|June 23, 2015 - SIGN UP|
"One of the best guided trips I have ever taken."
— Sherman A. | Read More Testimonials
Dave Hahn is a living legend in the world of American mountaineering, with fourteen successful summits of Mt. Everest, twenty summits of Mt. McKinley, and over 250 climbs of Mt. Rainier. What sets him apart is a passion for mountain guiding. He is a patient, hands-on instructor who leads by example, and loves helping people attain their climbing goals. Dave will regale the party each day with stories of his limitless outdoor exploits.
Mt. McKinley expeditions have always held a special attraction for Dave. Preferring to climb late season, he has led the RMI late-June climb for years. This Custom trip will maintain a 2 to 1 climber to guide ratio, with a maximum group size of eight climbers and four RMI guides which guarantees plenty of personal attention. A post-summit celebration dinner in Talkeetna will be hosted for the team. If Denali is on your to-do list, consider joining Dave for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Prior to making your reservation, RMI must review your climbing resume in writing. Please complete the McKinley Registration form and email or fax to our office.
We offer private expeditions on the West Buttress and West Rib routes. Please contact our office for more information. These programs require advance preparation and subject to guide availability.
RMI Expeditions is an authorized concessioner of Denali National Park and Preserve.
This expedition truly is a major undertaking. The first few days, the focus will be learning the expedition routines of glacier travel, snow camping, and working at becoming a team. Make a conscious effort to take things one-step at a time, literally. Keep a positive mental attitude - you are gradually becoming an expedition climber!
Base Camp, 7,300' is on the S.E. fork of Kahiltna Glacier, approximately 20 miles distant and 13,000' below the summit of Denali, South Peak, 20,320'. We travel roped together the entire way. Leaving Kahiltna Base, our first objective is 10,000' Kahiltna Pass, several miles of low angle glacier travel distant. Continuing to follow Kahiltna Glacier beyond the pass, the route climbs through a narrow glacial valley to Camp III, below Motorcycle Hill. Traversing a basin beneath the prow of the West Buttress, the route passes through Windy Corner and climbs to 14,000' Genet Basin. Advance Base Camp is established here. Above 15,000' fixed rope is climbed to a notch in the West Buttress (16,200'), and the ridge crest is followed to high camp at 17,200'. The summit day may require over 12 hours round-trip. Descent to Kahiltna Base takes an additional 2-3 days from 17,000'.
Day 1: TRAVEL • 348' | 106m
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 • 348' | 106m
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 the team will attend a National Park Service presentation on expedition climbing and special considerations in Denali National Park & Preserve. Afterward, the guides will go through extensive personal equipment checks. Final recommendations and suggestions concerning gear will be made at that time. The team will also work on readying group food and equipment for the glacier flight to Kahiltna Base Camp.
Preparing in Talkeetna
Day 3: FLY TO KAHILTNA BASE CAMP • 7,300' | 2,225m
After breakfast we will meet at K2 Aviation and begin shuttling members into Base Camp, weather permitting. The spectacular scenic flight requires approx. 45 minutes, one way. Fly to Base Camp 7,300'. Review of mountaineering techniques.
Flying to McKinley Base Camp
Days 4 - 19: THE EXPEDITION
We build flexibility into our itinerary to take into account considerations such as weather, route conditions, acclimatization and the strength of the climbing team. This flexibility allows us to move higher when the weather permits and climbers are ready, not just because of the need to adhere to a pre-determined schedule. Our experienced guides closely monitor climbers’ performance and acclimatization throughout the team’s ascent and may make day-to-day variations in order to better your chances of reaching the summit. Twenty-two man-days of food are carried on the mountain above Base Camp. In the event of bad weather, this amount can be stretched several additional days. Furthermore, there are emergency food rations at Base Camp, in case weather prevents the group from flying off. Expeditions average 18 days roundtrip from Base Camp. It is best to allow an entire month for total completion, including travel time from home.
