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Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $5000 *
    Deposit
    $1250
    Duration
    11 days
    Difficulty
    Level 3
    Type
    Skills

    *Price includes round-trip transfer to Talkeetna, two nights lodging in Talkeetna, bush pilot, & Park Entrance Fee.

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Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier

Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier

Spend nine days on the flanks of Denali navigating intricate crevasse fields of the Kahiltna Glacier, climbing on exposed ridges, and managing the elements of the Alaska Range.

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fly in a ski plane to Denali's Base Camp on the massive Kahiltna Glacier, surrounded by North America's highest peaks.
  • Become well versed in the skills of expedition climbing in the best classroom possible: the mountains of the Alaska Range.
  • Enjoy our exceptional 3 to 1 climber-to-guide ratio during the course, benefiting from the experience, expertise, and tutelage of RMI's renowned guides.
  • Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.

Alaska Mountaineering Seminar
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar

RMI's Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier takes place on one of the largest glaciers in Denali National Park & Preserve, the Kahiltna Glacier. The incredible variety of terrain is ideally suited for learning expedition climbing skills and offers numerous moderate and enjoyable climbs. Our expedition course is designed to prepare you for guided ascents of Denali and Aconcagua and to enable you to lead your own adventures on other peaks back home. Ice climbing, glacier travel and navigation, expedition techniques and preparation, and crevasse rescue are some of the skills introduced and practiced during the course. In addition, camp construction, sled hauling, and fixed-line travel are Denali-specific skills you will master.

RMI offers a climber-to-guide ratio of 3:1 on our Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier. Our experienced guides offer extensive personal instruction through the course, from the teaching of fundamental climbing knots to instruction and guidance during the climbs. RMI Expeditions is committed to a safe, fun, and educational program, and these goals are best achieved with a low climber to guide ratio. While less expensive instructional programs in Alaska exist, none offer the instruction, quality, and experience of RMI.

Successful completion of the Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier in combination with climbing experience on Rainier or other glaciated peaks will make you eligible for any of our expeditions on Denali and provides you with good experience for other glaciated peaks around the world. 

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America's oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and a leader in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our experienced guides are some of the best in the world, more than 35 of whom have reached the summit of Mt. Everest, some multiple times. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge necessary to create the best possible trips. We work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader.

With over 40 years of experience of guiding on Denali alone, RMI's legacy of instruction, safety, and success in the Alaska Range is unmatched. Our Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier is designed from years of experience guiding climbers on North America's highest mountain with the goal of providing participants with all of the necessary skills to go on to safely, confidently, and successfully scale Denali and the world's other greatest peaks. 

SAFETY

Safety has always been RMI's top priority, and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful program without compromising safety. Our climber-to-guide ratio is 3:1 and provides an unusual degree of personal service from RMI's guides and increases our margin of oversight and safety on the mountain.

Our program is fully equipped with comprehensive medical kits and communication equipment. Our guides and staff are highly trained in emergency mountain medicine and work to maintain our strict standards of safety, keeping close dialogue with participants throughout the program. When problems arise on the mountain, away from medical facilities, the level of training and experience RMI's guides have makes them some of the most sought after guides in the profession. 

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure, please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.


NPS Authorized ConcessionerAuthorized Concessioner

RMI Expeditions is an authorized concessioner of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Climate Change

OffsettersAll of our climbs in Denali National Park and Preserve are 100% carbon neutral. We have partnered with Offsetters, Canada's leading carbon management solutions provider, to purchase offsets for our greenhouse gas emissions. Their projects are verified and validated by third parties to ensure that the emission reductions are real, additional, and permanent, so we know that our contribution is making a real difference.

By supporting this project, we prevent the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions that were generated by our operations from being emitted somewhere else. These offsets allow us to achieve our goal of sustainability and further promote responsible environmental practices.

Climber Reviews

Filter By
06/26/2019
Loved the interaction with the guides- all 3 were so great, I can't stress enough how good each of them was, the were a very cohesive team, the care and concern for us was amazing. I also enjoyed the entire group of climbers, we all got along graet.
Tim C.

06/03/2019
Incredible competence, fitness, and teaching/social skills of the guides. I am still in shock that people this young have better teaching skills than the vast majority of the teachers I have dealt with between elementary school and grad school.
Geza K.

