Expedition Primer

The Expedition Primer course is designed to take your climbing to the next level and helps prepare guests for challenging climbing expeditions such as; Denali, Aconcagua, and more!

Trip Photos

  • We look to teach by doing, and climbing as much as possible during the course We look to teach by doing, and climbing as much as possible during the course
  • Enjoying the evening alpenglow during an August course Enjoying the evening alpenglow during an August course
  • We'll learn to navigate safely on a glacier We'll learn to navigate safely on a glacier
  • We'll practice moving camp and hauling sleds; key skills for any Alaska mountaineering expedition We'll practice moving camp and hauling sleds; key skills for any Alaska mountaineering expedition
  • Exploring the rocky ridge of Abandonment peak at about 4500' elevation Exploring the rocky ridge of Abandonment peak at about 4500' elevation
  • Early May offers plentiful snow and great climbing conditions Early May offers plentiful snow and great climbing conditions

Trip Notes

Location: Alaska/Yukon
Meeting Point: Haines, AK
Destination: Haines, AK
Duration: 7, 12 days
Price: $1590, $2650 (+ tax, in USD)
Activity Type: Mountaineering
Season: April, May, June, July, August
Guide to Guest Ratio: 1 to 4
Difficulty Level: 3 out of 5
Paperwork Required: Registration,  Health Form, Land Based Activity Waiver

Related Trips:

Trip Description

Expedition Primer programs are a great step towards your next big objective. Whether you’re gearing up for Denali or another challenging climb, this course will help get you ready! The focus of this course is developing solid climbing technique while providing ample time dedicated to climbing! The course is conducted in the mountains surrounding Haines. This is one of the most impressive mountain landscapes in the world and is an ideal setting for developing climbing skills.

HAINES: Haines will be the start and finish point for this trip. Haines is a beautiful town located where the mountains meet the sea in Southeast Alaska. A town of 2500 there are fun activities and places to visit before and after the primer. Haines can be accessed from Juneau via airplane or ferry.

CURRICULUM: We will cover ice axe and crampon use, rope team management, anchors, belays, crevasse rescue, navigation, hazard/risk assessment, rock and ice climbing technique and more. The extended, 12-day format of this program gives participants the opportunity to learn more advanced skills and techniques, and to attempt select climbing objectives.

ADD SKI PLANE SUPPORT: Most primer courses have the option to add in ski plane support. Our ski plane pilot will give us access to remote mountains outside Haines, otherwise inaccessible from the ground up. This additional support option to the standard package greatly reduces our approach/travel time and allows us to focus on learning and climbing in some of the best terrain Haines has to offer.  The ski plane is typically an option between April and mid-late June.

This optional support is available for certain dates at an additional cost of $350/per person. Ask us today about which primer dates are supportable with ski plane transport.

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.

Trip Itinerary (in a printable PDF format)

The following itinerary is based off our 7 day primer program, the 12 day will look similar with additional skills and climbing opportunities:

Day 0: Arrive in Haines and get settled in time for a 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 depart Haines in the morning, head to the mountains and establish basecamp. Guides will cover tactics for establishing camp in a winter environment and assist guests in setting up their tents. In the afternoon we might start covering some introductory skills such as knots and roping up depending on timing.

Day 2 – 6: We’ll spend the first few days setting a foundation of skills tailored to expedition climbing, towards the second half of the program we’ll spend more time climbing objectives and reviewing specific skills as requested by participants.

Day 7: We’ll make the most of our remaining time in the mountains, breakdown camp and head back to Haines.

Trip Documents:
  • Trip Itinerary – 7 Day – Printable detailed trip itinerary.
  • Trip Itinerary – 12 Day – overview of the extended primer course
  • Equipment List – Overview of personal clothing and equipment that you’ll need for this trip.
  • 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 & provides dietary restrictions for trip planning.
  • Land Based Activity Waiver  – One required per participant. Guests under the age of 18 may go on one form.
  • Travel Info – Helpful information on how to get to/from Haines, Alaska.

Price: $1590, $2650 (+ tax, in USD)
2020 Dates: Apr - Aug
2021 Dates: Apr - Aug

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 – Van transportation in town and to the mountains (optional ski plane support for an additional $250)
  • 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 – Haines has a variety of great options
  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Once you’ve reserved your spot, you’ll receive a welcome packet with all the necessary registration forms and trip information.
  3. 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!

Guest Comments:

Our guide Ben was awesome, he crafted the course to our specific climbing goals and broke each lesson down into easily graspable concepts. The flight in was spectacular with a glimpse towards Glacier Bay and Fairweather off in the distance, well worth the extra cost! 
- Danny C.