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"What is most impressive about RMI is that the guides are very knowledgeable and professional, but also very personable and care about every climber's experience."
— Dave L. | Read More Testimonials
Spend over a week in some of the most beautiful mountains on the North American continent - the Alaska Range; becoming comfortable navigating it's intricate crevasse fields, exposed ridges, and managing the elements of the mountains on RMI's Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition. Highlights Include:
- Fly in a ski plane to Denali's Base Camp on the massive Kahiltna Glacier, in the heart of 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.
- Put your new skills to test on a summit climb of Kahiltna Dome, rising to an elevation of 12,525’ above Kahiltna Glacier.
- Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.
RMI's Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition takes place on one of the largest glaciers in Denali National Park, 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 has been designed to prepare you for guided ascents of McKinley 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. An ascent of 12,525’ Kahiltna Dome will provide invaluable practical experience.
RMI is proud to offer a 3 to 1 climber to guide ratio on our Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition. Our experienced guides offer extensive personal instruction through the course, from the teaching of fundamental climbing knots to instruction and guidance during the climbs. Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. is committed to a safe, fun, and educational program and these goals are best achieved with a low student to guide ratio. While less expensive instructional programs in Alaska exist, none offer the instruction, quality, and experience of RMI.
Successful completion of the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition 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 Mt. McKinley 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 35 years of experience of guiding on Mt. McKinley alone, RMI's legacy of instruction, safety, and success in the Alaska Range is unmatched. Our Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition 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 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 thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RMI Expeditions is an authorized concessioner of Denali National Park and Preserve.
Day 1: TRAVEL
4:00 p.m.: Meet the guides at Anchorage International Airport (Domestic Terminal), carousel 1 in Alaska Airlines baggage claim.
Shuttle transportation to Talkeetna is arranged by RMI (please see Travel Details). The shuttle leaves at 4:30 p.m. and it is a three-hour drive to 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 (cheese, salami, etc). The team will arrive in Talkeetna at approximately 9:00 p.m. Participants need overnight accommodations for that night and the following night. Guides, and most RMI climbers, stay at the Talkeetna Motel (please see Travel Details).
Day 2: PRE-TRIP PREPARATION AND TRAINING
7:00 a.m.: Meet at The Roadhouse Restaurant, Talkeetna, AK
There are a number of important items to accomplish in Talkeetna. After a 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.
Flying to Base Camp
The following seminar itinerary is approximate and depends on such considerations as weather, route conditions and strength of the party. Eight 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. It is best to purchase an airline ticket booked to depart Anchorage one week after the seminar's end date. When you return to Anchorage, you can then reschedule your flight.
Day 3: BASE CAMP TRAINING • 7,300'
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.
Training at Base Camp
Day 4: FIRST SUMMIT DAY
Our first summit day. A moderate climbing objective will be picked by the guides for the first summit attempt of the trip. Our goal is to apply the techniques we have learned up to this point, have an adventurous and safe climb, and be back in camp by early evening.
First Summit Day
Day 5: TRAINING • 7,300'
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 crevasse rescue. 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: BASE CAMP TO CAMP 1
With our technical training accomplished, our focus shifts toward gaining practical experience on one of the many nearby peaks. Potential objectives include: Mt. Crosson (12,352'), Mt. Francis (10,450'), or Kahiltna Dome (12,525'). 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.
Day 7: KAHILTNA GLACIER
Depending on our selected route and our climbing goals, this day may include moving camp to a different location, reconnoitering a potential climbing route, additional training or perhaps even a summit bid.
Views of the Kahiltna
Day 8: SUMMIT DAY
The high point of the trip! Our summit objective will be an exciting, all-day climb, with the rewarding view of the surrounding peaks of Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker and Mt. Hunter. We descend to our high camp for the night.
Second Summit Day
Day 9: RETURN TO KAHILTNA BASE CAMP • 7,300'
Today we break camp and descend through the crevasse fields of the Kahiltna Glacier to Kahiltna Base Camp.
Returning to Base Camp
Day 10: TRAINING (fly off)
We fly from the Kahiltna Base Camp to Talkeetna for a celebratory dinner. Participants need overnight accommodations 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.)
Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition Equipment List
The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.
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. This offer excludes sale items. For internet orders, please use the discount code RMI2015.
Pack & Bag Guides' Pick
DUFFEL BAG: A 100+ liter bag made of tough material with rugged zippers. This duffel will be used on the mountain to transport gear in your sled.
BACKPACK: A 90+ liter pack is the recommended size for this climb. Your pack must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and group load (kitchen equipment). A separate summit pack isn't necessary.
A bag rated to 0° F. Either goose down or synthetic, with ample room for movement. Most guides prefer down, because it is lightweight and compactable. A waterproof bag is superb, but not mandatory.
