/ Denali/Moun McKinley June 2014
I am planing trip to Alaska next year with Denali being the main objective.
It is not cheap but I found a Polish agency organizing it with the leader who has done couple of 8k peaks in Himalayas. Cost around 3k instead 5-6k elsewhere (UK/US)
Drop me a line if interested.
Yeah I was interviewed at he ranger station to ensure I hadn't gone with a non-authorized guided group. Those rangers take it very seriously.
Its not that much.
Accom in Anchorage and shuttle to Talkeetna
Accom in Talkeetna
Flights from Talkeetna (These guys will also sell fuel)
Food from Costco etc
Permit fee. Make sure you book in advance as per regs.
Hang on... You don't get it.
Guiding on Denali (in the USA) is very different to guiding in Europe.
You can't just rock up and flash your badge and guide your clients. The National Park Service only issues (IIRC) guiding permits to four different guiding agencies. Unless the company you are hiring has a permit it is illegal for them to guide you up the mountain. The National Park Service are pretty hot on working out illegal guided groups and will probably stop you flying into the range at all. Then your super cheap trip will look like a complete waste of money!
Why don't you just organize it yourself? My trip including flights and insurance and a bit of gear cost £2.5k. If you are fit and motivated and have a bit of Scottish Winter Hill Walking experience under your belt Denali, via the West Buttress is well within your grasp.
A while back I wrote some top tips for the West Buttress on my Blog: http://www.tomripleyclimbing.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/top-tips-for-going-light-on-denalis.html
I went up the west buttress route in May/June this year with a couple of mates. We'd hoped to do the upper west rib but weather was closing in for that. Good trip up the buttress though. Incidentally, Tom (TRip) gave me some really useful tips over the email-cheers again Tom.
I bought a lot of gear second hand and have sold it on again (baby on the way so nothing big for a few years). We used a company called "Exposure Alaska" to help organise pickup from anchorage and transport via flight at talkeetna, plus expedition food. Id recommend them: It was worth it for us as one mate's flight was delayed and without their help we would have missed our weather window with no dramatic string Orchestra moment on top...
Bit cheaper if you do it without and food is easy enough to organise in Anchorage supermarkets. I reckon it could be done for about 2.5k without buying gear.
Saw some pretty ill people up near the top. Some of whom were in guided groups. Some guided groups seemed ace, some seemed to have taken some people up with errm pretty rapid ascent profiles. Like the dude we met in a group on the summit ridge who was ataxic with HACE...guide had forgotten meds so we gave them some Dexamethasone and Acetazolamide, he got down to 17K ok. Not trying to be critical of guides as they really are experts in their field, shit happens in the mountains, but I would say its worth choosing a company carefully. We met the guides on "Mountain Trip" quite a few times on the hill: really nice totally down to earth guys, sensible ascent profile etc etc.
We had great weather for most of the trip so had some spare time in Alaska. Taking the train up to Denali National Park is really worthwhile for some wild camping: saw some grizzly, moose etc. Killer whale watching in Seward just south of Anchorage is also worthwhile.
My biggest tip is to fly with TAT. They have more planes than anyone and seemed to get people into and off the glacier quicker than the other companies.
hope that helps
I went to Denali in 2004 with a group of mates (all Chamonix based IFMGA guides). Even though we clearly were on holiday (our trip was registered with the NPS as the Chamonix Busman's Holiday) we were grilled extensively as to whether we were working or not. Since then regulations have tightened considerably, so the chance of the Polish agency you mention going under the radar are slim. It's not even guaranteed that the leader is IFMGA qualified, but even if he is it will be illegal unless they have bought into a concession holders permit, and at a cost of £3k per head that seems unlikely. I tried going through a concession holder for a client of mine a few years ago and it ended up over the £5k you mention.
As many posters have said, it's not that hard to organise yourself. I have my accounts somewhere on file, so if you need some ideas of cost, just email me via the UKC system.
Good luck. It's a great place.
> Hi Darius,
> I went to Denali in 2004 with a group of mates (all Chamonix based IFMGA guides). Even though we clearly were on holiday (our trip was registered with the NPS as the Chamonix Busman's Holiday) we were grilled extensivel
I can imaging the scene in the office -
Ranger Smith: "So, which one of you is the guide?"
Cham#1: "I am Spartacus"
AndyP: "No, I am Spartacus!"
Cham#2: "I am Spartacus"
Ranger Smith: "OK, cavity search!"
I agree with above. Dodgy guides will get found out. Organise it yourself with friends, it's an ideal objective to do that. I did it with two mates in May 2000 and it only cost a couple of thousand + airfare. Take plenty of time, less pasta, more bacon, a little single-malt and a sun hat.
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