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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gear List

Climbing Equipment

Ice Axe w/Leash. General mountaineering tool. Sizing is important: under 5’7” use a 60cm tool; 5’7”- 6’1” use a 65cm tool; over 6’1” use a 70cm tool. (Too short is preferable to too long). No rubberized grips-they are heavy and do not plunge well into the snow. Make sure that you have a leash that is designed for use on a glacier axe or a leash that you make from 9/16 webbing.

Crampons. With flat rather than “cookie cutter” frame rails. Your crampons should be steel, not aluminum for strength and durability. A combination heel bail/toe strap is a more universal system than a heel and toe bail system.

Climbing helmet. Must be adjustable to fit, with or without hat or balaclava on.

40ft of 6mm Accessory Cord. Intended for prussiks and other rigging. Be sure to bring one continuous piece of cord. If you already have prussiks from a previous course or climb bring the following items(seat prussik, foot prussik, pack prussik, rescue prussiks) plus an additional 10ft of cord.

Alpine Climbing Harness. Harness should fit over all clothing, have gear loops, adjustable leg loops and be reasonably comfortable to hang suspended in. Make sure you can get into the harness without having to step through any part of it.

Carabiners (4) Locking; (6) Standard. 2 pear shaped locking carabiners and 2 small screwgate locking biner; 6 standard ovals.

Ascenders (1) One right or left.

Adjustable 3 section Ski/Trekking Poles w/ Snow Baskets. Shock absorbers are not recommended.


Double Plastic Climbing Boots w/ high altitude liners. Good quality plastic shells with high altitude inner boots. Make sure that your liners are new; they will pack out over time which decreases their insulation.

Fully Insulated Overboots. Not needed with Single Boot System.

Gaiters. Required. Not needed with the Single Boot System

Wool or Synthetic Socks. 3 pair heavyweight socks to be worn over the liner socks. When layering socks, check fit over feet and inside boots.

Liner Socks. 3 pair of smooth thin wool, nylon or Capilene to be worn next to the skin. This reduces the incidence of blisters and hot-spots and makes the outer sock last longer before needing to be changed. They should fit well with your heavyweight socks.

Vapor Barrier Socks (Optional) Coated nylon recommended over neoprene as neoprene expands at high altitude.

Booties. Recommended synthetic booties.

Snowshoes. Choose an appropriate pair for you weight with pack.

Technical Clothing

Lightweight Long Underwear. 2 pair tops & bottoms, Capilene, other synthetic or wool. No Cotton. Lightweight is preferable as it is more versatile (worn single in warmer conditions and double layer for colder). Zip-T-neck tops allow more ventilation options. One set of white for intense sunny days on the glacier and one pair of dark for faster drying gives the most versatility.

Heavyweight Long Underwear. 1 pair. Expedition weight Capilene. (Alternative: one-piece suit)

Soft Shell Jacket. Mid-heavyweight. A full-zip version is easier to put on and has better ventilation than a pullover.

Soft Shell Pants. Mid-heavyweight,

Hard Shell jacket w/ hood. We recommend a waterproof breathable shell material with full front zipper, uderarm zips, and no insulation. This outer layer protects against wind and rain.

Hard Shell Pants. Waterproof, breatheable. Full length side zippers preferred because it allows easy removal of pants, 7/8th zippers allowed but is more difficult to remove pants, no short lower leg zippers allowed.

Expedition Down Parka. Must be fully baffled, have an attached, insulated hood, and go below the waist.

Down Pants or Insulated Synthetic Pant. To fit over insulation layers. Outer shell must be windproof/water resistant.


Wool/Synthetic Ski Hat. Make sure ears are covered.

Balaclavas. (1) Heavy weight, (1) Lightweight. Heavy weight must fit over light weight.

Face Mask. Suggested: Neoprene or Windstopper.

Baseball Cap or other Sun Hat. One with a good visor to shade the nose and eyes. Synthetic (quick dry)

Bandanas (2). To shade the neck.


Glacier glasses (w/ side covers or wrap around). Regular sunglasses are usually not sufficient. 100% UV, IR, high quality optical lenses designed for mountain use, must have side covers and leashes. No more than 10% light transmission. If you wear contact lenses we recommend packing a spare pair of glasses—it is a good idea to have these with “photo-gray” or equivalent light-sensitive material so they can double as emergency sunglasses. If you wear glasses we recommend prescription glacier glasses (gray or amber).

Nose Guard. Attached to glasses.

Ski Goggles, 1 pair. Dark 100% UV & IR.


