner and climb the rest of the way to Camp IV at 14,200′.

Day 10: : Retrieve Cache. We’ll descend to our cache, about 1,000′ below Camp IV, retrieving the gear we’ll head back up to Camp IV. This will be a easier day and allow us time to rest and review fixed line skills in the afternoon.

Day 11: Haul Equipment to 16,400: We’ll carry loads to the top of the fixed lines at 16,400’and make a cache. Travel time is approx. 6-9 hours. The haul starts out on moderate slopes leading to the head wall, protected with fixed line sections, it involves 900’ of 45-55 degree snow/ice that we travel up using our ascenders to provide an extra margin of safety.

Day 12: Move to High Camp: Climbing to 17,200’ this is an 8-12 hour day on average, we’ll ascend back up yesterday’s route to the crest of the West Buttress, the view from here on will be stunning and the mountainside drops off thousands of feet below us.

Day 13: : Rest day at High Camp: We will rest and prepare for a summit attempt the following day.

Day 14: : Summit Day: From High Camp, we traverse across a steep snow face to Denali Pass. From here our route takes us up past the Archdeacons Tower and across a large plateau below the summit head wall know as the “football field”, We ascend the head wall to the base of the summit ridge. An exposed ridge takes us the last 300’ to the summit. After congratulations and photo taking we’ll head back down to High Camp.

Day 15-16: Return to Base Camp: We will spend two days descending the route to base camp where we will board the ski planes for the flight back to Talkeetna, and if time allows back to Anchorage.

Day 17-22: These are extra days designed to allow for inclement weather, acclimatization, and rest days that can be utilized at any point in the expedition. These extra days are critical for providing a quality, safe experience for our guests. Plan on departing Anchorage in the afternoon on the following day after your climb.

Trip Documents:
  • Life on Denali– Our useful guide for what the expedition will be like.
  • Equipment List – Carefully crafted through decades of experience, this comprehensive list includes all the equipment you’ll need for Denali.
  • Rental Gear List – Price and list of personal mountaineering clothing/equipment available for rent
  • Registration Form  – Outlines policies, and essential information.  One required per participant.
  • Health Form – This form enables our guides to have accurate health information in the event of an emergency.
  • Acknowledgement of Risk Form  – One required per participant over the age of 18.
  • Travel Info – Helpful information on how to get to/from Anchorage

Price: $8700 (+ tax, in USD)
Start Dates: May - July

What is included in the trip price:
  • Climbing Equipment & group expedition gear – group camping equipment, tents, ropes, snow anchors, etc…
  • Expedition food – all food while out in the field
  • Transportation during trip – flights into Ultima Thule Lodge / Mt. Bona, van transportation in Anchorage and to Chitina
  • Professional guides – Our guides have extensive knowledge of the area and a passion for climbing in wild places.
Guests are responsible for the following:
  • Personal clothing & equipment – review the equipment list included under “Documents”
  • Food & Lodging in town – Anchorage has a variety of great options
  • NPS Climbing Fee – A climber registration fee of $250 for climbers 24 years old and younger, and $350 for climbers 25 and older. The NPS requires that
    this fee be paid online, in advance, upon submission of the NPS climber registration form.We’ll provide a guide to completing this step after you register.
  • Trip insurance – we highly recommend trip insurance for all of our programs
  • Airfare – review the “Travel Information” under “Documents” for more details
  • Reviewing trip policies – please reference our policies page for policies regarding payment, cancellations, refunds and guest responsibilities.
  • Gratuities
To Book your adventure, follow the steps below:
  1. Please call to confirm availability at 1-800-766-3396 or fill out an online form to request more information via this link:
  2. Place a $250 deposit to reserve your spot: this can be place over the phone by credit card, check in the mail, or through our payment gateway.
  3. Once you’ve reserved your spot, you’ll receive a welcome packet with all the necessary registration forms and trip information.
  4. We kindly ask that you submit all of the necessary trip registration information at least 45 days prior to your trip.

Feel free to call or email anytime if you have questions about your upcoming trip. Our team is excited to help you prepare for your adventure!