Logistics

Paperwork

Please make sure you complete the following paperwork as soon as possible after getting confirmed for your climb.

⎕  Alpine Ascents Application & Release
⎕  NPS Registration & Climber’s Permit (information below)

NPS Registration and Climber’s Permit:

You are responsible to complete the National Park Service Permit registration for your climb. This must be done prior to arriving for your climb.

As of 2021, this is a two-step process. Registration is not complete until both of the following forms are submitted:

  1. PAYMENT: Climbers must pay the permit fee using the Pay.gov Denali NP&P Climbing Registration Form. Climbers will immediately receive an emailed receipt from Pay.gov at the time of payment. The mountaineering special use fee is $375 USD for the 2021 season.
  2. APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL USE PERMIT: After submitting payment through Pay.gov, climbers must complete the Denali National Park and Preserve Application for Special Use Permit. The application form must be signed, dated and emailed to [email protected]

On the Application for Special Use Permit, use the following answers:

      • Organization – Alpine Ascents International
      • Proposed Activity – Denali West Buttress with Alpine Ascents International
      • Preferred Date – list your expedition start date (refer to your confirmation email)
      • Alternative Date – N/A
      • Maximum Number of Participants – 12
      • Individual in Charge – Your lead guide’s name (last, first). Please refer to the Schedule page for your guide
      • Cell Phone No of individual in charge – 206-378-1927

NPS Expedition Planning Tools:

Review the other information from Denali National Park covering the essentials of expedition preparedness:

Climbing in Denali National Park

Getting to Talkeetna

We meet in Talkeetna, Alaska at 8:00 a.m. on Day 1 of your climb. You will need to spend the night before the climb in Talkeetna, which is approximately 100 miles north of Anchorage (2 hour drive). Talkeetna is a very small town with limited facilities; we advise that you arrive there with all your food and gear for the climb already purchased.

From the Airport to Talkeetna, AK

Fly to/from Anchorage, Alaska (ANC). Flight reservations should be made as soon as possible.

Arrival: You should arrive in Anchorage one day before your climb start date, landing by 4:30 p.m. at the latest. You may also consider arriving an extra day early to chase lost luggage and have a day to relax. All climbers should make a reservation with Talkeetna Taxi (details on sidebar of this page) to transport you from Anchorage to Talkeetna. Please make your shuttle reservations soon after purchasing your flights, as this shuttle can get fully booked.

We recommend you stay in Talkeetna the night before your climb begins. We advise booking your accommodations well in advance, as the hotels and lodges can fill up during the summer months.

Departure: *Plan to depart from Talkeetna the day after the final day of your climb itinerary. All flights out of Anchorage should be scheduled after 1:00 p.m.*  With extra days built into the climbing schedule, it is difficult to predict your actual departure date. We do not recommend booking a hotel and shuttle post-climb. We will assist with making those arrangements when you come off the mountain. Transportation arrangements back to Anchorage from Talkeetna can be made with Talkeetna Taxi once you’ve flown back from the glacier.

Delays: Flights to and from the glacier are subject to delays at any time. Please note the possibility of having to remain on the ice or in Talkeetna for an extended period, and ensure your flight arrangements can be changed.

8:00 a.m. Meeting Day 1 of Climb

Orientation will start at 8:00 a.m. on Day 1 of your climb at the Alpine Ascents facility, located just outside of Talkeetna. The Alpine Ascents van will pick climbers up from our list of Talkeetna hotels at 7:30 a.m. and shuttle to our facility. If you are driving yourself, this drive is approximately 15 minutes.

Climbers can store any personal belongings at our Talkeetna facility for the duration of their expedition.

Lodging in Talkeetna

We recommend you stay in the “downtown” area of Talkeetna. This will give you access to the small shops and restaurants on Main Street. Our Alaska Operations staff will pick you up in Talkeetna and shuttle you to the Alpine Ascents facility outside of town. Please be aware that there are not standard taxi/ride-share options in Talkeetna.

Some hotels we are familiar with are recommended below. You are welcome to find others in the same general area. Please let us know where you choose to stay so that we can schedule a shuttle pickup for you on Day 1 of your climb.

Downtown Area

Talkeetna Inn
talkeetnainn.com
Traditional, affordable rooms with forested grounds right on the Susitna River waterfront a few blocks from Main Street.

Talkeetna Cabins
talkeetnacabins.org
A grouping of cabins that each fit 3-5 people, great for climbers who are traveling together in a group.

Latitude 62
latitude62.com
Budget-friendly rooms with a rustic feel. The people are friendly and the place is clean.

Talkeetna Hideaway
talkeetnahideaway.com

Talkeetna East Side Cabins
talkeetnaeastsidecabins.com

Swiss Alaska Inn
swissalaska.com

Just Outside of Town

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
alaskacollection.com
One of the largest lodges in the area that will likely have rooms available. More upscale than the downtown options, this lodge is used by the major cruise ship travelers. Located 3 miles out of downtown.