07/08/2018
The mountain scenery was amazing.
Mark K.

06/15/2018
The gorgeous Alaska terrain, the learning experiences, and the opportunity to meet new people.
Mogens K.

06/04/2018
The team and guides. Very well organized and great instruction. The trip gave me a much better feel for what a Denali Expedition would involve.
Randall D.

09/04/2017
It was a fantastic learning experience, with knowledgeable and frankly fun guides.
Ben R.

06/13/2017
I enjoyed learning and just being in the Alaskan range... Enjoying the beauty surrounding us with professional guides and an amazing group truly made this trip an amazing experience.
Aracely (Sally) M.

06/11/2016
The guides really set a professional, safe, low key but motivating and enjoyable tone for the whole trip. The chance to learn mountaineering skills when your office is Crosson, Foraker, Hunter, Denali, Francis...is unmatched. Being flown onto the Kahiltna Glacier by a badass Alaskan bush pilot, landing on skis, and living in the Alaska Range for 9 days was unbeatable. I still remember the moment of awe and fear and stoke when we had quickly unloaded all our gear off the planes and they took off into the distance, leaving us behind for what has turned out to be one of the most memorable trips we've ever taken!
Janet L.

05/17/2016
While being able to do Denali may not be feasible given my size/weight, with the seminar one can have a similar experience. The guides were superb, it seems that I say that every trip that I take, and I truly appreciate the attention to detail (i.e. the bathroom privacy stakes/construction).
Vivian M.

06/24/2015
All three guides were wonderful people and were great to learn from. The group came together as a team which was fun to be a part of. I personally enjoyed the opportunity to climb Radio Tower.
John G.

06/01/2015
My most memorable thing was not what but it was who. The people made the trip.
John N.

06/01/2015
What a great group of people, guides and climbers both! I am certain that I've gained some new friends for life from amongst the group, and we always had very interesting things to discuss. Clearly, RMI attracts a high-quality client base, and it was a pleasure to work with everyone.
William K.

05/30/2015
All of the opportunities to lean and improve my mountaineering skills.
Michael C.

05/29/2015
The entire trip was an adventure - every minute! No one high point
David B.

05/14/2015
The entire experience really. It was my first trip of this type, and I had very high expectations. The trip exceeded my expectations on nearly all levels. Leon, Garrett, and Bridget were extremely supportive, patient, and anxious to share their knowledge with us. Our group got along extremely cohesively, and there was a great vibe throughout the whole trip. I learned a ton in a short period of time, and had a great time doing it.
James J.

05/13/2015
I had an absolute blast on this trip! I got to meet and get to know some truly inspiring, badass people and learned so much. I can honestly say that before this trip I couldn't tie a knot to save my life and now I can proudly say I know how to tie various knots and hitches. In addition to learning lots of new technical skills, I gained a greater understanding of certain pieces of equipment, and got a good feel for what an actual Denali expedition would feel like even at it's worst with bad weather and getting stuck at camp. I'm especially glad I got to learn how to keep myself entertained during those periods. The guides were amazing, their knowledge was vast and deep and they could easily teach anyone mountaineering skills. They were tremendously patient with all of us and our various learning styles and speeds. Most importantly they demonstrated great leadership by putting our safety first and really getting us into the team spirit. Although we were unable to go for Kahiltna Dome, it didn't matter, I got to have the adventure I was looking for and my time spent out there satisfied my soul. I hope to get to come back to the Alaska range next year with RMI and give Denali a shot.
Rue C.

06/06/2014
Being in beautiful landscape for 10 days and learning a lot.
Katharina S.

06/05/2014
The amount I learned from these expert guides was incredible. I just spent the trip trying to soak in every bit of information I could.
Chris Q.

06/02/2014
I love to learn and we easily had time to complete all the learning objectives and even a little extra snow/avalanche training. We got lucky on the weather which helped.
Keith C.

06/02/2014
Being in Alaska!!! The guides were pretty rad, too. I appreciated that they encouraged me to participate in sharing my knowledge with the rest of the team, something I thoroughly enjoyed.
Wendy S.

