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Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $6800 *
    Deposit
    $1250
    Duration
    11 days
    Difficulty
    Level 3
    Type
    Skills

    *ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19. | PRICE INCLUDES ROUND-TRIP TRANSFER TO TALKEETNA, TWO NIGHTS LODGING IN TALKEETNA, BUSH PILOT, & PARK ENTRANCE FEE.

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Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland

Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland

Spend nine days in some of the most beautiful mountains on the North American continent - the Alaska Range. Basing out of "Little Switzerland" we have the perfect alpine playground for training and climbing.

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fly in a ski plane to the beautiful Pika Glacier, in the heart of North America's highest mountains.
  • Become well versed in the skills of alpine climbing in the best classroom possible: the mountains of the Alaska Range.
  • Enjoy the lighter packs and ease of travel of alpine mountaineering.
  • Enjoy our exceptional 2 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 during the program as the team makes attempts on several summits.
  • Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.

Light and fast is the mantra of the alpine mountaineer. Alpine climbing refers to a particular style of mountain climbing that involves a mixture of snow climbing, ice climbing, rock climbing, and glacier travel, where climbers generally single-carry their loads between camps, in a single push for the summit. RMI's Alaska Alpine Climbing program takes place in the ideally situated Little Switzerland climbing area in Denali National Park & Preserve. The incredible variety of terrain is ideally suited for learning alpine climbing skills, and offers numerous moderate and enjoyable climbs. Our alpine course has been designed to prepare you for guided ascents of Alpamayo, or Denali's Upper West RIb, or to enable you to lead your own adventures on other peaks.

RMI is proud to offer a 2 to 1 climber to guide ratio on this program.

Ice and rock climbing, route planning, belay and rappel skills, gear placement and multi pitch techniques are some of the skills introduced and practiced during the course. 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 student to guide ratio. While less expensive instructional programs in Alaska exist, none offer the instruction, quality, and experience of RMI.

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.

SAFETY

With over 35 years of experience of guiding on Denali alone, RMI's legacy of instruction, safety, and success in the Alaska Range is unmatched. Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focuses on leading a fun and successful program without compromising safety. Our climber-to-guide ratio is 2:1 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 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
06/22/2017
Food was great. Guides were great. The flexibility the guides showed to manage around bad weather days and keep things interesting was awesome.
Mike M.

08/17/2016
The guides and team were just fun to be around. The instruction was top notch and I'm now very competent on smaller objectives in the lower 48.
Will G.

06/12/2015
I approached this purely as a learning opportunity and considered summits just a bonus. That being said I was extremely happy that we got to climb as much as we did. This really was my first exposure to outdoor rock climbing, and I have been trad climbing locally every weekend since :)
Paul W.

05/26/2015
Great guides and scenery. I got to see the Alaska range and get some valuable experience on what is like to be in the range and trying to get technical climbs in. I think the seminar accomplished the objective in having the clients gain confidence to head out into the alpine on their own trips.
Jonathan F.

05/20/2015
I loved the friendship I developed with the guides and other members of the trip. I wouldn't trade my conversations and experiences with them for anything. The guides created such a positive atmosphere it was impossible not to enjoy it.
Taylor B.

06/20/2013
The guides were all excellent. I felt 100% safe. They instilled a sense of trust from the get-go. Absolutely fantastic trip. Saying that I'm pleased would be an understatement.
Troy M.

  • Upcoming Climbs

    Show All
  • Price
    $6800*
    Deposit
    $1250
    Duration
    11 days
    Difficulty
    Level 3
    Type
    Skills

    *ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19. | 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

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

7:00 a.m.: Team Breakfast Meeting

After a breakfast meeting we begin our training at the K2 Aviation hangar where 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 Pika Glacier in the heart of Little Switzerland, weather permitting. This spectacular scenic flight requires approximately 35 minutes, one way. Once at Little Switzerland Base Camp we build a mountain camp and kitchen and begin our alpine skills training by learning and reviewing knots, hitches and basic rope skills.



Day 3

TRAINING

At Little Switzerland Base Camp we review the foundational glacier travel skills that allow travel and access to more varied terrain. Skills reviewed 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. We spend the afternoon learning how to construct a variety of anchors for use in belaying, rappelling, crevasse rescue and rock rescue.

Evening discussions take place throughout the seminar and cover a variety of mountaineering topics such as: mountain medicine and wellness, weather, route finding and navigation, route planning, self care and the art of climbing efficiently.



