Rainier Denali Preparation & Winter Mountaineering

Course Overview

The course was excellent. The guides made a significant effort to compare everything we did to an actual Denali expedition. That really put me at ease and helped me understand expectations for a future Denali trip.

Our Denali Preparation Course is specifically designed for those who want to embrace the challenges of climbing Denali and/or develop winter mountaineering skills in extreme conditions. It offers unique training to prepare for the challenge of The Great One. We are fortunate to have the best training area in the lower 48 states to simulate the challenging conditions found on Denali. Mount Rainier, originally named “təqʷuʔməʔ” (Taquoma), provides similar conditions as those found in the Alaska Range during the late winter and early spring months.

This course is best suited for those with some mountaineering experience (i.e. those who have climbed glaciated peaks prior to the course). Those without prior experience are encouraged to consider one of our summer season courses, such as our 9-Day or 10-Day, where conditions are more conducive to teaching foundational skills while also have the chance to make a summit attempt.

Throughout this extremely rigorous Denali Prep course, we encounter challenges closely matching those found on Denali and other 20,000 ft. peaks. Our goal is to develop highly aware, knowledgeable, and competent expedition climbers. Hands-on experience in all aspects of expedition climbing will be covered, including pulling sleds, building wind walls, whiteout navigation, and using fixed lines.

Note: This is not a summit climb of Rainier. Winter and early spring conditions generally present high avalanche danger and/or severe weather which do not allow us to move high on the mountain. The focus is on skill development rather than the summit as a goal. In rare cases, if the weather and snow stability allow, the group may attempt to summit.

Develop cold weather survival skills.

As conditions permit we look to cover all technical snow climbing skills necessary for winter mountaineering and climbing Denali.

Discuss climbing at high altitudes and proper acclimatization processes.

This course has been successfully used as a training ground for skilled adventurers, rangers, law enforcement, fire fighters, military, stunt people and many others who require climbing skills as part of their career.

Absolutely Awesome. It inspired me to continue to pursue climbing and I am looking forward to the next opportunity I can arrange a trip. The guides were each capable of leading the entire group or providing additional instruction on an individual basis. My confidence in their skills and abilities never became a question.

Rainier Denali Preparation Course BLOG

  • Denali Prep Course: Lessons Learned

    by Ciara Sampaio I went over the Denali Prep Gear List a million times and checked everything off.   I was ready to go!   Was I really ready to go?   Eventually, I just had to go.  Checking off the carabiners and gloves was the easy part.  I found assembling 8 days worth of food to be […]

  • Creating Your Denali Prep Course Menu

    The signs are all there. Flakes are accumulating in the Cascades, the sun sets on Seattle at 4:18 PM, and egg nog lattes have made their inglorious return to Starbucks. Winter is coming! To kick off this most excellent of seasons, our first 8-Day Denali Prep Course is slated to snowshoe off into the very […]

  • Selecting Snowshoes for Expeditions

    If you are preparing to embark on a Denali Prep course or a Denali expedition with Alpine Ascents, you are also about to enter into the wonderful world of snowshoe travel. There are several reasons for our unilateral use of snowshoes over skis on these trips. First, the learning curve for snowshoeing is far less […]

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