May – June
Inquire for dates
21 days in Alaska
Denali, “The High One,” is one of the seven summits as well as the highest mountain in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,168 m) above sea level. At some 18,000 feet, the base to peak rise is considered the largest of any mountain situated entirely above sea level. A Denali expedition is a serious undertaking and can take up to 21 days in Alaska. The climbing season on Denali is May – June when the weather is most ideal in the Alaska Range and the glaciers are still accessible. The weather can be extremely cold and frequent storms due occur.
The West Buttress is the standard route on Denali and ascends the massive Kahiltna Glacier from basecamp to camp at 14,400ft. First climbed by legendary mountaineer Brad Washburn in 1951. It has long been considered one of the more remote and difficult of the Seven Summits, which makes a trip here unforgettable.
Mountain Gurus encourages you have previous climbing experience before attempting Denali. Although a guided expedition, self-reliance in the mountains and being a committed, contributing team member are important attributes of a safe and successful expedition. Climbs recommended prior to Denali include the glaciated peaks of the Pacific Northwest such as Mt. Rainier or Mt Baker as well as a 5-day Glacier Mountaineering Course.
It is also beneficial to have some high-altitude experience on international expeditions such as Mount Elbrus, Island Peak, Cotopaxi, Peaks in Peru, Bolivia, or Aconcagua.
We advise you to call our office and speak with us directly. Contact us for information!
*MG operates Denali climbs through an authorized concessionaire
Day 1 • Arrive Talkeetna, Alaska
Day 2 • Flight to Kahiltna Glacier • 7,300 ft
Day 3 • Move • Camp I • 7,800 ft
Day 4 • Carry • Camp II • 9,500 ft
Day 5 • Move • Camp II
Day 6 • Carry • Camp III • 11,200 ft
Day 7 • Rest Day • Camp III
Day 8 • Carry • Windy Corner • 13,500 ft
Day 9 • Move • Camp IV • 14,200 ft
Day 10 • Back Carry
Day 11 • Rest Day • Camp IV
Day 12 • Carry • 16,500 ft
Day 13 • Move • Camp V • 17,200 ft
Day 14 • Summit Day • Denali • 20,310 ft
Days 15-16 • Kahiltna Glacier Basecamp
Days 17-20 • Contingency Days
Day 21 • Return to Talkeetna, AK
Expedition begins and ends in Talkeetna, Alaska
We will meet this evening in Talkeetna to meet the team and enjoy a big dinner.
After breakfast we will conduct an in-depth gear check. We will stop at a local gear shop for any last-minute gear needs before getting lunch in town. After lunch we will stop by the park office for a mandatory presentation. If weather is good, we will board our plane in the afternoon and make the flight into the famous Alaska Range. (D)
This morning we will pack up the entire camp and descend Heartbreak Hill to gain the main fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. We will move our camp to the base of Ski Hill, which will serve as our Camp I at 7,800 ft. (B, L, D)
We will ascend Ski Hill in the morning with equipment and food for the upper mountain. This is a great way to acclimatize and get more familiar with pulling sleds. After caching our gear we will descend back to Camp I. (B, L, D)
Leaving Camp I behind we will take the remainder of our gear and food, establishing our Camp II at 9,500 ft. (B, L, D)
We will break camp and move up through Kahiltna Pass, setting up Camp III at 11,200 ft at the base of Motorcycle Hill. (B, L, D)
Rest and recovery at Camp III. (B, L, D)
Ascending Motorcycle Hill we will carry equipment and food to Windy Corner. This will set us up well for moving to Camp IV. (B, L, D)
We will move and set up at Camp IV, 14,200 ft. (B, L, D)
Today we descend back to Windy Corner to collect our cached gear. This day is often shorter and a good way to acclimatize. (B, L, D)
Rest and recovery at Camp IV. We will also review fixed line use in preparation for the next few days. (B, L, D)
This will be the last carry of the expedition. We will ascend the fixed lines to 16,500 ft were we will cache gear for Camp V. (B, L, D)
Moving back up the fixed lines we will collect our cache at 16,500 ft and continue along an exposed ridge line to Camp V. (B, L, D)
Starting early, we will traverse the infamous Autobahn, a slope of 40 degrees, for a few hours before reaching Denali Pass. From here we will make our way along the summit plateau to Pig Hill and then the summit ridge line. After photos and celebrations, we return to Camp V. (B, L, D)
We will collect our gear and descend the fixed lines back to Camp IV for a short night’s sleep. (B, L, D)
Utilizing our sleds, we will descend the entire route back to basecamp. If weather and time are on our side, we will fly back to Talkeetna this afternoon. (B)
These days are built in to accommodate eventualities with weather, conditions, and team needs. (B, L, D)
Depart Talkeetna, Alaska
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
$1500.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application.
Balance due 120 days prior to departure
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.
Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information.
Begins and ends in Talkeetna, Alaska
No visa requirements for US citizens.
Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required.
Flight Travel Information:
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Anchorage, Alaska
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.
Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.
A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in the pre-departure packet upon reservation. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.
Climbing Grade: Advanced
Denali is considered perhaps the hardest of the Seven Summits due to its remote location and lack of any support. From the base to the summit this peak rises 13,000 ft, more than that of Everest. Once we land at basecamp our team will be completely self-sufficient. Using large packs and sleds we will move our gear up the mountain with a combination of carry and move days. Be prepared to carry at least 50 lbs. per day and pulling up to 100 lbs. with a sled.
Prior to the expedition we recommend taking at minimum a mountaineering course and climbing other high-altitude peaks.
Here’s a suggested progression of climbs before attempting Denali.
The cost for the climbing permit is $370 for those over the age of 24. $270 for those 24 years old or younger.
This mountain is extremely isolated. There is no cell phone service or internet once we leave Talkeetna. A satellite phone will be on hand for emergency purposes.