In Anchorage

Should you need to lodge in Anchorage before or after your climb, the Millennium is a quality hotel that offers free airport shuttle.

Millennium Alaskan Hotel
millenniumhotels.com

8:00 a.m. Meeting (Day 1 of your Climb)

Orientation and gear check will start at 8:00 a.m. on Day 1 of your climb at the Alpine Ascents facility just outside of Talkeetna. The Alpine Ascents van will pick you up in Talkeetna at 7:30 a.m. to shuttle you to our facility. If you are driving yourself, this drive is approximately 15 minutes.

Gear check will last approximately 3 hours. After gear check, we will drive you and your guides to downtown Talkeetna for lunch. We then have a climb briefing at the National Park Ranger Station, and then on to the airport to catch your flight to the glacier (weather permitting). Reminder: Alpine Ascents provides all meals on the mountain, but not in town, including lunch after the gear check.

You are required to attend the gear check meeting. We will distribute and fit rental gear, do a thorough assessment of your gear, provide packing instruction, check personal menu items, and review the route and trip itinerary.

You may attend the gear check in your normal street clothes. We have storage for reasonably sized luggage while you are climbing, so please bring a duffel bag/suitcase to store any personal items you do not wish to take on the mountain.

What to Bring: Please bring all of your gear to gear check. Note that you do not need to pack carefully, as we look at every item together. Rental gear will be picked up at gear check. You are responsible to bring all gear on the Gear List (including food) except what you rent from Alpine Ascents.

Packing Tips

People generally take too much “stuff” rather than too little. Study each item before you pack it. Eliminate redundant items, extra changes of clothing, and other “nice to have” luxuries. Traveling light may be your key to summit success. Take everything on the required equipment list and little else.

• Pack everything in two layers of sturdy plastic. Trash compactor bags work best and are equivalent to two layers of plastic
• Bring one large trash bag to completely and easily cover the inside of your pack.
• You will help carry some of the group equipment, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your pack.

 

Gear List

Link back to your Denali Gear List:

The weather in Alaska’s mountains is unpredictable. With this in mind, we developed our gear list for the safety and comfort of our climbers. There may be occasions when required items are not used because of current weather conditions, but please note the gear list prepares you for poor weather conditions.

You are required to bring every item on this list as described so be as precise as possible when packing. Alpine Ascents rents quality equipment at reasonable rates. Gear is also available for online purchase at the Alpine Ascents Equipment Store where climbers on an Alpine Ascents expedition will receive a discount.

If renting gear, your rental form must be submitted at least three weeks prior to expedition start date. Please call our office or e-mail [email protected] with any questions.

Note: Gear is very difficult to buy in Talkeetna, so it is extremely important that you be fully outfitted before arrival.

Due to the unique nature of Alpine Ascents’ Alaska program, some rental items requested may be picked up in Talkeetna at your gear check, and others may be shipped directly to you prior to your trip. All equipment, whether shipped to you or picked up in Alaska, may be de-issued at the Alpine Ascents Alaska facility at the end of your trip.

 

Breakfasts and Dinners Provided

Alpine Ascents will provide all breakfasts and dinners during your expedition, in addition to the snacks listed on the right sidebar of this page. You are expected to bring supplemental lunch/snack food. Lunch is the most important meal of the day on climbing trips, and as the saying goes, “Lunch starts after breakfast and ends at dinner.” It is important that you have lunches you truly enjoy eating in quantity and will give you the proper amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to perform at your best.

Food you need to bring

Of the three types of bars mentioned below (energy/candy/granola), you need to bring 42 pieces. Each item should have at least 150 to 200 calories and weight approximately 1.5 to 2.5 oz. Mix and match. Pick your personal favorites.

Energy Bars: ProBars, Luna Bars, Cliff Bars, Lara Bars, etc. You should pick your favorites and have some variety in them. Be mindful of their consistency at cold temperatures.

Candy Bars:
Snickers, Milky Way, Almond joy, Peanut M&Ms, etc. Pick ones you like and that will not get smashed in your backpack.

Granola Bars and Cookies:
Granola bars often do not have as many calories as an energy bar or candy bar. Look at the labels to make sure you are getting the right number of calories.

Energy Gels/Chews: Some climbers like using GU or other energy gels/chews on summit day. If you like these gels/chews (they can be very useful for quick energy) plan on bringing around 6 packets. Honey Stinger Stroopwafels, Shot Bloks, ProBar Bolts, and similar are all good options.

Energy Drinks (strongly recommended):
These are small packets of drink mix that you put into your water bottle. They help replenish electrolytes and make it easier for climbers drink more fluids. Especially at altitude when you may not feel like drinking, these are a huge help. Using drink mix is strongly encouraged, though not required. We recommend Nuun, Crystal light, Emergen-C, Gatorade, etc. You may also consider specialized endurance hydration mixes with calories, like Tailwind, Gu Roctane, Skratch Labs, etc., though these are more expensive options. Choose packets that are very small, lightweight, add flavor, and contain electrolytes and other ingredients like vitamin C. If you like these type of drink mixes, plan on one or two packets per day (21 to 42 packets).

