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Climbing West Buttress route on Denali – 20 days

Ascending Mount Denali, in Alaska, is a dream for mountaineers. Led by an AMGA certified mountain guide, ascend this 6190m summit via the West Buttress route. It is definitely a demanding expedition, but the satisfaction will be immense!

Not specified

Alaska Range

20 Days

May, Jun, Jul

Extremely Fit



Mount Denali, in Alaska, is the highest peak in North America. It rises to 6190 meters and its ascent is very demanding. The easiest way (and the most popular) to ascend this impressive summit is through the West Buttress route.

But “easiest” is definitely a relative term. This ascent is very demanding, although the route is not technical. Indeed, it does not include rock climbing nor vertical ice climbing. But the conditions will be extreme: the expedition is long, there are steep climbing sections, the terrain is glaciated, the altitude is an important factor. The itinerary is flexible to adapt to the conditions and increase the chance of success.

This is without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience, a dream for mountaineers in an incredibly beautiful environment.

A key factor to succeed in this climbing trip is to achieve proper acclimatization. The program is designed to have a good and slow acclimatization, but it is also very important to be in excellent physical shape for your body to acclimatize properly.

For more information about the program have a look at the model daily itinerary below.

To join this trip you need to be in top physical shape and have glacier climbing experience. You need to have previously successfully completed a multi-day mountaineering seminar, including a successful summit climb. If you have doubts about your experience, let’s talk about it! And if you are looking for a seminar of this kind, have a look at this 8-day Mount Rainier preparation course for Denali.

Dreaming of climbing the mythical Denali? The West Buttress route is waiting for you, send a request and we will start the preparation!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Transport during the trip

- Permit and entrance fees

- Breakfast

- Dinner

Price details

The price includes three nights lodging in Talkeetna. Half board meals are not included when we are off the mountain.


Day 1: Arrival - Transfer to Talkeetna

Meeting at Anchorage International Airport. Transfer to Talkeetna (included), leabing at 4:30PM. Possibility to buy fresh food to complete your lunches on the mountain. Overnight at Latitude 62.
Altitude: 106m

Day 2: Expedition preparation

We meet at the Roadhouse Restaurant at 7AM. We get ready to fly to the mountain. We will attend a National Park Service presentation. We check the equipment and give final recommendations. Overnight at Latitude 62.
Altitude: 106m

Day 3: Kahiltna base camp

We meet at K2 Aviation and take the bush plane to Kahiltna Base Camp. The views during the flight are outstanding. We review some mountaineering skills at base camp.
Altitude: 2225m

Day 4: Base of Ski Hill

We leave the Base Camp and descend to the Kahiltna glacier. We head then towards Denali travelling up the glacial rolls. We set camp at the base of Ski Hill.
Altitude: 2377m

Day 5: Camp at 2926m

We ascend towards Kahiltna pass, climbing up the glacier. We set camp just below the Pass.
Altitude: 2926m

Day 6: 11K Camp

We continue up and towards the east, on a glacial valley, setting camp at the pase of Motorcycle Hill.
Altitude: 3414m

Day 7: Acclimatization at 11K Camp

Today we rest, review technical skills and prepare for the days ahead.
Altitude: 3414m

Day 8: Cache and back to 11K Camp

We climb Motorcycle Hill up to a point with outstanding views. Then we climb up Squirrel Hill to the Polo Field. It is a wide glacial bench at the foot of West Buttress. We go up to 4115 meters. We leave food, fuel and personal items in our cache site and return to 11K Camp.
Max altitude: 4115m

Day 9: Acclimatization

Important acclimatization day.
Altitude: 3414m

Day 10: 14K Camp

We ascend to 14K Camp, climbing around Windy Corner, passing our cache site. We reach out camp in Genet Basin.
Altitude: 4328m

Day 11: Back to cache

We go down to our cache site to retrieve our gear, and return to 14K Camp.
Altitude: 4328m

Day 12: Acclimatization

We practice some climbing skills and spend the day resting to acclimatize.
Altitude: 4328m

Day 13: Up to Cache

We go up to the north side of Genet Basing. Depending on the conditions and our energy, we can make our cache site at the top of the fixed lines or higher. We then return to 14K Camp.
Max altitude: 4938-5242m

Day 14: Acclimatization

A very important acclimtization day, that might include some walks if the weather allows.
Altitude: 4328m

Day 15: 17K Camp

We ascend the north side of Genet Basin again. We gain the fixed lines to the ridge crest of the West Butress (4938m). We get some essentials from our cache site and reach High Camp.
Altitude: 5243m

Day 16: Summit day!

