Keep in Touch
FOR 2020, AS PART OF COVID-19 REGULATIONS: Climbers will need to self drive until further notice. Further information will be sent upon sign up.
While this page will answer many of your questions, we enjoy hearing about your specific interests and look forward to making the pre-trip planning an exciting part of the journey. Feel free to contact us.
Please read the entire Logistics section.
Alpine Ascents Seattle: (206) 378-1927
Email: [email protected]
Please make sure you complete and return the following paperwork as soon as possible.
- Application & Release Form
Getting to Seattle
FOR 2020, AS PART OF COVID-19 REGULATIONS: Climbers will need to self drive until further notice. Further information will be sent upon sign up.
You should arrive in Seattle the day before your course begins and depart the day after your climb ends. If you are flying into Seattle, SeaTac is the closest airport to our office. You are responsible for transportation between the airport and your hotel.
Getting from the Airport to the Office and Vicinity
Our office and recommended hotels are 30-50 minutes from the airport (depending on traffic). Most climbers take a Lyft, Uber, or taxi directly from the airport.
Another option is taking the Light Rail (public transit) from the airport station to Westlake Station, followed by a Lyft/Uber/taxi the last 1.8 miles to the office and vicinity. The Light Rail is $3 for this one-way trip.
6:30 a.m. Meeting & Gear Check Day 1 of Private Mountaineering Course (Summit climbs may meet at a different time).
We meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 6:30 a.m. on Day 1 of your course for your gear check. Private summit climbs have variable gear check times depending on objective. Alpine Ascents will confirm your gear check time in your confirmation materials. Please be on time. Alpine Ascents provides transportation to and from the office to the trail head. Please review the Gear Check information and come prepared.
Free long-term parking is difficult to locate in the vicinity of Alpine Ascents. Parking options include 2-hour metered street parking, pay-by-day lots, or limited 72-hour free parking (4-6 blocks away). If you live locally or plan to rent a vehicle, we recommend parking your car at your home or hotel and commuting to our offices via taxi or app-based transit.
Due to our location in the heart of Seattle, Alpine Ascents does not offer parking for climbers. Please allow sufficient time to park your vehicle if driving to our office.
FOR 2020: We recommend booking a room for the night before your climb and for the night your climb concludes. We de-issue rentals on our return to the trailhead on the final day, so you are free to book lodging wherever you prefer that night. We strongly advise against flying out until the day after your climb concludes. Trip schedules will not be adjusted to accommodate return flights booked on the same day your climb concludes.
We recommend booking a room for the night before your climb and for the night your climb concludes. We will return to our office late on Day 6, between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., and you can return to your hotel. We strongly advise against flying out until the day after your climb concludes. Trip schedules will not be adjusted to accommodate return flights booked on the same day your climb concludes.
The MarQueen Hotel: One block from our office and often able to offer a discount for our climbers. They are helpful and familiar with our programs. Please book early as Seattle hotels can be fully booked in summer months.
Reserve by phone: (206) 282-7407 (888) 445-3076. Mention you are with Alpine Ascents to get a discount, if available.
Reserve online: The Marqueen Hotel. Use promotional code “Alpine” to get discount.
We are located in lower Queen Anne, downtown Seattle, and are a short walk or taxi ride away from many other hotels. You may elect to stay in any one of the numerous hotels in the area. You will be responsible for getting to our office for your gear check the day before your climb and morning departure on Day 1 of the climb.
Other Hotels Nearby:
Inn at Queen Anne
The Maxwell Hotel
FOR 2020: We will not have storage for luggage while you are on your climb or course.
Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office for a mandatory gear check. If you are on a mountaineering course, the gear check will take place on the first day of your course at 6:30AM. Summit climbs often have variable gear check times depending on the objective. Alpine Ascents will confirm your gear check time in your confirmation materials. This meeting will last approximately 3 hours.
You are required to attend this meeting, so we can distribute and fit rental gear, do a thorough check of your gear, provide packing instruction, check personal menu items, review the route and trip itinerary, and answer any questions you may have.
You may attend the gear check in your normal street clothes. We have storage for reasonably sized luggage while you are on your climb, so please bring a duffel bag/suitcase to store any personal items you do not wish to take on your climb. This luggage can be dropped off the morning you depart for 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 the gear check. You are responsible to bring all gear on the gear list (including food) except what you rent from Alpine Ascents.
To and from the mountain
Day 1 of Climb
Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 6:30 a.m. Gear Check. Please be on time. After an approximately 3 hour gear check, we will load up and depart for the trailhead. Alpine Ascents provides transportation to and from the mountain.
Free long-term parking is generally difficult in the vicinity of Alpine Ascents. If you plan to stay in Seattle and have a car, it is best to arrange a taxi or other ride to our offices on the morning of the climb.
Day 6 of Climb
You will return to the Alpine Ascents Office between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on the last day of the climb.
Air travelers are strongly advised against booking flights out until the day after your climb concludes. Trip schedules will not be adjusted to accommodate return flights booked on the same day your climb concludes.
Here are some example private climb gear lists:
Due to the heavily glaciated temperate mountains in the Washington Cascades you may be subject to highly variable weather conditions. 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. You are welcome to call the office before your trip to check on conditions, but please note the gear list prepares you for poor weather conditions. Please read your annotated equipment list very carefully. At your gear check we will check and organize personal/group gear.
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. In addition, gear is now available for purchase at the Alpine Ascents Equipment Store where climbers on an Alpine Ascents expedition will receive a discount. We have storage for gear and street clothes while you are on your
climb. Please bring a duffle bag/suitcase to store your gear.
• 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.
