The North American Classic
Towering above the Alaskan Range at 20,310’/6,190m, Denali is often thought of as the most classic climb in North America. It’s beauty and grandeur has been capturing the imagination of climbers since the early 1950’s, and it’s difficulty and prestige continues to draw alpanists from all over the world. As the tallest peak in North America and one of the coveted “7-Summits”, making the summit of Denali takes skill, strength, and a resounding perseverance.
Making the summit of Denali is no small undertaking; It over 13,000’ of climbing from base camp to the summit. We’ll be climbing the West Buttress route, starting from the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. From the glacier, we’ll make our way to the foot of the mountain and Camp I. The next 10 days will see us work our way up the steep and rolling snow slopes as we make a series of gear shuttles, acclimatizing while we move higher up the mountain. Climbing Denali is a long and dedicated process that makes it one of the most difficult of the 7 summits.
From Camp I, we’ll climb the “Ski Hill” to Camp II, drop our gear in a cache, and return to C1. The following day will see us return to our gear cache and either stay the night at 9,800’ or continue on to Camp III (11k Camp). We’ll then make our way up the Motorcycle and Squirrel Hill to the Windy Corner where we’ll drop another cache and head back down to C3. Retracing our steps the next day, we’ll return to our cache and finish the journey to Camp IV at 14,200’.
After an easy day of retrieving the rest of our gear from the Windy Corner cache the day before, we’ll start up the main headwall. Utilizing the fixed lines for the first time, we’ll ascend 900’ of 45-50 degree snow and ice to the ridge of the West Buttress. We’ll drop a cache a few hundred feet beyond the crest of the buttress, and return to C4. The next day we’ll ascend the fixed lines once more before we climb the exposed ridge the remaining 600’ to high camp (17k Camp). At 17,200’, Camp 5 will be our last stop before pushing for the summit. We’ll take a rest day before the final push to the summit.
An alpine start will see us traverse across a steep face to Denali Pass, before continuing on rolling snow slopes to the Archdeacons Tower and a plateau known as the “football field”. We’ll cross the plateau at 19,400’ and ascend a moderate slope to the summit ridge. After making the ridge, we’ll climb the remaining 300’ to the summit of Denali and the highest point in North America. After a short celebration at 20,310’, 6,190m, we’ll make our way back down to High Camp.
The next few days will see us descend the mountain before catching a flight from base camp to Talkeetna, marking the end of our successful Denali expedition.
Our Denali expedition will be guided by one of Alpenglow’s AMGA/IFMGA certified lead guides or AMGA trained mountain guide. AMGA/IFMGA (American Mountain Guides Association/International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. We are proud to be an AMGA accredited business that works with professional trained guides. Our guides are incredibly experienced and are the best in the business, making your success and safety their top priority. Working in a 3:1 client ratio allows our team to move safely and efficiently up the mountain.
Alpenglow strives to provide the highest quality logistics, giving you the best climbing experience possible. For this expedition, we are working in partnership with Alpine Ascents International (AAI), an authorized concession of Denali National Park. From the plane ride into base camp to our high quality food, we take care of everything for you so that you can focus on achieving the summit.