We start with a long traverse along the Autobahn to Denali pass at 5547m. Beyond Denali Pass we will follow the ridge line. We pass the Zebra Rocks and the Archdeacon’s Tower. Then we reach the Football Field (5852m). We continue ascending to the top of Pig Hill and the summit ridge. We get to the top og the South Peak. Upon reaching the summit we take some time to celebrate and enjoy the moment. Then we descend back to High Camp. It will be a long day!
Max altitude: 6190m

Day 17: 11K Camp

We descend from 17K camp to 11K Camp down the West Buttress, stopping at 14K Camp to get our belongings.
Altitude: 3414m

Day 18: Kahiltna Base Camp

We continue out descent down to Kahiltna Base Camp.
Altitude: 2225m

Day 19: Talkeetna

We return to Talkeetna by plane. Overnight at Latitude 62.

Day 20: Return

Travel to Anchorage International Aiport to fly back home.




Hotel in Talkeetna, camping on the mountain.

More info

You need to bring your own lunches packed for the whole expedition.

Meeting point

At Anchorage International Airport.

About the guide

One of our certified guides will take you skiing and climbing to some of the best spots in North America. In the USA we offer trips in California, Colorado, Maine, Alaska, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, Montana, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Vermont. And in Canada, you'll find tours in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.



What people are saying about E-S Adventure Guides North America

Shawn Linio


March, 2023

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Bill Mullins


December, 2022

The guide was super kind friendly and helpful and we had a great time

thilo riegel


August, 2022

Ended up booking a one-night-and-one-day hike summiting Mt Shasta because Mt Rainier was booked out.

Chris King


August, 2022

Our guide Adrian was outstanding. Great trip, great guide. My son and I loved it- I would highly recommend the experience.

Nico Dekker


August, 2022

Very good guide and fantastic climbing experience.

Eglė Audronytė


August, 2022

I really loved it. Intro to rock climbing was an amazing experience. Explore-share team were so helpful in the process. The trip that I chose in the first place was not available and they managed to find alternatives and offer me the best possible solution in that situation. In the end I had a wonderful day and could not be happier!

Mitchell Johnson


June, 2022

Worth every minute! Would highly recommend!!

Paul Panelli


June, 2022

Our guide Lizzie was THE BEST. Highly recommend her for other groups.

Phillip Lolonis


March, 2022

Guide cancelled within 48 hrs and I was unable to find someone else and so far I’ve not been refunded. Put a small dent in my otherwise great trip to Revelstoke.

Peggy Meyer


March, 2022

Will was great wise and fun to spend the day with.

Lexi Brandon


February, 2022

It would have been helpful to know it was suppose to be a Matterhorn prep course. The goals of the group were a little different.

Lucie Laurendeau


February, 2022

All perfect

douglas lord


January, 2022

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Anthony Stanzi


January, 2022

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Kenji Tsubota


January, 2022

I was very glad to have the Back country ski tour in Montata by following reasons. 1. I had quick replies from my coordinator and guide whenever I asked something; 2. My guide was cool. 3. The tour was well-planned and appropriate duration. 4. Snow was in a good condition. Thank you!!

Renee Millett


January, 2022

Poor service from Explore-share! The vendor who provided the actual tour shared with Explore-share that heavy rains prevented them from doing a substantial section of the tour. I was not notified. The vendor also offered a substantial discount for what we were able to do and this was not shared with me either!

Carlos Ogarrio


December, 2021

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Allen Narkiewicz


November, 2021

Neil was our guide and he was amazing! We did Camelback mountain climbing and he knew all about it and the other nearby mountains. Lots of great info and fun. I took my two boys, 9 and 11 years old plus climbed myself (44 years old). So perfect for all ages and skill levels. Definitely worth doing!!!

Amanda Gardner


August, 2021

Guide was very experienced and very patient with us. We learned alot and he tried to fit in all the knowledge he could in one day, super awesome. A little tough going back and forth to get the trip set up hard to tell if the site is sketchy until you see reviews but all worked out. Ended up with an awesome day with an awesome guide. Overall pretty satisfied and thankful!

Jolene Gines


August, 2021

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Drew Cool


July, 2021

The traveller did not leave a comment.



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