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Why take this trip

Denali, formerly Mt. McKinley, is America’s tallest mountain and is unsurpassed in challenge or scenic beauty. At 20,310 feet, it rises out of a sea of glaciers and other peaks that compose the Alaska Range. From our start at base camp, we climb 13,000 vertical feet to the summit –the greatest elevation gain of any mountain in the world. 150 miles north of the port city of Anchorage, Denali is the largest massif in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. Not to mention one of the 7 summits to be checked off the list! Currently all of our Denali expeditions are led by Alaska Mountaineering School, LLC, an authorized mountaineering concession holder within Denali National Park and Preserve.

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Who is this for

For those who have the 7 summits on their list or just want a big challenge to train for even more difficult mountains, this is the expedition for you. On this expedition, we take you through the West Buttress route which is considered the “safest and easier route” to the summit of Denali but don’t be fooled, it is still considered one of the toughest climbs of the 7 summits and needs technical expertise and intense experience.

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What’s next

Once you’ve back from Alaska you’ll be experienced enough to embark on much bigger expeditions, this is especially the case if you have your eyes set on Everest

Today we will meet with the rest of the team at around 2pm in the AMS headquarters for the expedition orientation, getting our gear checked, packing lunch and issuing all permits.
After breakfast, we will meet again at the AMS headquarters at around 8am for skills practice and orientation of tha National Park. In the afternoon, we will board the flight off to Denai Base Camp which is around 2,088m
You will wake up at base camp with stunning scenery where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea before we head out for our first acclimatization hike. After we are back, we will go through the glacier travel and crevasse rescue and then you can enjoy the view for the rest of the day.
Today we will pack our stuff and head to Camp 1 which is at an altitude of 2,377m and we will be covering a distance of 5.5 miles in hiking.
After breakfast, we will hike up to Kahiltna Pass for acclimatization and head back to camp 1 for the night.
Today we move our stuff up to camp 2 at an altitude of 2,956m and if the weather is in our favour, we can go all the way up to 3,352 for good acclimatization
We will pack our stuff and head up to camp 3 which is at an altitude of 3,352m gaining around 400m in elevation
Today we will get to rest, chill and enjoy the view.
We will go on an acclimatization hike up to the windy corner which is at an altitude of 4,114m gaining around 762m in elevation, then we return back to camp 3 for the night
We will pack our stuff and move up to camp 4 reaching an altitude of 4,328m and spend the night in camp 4
Today we hike down to 4,114 and back to camp 4 to spend the night
We will go on an acclimatization hike today up to 4,937m and back down to camp 4 to spend the night there
Today we rest at camp 4 and enjoy the magnificent view from this altitude
Today we pack our stuff and depending on the weather conditions, we either move to camp 5 at an altitude of 4,937m or higher up to camp 6 at 5,242m
If we were lucky with the weather the day before and got to camp 6, then today will be a rest day. If not then we will move our stuff from camp 5 to camp 6 at 5,242m
These days are booked for the summit attempts depending on the weather conditions. Summit day usually takes between 10-14 hours but again this is completely up to the weather conditions and the pace of the group.
These days are booked for the summit attempts depending on the weather conditions. Summit day usually takes between 10-14 hours but again this is completely up to the weather conditions and the pace of the group.
These days are booked for the summit attempts depending on the weather conditions. Summit day usually takes between 10-14 hours but again this is completely up to the weather conditions and the pace of the group.
These days are booked for the summit attempts depending on the weather conditions. Summit day usually takes between 10-14 hours but again this is completely up to the weather conditions and the pace of the group.
Return to camp 4 or camp 3 depending on our pace
We continue our way down to base camp and fly back to Talkeetna
Last day of the expedition where you can either head back home or spend some more days in the National Park
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Terrain