The temperature rating system for sleeping bags is arbitrary and is not a guarantee of warmth. Base your selection on how well you do in the cold. If you tend to sleep on the cold side, choose a bag rated on the lower end of the temperature range.
SLEEPING PAD - INFLATABLE: A full-length inflatable pad.
SLEEPING PAD - CLOSED FOAM: A second full-length or 3/4 length closed cell foam pad. This pad is used in combination with the first sleeping pad.
Technical Gear Guides' Pick
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.
1 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for clipping into the climbing rope.
2 SCREW-GATE LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for clipping into anchors, etc.
HELMET: A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets are designed for a different type of impact and will not substitute as a climbing helmet.
CRAMPONS: The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER: A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.
TREKKING POLES: Lightweight and collapsible poles are preferred. Larger baskets work well with deep snow. Ski poles will also work.
Two 60 cm 'single-length' pre-sewn slings.
Two 120 cm 'double-length' pre-sewn slings.
10' of nylon accessory cord for miscellaneous lashing.
Four bungee cords (approximately 12” – 18” each).
20' of 6mm perlon cord for miscellaneous use.
SNOWSHOES: Select a short to medium length model of snowshoe. The 22" model and the optional heel lift work well for most climbers. Team members are more often 'drafting' as opposed to actually breaking trail, so it is not necessary to have a longer pair. The 'shoes should have an attached claw or crampon for better purchase. Miles of roped glacier travel will be logged wearing snowshoes. It is recommended to spend some time walking in them prior to the trip.
Head Guides' Pick
WARM HAT: Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.
BUFF / NECK GAITER / BALACLAVA: One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.
GLACIER GLASSES: You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.
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.
HEADLAMP IS NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP
Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.
LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVE: One pair of fleece, soft-shell or wind-stopper gloves.
MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVE: Wind/water resistant, insulated mountain gloves.
HEAVY WEIGHT INSULATED GLOVE OR MITTEN: Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.
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.
LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.
DOWN OR SYNTHETIC INSULATED JACKET: A hooded down or synthetic jacket.
RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL): A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood. We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket.
INSULATED PARKA with HOOD: This expedition-style heavy parka should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill as down weighs less. The parka does not have to be waterproof, though that is a nice feature.
HIKING SHIRT: Lightweight, synthetic shirt with either long or short sleeves. The long sleeve is preferred for sun/bug protection.
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.
1 - 3 PAIR UNDERWEAR: Non-cotton briefs or boxers.
LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Synthetic or wool.
CLIMBING PANT: Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.
RAIN PANT (HARD SHELL): A waterproof pant with 3/4 side zippers (sometimes called 7/8 or full side zips) are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.
SYNTHETIC INSULATED PANT: A synthetic primaloft pant.
Feet Guides' Pick
MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: Expedition-style double boot, with high altitude expedition-style inner boot is mandatory.
OVERBOOTS (OPTIONAL): Expedition overboots add significant warmth, especially at high altitude. All-in-one mountaineering boots do not need the added insulation of overboots.
BOOTIES: Goose down or synthetic fill. Booties can be worn inside of the overboots while walking around camp, which allows an opportunity to dry out inner boots.
GAITERS: We recommend a knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampon spikes on loose clothing.
4 PAIR OF SOCKS: Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc), should work just fine for this climb.
Miscellaneous Items Guides' Pick
SUNSCREEN: We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
MEALS: See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES: Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required.
2 - 3 INSULATED WATER BOTTLE COVERS: These help prevent freezing. It should completely cover the bottle.
3 GARBAGE BAGS (LARGE): We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.
ALKALINE BATTERIES: For avalanche transceiver.
PEE BOTTLE: 1 to 1 1/2 quart size
Personal First Aid Kit
ASPRIN / IBUPROFEN / TYLENOL
PEPTO-BISMOL (STOMACH RELIEF)
SMALL ROLL OF ADHESIVE TAPE
ANTIBIOTICS: Broad spectrum antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea.
TYLENOL #3: Tylenol 3 for pain
ACETAZOLAMIDE: For Altitude Illness
Utensils Guides' Pick
READING MATERIAL / JOURNAL
MOSQUITO REPELLENT: For Talkeetna.
Purchase travel insurance.
Return the Registration Packet to the RMI Office.
Arrange Lodging in Talkeetna.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Arrange Transportation to Talkeetna.
Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!
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.
On the expedition you will need lunch snacks for nine days. Lunch items should weigh about 7+ lbs. Breakfasts and dinners are provided by RMI while on the mountain.
Special Dietary Needs: Expedition food is packed well in advance. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know at the time of reservation.
