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Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $8695 *
    Deposit
    $1250
    Duration
    11 days
    Difficulty
    Level 3
    Type
    Skills

    *INCLUDES ROUND-TRIP TRANSFER TO TALKEETNA, TALKEETNA LODGING (2 NIGHTS), BUSH PILOT, & PARK ENTRANCE FEE.

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Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland

Alpine Climbing - Little Switzerland

dollar sign Price / Deposit

$8,695* / $ 1,250

Meter Difficulty

Level 3

Clock Duration

11 days

Climber on cliff Type

Skills

Add to your resume of mixed climbing, with alpine-style ascents of ice and rock on the granite spires above Pika Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve.

Jump To…

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 the 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 climber 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 50 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.

 


NPS Authorized ConcessionerAuthorized Concessioner

RMI Expeditions is an authorized concessioner of Denali National Park and Preserve. We have operated within Denali National Park and Preserve since 1975 and lead programs on Denali and the Kahiltna, Pika, and Ruth Glaciers. 

Climate Change

Offsetters

All our expeditions in Denali National Park and Preserve are 100% carbon neutral. We have acquired offsets for greenhouse gas emissions through our partnership with Ostrom Climate, Canada's top carbon management solutions provider. Their carbon offset projects undergo rigorous verification by third parties to validate that emission reductions are genuine and permanent, ensuring that our contribution is making a tangible impact.

For Alaska, our primary carbon emissions stem from several sources: the travel of all guide staff to and from Alaska, group transportation originating in Anchorage (inclusive of round-trip shuttles to Talkeetna and round-trip flights to base camp), stove fuel used on the expedition, and the transportation of gear and equipment to and from Alaska. These activities generate an estimated 35 tons of carbon annually.

By supporting this project, we effectively prevent the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated from our operations from being emitted elsewhere. These offsets are instrumental in fulfilling our sustainability objectives and advancing responsible environmental practices.

Contact Us

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 through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or [email protected].

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.

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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 [email protected].

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 challenging. When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:

  • Read the fine print.Travel Insurance will reimburse you when canceling for a covered reason for prepaid, non-refundable trip costs that you insure.  However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
  • 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), activities that go above specific elevations or 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.
  • Contact your travel protection company directly for any questions you have regarding benefits or coverage.

We have partnered with Travelex Insurance and Ripcord Insurance because they offer certain policies specifically designed for adventure travel with coverages for remote areas and activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions. 

 

For your convenience, we offer Travelex Insurance Services, Inc.(CA Agency License #0D10209) travel protection plans to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. 

For more information on the available plans visit Travelex Insurance Services or contact Travelex Insurance (800) 228-9792 and reference location number 47-0370. 

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travel Insurance is underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company; NAIC #22276.

Ripcord 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.

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

Contents
National Park Service Authorize Concessioner
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Qualifications

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition with previous climbing experience. In order to participate, each team member needs to show, at a minimum, the following skills and experience:

 

An RMI Expeditions Skills Seminar on Mt. Rainier, or in Alaska, Peru, Ecuador, or the North Cascades, or an equivalent multi-day mountaineering seminar

Familiarity with ice axe and crampon use, team rope travel skills, ice axe arrest techniques, and belaying

Participated in a basic ice climbing course, top roping ice of Grade III or greater

Comfortable following alpine ice up to 80 degrees in steepness

Comfort following 5.8 alpine rock

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

 

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.

Contents
National Park Service Authorize Concessioner
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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!


  • Whittaker Mountaineering 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.

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List

Pack & Travel

Image of DUFFEL BAG
DUFFEL BAG

100+ liter bag made of tough material with rugged zippers. This can be used as your checked bag on your flight to Alaska and to store excess gear in Talkeetna.

Guide Pick™

Image of SLED DUFFEL BAG
SLED DUFFEL BAG

A lightweight 100+ liter duffel to transport gear in your sled. This bag does not need to be waterproof. This can also be used as your second checked bag on your flight to Alaska.

Guide Pick™

Image of 30+ LITER BACKPACK
30+ LITER BACKPACK

Your backpack should be large enough to carry all of your personal gear, food and water. 

Guide Pick™

Sleeping Bag & Pad

Image of SLEEPING BAG
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.

Guide Pick™

Image of COMPRESSION STUFF SACK FOR SLEEPING BAG
COMPRESSION STUFF SACK FOR SLEEPING BAG
Guide Pick™

Image of INFLATABLE SLEEPING PAD
INFLATABLE SLEEPING PAD

A full-length inflatable pad.

Guide Pick™

Image of CLOSED FOAM SLEEPING PAD
CLOSED FOAM SLEEPING PAD

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

Guide Pick™

Technical Gear

Image of ICE TOOL
ICE TOOL

A technical ice tool for steep terrain.

Guide Pick™

Image of HYBRID ICE AXE WITH HAMMER
HYBRID ICE AXE WITH HAMMER

A 50 - 55 cm hybrid ice axe with hammer for steep terrain.

Guide Pick™

Image of ICE TOOL TETHER
ICE TOOL TETHER

An elastic tether or "umbilical cord."

