For many, climbing Denali in Alaska is a bucket list activity. It’s the highest mountain peak in North America and has a summit elevation of 20,310 feet! Denali’s tremendous size and beauty draw climbers from around the world, and the challenging ascent rewards alpinists with an unforgettable experience. When it’s time to start your adventure, fly to Denali Base Camp, land on the glacier, and prepare to climb! Here are some things you should know before you go.
Your Guide to Denali Base Camp
How to Get There
Denali Base camp is located at 7,200 feet on Kahiltna Glacier. It’s a hub of activity, with climbers coming and going almost all hours of the day. (Over 500 climbers traverse the mountain during climbing season in May!) Talkeetna Air Taxi offers spectacular flightseeing tours over the glacier where you’ll see an almost continuous line of climbers working their way up to the summit.
Want to tackle the mountain yourself? Talkeetna Air Taxi will drop you off right at the camp. The pilot’s experience and training assure your delivery and pick up in an efficient and professional fashion. From base camp, most climbers on Denali attempt the West Buttress route which is considered the least technical way to get to the summit.
What To Expect
Climbers should be prepared for a wide range of temperatures and conditions at Denali Base Camp. The Kahiltna Glacier can experience some of the of the widest temperature swings on the planet. When the wind is calm and the sun is out, it’s hot. At higher camps, temperatures can dip below -35 degrees. Wind is the biggest danger on Denali, and climbers should be ready to fend off storms and protect their camps from windy conditions.
Equipment & Clothing
Knowing what to bring is essential to surviving the variable conditions on Denali. West Buttress expeditions average around 21 days, so a 2-3 day supply of food and fuel should be left at base camp in case weather prevents planes from landing on the glacier. Talkeetna Air Taxi also provides climbers with 125 pounds of gear to help you along your journey. They even have a bunkhouse and drying tents that you can use free of charge. Check out their climbing support page for more info.
Come Home to Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages
After a once-in-a-lifetime adventure at Denali Base Camp, treat yourself to a much-deserved getaway at Alaska Garden Gate! Our comfortable cottages, apartments, and bed and breakfast rooms are located in the heart of the Mat-Su Valley and have everything you need to relax and restore. We even offer a delicious breakfast each morning! Visit our accommodations page to see what’s available and contact us today to make your reservations. We look forward to having you!
Looking for more fun things to do?
Read our blog about the best Denali flightseeing tours!
Photo Credit: wildernessphotographs | Getty Images