Hard Candy (Optional): We also recommend that you bring about 60 individually wrapped pieces of your favorite hard sucking candy (e.g. Life Savers, Werther’s), which help keep your throat from drying out in the dry alpine environment. Ricola Lozenges can also be a good supplement.

On the Mountain

Nights 1-23 Camping on glacier, Denali National Park

Sleeping arrangements: Tents (2 climbers per tent)
Bathroom: Clean Mountain Cans (CMCs)
Cell coverage: Extremely limited and unreliable coverage at Camps 2 and 3 with AT&T and Verizon. Climbers should be prepared to be out of service for the duration of the climb.

Leave No Trace

Alpine Ascents International practices Leave No Trace principles on all expeditions. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Before your climb, please become familiar with Leave No Trace:

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

As guides, we spend time teaching the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices. There is nothing more rewarding than working hard to get high into the mountains, reaching a pristine campsite, witnessing incredible views, and having the feeling that no one has been there before.

Conversely, there is nothing more disheartening than working hard to climb a mountain, reaching a site and encountering trash, food waste, and toilet paper. Please read the seven LNT principles, and call the office if you have any questions about what you can do to plan ahead.

Tipping on Denali

Our guides make every effort to ensure your climb is safe, successful, and as enjoyable as possible. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. It’s difficult to recommend a specific amount as we believe tips should be based on level and quality of services, as well as an amount that meets your budget. Please consider the information below to be a general recommendation.

8-12% of the total trip cost per guide team is a standard guideline. These amounts cover all guides on your program and are shared equally. Any contribution to the guides’ tip pool can be given directly to the lead guide on your program and will be appreciated by the entire team.

You are welcome to tip with cash, check, or via mobile payment such as Venmo or PayPal. We are unable to process tips by card. If you tip by check, you can make it out to the lead guide by name. Please do not make the check out to Alpine Ascents. Feel free to call our office to discuss tipping in more detail.

COVID-19 Protocols

While we cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we do carry out a variety of measures designed to mitigate the risk of illness for climbers and staff. It is important we work together with the same team-oriented perspective we rely on in climbing, and we greatly appreciate your partnership. Please take a few moments to thoroughly read the information below and know that we look to improve our operation as additional information about the virus becomes available.

Vaccination

As vaccine availability increases, please make every effort to ensure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to Alaska. Vaccination is one more way we can try to manage risks and keep you and others healthy.  The overwhelming majority of Alpine Ascents Denali guides and staff will be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the season and we are aiming for 100% vaccination among staff.

Screening

If you experience fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea please immediately contact Alpine Ascents. Anyone experiencing these symptoms within 14 days of their trip date will be asked to reschedule their trip. All climbers are verbally screened for these symptoms on arrival to Alpine Ascents, and all staff are screened daily

Testing

During the morning of the gear check, climbers must show documentation of a negative PCR test that was taken within 72 hours of their departing flight.   Climbers arriving in Alaska more than 1 day prior to gear check or those who reside in Alaska,  must get a PCR test 72 hours prior to the gear check and arrive with documentation.

Mitigation Measures at our Office

Hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities are provided at every entry point, in the gear check area, and of course within every restroom. We encourage you to regularly clean or sanitize your hands while at Alpine Ascents Alaska headquarters, especially after touching your face, sneezing, coughing, using the bathroom, eating, or drinking.

Common areas, high-touch surfaces, and restrooms are sanitized regularly. We are committed to keeping our environment clean for your protection as well as ours.

All equipment at Alpine Ascents is disinfected in line with CDC protocols, using EPA-registered disinfection supplies certified to mitigate COVID-19.

Alpine Ascents’ staff are trained in recognizing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. This training comes in addition to thousands of hours of first-responder or other medical experience.

Face Masks

For your safety and the safety of staff, cloth or surgical face masks are required at all times on Alpine Ascents’ premises. If you arrive without a mask, staff will provide one for you. We strongly recommend reviewing proper mask wearing procedures prior to your arrival.

While climbing and traveling in the mountains, all climbers are required to have a face mask easily accessible in a waterproof bag (Ziploc, etc.). When social distancing measure are not feasible, such as at a belay, you will be requested to wear your mask.

Accommodation in the Field

We will be using double occupancy tents for Denali climbs. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Dining Tent

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we will be minimizing social gatherings.   The on-mountain dining tent will be used for meal preparation and guide staff only, unless conditions warrant otherwise.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the expedition I was especially impressed with the management of details, such as planning a variety of delicious meals and the schedule on the mountain which put our group in the best position to summit. Overall I thought the expedition was fantastic!

Photo: Brad Washburn
Gear Check in the Alpine Ascents Hangar
Loading the plane at the Talkeetna airport
View from the plane on the way to Base Camp
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
View of fixed lines from 17K
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Victor McNeil
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Photo: Steve Tambosso
Above Washburn's Thumb
Midnight on the summit ridge.
The Fireweed Inn

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Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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