Rainier Denali Preparation Course Testimonials

Our guides made the eight day course a success by committing to an agenda each day and making sure that students felt engaged. Even on those tough weather days, both guides worked with the conditions they had and pull off a successful course. They made additional efforts at night to break the ice with the group over hot drinks and dinner, and told stories about climbing that put all of our training into perspective.

2020 Climber

The course was very high quality and covered a range of skills that would make me feel much more comfortable on future climbs. I felt like both our guides wanted the climbers to learn and they effectively conveyed the knowledge they had. They also took the time to patiently work with climbers that needed a bit of extra attention.

2020 Climber

I thoroughly enjoyed my course, I thought it was really useful and with continuation of practice at home, feel confident about my ability to do well on the Denali trip later this year.

2019 Climber

I thought the course was excellent. The quality of instruction was top tier and thorough. I feel much more prepared for future climbs after going through the course. It was well worth it.

2019 Climber

The course was exactly what I hoped for: intense, educational, and a lot of fun! This course took seven people with little to no winter mountaineering experience and taught us to operate as a team and take care of one another in challenging wilderness situations. I am excited to take these lessons on future climbs with AAI!

2018 Climber

Being on Rainier in the winter was a truly unique experience. With the storm we had on the first 2 days, it was likely that we were the only people on the mountain. It gave a feeling of being completely on our own, which heightened the lessons our guides were teaching about self sufficiency, self awareness, safety and survival. We needed to work as a team, shoveling our camp out from the snow, and gave us an opportunity to appreciate the wild beauty of where we were. It was an amazing experience.

2018 Climber

The Denali Prep course was my first trip to the Northwest. More beautiful than I could have imagined. Was a great opportunity to experience the weather extremes. The curriculum was well-organized and well-taught. As always the guides and the setting exceeded expectations. Each time I go with you folks into the mountains, I always feel my safety and well-being are your utmost concern. It allows me the freedom to concentrate on the individual task of getting to the top.

2017 Climber

A letter we received from a Denali Prep climber

I took your Denali Prep class two years ago. I just wanted to let you know that it saved my life this past week. Many miles, and many vertical feet, after your class I found myself on the Fortuna glacier on South Georgia Island, near Antarctica, a thousand miles from anywhere. Three climbers (including myself) and a guide were checking out Shackleton’s crossing. The unthinkable happened, and I found myself tumbling backwards and then headfirst into a crevasse. I seemed to fall forever. When I finally stopped, wedged between two walls of ice with my feet thankfully below me and my crampons gingerly jammed into one side, I was about 20 feet down. I looked down and saw darkness.

But because of your class I was able to stay calm and coherent. I called up to my guide that I was ok, and that I needed a rope with a biner on it, as I couldn’t see my harness to reliably operate my biners. Because I knew exactly what she was doing up on top I was able to stay calm while she rigged a hauling system, and she had me out in a matter of minutes. The guide was amazed at how calm I was throughout.

It could have been a lot worse. Thankfully, the experiences I gained on Rainier prepared me for it and it turned out as best as could possibly be hoped for.

Thank you.

Josh F.

I had a phenomenal time on this course. Writing that our guides were exceptional does not adequately convey how effective their leadership skills were. Throughout the week, we were both led and empowered to develop skills and find our ways of contributing to the group in productive ways. Moreover, during the crevasse rescue, both guides led a novice team to a successful outcome where all parties were grateful for their leadership.

I came away with skills I am already putting into practice (e.g. knots, ascending fixed lines, etc.) and plan on sharing with my other climbing partners. Our instructors’ appreciation and respect for the wilderness, as well as how to avoid undesirable outcomes, is also something I feel very confident I can pass along to others.

Athena T.

This course was top shelf. I absolutely feel ready to use the skill set taught.

As a surgeon, I have been exposed to many teachers. I can legitimately say these two guides are among the finest I’ve experienced. They did a really impressive job of beginning with basic concepts, and layering more complex principles and skills on top of one another in a logical fashion. They did it in a paced format, balancing the various experience, fitness levels, and mental fortitude of seven total strangers in the process – and in so doing, ensured everyone got across the goal line. The best indicator of their proficiency in teaching is the safely executed “final exam” crevasse fall in which the culmination of the week’s teaching was not just tested but required for the desired outcome.

Justin P.


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