Lightweight Synthetic Liner Gloves. 1 Pair. To wear alone on very sunny days for hand protection or as a layering piece with your Shell mitts.

Soft Shell Gloves. 1 Pair. This glove is usually worn alone and during times when the shell mitts would be too warm.

Shell Gloves. (Optional) 1 pair. This “ski” glove is nice to use when traveling lower on the mountain and working around camp.

Expedition Mitts. 1 pair. Should be large enough to fit lightweight Synthetic Liner Glove.

Personal Equipment

Expedition Backpack. Internal frame pack expandable to a minimum of 6,000 Keep simple and light, avoid unnecessary zippers.

Sleeping Bag. (Expedition quality rated to at least -300F). Goose down preferred over synthetic for bulk & weight. If well-cared-for a down bag will last much longer than a synthetic bag. Your bag needs to be long enough that your feet are not pressing out the foot box which will make you colder. It should be roomy enough for comfortable sleeping but snug enough for efficient heat retention.

Compression Stuff Sacks for reducing volume. For sleeping bags and down clothing.

Self-Inflating pad. One 3/4 or full length pad. Make sure to include a valve stem and patch repair kit.

Closed-Cell foam pad. One full length closed cell is recommended.

Cooking Gear: Cup: 16oz. plastic mug with lid (retains heat well and is spill-resistant in the tent).
Spoon: Good quality tough plastic (lexan).
Bowl: Deep plastic with 2-3 cup capacity with lid.

Sunscreen. SPF 40 or better, 2 small tubes. Note: Sunscreen older than 6 months loses half of its SPF rating, make sure that you have new sunscreen.

Lipscreen. SPF 30, at least 2 sticks. Make sure your lipscreen is new.

Water Bottles:(2 total) One bottle with 1 litre capacity and one bottle with 1/2 litre capacity. Bottles should be wide mouth made of copolyester (BPA free plastic). No water bag or bladder systems, they freeze or are hard to fill and no metal bottles as lips have a tendency to stick.

1 Liter Thermos.

Water Bottle holder. Fully insulated with zip opening. Neoprene “cozy” style does not provided enough insulation and is not recommended.

Pee Bottle (1 Liter). Large mouth, clearly marked water bottle. Collapsible 1 liter canteen takes up less volume than a bottle when empty.

Pee Funnel (for women). It is a good idea to practice, practice, practice.

Knife. Medium size. Keep it simple and light, needs a blade and screwdriver.

Toiletry Bag. Nothing but the basics: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Baby Wipes. Include two rolls of toilet paper.

Hand Sanitizer. Other alcohol based hand cleaners also work well. 4oz should be sufficient.

Hand warmers and Toe Warmers: Bring 3 sets of each. Toe Warmers are different that hand warmers. They are formulated to work in a lower oxygen environment, like the inside of a boot, they also burn out more quickly.

Trash Compactor bags (4). To line stuff sacks and pack. Trash Compactor bags are made from a heavier plastic.

Camera gear: Optional. Keep it simple and light. Disposable and digital cameras also work well.


Travel Clothes. Clean clothes to wear before and after the expedition in Anchorage and Talkeetna.

Large Duffel Bag w/ travel lock. (9-10,000 cu. in.) Used for transporting gear to Alaska and also used during the expedition as a sled bag. Duffle should be waterproof and have a full length zipper. No wheels or rigid/retractable handles

Small Duffel Bag. (Optional) Can be used with lock to store personal items while on the mountain.

First Aid

Small Personal First-Aid Kit. Aspirin, Moleskin, molefoam, waterproof first-aid tape, athletic tape, Band-Aids, personal medications.

Drugs/Medications/Prescriptions. Acetazolamide (Diamox) 125 or 250mg tablets for altitude sickness. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 200mg tablets for altitude headaches, sprains, aches, etc. Extra-Strength Excedrin for headaches. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 325mg tablets for stomach sensitivity.

RainOn Adventure Tech Field Kit

To minimize weight and complexity while climbing Denali, Steve will be utilizing just a single device required to tie into the RainOn Adventure Tech system: the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger unit. When activite, this will provide Steve's location about every 10 minutes.

NOTE: orientation of the SPOT device, physical surroundings, weather conditions, etc. can occasionally produce location data points that are incorrect. If you notice the location moving somewhere that doesn't make sense, it is likely an error. This is usually corrected after a few more location updates; don't panic.


Note: Due to the nature of climbing Denali, there may be delays/accelerations due to weather and guide decision-making. It is important to keep schedules slightly flexible, as we will take extra days or combine days if necessary to give everyone the best possible chance of success.