06/02/2014
The location, the physical challenge and the preparation. The access to the guides and the opportunity for individualized attention. THe experience of the guides - they were true professionals
Rebecca R.

06/01/2014
The adventure, pushing myself, meeting the other climbers
Debbi L.

05/28/2014
The relationship with the guides and the confidence i was able to build with them. Certainly the scenery is magnificent as well and the overall experience was excellent on all levels.
Chuck H.

05/23/2014
The ascent of radio control tower. We took a somewhat steeper approach (30-45+ degree snow up a gully on the south side) that I enjoyed greatly.
Sherman B.

05/19/2014
Leon and Eric are outstanding guides and worked immensely well together. They balanced each other better than any guides I've ever seen.
Eric Y.

06/16/2013
The flights, the scenery, and the camaraderie among the group were all outstanding. I made some great friends and learned skills to move more efficiently and safely in the mountains.
Tyson W.

  • Upcoming Climbs

    Show All
  • Price
    $5000*
    Deposit
    $1250
    Duration
    11 days
    Difficulty
    Level 3
    Type
    Skills

    *Price includes round-trip transfer to Talkeetna, two nights lodging in Talkeetna, bush pilot, & Park Entrance Fee.

Table of Contents
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DAY 1

TRAVEL  •  348' | 106M

1:30 p.m.: Meet the guides at Anchorage International Airport (Domestic Terminal), carousel 1 in Alaska Airlines baggage claim.

Shuttle transportation to Talkeetna is included in the program. The shuttle leaves at 2:00 p.m. and takes three hours to arrive in Talkeetna. The group will stop at a grocery store in Wasilla, for the opportunity to purchase any fresh food you'd like to bring on the mountain. The team will arrive in Talkeetna at approximately 5:00 p.m. Overnight in Talkeetna.



DAY 2

PRE-TRIP PREPARATION AND TRAINING  •  7,300' | 2,225M

7:00 a.m.: Team Breakfast Meeting

There are a number of important items to accomplish in Talkeetna. After our breakfast meeting we begin our training at the K2 Aviation hangar. The team will go through extensive personal equipment checks. Final recommendations and suggestions concerning gear will be made at that time. The team will plan meals and ready group food and equipment for the glacier flight. There will be an introduction to safety practices, including use of helmets, harnesses, and avalanche transceivers. Instruction regarding Leave No Trace practices and environmental considerations will be made as well. After all is made ready we begin shuttling members into the Kahiltna Base Camp, weather permitting. This spectacular scenic flight requires approximately 45 minutes, one way. Once at Kahiltna Base Camp we continue our expedition skills training by learning camp site selection, and how to build a mountain camp and kitchen.

The following seminar itinerary is approximate and depends on such considerations as weather, route conditions and strength of the party. Nine man-days of food and fuel are carried on the mountain. There are emergency food rations at Base Camp, in case weather prevents the group from flying off.

Pre-trip Preparation And Training



DAY 3

BASE CAMP TRAINING  •  7,300' | 2,225M

At Kahiltna Base Camp we begin building the foundational skills that allow travel and access to more varied terrain. Skills covered on this day include: knots, harness, carabiner and avalanche transceiver use, proper use of the ice axe for balance and self and team arrest, cramponing on moderate terrain, and the basics of roped glacier travel. Evening discussions will take place throughout the seminar and cover a variety of mountaineering topics such as: mountain medicine and wellness, weather, route finding and navigation, expeditionary climbing techniques, alpine climbing techniques, self care and the art of climbing efficiently.

Base Camp Training



DAY 4

TECHNICAL SKILLS TRAINING  •  7,300' | 2,225M

We spend the morning learning how to construct a variety of snow and ice anchors for use in belaying, rappelling, and crevasse rescue. In the afternoon our focus will be on expedition skills such as fixed rope travel, sled rigging, and a discussion of crevasse rescue. We will consider a variety of crevasse rescue scenarios in anticipation and preparation for practical training.

First Summit Day



DAY 5

CREVASSE RESCUE TRAINING  •  7,300' | 2,225M

During our crevasse rescue practice, we learn self-rescue, how to extricate ourselves from a crevasse if we have fallen in, and companion rescue, how we extricate a team member. These are essential skills for an ascent of a large expeditionary peak like Denali.



