20,320 feet Alaska, West Buttress


Denali, The Great One. This mountain also known as Mt. McKinley is the tallest mountain in North America, and boasts the greatest relief of any mountain in the world, nearly 18,000 feet. Situated at 63 degrees North, Denali is also one of the coldest mountains in the world. I have personally experienced 100 mph winds and temps below -30 degrees F. Denali has nice weather too, with nearly 20 hours of sunlight during peak season there are many days sunscreen is more important than your down jacket.

Our climb begins on the South East fork of the Kahiltna glacier at the foot of the Alaska ranges other giants Mt. Foraker and Mt. Hunter. The climb from base camp to the summit is just over 13,000 vertical feet, offering incredible views every step of the way.

On our expedition we will use double carries in order to properly acclimatize, and to move our three weeks of supplies up the mountain with reasonable loads. You can expect to pull a sled and carry a backpack, with a max combined weight of 100 lbs. (the weight on all but day one will be a max combined weight of 65 lbs.) At each camp we will set up a kitchen tent, which offers a social area where we can eat and relax at the end of each hard days work.

West Buttress Itinerary

Day 1:

We will meet in the morning at the AMS headquarters in Talkeetna. Our duties for the day will be: To do a complete gear check, Check in with the National park to pick up our permit and go through a short orientation with one of the climbing rangers, To weigh our gear and load on the planes.
We will set up and spend our first evening at base camp. This evening will be spent dividing loads and other preparations.

Day 2:

Move to camp one. This day is approx. 5 hrs camp to camp. Six miles over gentle slopes, with our final destination at 7,800 feet.

Day 3:

Carry food, fuel and a few personal items to be cached at Kahiltna pass 10,200 feet. After caching our gear we will return to our camp at 7,800 feet to spend another night.

Day 4:

Pack up camp and move to the 11,200 foot camp, where we will spend the night.

Day 5:

Easy day! Drop down to our cache 1,000 feet below and return to camp.

Day 6:

Carrying around Windy Corner and cache at 13,300 feet. Return to camp for the evening.

Day 7:

Move up the mountain to our advanced base camp at 14,000 feet.

Day 8:

A well deserved rest day!

Day 9:

Carry loads up the fixed line to 16,200 feet.

Day 10:

Move up the fixed lines. Make our way across the ridge, past Washburn’s Thumb to our high camp at 17,200 feet.

Day 11:

Rest and acclimatization day.

Day 12 – 19:

We will take the first good summit day that presents itself.

Day 20:

Descend to 14,000 feet.

Day 21:

Descend to base camp and fly to Talkeetna.


You are responsible for your own plane ticket. You will need to arrive in Talkeetna the evening before your scheduled trip date. I advise you purchase airline tickets without restrictions to change them. Make your return for the day after our scheduled completion date. If we finish early a ticket change can easily be made.

Because we run private trips our cost is completely dependent on number of climbers and guides. Please contact us to discuss your trip needs.

In Denali National park we work with our good friends over at the Alaska Mountaineering School. AMS is a licensed concessionaire in Denali National Park.

Ask us about a West Rib or Cassin expedition…How about Denali on Skis.