How to get a guided mountaineering tour on America’s tallest mountain

A climb to the top of the highest mountain in the United States is thrilling in itself, but it’s also best done with an experienced guide.

Denali is the highest mountain peak not only in the United States, but in all of North America. It was once known as Mount McKinley and is considered the third most important peak on Earth – as well as the third most isolated (after Mount Everest and Aconcagua). There are more peaks to climb in this world than Mount Everest and America has some of the most rewarding and difficult in the world.

For many people, including many climbers, Denali is on life’s challenge list. It is not an easy mountain to climb but it is one of the most exhilarating. There are many mountaineering guides to make your dream come true.


What you need to know about Denali

  • Height: 20,310 feet or 6,190 meters above sea level
  • Topographic eminence: 20,194 feet or 6,155 meters
  • Topographic isolation: 4,621 miles or 7,437 kilometers

Denali is the heart of must-see Denali National Park and Preserve with its vast expanse of wilderness. The name “Denali” comes from the local Koyukon people while “Mount McKinley” was the name given by miners in support of then presidential candidate William McKinley.

The first recorded attempt to climb Denali was James Wickersham in 1903 (he failed). The first supposedly successful ascent came a few years later in 1906 by Frederick Cook – although there are questions about this and its legitimacy is questioned. The first undisputed successful ascent was in 1913 by the Hudson Stuck team, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum. The popular West Buttress Road currently in use was first started by Bradford Washburn in 1951.

  • First Confirmed Ascension: 1913

Denali is not easy to solve and all climbers will be carefully screened by mountaineering societies. This is not a business for rookies and those who are out of shape. But if you don’t have strong mountaineering skills, don’t give up. They also offer mountaineering courses to bring aspiring peaks to the experience and level of fitness they need. Complete these challenging routes and have confidence that this intimidating mountain can be successfully climbed.

  • Plan ahead: Tours to Denali tend to book quickly, plan ahead, and book early!

Related: Climbing Everest: All About The North & South Routes

RMI shipments

One of the mountaineering companies offering guided tours to the summit is RMI Shipping. They follow the road to the western buttress. This is a steady and gradual ascent over a period of a few days. They focus on a good acclimatization of the team. When climbing this route there is no vertical rock or ice climbing and the route is considered very technical. We can expect:

  • Miles of heavily icy terrain
  • Extreme temperatures and weather conditions
  • Climb and live at altitude
  • Steep (35 ° to 45 ° +) Above 15,000 feet

They have a full breakdown of their itinerary on their site. As with other guided tours, it’s booked, so get started quickly if you think you have what it takes to climb this towering mountain.

  • Cost: $ 10,700 (with a deposit of $ 2,500)
  • Duration: 21 days
  • Difficulty: Level 4

To note: All climbers must be fully vaccinated

  • Understand : Roundtrip and transfers to Talkeetna, three night accommodation, bush pilot, climbing permit and park entrance fees

Related: Why The Everest Base Camp Trek Is A Better Climb Than Everest Itself

Alpine climbs

Another option for climbing Denali is with Alpine Ascents. They are also very experienced and offer many mountain hikes. The rise of Denali is not for everyone. Being accepted into the tour requires mastery of basic mountaineering skills, as well as skills in expedition camping, cramping, snow walking, crevasse rescue, and more.

To acquire these skills, they offer their Denali Preparation Course (this course is however best for those who already have some experience). They have a selection of 6 day, 8 day, 9 day, 10 day and 13 day training courses. As it is the highest mountain on the continent, Denali should be treated with respect! For those who are not in shape or athletic, there are many other climbs that they enjoy around the world.

Alpine Ascents has guided mountaineers to Denali for 20 years and has an 87% peak success rate. They offer small groups with nine climbers and three guides. They also offer private trips for small groups.

To note: All climbers must be in excellent physical condition and well trained

  • Mount Rainier: Alpine climbs also offer climbing tours to Mount Rainier
  • Weight: Climbers should be able to carry approximately 85 pounds between the bag and the sled
  • Cost: $ 9,700.00
  • Team size: 9 climbers and 3 guides

Climbing Denali is a very proud accomplishment for those who do. It is often considered the most classic climb in North America. In fact, from base to summit, it rises to almost 18,000 feet – that’s an elevation gain not seen anywhere else in the world. No other mountain can be found this far north and rises more than 20,000 feet.

Next: Why Everyone Should Rainy Mount Rainier National Park At Least Once In Their Lifetime

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