DAY 6

PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE

With our technical training accomplished, our focus shifts toward gaining practical experience on one of the many nearby peaks. The mountain and the route we select depends on weather and route conditions. Our goal is to safely climb a route that allows us to apply all of the skills that we have learned throughout our course. This day entails breaking camp, packing and pulling sleds, and re-establishing a new camp on our selected route.

Base Camp To Camp 1



DAY 7

KAHILTNA GLACIER

Today we will rope-up in teams and pull sleds on the Kahiltna Glacier (location will be determined by the team and guides). This exercise will provide valuable practical experience in route finding, campsite selection, and camp construction. Throughout the day we will have rewarding views of the surrounding peaks, including Denali, Mt. Foraker, and Mt. Hunter.

Kahiltna Glacier



DAY 8

ICE CLIMBING & ENVIRONMENTALLY FOCUSED EXPEDITION PLANNING

Our plan is to locate a suitable crevasse and break out the ice climbing tools! A roundtable discussion of human impact in the Alaska Range and mountains worldwide is on the agenda for the afternoon. RMI has guided on Denali since 1975, and we take pride in our environmental conscientiousness.





DAY 9

KAHILTNA BASE CAMP  •  7,300' | 2,225M

Today we break camp and descend through the crevasse fields of the Kahiltna Glacier to Kahiltna Base Camp.





DAY 10

TALKEETNA  •  348' | 106M

We fly from the Kahiltna Base Camp to Talkeetna for a celebratory dinner.  Overnight in Talkeetna.



DAY 11

TRAVEL

Morning transfer to Anchorage for afternoon flights.

(Note: Return flights should be made to depart Anchorage one week after program end day to accommodate weather delays.)



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Travel Consultant

RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send an email to etravel@cox.net.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is required for this trip. Your travel insurance policy should include trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, and evacuation.

Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be confusing. For this reason, we have partnered with Ripcord Insurance because their policies are designed for adventure travel with coverages for remote activities with no altitude restrictions.

The most comprehensive coverage available is Cancel For Any Reason. This policy must be purchased within 14 days of making the first payment towards your program. While this coverage is more expensive, it allows you to cancel for any reason no less than 48 hours before your departure date and still receive a refund of up to 75% of your costs.

When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:

  • Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will refund you when canceling for a covered reason for any non-refundable cancellation fees. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
  • Make sure you purchase coverage for Cancel For Any Reason within 14 days of making the first payment towards your program.
  • Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an "Adventure" or "Sports" package to cover your activity.
  • Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.

 

RipcordRipcord Rescue Travel Insurance is travel insurance designed for adventurers, including the best evacuation and rescue services available.

Benefits are tailored for adventurers and include:

  • Rescue and evacuation from the point of illness or emergency to your home hospital of choice.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), and more.
  • Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims.
  • 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses, and military veterans.
  • Security extraction in case of unexpected dangerous and chaotic events.
  • Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) options and pre-existing condition waiver within 14 days of your initial trip deposit.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries, and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word. Whether it’s reimbursing you for a canceled trip, paying your travel medical bills, or evacuating you home in an emergency, Ripcord takes the worry out of your travel.

Getting to Talkeetna

FLIGHTS TO ALASKA

Climbers need to arrive at Anchorage International Airport (ANC) by 1:00 p.m. on Day 1 of the program. The group will meet at 1:30 p.m., Alaska Airlines domestic baggage claim, carousel #1.

If your flight cannot arrive in Anchorage before 1:00 p.m., it will be necessary to arrive a day earlier and go to the airport to meet the team.

We have found it works well to book a one-way flight to Anchorage, AK, for the beginning of your trip, then scheduling your return flight once the team returns to Talkeetna. Another option is to book a flight with a flexible return date. This works better than an open-ended ticket or missing an early return date.

SHUTTLE TO TALKEETNA

We will arrange a transfer from Anchorage to Talkeetna at 2:00 p.m. the day your program begins. Please arrive in Anchorage no later than 1:00 p.m. Talkeetna is a three-hour drive from Anchorage. If you are traveling to Talkeetna on your own, please let RMI know in advance that you will not require transportation.