Day 1 (May 29): 8:30am Meet in Talkeetna. After introductions, orientation and final gear check we board a ski-equipped aircraft and fly to Base Camp on the S.E. Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier (7,300’). The flight to Base Camp is marvelous, presenting outstanding views of a variety of peaks including Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter and Moose’s Tooth. Upon arrival we prepare our Base Camp. (Glacier Travel review may be done on this day.)

Day 2: Glacier Travel review.

Day 3: Carry loads to Camp I (7,900’). Snowshoes may be necessary between camps on the lower part of the mountain. Double carries are sometimes made between most camps to allow for proper acclimatization and lighter load carries. (Conditions may warrant us to single carry to Camp I).

Day 4: Move to Camp I. (This may be a single carry)

Day 5: Carry loads to Camp II (10,000’), at Kahiltna Pass. This route follows the Kahiltna glacier.

Day 6: Move to Camp II.

Day 7: Carry gear to Camp III (11,500’). We turn west and ascend steep terrain. Camp III offers exquisite views and vistas of the 3,000’ rock and ice face on the edge of the West Buttress.

Day 8: Move to Camp III.

Day 9: Carry gear to Camp IV( 14,200’). We will pass around Windy Corner, which exposes stunning panoramic views of surrounding peaks and the northeast fork of Kahiltna Glacier, 4,000’ below.

Day 10: Move to Camp IV. Depending upon climbing conditions, we may spend an extra day moving gear to Camp IV. This will aid acclimatization and break up the long carry.

Day 11: Rest and acclimatize Camp IV. The upcoming ascent is the most demanding part of the climb.

Day 12: Carry loads to 16,800’. From Camp IV we ascend 1,100’ of moderate snow slopes to reach the beginning of the fixed lines. Using ascenders on the lines to self-belay, we ascend the Headwall, which consists of 900’ of 45°- 50° snow and ice. Upon reaching the crest of the West Buttress, we enter the world of the mountaintops. The climb takes on an entirely different nature as the feeling of being amongst the clouds and peaks permeates the senses.

Day 13: Rest Day at Camp IV.

Day 14: Carry and move to Camp V (17,200’). We follow an exposed ridge around Washburn’s Tower, which merges into the main massif of Denali. Camp V is established on a saddle just above Rescue Gully and overlooks 3,000’ to Camp IV.

Day 15: Rest day. Rest and prepare for the summit attempt.

Day 16: Summit Day We traverse across a steep snow face to Denali pass. From here we follow gentle slopes to reach Archdeacons Tower and a large plateau at 19,400’, known as the “football field.” From the plateau we ascend on moderate terrain to the crest of the summit ridge. From this vantage point, we look upon the immense 8,000’ South Face, with Cassin Ridge and the South Buttress in full view. As we follow an exposed ridge up the last 300’, excitement grows as we approach the top of North America.

From the summit we have a 360° view of the Alaska Range, with Mt. Hunter and Mt. Huntington to the south and Mt. Foraker to the west. These peaks, along with scores of others, mark this mountain view as one of the most impressive in the world. At the end of the day we return from the summit to spend the night at high camp.

Days 17 – 18: Return to Base Camp. From high camp we spend two days returning to Base Camp where we will board our plane and return to Talkeetna and then on to Anchorage.

Days 19 – 21: Extra Days. Extra days for inclement weather and acclimatization may be utilized at any point on the expedition.

Day 21 (June 18): Return to Talkeetna.

How to Use the Map

Once you install the plug-in, the Google Earth map at the top of this blog will automaticaly keep the currently reported postion in view. You can just leave the page open and let it do it's thing if you like. When the team is moving, the position will be updated about every 10 minutes.

However, the 3D map is fully interactive and tons of fun to play with!! Explore! You can click and drag the map left and right or in and out with your mouse or use the navigation controls that appear on the upper right side of the map:

From top to bottom, these controls allow you to:

  • (circle with the 'eye' icon) change the view from the 'camera' including spinning about the compass. Click on the 'N' to cause the map to orient North up.

  • (circle with the 'hand' icon) move the camera around - left, right, in, out (same is click and draging on the map).

  • (+ - slider) zoom in and zoom out of the map
You can also click on the placemarks for the camps (such as "Camp I") and the camera will fly to a pre-defined view for that placemark. It will also display information about that camp in a balloon window. Clicking a route segment (the line between the camps) will display information about the segement of the route, such as distance and the amount of elevation gained. The track marks can also be clicked on for more information too.

Become a navigation expert (and impress your friends) by checking out the full user documentation on Navigating in Google Earth. It's worth a look!!