Breakfasts and Dinners
Nine man-days of food are carried on the mountain, which can be stretched in the event of bad weather. Additionally, a cache of emergency food is left 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 (Mountain House or Richmoor Natural High), and packaged main-course items (Ramen, Lipton Rice or Noodles, Macaroni & Cheese). There is also a supplement (mashed potatoes, rice, stuffing), soups and various hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider), and dessert. Every attempt is made to assure a variety and adequate quantity.
Breakfasts consist of fresh food (bagels, cream cheese), bacon and eggs, instant oatmeal, instant grits, cold cereal (granola), breakfast bars, and hot drinks.
Properly taking care of oneself on the expedition begins with eating and drinking adequate amounts. Dehydration is always a concern; inadequate fluid intake can contribute to frostbite and other medical problems. It is recommended to drink 4-5 liters per day at altitude.
Finally, the question of vitamins always comes up. If vitamins are a part of your regular diet, then we recommend bringing those vitamins on the mountain.
The importance of bringing lunch foods that you genuinely enjoy cannot be overstated. Good food is the key to maintaining health and happiness on long expeditions. It is necessary to have foods that stimulate the whole palate in order to combat loss of appetite at altitude. Cover the whole range of taste buds from sweet to sour to salty. The Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition will provide the opportunity to experiment with food options and discover what will work best for you on extended expeditions.
In addition to supplying your body with nourishment, food is perhaps the best means for maintaining a positive mental attitude on long expeditions. The mental aspect of mountaineering is possibly the greatest challenge we face as climbers. Anybody can train physically, given enough time, but it is more difficult to prepare for the mental ordeal of waiting for the weather to clear. On poor weather days you will find that having an interesting variety of goodies in your food bag may be the difference between a mental annoyance and mental torture. Besides keeping yourself mentally healthy, a diverse food supply earns you fast friends as you barter with tent mates for savory snacks.
Take care while shopping for your lunch snacks. Don't wait for the last minute. Make a list in advance, and add to it as you generate and remember more ideas. Try to shop at stores that offer a large variety of gourmet and specialty foods, as well as your old, stand-by favorites. Keep in mind that, for the most part, McKinley stays cold enough to preserve perishable food for weeks.
Personal lunch suggestions: bagels, tortillas, crackers (Wheat Thins, Triscuits), hummus, Pringles, corn nuts, smoked almonds, roasted cashews, GORP mix (peanuts, M&M's, sunflower seeds, raisins), smoked salmon, fresh veggies (carrots), salami, pepperoni, cheese (pepper jack, Swiss, cheddar), jerky, candy variety (sweet, sour), chocolate bars, hard candies, energy bars (Cliff, Luna), dried fruits (apricots, pineapple, pear), drink mix (Kool Aid, Crystal Light). Perishable food items may be purchased at a grocery store en-route to Talkeetna, but you should have the bulk of lunch items already purchased and packed.
This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program.
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 this Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition, you are preparing for:
- Glacier travel with a 50-60 lb load, including sled-pulling
- A 12+ hour summit day
- Mountaineering techniques which require core strength and flexibility
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.
No acclimatization is necessary for this program.
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide our clients with comprehensive travel support. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure traveler's across the globe. We have been working with Erin for the last 8 years, and she is very knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or email at email@example.com.
RMI guides arrive in Anchorage in the afternoon of Day 1. The guides and climbers meet at 4:00 p.m., Alaska Airlines domestic baggage claim, carousel #1. When arranging transportation, if your flight cannot arrive in Alaska before 3:30 p.m. it will be necessary to arrive a day earlier, and go to the airport to meet the team.
Airfare should be booked to depart Anchorage one week after the program's end date. When you return to Anchorage, you can reschedule your return flight at the ticket counter or over the phone. Depending on the airline, a change of date penalty is usually charged at this time. We have found scheduling a future date usually works better than an open-ended ticket or missing an early return date.
We strongly encourage everyone to purchase travel insurance which can cover trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation, and more. Travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or when traveling. Note that many of the insurance options can be purchased under one policy but some coverage may only be available if purchased within 14 days of making your trip deposit or if purchased as an upgrade to an existing policy rather than as a stand-alone option.
Cancellation Insurance: Cancellation insurance offers protection of deposit and registration funds should you need to cancel from a program. This might be due to an injury during training, a personal illness, or it might be due to extenuating circumstances, such as family emergencies. Policies are determined based upon your home state, check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including adventure/sports coverage*.
*Adventure/Sports Coverage: Most standard policies do not cover climbing or mountaineering. You can purchase Adventure/Sports Coverage as an upgrade to a standard policy. Please be sure to check with your provider and their description of coverage to make sure the policy you are purchasing provides you with adequate protection.