• It is likely that you will be asked to help carry some of the group equipment, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your backpack
Stoves & Tents
Private climbs takes place in the wilderness, where there is no readily available support. We will be packing in everything we need, including food. You also need to have your own tent and stove, unless you are renting from Alpine Ascents International. The tent, stove, and cooking utensils, while required for your program, can be shared between two climbers to reduce pack weight if applicable.
Gear Check Video
For reference, we invite you to check out this video for our 3 Day Rainier Climb, in which our Director of Operations, Matt Miller, talks through the 3 Day Climb gear list. The gear list for your climb is similar, though not identical. The video should give you a basic understanding of the gear you will need for your private climb, but please refer to the link above when packing and preparing for your climb.
About Food in the Mountains
For this program, you will be responsible for bringing and cooking your own food, including lunches. Please purchase your foods before we meet. There are several large supermarkets near our office including Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and Metropolitan Market. If you plan to incorporate freeze-dried meals, purchase these ahead of time.
A comprehensive menu planning guide can be found on the next tab on this page: Menu Plan
Food is one of the basic pleasures of wilderness travel. There are countless options for putting together healthy and delicious meals for long wilderness trips, depending on how much time, effort, and money you have to spend on preparation before the trip. Thorough meal planning and preparation is a must!
While our summit climbs and expeditions include meals, our mountaineering courses aim to teach sustainability and self-sufficiency in the mountains. Guides will review all food items at the gear check, but you will be responsible for cooking your own meals.
For a 3 day Private Climb you will need:
Nourishment and mountaineering are inseparable. Climbing requires higher daily energy expenditure than many other strenuous activities. Eating well (and frequently!) sustains energy levels, keeps us happy, and helps us to combat the cold conditions and inclement weather we will likely encounter in the mountains of Washington. One of the most challenging parts of a mountain guide’s job is advising climbers on the types and quantities of food to bring on a mountaineering expedition. Unlike items such a sleeping bag where you have it packed or not, food is subjective.
Some climbers eat large quantities of food, some eat less. Some love dehydrated meals, while others do not as a result of digestion issues. As guides, we can’t tell you what you are going to like or how much you are going to eat. There is no way to tell you if you’re going to want 2,500 or 3,500 calories per day.
With that in mind, here are some general thoughts on food planning:
Too little food is terrible, but too much food is not the answer
Going hungry and/or having to live off the extra food of other climbers and guides is not fun. On the other hand, you don’t want to haul around food that will go uneaten. Consider the weight and volume of what foods you are bringing.
All food selection is a compromise between taste, weight, space
A block of cheese is easier to pack than a similar amount weight of shredded cheese because it is denser. Dehydrated meals are the lightest meals to pack and easiest to prepare, but if you don’t like them it doesn’t matter how light and easy they are.
Bring food that you like
Six days is a long time to be unhappy with your food choices. If you don’t like a particular food in your home, it is unlikely you are going to start enjoying it in the mountains.
It’s your responsibility to check food preferences and amounts prior to your trip
Is 1 cup dry cereal with 3 tablespoons of powdered milk enough for one breakfast, or will you be happier with 1.5 cups? How much pasta should you bring for one dinner – 1 packet or 2? Trying out a few mountain meals at home will give you a much better sense of what to bring. Test out snack/lunch options before your course, too.
Salt, pepper, mustard, hot sauce, sugar, etc. are all great additions to any meal plan, especially if you are not using dehydrated meals (as they are already high in sodium). The lightest option is to pick up individual serving packets from the deli section at the grocery and store them in a Ziploc bag. Also, very, very small (1 oz.) plastic storage containers with screw-on caps can be purchased at most outdoor stores for condiment storage.
An essential part of breakfast and dinner for both hydration and well being. Coffee drinkers take heart – there can be decent coffee in the mountains! Starbucks VIA’s have become standard on mountaineering expeditions. A small portion of powdered milk and sugar can be added. Black tea, yerba mate, herbal teas, hot chocolate, and powdered chai are other options. Plan on bringing enough for 2 to 5 hot drinks per day!
Meats and cheeses are great foods for this course as they will not spoil – nature’s freezer (snow!) will be close to hand. Reduce excess packaging. Get rid of boxes, extra wrapping, etc. Ziplocks are great for repackaging food. A few medium-sized stuff sacks are great for organizing food while in camp.
Consider bringing Nuun hydration tablets or other cold drink mixes to add to drinking water for electrolyte replacement during your course. *Please note the emphasis on hot drinks and other liquids in the menu. Staying hydrated while climbing is very important, and this issue is addressed in-depth while on the course.
Alpine Ascents has developed a comprehensive training program:
- In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required.
- Prior experience with backpacking and camping is Required.
- Pack Weight: 40-50 Pounds
- Preparation Time: 4-6 Months
- Hours of Training Per Week: 10-15
We encourage you to contact us so that we can help you develop a training program that meets your particular needs.
You may be interested in our blog post, Is My Training Working?
Physiology of Mountaineering
Please read our primer on the basics of altitude physiology and awareness of the dangers posed by travel in the mountains.
On the Mountain
FOR 2020: Single occupancy tents are required for those not living in the same household.
Sleeping arrangements: Tents (2 climbers per tent)
Bathroom: Waste Kits
Cell coverage: Some camps receive limited cell service, however climbers should be prepared to be out of service for the duration of the course.
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:
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.
Guides are permitted to accept and greatly appreciate tips. Your guide team is composed of two guides. They will pool all tips received. An average tip for the full guide team is $135-$205.
Please be aware that we are unable to process tips by card. You are welcome to tip your guides with cash or via mobile payment such as Venmo or PayPal.
The quality of the course was amazing. I’ve previously done Baker and Rainier, with also having done intermediate and advanced ice climbing courses, and this was by far the best instruction. Definitely feel prepared for Denali.