Anchorage Accommodations Near the Airport

If you are arriving in Anchorage the day before your program begins, below are some hotel options close to the Anchorage Airport:

Weather

Denali's weather forecast is updated through the National Weather Service

Tipping

Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.

Resources

Mountaineering is replete with literary accounts of high adventure in Alaska. For aspiring Denali climbers, certain historical narratives, as well as how-to guide books, can prove both entertaining and educational, significantly adding to one's enjoyment of the expedition.

The list below represents some personal favorites from over three decades of guiding in Alaska. I particularly enjoy the story of the first winter ascent: Minus 148 degrees!

Whether you are challenging the West Buttress or learning crevasse rescue on the lower Kahiltna Glacier, these titles will greatly enhance your experience and appreciation of Alaska!

- Joe Horiskey

Bass, D., Wells, F., Ridgeway, R.  Seven Summits 1986

Beckey, Fred  Mount McKinley: Icy Crown of North America 1993

Bezruhka, Stephen  Altitude Illness - Prevention & Treatment 2001

Cole, Terence  The Sourdough Expedition: Stories of the Pioneer Alaskans Who Climbed Mount McKinley in  l910 1985

Davidson, Art  Minus 148: The Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley 1986

Houston, Charles  Going Higher: The Story of Man and Altitude 1987

Mason, Gen  Minus Three 1970

Michener, James A.  Alaska 1988

Moore, Terris   Mount McKinley: The Pioneer Climbs 1981

Roberts, David  The Mountain of My Fear 1968

Randall, Francis  Denali Diary: Letters from McKinley 1987

Seattle Mountaineers The Freedom of the Hills 2017

Selters, Andy  Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue 2009 (second printing)

Sherwonit, Bill  To The Top of Denali 2013 (third edition)

Sherwonit, Bill  Denali, A Literary Anthology 2000

Stuck, Hudson  The Ascent of Denali 1914

Washburn, B., Roberts, D.  Mount McKinley - The Conquest of Denali 1991

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Qualifications

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program.

  • Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
    And Then Go
    Climb A Mountain

    Create A Fitness And Training Program

    Go To Fitness Resources

Physical Fitness Training

Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina, and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For the Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier, you are preparing for:

  • Hiking and trekking with a 40-50 lb. load
  • Using core strength and flexibility to navigate uneven terrain

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.

Acclimatization

No acclimatization is necessary for this program.

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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation, and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear, and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item. Thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a good reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list carefully so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine-tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!


  • Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2020 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List

    • SLEEPING BAG

      We recommend a bag rated between 20° and 0° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If climbing in April, May, June, or September, or if you know you sleep cold, consider a 0° F bag.

    • CLOSED FOAM SLEEPING PAD

      A full-length closed cell foam pad, used in combination with the inflatable sleeping pad.

    • ICE AXE

      The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.

    • CLIMBING HARNESS

      We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat, or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.

    • CRAMPONS

      12-point adjustable steel crampons with anti-balling plates designed for general mountaineering use.

    • MECHANICAL ASCENDER (OPTIONAL)

      For practicing fixed line travel. You guides will also provide one to practice with. Most people prefer an ascender designed for their weak hand, leaving their strong hand free to hold their ice axe. For example, a right-handed person would use a left-handed ascender.

    • SNOWSHOES

      Select a short to medium length model of snowshoe- 22" is an ideal size. Team members are more often 'drafting' as opposed to actually breaking trail, so it is not necessary to have a longer pair. You will log miles of roped glacier travel while wearing snowshoes, so spend some time walking in them prior to the trip. We highly recommend models with a heel lift, which makes uphill travel significantly easier.

    • HEADLAMP NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP

      You may bring a headlamp if your trip takes place during the first two weeks of May.

    • GLACIER GLASSES

      Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.

    • GOGGLES

      Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.

    • Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

    • We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.

    • We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.

    • DOWN OR SYNTHETIC INSULATED PANTS (OPTIONAL)

      A pair of lightweight, insulated pants are ideal for extra warmth and comfort at camps, both on the glacier and on the trail.

    • MEALS & SNACKS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

    • INSULATED MUG

      Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills.

    • SPOON OR SPORK

      A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.

    • 2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

      One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).