When climbing is done for the day, a campsite is selected and probed for crevasses. First, the site must be leveled, and tents pitched and anchored. Snow blocks are quarried and walls built to thwart the wind in case of a storm. A group kitchen is dug and cook tent erected. A designated latrine is established. Melting snow is an endless chore in camp, accomplished in the mornings and late into the evenings. All cooking and melting is done outside - never in a tent. It is important for the group to work together when establishing camps. As an integral part of the team, a willingness to pitch in is greatly appreciated.
Day 4: BASE CAMP TO CAMP 1 • 7,800' | 2,377m
Moving to Camp 1
Day 5: CAMP 1 TO CAMP 2 • 9,600' | 2,926m
Moving to Camp 2
Day 6: CAMP 2 TO CAMP 3 • 11,200' | 3,414m
Moving to Camp 3
Day 7: ACCLIMATIZATION DAY AT CAMP 3 • 11,200' | 3,414m
Resting at Camp 3
Day 8: CAMP 3 TO CACHE (13,500') • 11,200' | 3,414m
Carrying gear above Camp 3
Day 9: CAMP 3 TO CAMP 4 • 14,200' | 4,328m
Moving to Camp 4
Day 10: CAMP 4 TO CACHE (13,500') • 14,200' | 4,328m
Carrying loads back to Camp 4
Day 11: ACCLIMATIZATION DAY AT CAMP 4 • 14,200' | 4,328m
Rest Day at Camp 4
Day 12: CAMP 4 TO CACHE(16,200' - 17,200') • 14,200' | 4,328m
Carrying gear up the fixed lines
Day 13: ACCLIMATIZATION DAY AT CAMP 4 • 14,200' | 4,328m
Resting at Camp 4
Day 15: REST DAY AT CAMP 5 • 17,200' | 5,243m
High Camp on Mt. McKinley
Day 17: CAMP 5 TO CAMP 4 • 14,200' | 4,328m
Descending from High Camp
Day 18: CAMP 4 TO CAMP 1 • 7,800' | 2,377m
Descending to Camp 1
Day 19: CAMP 1 TO BASE CAMP (fly off) • 7,300' | 2,225m
Returning to Base Camp
Mount McKinley Custom 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 -20° to -30° 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 preferred, 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. Using two sleeping bags together is not recommended.
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 12-point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot.
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.
MECHANICAL ASCENDER: For traveling on fixed ropes. 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.
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.
2 PAIR 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 six upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Three of these should be insulating layers, one light, one medium and one heavy that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.
2 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.
INSULATING LAYER - HEAVY WEIGHT: 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.
DOWN PARKA WITH ATTACHED HOOD: This item becomes of highest importance when we are faced with poor weather. This should be an expedition-style parka. The parka is worn primarily in camp, at rest breaks, and on summit day (when it is of crucial importance). When sizing a parka, allow for several layers to be worn underneath; buy it large. The parka must have an insulated hood.
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. Price is the best indicator. Though expensive, the function of footwear is of crucial importance. Select a brand's "top of the line" model and it should be sufficient for Denali. The boot needs to be roomy enough to allow for good circulation. Anticipate a sock combination when sizing them (single sock, liner and sock, or two heavy socks on each foot). The idea is to adequately fill the volume of the boot, and to insulate. Wear the boots as often as possible before the climb, to determine proper fit, comfort and performance. Intuition liners may be considered if you're looking to upgrade plastic boots for additional warmth, comfort and performance.
OVERBOOTS: 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.
5 - 6 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
DEXAMETHAZONE: For HACE.
Utensils Guides' Pick
Optional Items Guides' Pick
READING MATERIAL / JOURNAL
THERMOS: One-half liter capacity, maximum.
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 22 days. Lunch items should weigh about 20 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
Twenty-two 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 cup-o-soup 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 (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider).
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. Otherwise, it is doubtful a person could seriously deplete vitamin stores in a 3-week period.
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. Inevitably you will grow tired or even sick of certain types of foods. Thus, you need to have a wide variety of foods to have a larger "rotation" of food options.
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.
