Denali

(20,320ft/6,195m) Alaska

This is an awesome program that has been carefully planned and put together by Alpine Ascents. The level of preparation required by participants is very high however, Alpine Ascents makes sure months in advance that participants train accordingly. Denali is a difficult mountain not only for the level of exertion required but also the variability of the weather. Guides chosen by Alpine Ascents know the mountain well and make sure safety rules are followed at all times. In general, I am very happy in having chosen Alpine Ascents for the climb, thanks to Phil, Danny and the office staff for making this possible. Denali has been in my list for some time and being honest, even if I trained 'by the book' to make sure I was prepared, I still was not sure I would be able to reach the summit. This is a hard climb and the way the program is structured helped me reach my goal. Pablo.    More

Overview
There are certain mountains that need no explanation as to why climb. Denali is such a mountain. Its tremendous size and beauty generate a magnetism that continually draws climbers from around the world. An ascent of Denali touches the psyche of all alpinists, and for those who have undertaken its challenges, it rewards them with an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Denali is often considered North America's most classic climb. From base to summit, it rises nearly 18,000', an elevation gain unsurpassed anywhere in the world. At a northern latitude of 63°, it is the most northerly of any big mountain over 20,000'. No other region offers such breathtaking and diverse views each day of the ascent. The panorama from Denali's summit includes Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter and Mt. Huntington in all their majestic glory.

When Dr. Bradford Washburn pioneered the West Buttress route, he heralded in a new era of Denali ascents and offered climbers a unique approach to the summit. The flight onto the glacier is a trip in itself, presenting overwhelming vistas of the Alaska Range. The West Buttress route remains, by far, the most successfully climbed route on the mountain.

Alpine Ascents has been running successful Denali expeditions for over 15 years. Our 2014 season had some difficult weather to start but we had some strong summit success as in past seasons - 8 of 12 teams reached the top of North America! 2013 saw 11 of 12 teams summit. We look to have similar success in 2015 and as always, we are happy to put you in touch with former climbers. We are committed to keeping up our high standards of food and logistics and look forward to the 2015 Season.

Alpine Ascents offers small group sizes of six climbers and two guides as well as teams of 9 climbers with 3 guides. Please note it is imperative for any size group that all climbers are in excellent physical condition and well trained in the necessary climbing skills to ascend Denali.

Alpine Ascents has climbing concessions on both Denali and Mount Rainier and offer training courses in both locations. These mountaineering courses are an excellent way to make sure your climbing skills and physical conditioning meet the requirements to attempt Denali. Alpine Ascents has very high prerequisites for our Denali climbers because we know your climb will be more enjoyable, safer, and have a greater chance of success if all members are well-prepared for the rigors of Denali.

Please contact us with any questions. Our Denali climbs fill early every season.

Why Climb Denali with Alpine Ascents?
Since the inception of our Denali program, Alpine Ascents has continued its industry leadership on Denali with extremely high summit success. Much of our success can be attributed to our outstanding guide staff and climbing teams. With strong praise from the National Park and Media, and excellent working relationships with other guide services, we look to equal our success this year. We continually assist with rescues on the mountain. In fact, many of our guides have received "Denali Pro Pin" awards from Denali National Park in recognition of their high safety standards and selflessness in aiding others. As Alpine Ascents operates an intensive mountaineering school, we often get to know our climbers before they embark on such a climb as Denali.  >>Read More

The Climb
A Denali climb begins deep in the heart of the Alaska Mountain Range on the Kahiltna Glacier. From the S.E. Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier we begin the climb of Denali's West Buttress. Base Camp plus five higher camps are established on the mountain. When necessary, the team makes double carries between all camps, except high camp, to ensure proper acclimatization and reduce loads. In each camp we build snow walls for protection from possible high winds. The climb takes approximately 17-18 days round trip from Base and we add an additional four days to allow for inclement weather, acclimatization and optimal summit attempts. The ascent requires intermediate mountaineering skills and is physically and mentally demanding.

"Loved it. Much better than my Brand X Denali expedition last year I attribute this to perhaps higher screening standards with AAI. Also more menu diversity with AAI which was appreciated. Finally, I LOVED the fact that AAI handed us 15 lbs of lunch food at Willi's hangar. With other outfits we were simply were told to bring all of our own lunch food, and because a lot of us didn't have experience packing lunches for three weeks, we didn't give ourselves as much interesting and delicious stuff as was handed to us by AAI." Andrew.    >>More

Climbing Conditions
Denali is a mountain of extreme conditions where a climber may encounter 100-mph winds and - 40°F temperatures. Alternately, some days are quite hot with sunshine lasting up to 20 hours. These low temperatures and sporadic high winds greatly increase the rigors of the climb. Snowstorms are known to last a week at a time. The unpredictable weather coupled with the high altitude requires not only technical snow and cold weather skills, but also endurance and fortitude.

PREREQUISITES

Climbing Skill Level
Climbers should have successfully completed our Denali Prep Course, 6-Day Training course, 13-Day Training course, 8-Day Training course, 10-Day Training course, Alaska 8 Day Course, Alaska 12-Day Training course, or have equivalent skills and experience. This climb requires proficiency in glacier travel, crevasse rescue, cramponing, and expedition camping skills. It is our goal to have similarly skilled climbers on our expeditions and we have thorough Denali screening guidelines. >>Read More

While a select few climbers were able to successfully join a Denali trip after a single course, the vast majority will greatly benefit from more climbing experience. We look to work with and asses each climber on an individual basis. Please contact Gordon Janow at gjanow@alpineascents.com to discuss preparing for Denali or to share your climbing bio.  

I was extremely impressed with the AAI Denali climb. It exceeded my expectations and reaching the summit of Denali was one of the best experiences of my life. The guides were awesome, the logistics were well taken care of, and safety was always paramount. All 3 of our guides showed that they were very knowledgeable and skilled in the arena of mountaineering. It was clear they were experienced guides and they always had a good handle on the situation. The logistics and guiding were all phenomenal. Trip planning and support was also great. Chad.    >>More

Physical Conditioning
In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training is required. Climbers must be able to carry a 60lb pack and pull a 40lb sled at high altitude and be not only physically but also mentally prepared to deal with strenuous situations. Do not underestimate the physical conditioning that is needed to climb Denali. We encourage you to contact us so that we may assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs. We are pleased to offer a definitive training program for Denali on our website, written by Stacy Taniguchi. >>Read More

Environmental Responsibility
Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek, and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents.

At Alpine Ascents environmental stewardship remains one of our core values and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices very seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices.

Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our on-going maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.

Private Groups
We regularly organize private climbs for individuals, corporate groups, families and friends. We encourage you to book these climbs early, to help us be better able to fit these climbs to group-specific desires. Contact us to further discuss the benefits of private courses.

Alpine Ascents is an authorized concessioner of Denali National Park and Preserve.

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