    • 3 LARGE GARBAGE BAGS

      Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.

    • READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)
    • PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG

      Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.

    • SUNSCREEN

      We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • TRAVEL SIZE MOISTURIZER
    • EAR PLUGS
    • SLEEPING MASK
    • SPARE CONTACT LENSES/ EYEGLASSES (OPTIONAL)

      Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.

    • PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)

      Practice using this before coming on the climb!

    • PEE BOTTLE (OPTIONAL)

      One clearly-marked wide-mouth or collapsible bottle for overnight use.

    • CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

      Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.

    • SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT

      Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.

    • We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications make sense to have for remote international travel and/or high altitude climbing. At minimum, we require the following:

    • ANTIBIOTICS

      Broad spectrum antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin (500mg tablets), Metronidazole, and Azithromycin (250mg tablets).

    • ACETAZOLAMIDE (DIAMOX)

      125mg tablets for prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness.

    • TRAVEL CLOTHES

      We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.

    • SUNGLASSES
    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Be in the best shape of your life!


Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, shovels, climbing ropes, climbing anchors, and avalanche probes.

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a satellite phone for emergency contact.

Each member will have a sled for use during the program. Sleds aid in transporting loads between camps on the lower mountain.

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Meals

On the Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier, you will need 9 mountain lunches. All of your mountain lunch items should weigh 7+ lbs.

Breakfast and dinner meals on the mountain are included in your program cost. You are responsible for all meals while we are off the mountain.

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu options are available.

MOUNTAIN LUNCHES

Mountain lunches are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. To combat the loss of appetite at altitude, we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.

Recommended mountain lunch items: bagels, tortillas, crackers (Wheat Thins, Triscuits), hummus, Pringles, corn nuts, smoked almonds, roasted cashews, GORP mix (peanuts, M&M's, sunflowers seeds, raisins, etc.), smoked salmon, fresh veggies (carrots), salami, pepperoni, cheese (pepper jack, Swiss, cheddar), jerky, candy (sweet and sour varieties), chocolate bars, hard candies, energy bars (Cliff, Luna), dried fruits (apricots, pineapple, pear), and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).

Perishable food items may be purchased at a grocery store en-route to Talkeetna; you should have the bulk of lunch items already purchased and packed.

BREAKFAST

Breakfasts consist of fresh food (bagels, cream cheese), bacon and eggs, instant oatmeal, instant grits, cold cereal (granola), breakfast bars, and hot drinks.

DINNER

Nine days of group food are carried on the mountain, which can be stretched out in the event of bad weather. Additionally, a cache of emergency food is stored at Kahiltna Base Camp.

The dinner menu is a combination of fresh food (vegetables, tortillas, cheese), retort entrees (fully cooked meals packaged in sealed containers and heated in hot water), freeze-dried entrees (Mountain House or Richmoor Natural High), and packaged main course items (ramen, Lipton Rice or Noodles, macaroni and cheese). Various hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, and cider) and dessert are also provided.

Every attempt is made to assure a variety and adequate quantity.

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Payments

Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $1,250 per person secures your reservation.

  • Deposit payments of $1,250 or less may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, check from a U.S. bank, or wire transfer.

Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 90 days before the start of your program.

  • Balance payments may only be made via e-check, check from a U.S. bank or wire transfer.*
    • *Wire transfers must cover all fees charged by your bank. The amount of the incoming wire to our bank must equal the balance payment amount.
  • A payment reminder is emailed approximately three weeks before your payment due date. If your balance payment is not received 90 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.
  • Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 90 days of the departure date.

Cancellation

The $1,250 per person deposit is non-refundable.

  • All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
    • If you cancel 90 or more days before the start of your program, the $1,250 per person deposit will not be refunded.
    • If you cancel less than 90 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of these programs, and the amount of preparation time required for this program, it is unlikely that a vacant space will be filled close to the departure date. For this reason, we will strictly adhere to our policy and cannot make exceptions for any reason.

Cancellation Insurance

We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Tab for details.