Guide Pick™

Image of CLIMBING HARNESS
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.

Guide Pick™

Image of TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER
1 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER

Used for clipping into the climbing rope.

Guide Pick™

Image of LOCKING CARABINER(S)
2 LOCKING CARABINER(S)

Used for clipping into anchors, etc.

Guide Pick™

Image of NON-LOCKING CARABINER(S)
6 NON-LOCKING CARABINER(S)

Used for pack ditch loop, etc.

Guide Pick™

Image of CRAMPONS
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.

Guide Pick™

Image of AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER WITH FRESH BATTERIES
AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER WITH FRESH BATTERIES

Bring extra batteries appropriate to the duration of the climb.

Guide Pick™

Image of TREKKING POLES
TREKKING POLES

We recommend lightweight and collapsible poles with snow baskets.

Guide Pick™

Image of BELAY DEVICE
BELAY DEVICE

A tube-style belay/rappel device that can accept a variety of rope diameters.

Guide Pick™

Image of DOUBLE LENGTH SEWN NYLON SLING
DOUBLE LENGTH SEWN NYLON SLING

120 cm sewn sling ("double-length runner").

Guide Pick™

Image of ' ACCESSORY CORD
12 ' ACCESSORY CORD

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

Guide Pick™

Image of ' ACCESSORY CORD
24 ' ACCESSORY CORD

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


Image of SNOWSHOES
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.

Guide Pick™

Head

Image of HELMET
HELMET

A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet.

Guide Pick™

Image of WARM HAT
WARM HAT

Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.

Guide Pick™


Image of BUFF
BUFF

A Buff provides versitile head and neck protection. A neck gaiter is also acceptable.

Guide Pick™

HEADLAMP NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP

You may bring a headlamp if your trip takes place during the first two weeks of May.


Image of GLACIER GLASSES
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.

Guide Pick™

Image of GOGGLES
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.

Guide Pick™

Hands

Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVES
LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVES

Light weight liner or softshell gloves. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection.

Guide Pick™

Image of MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVES
MEDIUM WEIGHT GLOVES

Wind- and water-resistant, insulated mountain gloves.

Guide Pick™

Image of HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVES OR MITTENS
HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVES OR MITTENS

Wind- and water-resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency backups if you drop or lose a lighter-weight glove.

Guide Pick™

Upper Body

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, softshell, down, and synthetic options.

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT BASELAYER OR SUN HOODY
LIGHT WEIGHT BASELAYER OR SUN HOODY

Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.

Guide Pick™

Image of LIGHT WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER
LIGHT WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER

One step up in warmth and bulk from a baselayer. A technical fleece makes an ideal light weight insulating layer.

Guide Pick™

Image of MEDIUM WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER
MEDIUM WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER

A down, synthetic, or softshell hoody makes a great midlayer.

Guide Pick™

Image of HEAVY WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER
HEAVY WEIGHT INSULATING LAYER

A hooded down or synthetic jacket.

Guide Pick™

Image of RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL)
RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL)

An uninsulated, waterproof shell jacket with hood.

Guide Pick™

Image of INSULATED PARKA WITH HOOD
INSULATED PARKA WITH HOOD

Your expedition-style heavy parka should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood and be able to fit over the rest of your upper body layers. The parka is worn primarily in camp, at rest breaks, and on summit day when it is of crucial importance. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill.

Guide Pick™

Image of SPORTS BRA
SPORTS BRA

We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.

Guide Pick™

Lower Body

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.



Image of SOFTSHELL CLIMBING PANTS
SOFTSHELL CLIMBING PANTS

Softshell climbing pants can be worn in combination with a base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.

Guide Pick™

Image of RAIN PANTS WITH FULL-LENGTH SIDE ZIPPERS (HARD SHELL)
RAIN PANTS WITH FULL-LENGTH SIDE ZIPPERS (HARD SHELL)

Non-insulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and softshell climbing pants. Full side zippers or 7/8 side zippers are required so that shell pants can be put on while wearing boots and crampons.

Guide Pick™

Image of DOWN OR SYNTHETIC INSULATED PANTS (OPTIONAL)
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.

Guide Pick™

Feet

Image of MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS
MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS

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

Guide Pick™

Image of BOOTIES (OPTIONAL)
BOOTIES (OPTIONAL)

Goose down or synthetic fill. Nice option for evenings at camp.

Guide Pick™

Image of CASUAL SHOES
CASUAL SHOES

Great for traveling and wearing around town. A pair of tennis shoes or light hikers works well.

Guide Pick™

Image of ROCK SHOE
ROCK SHOE

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

Guide Pick™

Image of GAITERS
GAITERS

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. Not needed if using a boot with an integrated gaiter.

Guide Pick™

Image of PAIRS OF SOCKS
4 PAIRS 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.

Guide Pick™

First Aid & Medications

MEDICATIONS

We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications you should have for high-altitude climbing. These medications are only used in emergency situations, and if someone is showing symptoms of HAPE or HACE, our standard protocol is for immediate descent. We do not take any of these medications prophylactically, and please talk with your guide before taking medications.

