Aventuras Patagonicas on Denali

Aventuras Patagonicas on Denali

International Expeditions and Climbing Guide Service

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Denali

Kahlitna Glacier, Denali
Kahlitna Glacier, Denali

We will be guiding Denali through Mountain Trip, an authorized concessionaire that has been guiding climbers up Denali for over 28 years, with an excellent safety and success record.

In 2004 they were the only company to reach the summit of Denali on every scheduled expedition! For climbers wishing to do a non technical, but physically challenging climb of Denali we offer the classical West Buttress, with a duration of between 16 and 21 days.

The West Buttress of Denali was pioneered by Bradford Washburn in 1950. Due to its relative ease of access in this modern age of Air Taxis, it has become the route of choice for most climbers. The route begins at 7,200 feet on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. It follows the Kahiltna north before ascending up onto the West Buttress proper. Though technically not very difficult, climbers will use a variety of mountaineering techniques to safely make their way around crevasses and up moderately steep terrain.

Camp 5 on the West Rib
Camp 5 on the West Rib

 

The route culminates on Summit Day with an incredible knife edged ridge to the highest point in North America.

Heavy packs and the thin air of altitude at such high latitudes can make the West Buttress a very physically challenging climb. Extreme winds, heavy snowfall and arctic cold all conspire to make any undertaking on Denali very serious. Experience counts on Denali and our guides have been on more expeditions on the mountain than most. If you are considering joining a guided party, ask your outfitter how many Denali trips your guide has been on. It makes a difference.

Itinerary

  • Day 01

    IN ANCHORAGE. Team Meeting at 10 A.M. for an Expedition Orientation and Equipment check. You must be at this meeting! Be sure to arrive in Anchorage early enough to make the meeting; this may require arriving a day early.

  • Day 02

    TRAVEL TO TALKEETNA AND FLY TO THE GLACIER. We will drive several hours to Talkeetna, where everyone will register with the National Park Service. Weather permitting, we will fly into the Kahiltna Glacier with the Air Taxi. There will be an on-glacier Expedition Orientation that will cover the following topics: Glacier Travel, Crevasse Rescue, Sled rigging, Rope Management and Camp Site Procedures. Establish Base Camp at 7,000 feet.

  • Day 03

    CARRY SUPPLIES TO CAMP 1 (7,770 FEET), near the junction with the NE Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. This is a moderate carry of about 9 miles round-trip and is a good shake-down for the upcoming days. Depending on the team and weather we may or may not return to Base Camp. Throughout the Expedition we will follow the climb high, sleep low technique, for better acclimatization, however the altitude difference between Base Camp and Camp 1 is minimal enough to permit us to occasionally single-carry this stretch.

  • Day 04

    MOVE REMAINING SUPPLIES AND ESTABLISH CAMP 1. (If the team double carries to Camp 1.)

  • Day 05

    HAUL LOADS UP TO KAHILTNA PASS. Several options exist for camp sites between 9,500 & 11,000 feet, depending upon weather, snow conditions and team strength. This is a moderately difficult carry; 7-9 miles round-trip, with 2-3,000 feet of elevation gain and a return to Camp 1 for the night.

  • Day 06

    MOVE EVERYTHING TO CAMP 2 NEAR KAHILTNA PASS. Camp is often in the beautiful 11,200' basin at the bas of Motorcycle Hill.

  • Day 07

    BACK-CARRY DAY. This is an active rest day during which we drop back down and pick up the cache.

  • Day 08

    HAUL LOADS AROUND WINDY CORNER (13,300 FEET). Steep snow climbing up Motorcycle Hill rewards you with spectacular views. Distance is about 4 miles round trip. Sleds are getting lighter air is getting thinner.

  • Day 09

    MOVE CAMP TO 14,300 FEET. This is usually a long, hard day. Weather and team strength will determine the placement of Camp 3 however the goal is the well equipped 14,200' camp. Fun climbing with crampons and ice axe gets you around Windy Corner where the upper Mountain comes into view.

  • Day 10

    BACK-CARRY DAY. The team will descend from 14,300' to the Windy Corner cache and bring everything up to 14,300 feet.

  • Day 11

    CLIMB UP THE HEADWALL TO THE RIDGE. Cache supplies and return to 14,300 feet. Climbing up the Headwall (Fixed Line is from 15,500 to 16,100 feet) with a heavy pack is one of the most strenuous days of the trip, because of the steep terrain, heavy pack and thinning air.

  • Day 12

    REST DAY. It is often prudent to take a rest/acclimatization day prior to moving up to High Camp.

  • Day 13

    MOVE TO HIGH CAMP. Weather and team strength will again determine this decision. While there is a camp site at 16,100', it is very exposed, so we usually push for the 17,200 ' site which is more secure and the better choice for High Camp.

  • Day 14

    REST DAY. Moving to 17,200' and getting High Camp established can be a huge day, so we usually take a Rest Day before attempting the summit.

  • Day 15-20

    SUMMIT DAY: If the weather is favorable, we'll push for the summit. However if the weather is not good it is important to be patient! We will only try for the Summit when the weather is good, meaning mostly clear and calm. The round trip climb will take eight to twelve hours or more. Usually you will depart camp early (7-9 a.m.), climb up to Denali Pass (18,000') and follow the route past Arch Deacon's Tower and the Football Field to the slopes leading to the Summit Ridge. On this spectacular ridge you can often see down into the Ruth Glacier and view peaks such as the Moose's Tooth, Mt Huntington and more.

  • 20 - Next Day

    DESCENT: The descent from High Camp will take from one to two days, depending on the team's strength and motivation to get home. Weather dictates when we will fly out to Talkeetna for food and showers. Not much beats a steak and salad at the West Rib Tavern after working hard on Denali!

Note: This itinerary is intended to be a guideline only. Weather days, rest days and some flexibility on the itinerary are always a possibility while on a climbing expedition.

Cost Includes

  • Professional Mountain Guides
  • Land transportation between Anchorage and Talkeetna
  • Round-trip flight between base camp and Talkeetna
  • All expedition food
  • All community gear (sleds, tents, stoves, cooking gear, medical kit, radio, etc.)
  • Denali permit fee.

You are responsible for

  • Flights to Anchorage
  • Meals in town
  • Hotels in town
  • Personal equipment
  • Passport
  • Personal items and services (laundry, drinks, tips, etc.)

 

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