Land Cost

INCLUDED

  • RMI Leadership
  • Shuttle transportation between Anchorage and Talkeetna
  • Hotel accommodations in Talkeetna for one night at the start of the trip and one night at the end of the trip*
  • Denali National Park Entrance Fee
  • Breakfast and dinner while on the mountain
  • Group equipment (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, sleds, etc.)
  • Bush pilot service between Talkeetna and Kahiltna Base Camp as stated in the itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • Airfare to Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
  • Hotel accommodations in Talkeetna not included above
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals while not on the mountain
  • Mountain lunches during the climb
  • Customary guide gratuities
  • Bush pilot fees if returning from the mountain early

* Accommodations are based on double occupancy.

Risk Management

Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rockfall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.

You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.

PARTICIPANT Responsibilities

Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Each Participant is required to share in the responsibility of the safety and success of the team. For this reason, we ask that each Participant:

  • Possess the climbing prerequisites required for this program.
  • Possess the necessary physical and mental fitness required for this program.
  • Be responsible for knowing all pre-departure information.
  • Provide a signed Physician’s Certificate stating that the Participant is medically qualified to join this program.
  • Update the RMI Office if there are any changes to your health or medical information before departure.
  • Be properly attired and equipped as outlined in the Equipment List.
  • Act in a considerate manner toward all team members and show respect for local customs, values, and traditions in the areas we travel.
  • Show respect for the environment and follow appropriate Leave No Trace practices.
  • Describe yourself, honestly and accurately, in terms of fitness, health, skills, abilities, and your equipment to your guide staff.
  • Communicate with your guide staff on the mountain if there are any changes in your medications or health.
  • Adhere to the advice of your guide staff.
  • Continue to self-assess throughout the program, measuring your fitness, health, skills, and abilities against the demands required of the program.

RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a program or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if the RMI Guide Staff determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program or for any other reason that may compromise the safety, health or well-being of the Participant or the entire group. If this decision is made, the Participant will not receive any refunds or credits and will be financially responsible for any additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to, evacuation, transportation, hotels, meals, etc.

Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions

In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines:

  • Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
  • Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the duration of the program
  • Ages 18 & above: No restrictions 

An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example, a 15-year-old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.

Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany the minor climber throughout the entirety of the program. If either climber must descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together.

A parent or legal guardian must sign for any Participant that is under 18 years of age. On behalf of any minor participant, the parent or legal guardian understands and accepts all the terms of the Program Policies.

Summit Attempt

RMI cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire group may have to turnaround without reaching the summit.

Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route conditions, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in a refund, credit, or reschedule.

General Policies

RMI’s program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, group strength, terrain, or other environmental factors, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. Once the program has started, the Lead Guide will decide on any changes to the itinerary, including ending the program early if the continuation of the program may compromise the safety, health, or well-being of the group.

We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather, route conditions, or for any other reason. In such a case, we will make every effort to reschedule the Participant on a different program date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will issue you a refund for all program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments that have been paid on your behalf to secure any of the land costs, operational expenses, or services required for this program, including but not limited to hotel accommodations, transportation and transfers, tours, group food, permits, local outfitter services, and insurance premiums prior to the cancellation of the program. Additionally, RMI cannot be responsible for any non-refundable expenses the Participant incurred in preparation for the program (i.e., airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.).

Once a program begins, there are no refunds or credits for weather-related cancellations or for programs that may end early due to weather, route conditions, or any other circumstances that may compromise the health, safety, or well-being of the group. Furthermore, if the Participant decides for any reason not to begin a program or to discontinue a program at any time, no refunds or credits will be issued. The Participant will be responsible for all additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to evacuation, transportation, hotel reservations, meals, etc.

Land Costs are provided as a package, and refunds or credits will not be issued for any unused meals, accommodations, group transportation, or other unused costs. Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those Participants occupying single accommodations either by choice or circumstance. If you are willing to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you with another same-gender team member. We will match willing same-gender team members based on the order of registration date. If we are unable to match you with another same-gender team member, a single supplement fee will be charged. The availability of single accommodations is limited in most of the hotels where we stay, and single accommodations are not available while in the mountains.

The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality services provided to the Participant by other companies in connection with the program, including but not limited to the services provided by airlines, hotels, rental cars, and transportation companies and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program. The Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with any travel delays, missed connections, or missing baggage that requires additional arrangements (separate transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, etc.) to be made on your behalf for you or your baggage to rejoin the program.

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