We require each climber to have the following medications:


ACETAZOLAMIDE (DIAMOX)

125mg tablets for the prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness. A normal prescription is 125mg tablets, twice a day. Recommend 10 - 12 tablets.


Image of SMALL PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT
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.

Guide Pick™

Personal Items

Image of MEALS & SNACKS
MEALS & SNACKS

See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


Image of BOWL
BOWL

Packable plastic bowl. Collapsable models can work but must be handled carefully to avoid unintended collapsing. A lid is a great feature.


Image of INSULATED MUG
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.

Guide Pick™

Image of SPOON OR SPORK
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.

Guide Pick™

Image of WATER BOTTLES
2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).

Guide Pick™

Image of INSULATED WATER BOTTLE COVERS
2 - 3 INSULATED WATER BOTTLE COVERS

These help prevent freezing. It should completely cover the bottle.

Guide Pick™

Image of STUFF SACK(S)
STUFF SACK(S)

Bring as needed.

Guide Pick™

Image of LARGE GARBAGE BAGS
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.


Image of READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)
READING MATERIAL/JOURNAL (OPTIONAL)

Image of PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG
PERSONAL TOILETRIES & BAG

Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.


Image of SUNSCREEN
SUNSCREEN

We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

Guide Pick™

Image of LIP BALM
LIP BALM

We recommend SPF 15 or higher.

Guide Pick™

TRAVEL SIZE MOISTURIZER

Image of INSECT REPELLENT (OPTIONAL)
INSECT REPELLENT (OPTIONAL)

For Talkeetna.

Guide Pick™

Image of EAR PLUGS
EAR PLUGS

SPARE CONTACT LENSES/ EYEGLASSES (OPTIONAL)

Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.


SLEEPING MASK

Image of PAIRS CHEMICAL HAND WARMERS
2 PAIRS CHEMICAL HAND WARMERS
Guide Pick™

Image of PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)
PEE FUNNEL (FOR WOMEN)

Practice using this before coming on the climb!

Guide Pick™

PEE BOTTLE (OPTIONAL)

One clearly-marked wide-mouth or collapsible bottle for overnight use.

Guide Pick™

Image of CAMERA (OPTIONAL)
CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.


Image of POWER BANK (OPTIONAL)
POWER BANK (OPTIONAL)

A small power bank, enough to charge a phone or e-reader several times.

Guide Pick™

Travel Clothes

Image of TRAVEL CLOTHES
TRAVEL CLOTHES

We recommend bringing a selection of clothing to wear while traveling, site seeing and dining.  


SUNGLASSES

Pre-Trip Checklist

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, sleds, 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 Alpine Air), and packaged main course items (ramen, Lipton Rice or Noodles, macaroni and cheese). Various hot drinks (tea and cocoa) and dessert are also provided.

Every attempt is made to assure a variety and adequate quantity.

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Payments

Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $1,250 per person secures your reservation.

  • Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, 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.

Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days before the start of your program.

  • Balance payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, 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 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees will be forfeited.
  • Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 120 days of the departure date.

*There is a 3% surcharge on all credit/debit card transactions. Credit/debit cards are not accepted for payments of $10,000 or more.

Cancellation

The $1,250 per person deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.

  • All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
    • If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, the $1,250 per person deposit will not be refunded.
    • If you cancel less than 120 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, we 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

* Accommodations are based on double occupancy.

Risk Management

Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently hazardous. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering, but they cannot eliminate them.  Objective hazards include rockfall, icefall, avalanches, slides or falls by individuals and rope teams on steeper slopes, weather-related problems including cold, heat, high winds, and other unnamed dangers that can occur while climbing.

You are choosing to engage in an activity in which guided and non-guided climbers have been injured or 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 risks 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.

RMI may consider conduct to violate 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 requirements

All participants must be 18 years old at the time of registration.

Photo Release

RMI’s Photo Release outlines the terms and conditions for using your likeness in photographs, videos, or other digital media. 

I hereby grant Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) or its affiliates permission to use my likeness in a photograph, video, or other digital media (“photo”) in any and all of its publications, including web-based publications. By granting permission, you allow RMI to utilize these media for lawful purposes. 

Here are the key points:

  1. Authorization: You authorize RMI to edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, or distribute the photos.
  2. Ownership: All photos become the property of RMI and will not be returned.
  3. Compensation: You will not be compensated for these uses.
  4. Rights: RMI exclusively owns all rights to the images, videos, and recordings and to any derivative works created from them. 
  5. Waiver: You waive the right to inspect or approve printed or electronic copies.
  6. Release: You release Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. and its assigns and licensees from any claims arising from these uses, including defamation, invasion of privacy, rights of publicity, or copyright.
  7. Hold Harmless: You hold harmless, release, and forever discharge RMI or its affiliates from any and all claims, demands, and causes of action which I, my heirs, representatives, executors, administrators, or any other persons acting on my behalf or on behalf of my estate have or may have by reason of this authorization.

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, 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 incurred 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. In addition, 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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