This is a snowy climb from the start so prepare yourselves for a white terrain! Throughout the first couple of days, you will be hiking on soft snow up till around 3,352m where it starts to become steeper and we switch from snow shoes to crampons. Between 4,700m and 4,940m slopes are around 40-45° so we climb clipped to fixed ropes to safeguard our movements. The stretch to high camp is the most scenic part of the route and climbs a narrow ridge to 5,242m

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Weather

It is often said that the greatest challenge of Denali is not the climbing, but the weather. While most of the world’s highest mountains are near the equator, Denali is closer to the North Pole. Its location in the southern Alaskan mainland is 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle at 63°. This is 35° further north than Everest, and the same latitude as northern Hudson Bay and central Scandinavia. Denali’s climate around its summit is one of the most severe year-round averages of any spot on earth. The weather dictates our every move; it is fickle and un-predictable. It will force us to be flexible and patient and sometimes spontaneous. It is the one thing we cannot change; only our attitude toward it. There is no best time to climb Denali but the most popular months are generally between late April and lasting till end of July

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Food

You will be provided with hearty, nutritious, and balanced meals on this expeditions. Do not be surprised if you gain weight! A spreadsheet rations program and faithful recipes balance calories, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and weight to create a variety of tasty and creative meals that build strength and maintain health. Up to 4,328m typical meals are pasta, rice and bean burritos, English muffins, bagels, and pizzas. As we gain altitude, lighter and more easily digested foods are cooked. Examples include: hashbrowns, noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, ramen, couscous, soups, tortellini, dried vegetables. We avoid freeze dried meal-in-a-bags as they are typically inadequate portions and lack flavor. Our rations come from organic wholesalers from Washington and Oregon and supermarkets in Anchorage. All of our meals can accommodate vegetarians and other dietary requirements so please let us know in advance.

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Accommodation

Your accommodation on the mountain will be in expedition tents which you will be packing and rebuilding in every camp you reach. Tents are big, high quality and comfortable to make your stay as nice as possible.

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Overall Difficulty

E

Technical Skills

/5

Days

/5

Fitness level

/5

Altitude

Technical Skills

No experiences is needed: Anyone can join this trip.
Minimal experience: You should probably have some hiking experience to join this trip. It is advisable to have gone on a hike for at least 2 days prior to joining this trip.
Moderate experience: You should have some climbing experience to join this trip. It is advisable to have been on at least a 4-day climb before joining this trip.
Technical experience: You should have technical climbing experience before joining this trip. It is recommended that you have experience with crampons, skis, ropes and belays.
Advanced technical experience: You should have technical climbing experience to join this trip. Depending on the climb, you will need a specific set of skills.

fitness level

Occasional workout, no fixed routine.
Workout routine with at least 2-3 workouts a week, overall in good shape. Trekking days on this trip are around 3-4 hours long each day with little elevation.
Workout routine with at least 4-5 workouts a week, overall in great shape. Trekking days on this trip are around 4-5 hours long each day with moderate elevation.
Workout routine with at least 5 workouts a week. Trekking days on this trip are around 5-7 hours long each day with high elevation.
Specified workout routine with at least 5 workouts a week as well as technical training. Trekking days on this trip are 8 hours long each day with extreme elevation.

Altitude

1,500m - 2,999m
3,000m - 4,499m
4,500m - 5,999m
6,000m - 7,499m
7,500m - 8,999m

Climbing Days

0 - 4 Days
5 - 9 Days
10 - 12 Days
13 - 15 Days
16+ Days

PRICE

$8,900

best time to travel:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

PRICE INCLUDES

    • Professional Mountain Guides 1:3 ratio
    • RT glacier flight
    • Group gear and equipment (tents, pickets, ropes, stoves, etc)
    • Expedition food and fuel
    • Tent camping
    • Base camp fee and National Park Service entrance
    • Mountaineering special use fees.

PRICE EXCLUDES

    • Transportation to and from Talkeetna
    • Personal equipment and clothing
    • Hotel lodging (AMS campground is free)
    • Traveler cancellation insurance (highly recommended) 
    • Tips and gratuities