Denali Preparation/Winter Mountaineering Course

Denali Preparation/Winter Mountaineering Course Itinerary

Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip information package.


Day 1: 6:30am orientation and gear check. We drive to the mountain and snowshoe to our first camp. During the course, snowshoe training is combined with pulling gear sleds. The afternoon is devoted to snow camping techniques, including safe camp locations, snow shelters, cooking and cold-weather health maintenance.

Day 2: Move camp. Snow climbing instruction. We spend the morning packing and moving camp. This allows easy access to practice areas, while honing both packing and camp set-up skills. Students learn the fundamentals of moving safely and efficiently on snow slopes of all degrees. Instruction includes: kicking steps, rest and balance techniques, using the ice axe, self-belay, self-arrest and snow climbing in rope teams.

Day 3: Technical climbing on snow. After moving camp, anchor placements and technical rope climbing instruction for ascending steep snow slopes is given and practiced. Special emphasis is placed on setting and ascending fixed lines. Other instruction includes: belaying, lead climbing, rappelling and descending fixed lines.

Day 4: Glacier travel. Proper rope-up techniques using sleds are taught. Considerable time is spent route finding through crevassed areas and identifying our position on maps. Topics such as travel in white-outs and inclement weather are practiced.

Day 5: Crevasse rescue. You learn to rescue yourself and others from crevasses. More importantly, you learn how to stay out of them! Instruction includes setting rescue systems and prussiking out of a crevasse with pack and sled.

Day 6: Move to high camp. Weather permitting, we pack camp and move up the glacier to high camp. Discussions include avalanche conditions and safe route-finding. In camp, we prepare for summit day and bed down early.

Day 7: Summit day. Conditions permitting, we attempt a summit climb. This demanding day affords the opportunity to apply all of the skills learned during the course.

Alpine Ascents International is an Equal Opportunity recreation provider under the Special Use Permit from the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan National Forest, Wenatchee National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Goat Rocks Wilderness and the North Cascades National Park.

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