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Upper West Rib climbing in Denali – 20 days

Mount Denali is the highest peak in North America. Its ascent is a true challenge, especially via the Upper West Rib route. Join an experienced AMGA certified mountain guide and make it to the top in 20 days!

Mountain RangeAlaska Range
Duration20 days
Offer periodMay, Jun, Jul
Skill LevelAdvanced
Fitness LevelExtremely Fit
Type of tripNot specified


Rising to 6190 meters, Mount Denali is the highest summit in North America. It is located in Alaska and its ascent is a major endeavour. This is your chance to climb Denali via the Upper West Rib Route.

The most popular route for the ascent of Denali is West Buttress. The second one in popularity is the one proposed here, the Upper West Rib. It is much more difficult technically, so only for extremely experienced mountaineers! The first part of the expedition uses the West Buttress Route, until reaching 14K Camp.

During this ascent we climb through the steep south face of Denali, from the 4328m of 14K Camp, in Denali Genet Basin, until the summit ridge. The route to the summit is exposed, it is 35° to 45° steep and the terrain combines snow and ice.

The expedition is structured to maximize the chances of success. The itinerary is flexible and there is no pre-determined end date (although you can find a detailed model itinerary below). In this way, we will adapt better to the conditions in the mountain.

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.

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.

If you are up for a true challenge and want to reach the top of North America, book this trip and let’s start the adventure of a lifetime!



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.




Day 1: Arrival

Meeting at Anchorage International Airport. Transfer to Talkeetna (included), leaving 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 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 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 day

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

Day 13: Up to cache

We go up to the west side of Genet Basin. We climb a series of glaciated rolls, gaining the Upper West Rib. Then we continue through rock bands to Balcony Camp. We cache some gear at Balcony Camp.  We return to 14K Camp.
Max altitude: 4968

Day 14: Acclimatization

The day might include some walks if the weather allows.
Altitude: 4328m

Day 15: 16K Camp

We go up the West side of Genet Basin again. We make our way to Balcony Camp. There we retrieve our gear, set camp and stay for the night. The views over the Alaska Range are outstanding.
Altitude: 4968m

Day 16: Summit day

We will ascend through snow bands and granite rocks on the Upper West Rib. The views over the South Face of Denali are outstanding. There is a steep technical climbing portion, and then we reach the Football Field at 5852m. Then we continue climbing to the top of Pig Hill and the summit ridge, and traverse the ridge to the top of the South Peak. We take some time at the summit before descending the West Buttress route back to 17K Camp.

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 our 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.

About the guide

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Prices per person

Group of 1

USD 11031 each

Group of 2

USD 11031 each

Group of 3

USD 11031 each

Group of 4

USD 11031 each

Group of 5

USD 11031 each

Group of 6

USD 11031 each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Transport during the trip

- Permit and entrance fees

- Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Price details

The price includes three nights lodging in Talkeetna.

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