For more information please visit one of the websites below, or contact your local travel agent.
|AIG Travel Guard||Erin Rountree|
Getting to Talkeetna
Talkeetna is a three-hour drive from Anchorage. We will arrange a transfer from Anchorage to Talkeetna at 4:30 p.m. the day your program begins. If you wish to join this transfer, please arrive in Anchorage no later than 3:30 p.m. The shuttle price is $180 per person round-trip. We recommend contacting Denali Overland Transport to make your reservation and payment in advance. Please contact (907) 733-2384 with credit card information and the date of your program. If you are traveling to Talkeetna on your own, please let RMI know in advance that you will not require transportation.
You will need to arrange overnight accommodations prior to arriving in Talkeetna, we suggest reserving rooms three months prior to your expedition. Programs usually require a total of two nights in Talkeetna. Weather and flying conditions can change the number of days spent in Talkeetna. In the event bad weather prevents us flying to the mountain on schedule, you should have extra money for meals and lodging in Talkeetna. It is not necessary to book a room in advance for our return to Talkeetna at the end of the climb.
There are several different options for lodging in Talkeetna with something to fit every comfort level. The Talkeetna Motel is where our guides stay while in town and there is a discount for RMI climbers. Please contact (907) 733-2323 (no email) with the date of your program and credit card information to hold the room. Please note that the Talkeetna Motel cannot guarantee single rooms during the busiest part of their season. The motel staff will assist you in booking a room with another team member upon your arrival.
Talkeetna Area Accommodations:
|Talkeetna Motel||(907) 733-2323|
|Talkeetna Roadhouse||(907) 733-1351|
|Latitude 62 Motel||(907) 733-2262|
Mt. McKinley's weather forecast is updated through the National Weather Service
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.
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, Gene Minus Three 1970
Michener, James A. Alaska 1988
Moore, Terris Mount McKinley: The Pioneer Climbs 1981
Randall, Francis Denali Diary: Letters from McKinley 1987
Selters, Andy Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue 1990
Sherwonit, Bill To The Top of Denali 1990
Sherwonit, Bill Denali: The Complete Guide 2002
Snyder, Howard The Hall of the Mountain King 1973
Stuck, Hudson The Ascent of Denali 1914
Washburn, B., Roberts, D. Mount McKinley - The Conquest of Denali 1991
Waterman, Jon High Alaska 1989
Waterman, Jon Surviving Denali: Accidents 1910 - 1990
A deposit of $750 per person is required to secure your reservation. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check. Final payment is due 90 days prior to the start of your program. We will send a payment reminder approximately three weeks before your payment is due. Trips departing within 90 days from the reservation date must be paid in full at the time of reservation. Please note that credit cards are not accepted for balance payment; check or wire transfer only.
Once we receive written notification (mail, e-mail, or fax) that you are canceling an individual participant or your entire trip the following fees will apply. A fee of $350 per person will be charged for cancellations made more than 90 days before departure. There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 90 days before your program. Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy. Registration monies cannot be carried forward to future years.
Cancellation Insurance: We strongly suggest that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.
Change of Date
Date changes are subject to availability and apply only to the current climbing season. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 60 days prior to your departure date. A $200 fee will be charged per person for all date changes made more than 60 days prior to the program.
The current fee includes:
- RMI Leadership
- Breakfast and dinner while on the mountain
- Group equipment (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, sleds, etc.)
- Bush pilot service between Talkeetna and base camp*
*If you depart the trip early you may be subject to additional bush pilot fees.
The fee does not include:
- Airfare to Alaska
- Ground transportation between Anchorage and Talkeetna (however, this will be arranged by RMI)
- Accommodations and meals while not on the mountain
- Lunch during the climb
- Customary guide gratuities
Safety is RMI's number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them. RMI guides draw from their wealth of experience and training to make sound decisions that improve your chance of reaching the summit without compromising the necessary margin of safety.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. 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.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Some of the responsibility for the team is carried by the individual climbers. For this reason, we ask that each participant:
- is physically and mentally fit, properly attired and equipped, and continues to self assess throughout the program to ensure as safe a climb as possible. If a climber's own physical fitness limits his or her ability to safely continue upward, that can have a negative impact on the summit experience or opportunity of other climb participants.
- honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their professional mountain guide.
Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions
In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines and restrictions on all climbing programs, domestic and international.
- Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
- Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by parent or legal guardian
- 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.
Accompaniment by parent or legal guardian is required for the program or climb.
Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.
RMI's program plans and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, a full refund is given; however, RMI cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).
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 party may have to turn around 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, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.'s responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.
If the Participant decides to leave a trip at any time after the start of the trip and prior to its conclusion, he or she will not be entitled to a refund.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if RMI determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.