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Denali (Mt McKinley), 21-day Expedition in Alaska

Join Todd, an IFMGA-certified mountain guide, for this expedition to the summit of Denali! Climb the tallest mountain in North America and achieve an impressive ascent of a Seven Summit!

Mountain RangeAlaska Range
Duration21 days
Offer periodMay, Jun
Skill LevelAdvanced
Fitness LevelExtremely Fit
Type of tripPrivate

Highlights

  • Tackle a challenging seven summit during a privately guided trip

  • Take in the views from the tallest point of North America

  • Expedition style climb using double carry method to assist in acclimatization

Description

Head toward summit of Denali and stand on the ceiling of North America during this privately guided expedition!

Explore the remote wilderness of Alaska during this 3 week expedition. We will climb to  the summit of Denali via the West Buttress Route.  The legendary Denali rises to an awe inspiring altitude of 20,130 feet, making its summit the highest point in North America.  The 3rd highest of the Seven Summit climbs is a challenging, yet rewarding, accomplishment, suitable for experienced mountaineers with high levels of physical fitness.

Beginning from our base camp at the South East fork of the Kahiltna glacier, we will move expedition-style up the mountain using a double-carry method, establishing caches before setting up our camps along the way. This allows time for acclimatization to be built in, and ensures that the loads we carry are reasonable. For this trip, you can expect to pull a sled and carry a backpack with an average combined weight of 65 lbs (day 1 combined weight will be heavier at 100 lbs).

Following the itinerary outlined in the day-by-day section below, we will begin and end the journey in the small town of Talkeetna. Once we ascend the mountain, we can expect to have about 7 days to wait for ideal conditions for our summit push. This will be important, as weather conditions on Denali can be extreme, including winds of 100mph and temperatures at -30 Fahrenheit.

Book now to tackle this challenging yet rewarding climb – attempt one of the Seven Summits to complete an impressive mountaineering accomplishment!

I offer other great mountain adventures: 10-Day Carstensz Pyramid Climb, One of the Seven Summits, 1+ day Backcountry skiing in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah, or 5-day backcountry touring + heliboarding in Valdez, Alaska!

More info

You are responsible for your flights to Talkeetna. You should plan to arrive before our scheduled departure, and depart Talkeetna a day after our scheduled end time. We recommend that you buy flexible tickets that don't have restrictions to make changes, so that if we finish early you can change your flight without a penalty.

Meeting point

AMS headquarters in Talkeetna. You should plan to arrive in Talkeetna the day before our departure.

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Photos


Itinerary

Day 1: Base Camp

We meet in the morning at Talkeetna. There, we complete a thorough gear check before picking up our national park permits, undergoing an orientation with a park ranger, weigh our gear and load the planes.

We then head to base camp, where we spend time dividing up the loads and prepping for the climb.

Day 2: Camp 1

We ascend to Camp 1, situated at 7,800 ft. It is a mild 5 hr, 6 mile ascent over gently sloping terrain.

Day 3: Camp 1

We bring gear such as food and fuel to Kahiltna Pass (10,200 ft) before returning to Camp 1 at the end of the day.

Day 4: Camp 2

We pack up Camp 1 and ascend the mountain to Camp 2, at 11,200 ft.

Day 5: Camp 2

We visit our supply cache 1,000 ft below us, and return to Camp 2.

Day 6: Camp 2

We ascend the mountain and head toward Windy Corner to establish another supply cache at 13,300 ft.  We return to Camp 2 for the night.

Day 7: Advanced Base Camp

We ascend to our Advanced Base Camp today, which is at 14,000 ft.

Day 8: Advanced Base Camp

Rest day

Day 9: Advanced Base Camp

We carry loads of supplies up a fixed line to 16,200 ft.

Day 10: High Camp

We ascend up the fixed lines, traverse the ridge, and pass Washburn’s thumb to our High Camp, which has an elevation of 17,200 ft.

Day 11: High Camp

Day to rest, relax, and acclimatize.

Day 12 to 19: Summit Window

Window to summit the mountain from our High Camp  – we will take advantage of the first good weather day that occurs.

Day 20: Descent

Descend from high camp to 14,000 ft.

Day 21: Return to Talkeetna

Descend back to base camp. From there, we fly back to Talkeetna.


About the guide

guide profile img

A Utah native, Todd grew up with a strong passion for skiing and playing in the mountains. Looking to incorporate this passion into a profession Todd attended the University of Utah and earned a bachelors degree from the Parks and Recreation department. He worked in the outdoors as a wilderness instructor teaching survival skills in the Utah desert for many years. In 2000 he began mountain guiding, and has been sharing his passion of the mountains with others ever since.

Todd’s guiding has taken him to many corners of the globe including; Alaska, Asia, Antarctica, Europe, South America and the Western U.S. He is a fully certified IFMGA/UIAGM mountain guide. Other training and certifications include Avalanche level III and Wilderness First Responder.

Climbing with Todd one immediately feels a sense of safety and trust. Todd is a strong and highly competent leader with years of experience leading large expeditions and one on one guiding. He is a skillful teacher and enjoys helping folks accomplish their climbing aspirations.

Some of his notable ascents include; Denali’s Cassin Ridge, a first ascent of the 5000’ west face of Mt. Vinson in Antarctica and the Walker spur on the Grand Jorasses in the Alps.

When he is not traveling Todd enjoys spending time at home in Salt Lake City, Utah climbing and skiing the Wasatch with his wife, climbing partner and fellow guide.


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