Guide on Denali

  • Creator
  • #37227

    A friend of mine and I are wondering, if we would need a guide for climbing Denali?

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #37235

    Um… That’s impossible to answer, especially in an online forum. It depends on your experience level.

    A good rule of thumb is: If you have to ask, then yes you do.

    Anonymous on #37236


    What Scott Semple says is very true. More importantly: The National Park Service does not allow inexperienced climbers to go on the mountain without a guide. You will have to submit a climbing resume before they will issue your permit and you will have to undergo an extensive interview with a climbing ranger when you arrive in Talkeetna to determine if you are experienced enough and well equipped.

    However, I will tell you of my own first climb of Denali in 1976 as a 23 year old. I got together with a few friends and planned it all out ourselves. Only one of us had ever climbed a big glaciated multi-day mountain. We met once a week all winter to pack food into daily packets. Three of us drove from form Boulder Colorado in a 1960 Land Rover that had a maximum speed of 45m/hr.

    We walked the 25 miles in from Wonder Lake to the Muldrow Glacier carrying 100lb packs. We skied up the glacier on our wood skis with cable bindings pulling heavy sleds. We climbed both North and South summits one day after the other. I used my school book back pack for my summit day pack. We made it safely and drove all the way home.

    So, it all depends on how much of an adventure you are looking for. You will learn a lot by undertaking this on your own but you will probably have a better chance of success with a guide unless you have significant big mountain experience.

    I hope this helps.


    Dada on #37244

    Thanks guys!

    Good to hear that it’s possible without a guide.

    I checked the FAQs from the park service. Where I fall short is probably “Experience with winter camping in arctic type conditions”. I will talk to a couple people if they are in for a expedition in one or two years.

    Thanks guys!

    Steve House on #37410

    @Dada I’ve guided a bunch of trips on Denali on both the West Buttress and the West Rib, I think 18 or so in total. The guide services have it super dialed. There isn’t much downside to go with them except potentially bad group dynamics (equal chance of having great group dynamics too). There is always the option of going with a guide service, and once you’ve been there and seen it all, you’ll know if you want to come back with friends without a guide.

    It’s a super magical place and one of the best trips you can do. I truly love it up there and I recommend everyone climb Denali a few times in their lives! Go!

    Dada on #37839

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the awesome answer. I don’t have a problem with guides but my personal mountain ethic requires me to climb a mountain without a guide otherwise it does not count for me. So, I can do it on my own or I need to improve my skills 🙂

    I will research more into the question wether my experience as an instructor for the mountain club (since you are partly in Osttirol: German equivalent to the Austrian Instruktor Hochtouren & Skihochtouren) will be sufficient to climb Denali on my own.


Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.