Sample of a guide's personal lunch/supplement food from a 2008 Mt. McKinley Expedition:
* 25 bars: mix of Cliff, Luna, and others
* 2 lbs of almond, dried cranberries and chocolate chip mix
* 2 packages of bagels
* 2 packages of whole wheat tortillas
* 2 blocks of cheese - pepper jack & sharp cheddar
* 1 Hickory Farms summer sausage
* 1 pepperoni stick
* 1 package Little Smokies
* 2 packs of smoked salmon
* 1 pack of turkey jerky
* 2 cans each: clams, oysters
* 1 container of peanut butter & jelly mix
* 2 packages of crackers (Chicken in a Biscuit & Wheat Thins)
* 2 cans of potato chips (Pringles)
* 2 lbs + GORP mix
* 1 box of Ginger Snaps
* 1 box of graham crackers
* 1 container of hummus
* 1 bag of carrots
* 1 package of dried mangos
* 1 bag of chocolate covered espresso beans & dried blueberries
* 25 mixed candies (lifesavers, jolly ranchers, gummy worms, sweet tarts, toffee, mints)
* 1 small container of sweet mustard
* Gatorade mix & small travel size Crystal Light packets
Our McKinley program is for adventurers in excellent physical condition who have previous glacier travel experience and are familiar with the skills needed for a cold, remote, glaciated peak. Prior completion of an RMI Expedition Skills Seminar or equivalent instruction in a mountaineering course is required for team membership.
Please submit the RMI Registration Form prior to securing your reservation.
This trip is open to individuals who possess:
- Excellent physical fitness
- Previous roped glacier experience
Formal mountaineering skills training with competency and proficiency with the following skills:
- Crampon use
- Team rope travel skills
- Knots & slings - prussik, butterfly, Münter, etc.
- Snow and ice anchors
- Crevasse rescue (from both the victim and rescuer perspectives, and considering heavy packs and sleds)
- Fixed line travel with mechanical ascenders
- Ice axe self and team arrest, with and without a backpack
- Snow camp construction
Recommended climbing experiences prior to McKinley include:
- Expedition Skills Seminars on Mt. Rainier or in Alaska.
- Previous experience at altitude (Kilimanjaro, Mexico, Ecuador, etc.). While not a substitute for the necessary skills, previous altitude is always a benefit.
Fitness for Mountaineering
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 McKinley, you are preparing for:
- Steep climbing and glacier travel with a 50-65 lb load, including sled pulling
- Strenuous physical activity for multiple hours a day for multiple consecutive days
- A 12-14+ 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.
The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual’s success on an expedition such as this.
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 the afternoon a trip is scheduled to begin. The guides and climbers form up 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 month after your arrival 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.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin requiring airlines to collect additional passenger information. This effort is part of the Secure Flight pre-screening program. TSA will require you to provide your full name, date of birth and gender as it is shown on the identification document that you plan to present at airport security check-points. You must begin making your reservations using your full name, matching exactly the ID you plan to present at the airport. Collection of your date of birth and gender will be mandatory beginning August 15th, 2009. If you submit that information at time of booking your reservation you can avoid delays at check-in. Finally, verify your name on your frequent traveler profiles. If you signed up using a name other than your name as shown on your identification, you should contact each frequent traveler program to update your name to match Secure Flight's full name requirement.
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 three nights in town: two nights before flying onto the glacier, and one night after you return from the mountain. 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 be prepared for the cost of additional meals and lodging. It is not necessary to book a room in advance for our return to Talkeetna at the end of the climb.
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.
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Waterman, Jon High Alaska 1989
Waterman, Jon Surviving Denali: Accidents 1910 - 1990
A deposit of $4,450 per person (based on a four person party or larger) along with a McKinley Registration Form is required to secure your reservation. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check. Final payment is due 120 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 120 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 $2,500 per person will be charged for cancellations made more than 120 days before departure. There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 120 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.
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
- National Park Service Cost Recovery Fee is $360 for Mt. McKinley climbers. Payable via cash or credit card only. (The fee amount is $260 for climbers ages 24 and under).
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.