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kmehrtens

Denali Guide Services

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Anyone have any recent experience with one of the 4 or 5 guide services on Denali for the West Buttress? I am looking for one for the 2017 season and what to start my research early. I am interested if any of them offer shuttle service from Anchorage to Talkeetna other than Mountain Trip. Does anyone have any experiemce with Mountain Trip on the West Buttress?

 

Thanks in advance.

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I don't have any direct experience with the guide services, but his perspective may be helpful with what he says about guide services.

 

http://www.alanarnette.com/7summits/denalifaq.php

 

There is the Exposure Alaska company, which offers expedition support in different forms. (We used their 15 day food package). They might have some transportation support.

 

http://www.exposurealaska.com/denali.htm

 

I was on a private climb up there this past year in 2015. Personally, I was glad that we didn't go a guided trip. From our perspective, paying for a guide really is paying a lot of money for somebody to organize the logistics and to cook your food and boil water for you. Based on our time schedule, we moved up to 17k for our second summit attempt in what looked to be a small weather window between storms and our last chance. Only a few teams moved up with us, and we were able to summit. If we were on a guided trip on our time schedule, we would not have summitted. I liked being able to have control of my own destiny.

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Thanks for the info and heads up. Alan Arnette has a lot of good info and insight. Unfortunately, the "deal" I made with my wife is that I would use a guide service for Denali. Plus, living in the Midwest not a whole lot of people are interested in big mountain mountaineering; They would rather go rock climbing.

 

What made your trip more successful or comfortable? What lessons learned did you take away from the trip? What to take, what not to take, etc...?

 

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My first summit of Rainier was with RMI (www.rmiguides.com) and my leads (who also work Denali climbs) were beyond impressive plus being good people to spend time with... From other trips up that and nearby mountains, I get the feeling that's true pretty much across the board. The standard D.C. Rainier climb is a lot of hand holding but it seems like that's far less the case on Denali which is nice.

 

Given the price tag, I'd suggest calling each company up, asking for a guide and just talking through it all with them to see whose approach most fits your style.

 

And oh, it's worth noting that most guiding companies have some sort of Denali prep course they require for climbers though I'm sure the right resume can escape it. Still, it's a good chance to scout out a guide or two that you can then request / book with for your actual climb.

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Yeah understandable. I was originally looking the guide route as well until I talked a friend into going.

 

I think one big thing I would have done differently was how I should have trained a bit more. Having to dig a camp out in the cold at 17 after the climb up was one of the most exhausting things I have done.

 

-Probably with a guide service they will take care of this all, but having a meal tent I thought was worth the weight to have some place to congregate on rest or weather days.

 

-Booties are worth it

 

-I was always fighting chapped/burned lips. Lots of lip balm. The inside of my nose got fried and was irritated almost the whole trip. be vigilant about sunscreen..

 

-not sure the remedy but our fingers would swell a bit, and with the dry air, the skin would crack next to our nails. it happened to most of our team. Maybe some lotion of sorts?

 

-A steri pen cut down our snow melting times quite a bit

 

-From what I saw, the guides seem to provide pretty good food, all things considered. I think it's definitely worth taking some extra food you know you'll like, since some days that your stuck in your tent all day, having a meal your looking forward to goes a long way to boost morale. There was no such thing as too much hot chocolate.

 

Anyways, good luck to you.

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