World class mountaineering opportunities abound in Denali National Park and Preserve. Climbers from all over the globe come to test their mountaineering and wilderness survival skills, from the high altitude challenges of Mt. McKinley, the continent's highest peak, to the vertical rock and ice walls that line the Ruth Gorge.
Fees and Registration
Our goal is that you have a safe journey while climbing in the Alaska Range. All climbers attempting Mt. McKinley (20,320 feet) or Mt. Foraker (17,400 feet) must register your expedition with Denali National Park and Preserve. The strictly enforced 60-day pre-registration regulation allows mountaineering rangers to have direct contact with climbers before they arrive in Talkeetna.
In doing so, rangers are able to suggest appropriate routes for different levels of expertise and offer first-hand knowledge of conditions encountered in the Alaska Range. Those attempting Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker must also pay a special use fee of $350.00 per climber ($250 for climbers age 24 and under), in addition to the $10 park entrance fee. NOTE: Effective January 1, 2014, the mountaineering special use fee will increase based on Consumer Price Index changes. For climbers who register January 1 or thereafter, the inflation-adjusted fee for 2014 will be $360 U.S. currency. Accordingly, the reduced fee for climbers aged 24 or younger will be $260.
The special use fee offsets costs to the park related to mountaineering such as maintaining the high-altitude ranger camps, hiring seasonal staff, providing mountaineering booklets and information, and keeping the mountain environment clean.
Tools to Help Plan Your Climb
The Denali National Park and Preserve Mountaineering Booklet, available in nine languages, covers mandatory requirements, search and rescue information, clean climbing ethics, high altitude medical issues, glacier hazards, and self-sufficiency. Climbers should have a solid understanding of the extreme mental and physical stresses associated with high altitude mountaineering. Visit the Alaska Geographic Bookstore online or the Alaska Geographic Mountaineering brochure to find the mountaineering and guide books available for Denali as well as literature on high altitude climbing.
If you plan to climb with a guide, make certain that the service is authorized by Denali National Park and Preserve. Each year climbers mistakenly pay illegal guides that advertise their services. Illegal guiding is prohibited and these climbs could be cancelled at any time. If you are uncertain about a guide service, please consult our current list of authorized guide services, or contact us for verification. For assistance in planning an expedition, go to the Transportation and Support Services section which lists the authorized air taxi operators, ground transportation options, and dog sled support information. Also at that link, mountaineers can find information on rental equipment, fuel, and recommendations for radio and telephone communications.
Research in the Mountains
For those interested in conducting scientific or medical research in the mountainous or glaciated areas of Denali National Park and Preserve, consult the NPS Research Permit and Reporting System website for more information.
Please contact the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station with any additional questions. Registration and mountaineering ranger staff can be contacted by phone at (907) 733-2231, by fax at (907) 733-1465, or by email.
Our mailing address is:
Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station
PO Box 588
Talkeetna, AK 99676