Day 4

FIRST SUMMIT DAY

A moderate climbing objective is picked by the guides for the first summit attempt of the trip. We use the day of climbing to learn and discuss such skills as hazard recognition and management, route finding, terrain and running belays, and short rope techniques. Our goal is to apply these techniques on the route, have an adventurous and safe climb, and be back in camp by early afternoon. During the afternoon hours we will work on belaying skills; reviewing the basics and learning new methods for belaying a following or leading climber in an alpine setting.



Day 5

ALPINE ICE CLIMBING

Today we work on movement skills, gear placement, belaying, rappelling, and multi pitch climbing techniques needed for longer alpine ice routes.



Day 6

ALPINE ROCK CLIMBING

We spend time on the high-quality granite found near Base Camp and work on movement skills, gear placement, and anchor construction. The evening is devoted to route planning for the next day's climbing objective.



Day 7

SECOND SUMMIT DAY

A moderate climbing objective is picked by the guides for the second summit attempt of the trip. Our goal on this full day of climbing is to safely apply the skills we have learned to date.



Day 8

TRAINING

In the morning the crevasses near camp will serve as our training ground for a variety of self and team rescue scenarios. In the afternoon we review skills and prepare for the next day's student led climbs.



Day 9

PARTICIPANT-LED CLIMBS

With route plans, and our rock and ice gear in hand we head out for a day of climbing with the students taking the lead. Everyone will get a chance to be on the front of the rope, navigating through the crevasse fields, kicking steps up the snow gullies, determining the best climbing line and placing the protection.



Day 10

TRAINING

Our last morning on the glacier is comprised of packing camp and moving back to the flight staging area. We fly from the Pika Glacier 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 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 cancelled 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 pm 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 ones 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, learning crevasse rescue on the lower Kahiltna Glacier, or rock climbing in Little Switzerland, 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 individuals in excellent physical condition with previous ice and rock climbing experience. Technical ice: Level 1, minimum (Grade 3-4). Rock climbing: practical experience; comfortable following Class 5.6, minimum. Additionally, completion of a general mountaineering course and familiarity with roped glacier travel, cramponing, and ice axe arrest is required.

Qualifying Programs

Recommended experiences prior to the Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland include:

  • 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 Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland program, you are preparing for:

  • Glacier travel with a 25-40 lb load
  • 12+ hour summit days
  • Mountaineering techniques requiring 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.

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 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 closely 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 RMI2021 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 0° and -20° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If you know you sleep cold, consider a -20° F bag.

    • CLOSED FOAM SLEEPING PAD

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

    • 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

      10-point or 12-point adjustable steel crampons with anti-balling plates designed for general mountaineering use. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing also suitable.

    • 24 ' ACCESSORY CORD

      6 mm cordelette in one continuous length OR precut into two 4' sections OR two 13.5" Sterling Hollow Block sewn loops.

    • 24 ' ACCESSORY CORD

      7 mm cordelette in one continuous length OR one 240cm dyneema sling.

    • 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.

    • MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS

      An insulated, rigid mountaineering single boot is recommended. The new designs with an integrated gaiter are the most suitable for this terrain.

    • ROCK SHOE

      Comfortably sized for all day wearing (even with thin socks) rock climbing shoes are the best option.

    • 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. You may also choose to use 0.5L insulated bottle or a 0.5L nalgene.

    • 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 Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland program you will need 9 mountain lunches. All of your mountain lunch items should weigh 7+ lb.

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.

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. In order 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 man-days of food are carried on the mountain, which can be stretched in the event of bad weather. 

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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covid-19 procedures

We require that all climbers and guides be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to join our programs. You will need to upload a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccination Card into your RMI Account before you can be confirmed on the program.

We also require climbers read, sign, and agree to RMI's COVID-19 Operating Procedures and complete two Health Screenings (one 14 days before your program date and one upon arrival) in order to participate in the program.

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
  • Any expenses from COVID-19 or COVID-19 testing that causes delays or quarantine requirements such as additional lodging, food, transfers, delayed test results, etc.

* 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.

Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) does not tolerate harassment or mistreatment of our participants or employees. Inappropriate conduct under this policy may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for a participant or employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this policy.

Because the intent of this policy is to deter conduct that is unwanted, unreasonable, and demeaning, RMI may consider conduct to be in violation of the policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this policy, we will consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.

Violation of this policy may result in removal from a program, as well as refusal to provide services indefinitely. We place the utmost value on the safety of our participants and employees. Please report any incidents to RMI management.

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.

The Participant is responsible for any costs due to COVID-19, including but not limited to, any testing fees or costs associated with medical care and/or quarantine such as hotel accommodations, meals, separate transportation, 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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