Mountaineering

 
 

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Ready to test your mountaineering and wilderness skills on North America's highest peak? Or maybe you are eyeing the vertical rock and ice walls that line the Ruth Gorge. World class mountaineering and climbing options abound in Denali National Park and Preserve. Let us help you plan for a safe and successful journey in the Alaska Range.
 
Mountaineers on a glacier in a snowstorm

Photo courtesy of Menno Boermans

 

Steps to Planning a Climb on Denali or Mount Foraker

The four-page Expedition Planning Tools section is required reading for all climbers attempting Denali or Mount Foraker.

The information covers up-to-date, Denali-specific topics including the park's Search and Rescue Policy; contact information for the seven authorized mountain guide companies; cautions for solo climbers, equipment and clothing suggestions; high altitude medical problems; clean climbing requirements, and other important topics.
Registration for the 2021 mountaineering season for climbs of Denali or Mount Foraker opens January 1, 2021. Registration is now a two-step process involving (1) fee payment at the Pay.gov site and (2) email submission of the Application for Special Use Permit form linked below. Climbers attempting Denali or Mount Foraker with one of the seven authorized guide concessions should consult their guide company for payment and application guidance.

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Climbers attempting Denali or Mount Foraker must register at least 60 days prior to their start date.

This 60-day pre-registration period allows mountaineering rangers to have direct contact with climbers before they arrive in Talkeetna. Rangers can answer questions, suggest appropriate routes for different levels of expertise, and offer first-hand knowledge of conditions encountered in the Alaska Range.

There are two exceptions to the 60-day pre-registration period: (For more information, go to the Frequently Asked Questions page).
  • Mountaineers that have physically climbed on Denali or Mount Foraker since 1995 can request a "seven-day exception" to the 60-day rule and instead register 7 days in advance of the climb.
  • An expedition leader is permitted to add one new member to their team at least 30 days prior to the start date of the expedition.
Denali and Mount Foraker climbing registration is now a two-step process. Registration is not complete until each form is submitted according to instructions below.

  1. PAYMENT: Climbers must pay the permit fee using the Pay.Gov Denali NP&P Climbing Registration Form. Climbers will immediately receive an emailed receipt from Pay.Gov at the time of payment. The mountaineering special use fee is $375 U.S. currency for the 2021 season. A reduced fee of $275 will be charged for climbers aged 24 or younger as of the start date of the climb. The fee is payable via the Pay.Gov form. These funds directly offset costs such as maintaining the high altitude ranger camps, supporting ranger/volunteer patrols, providing mountaineering information, and keeping the mountain environment clean.
  2. APPLY FOR SPECIAL USE PERMIT: After submitting payment through Pay.gov, climbers must complete the Denali National Park and Preserve Application for Special Use Permit. (Climbers are strongly advised to read the accompanying Instructions for completing the standardized form as several of the fields will be confusing!) The Application form must be signed, dated and emailed to DENA_Talkeetna_ Office (at) nps.gov.

If the climb is cancelled prior to January 15 of the year in which the climb is scheduled, all but $100 of the fee will be refunded (i.e. $275 for adults; $175 for youth in 2021). No refunds will be issued for cancellations after January 15, including COVID-related reasons, nor can the registration fee be applied to a future season. Be advised that if either the climber or the park cancels due to pandemic complications or travel restrictions, refunds will not be issued. We highly suggest trip insurance to cover any potential cancellations.

In addition to the special use fee, climbers must pay the Denali National Park entrance fee of $15 per individual. This park entrance fee should be paid prior to the team's arrival in Talkeetna using the Pay.Gov form Denali NPP Weekly Entrance Fee. Teams are encouraged to bring their Pay.Gov receipts or email confirmation for proof of purchase. Interagency passes are accepted in lieu of entrance fee payment (actual passes must be presented).
All climbers are required to attend an in-person climber orientation at the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, including those teams beginning their climb on the north side of the Alaska Range. Expedition members must check in and attend the orientation together. Expedition members will be required to provide government issued photo identification, such as a driver's license or passport.

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all climber orientations during the 2021 season will be conducted in a sheltered area outdoors next to the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station. Three orientation times will be available each day (8:30 AM, 10:00 AM, and 3:00 PM), with a limited number of climbing teams in attendance. Orientation times will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis by ranger station staff, and teams are advised to remain flexible. When a Team Leader has paid their registration fee at Pay.gov AND submitted a signed Application for Special Use Permit, they will receive an email with their assigned orientation date and time based on the preferred start date listed on the Application for Special Use Permit. Other team members do not need to wait until the leader receives this email notification to register.

Expedition Registration is considered COMPLETE when:
  1. The Team Leader has paid their registration fee at Pay.gov, submitted a signed Application for Special Use Permit, and received their assigned orientation date and time, and
  2. All other Team Members have paid their registration fee on Pay.gov, and submitted a signed Application for Special Use Permit.
The Team Leader will be notified by email when all Team Member registration fees have been paid, all Application for Special Use Permit forms have been received, and the ranger review process is completed.

Climbers with a permit for either Denali or Mount Foraker are subject to the current Terms and Conditions. Denali National Park and Preserve reserves the right to revoke a climbing permit in the event of a violation of these terms.
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) About Mountaineering


Denali climbing rangers have created a helpful list of Frequently Asked Questions to use as a resource in planning your expedition.

Backcountry Climbing and Mountaineering


The Alaska Range offers an amazing variety of remote climbing and backcountry skiing opportunities. The Backcountry Climbing and Mountaineering section currently offers basic trip planning information.

Denali Weather Links

 

Historical Mountaineering Information

Other Helpful Reading

Contact Us


Registration and mountaineering ranger staff are available year-round at the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station to answer your questions. Contact ranger staff by E-mail, or: Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station PO Box 588 Talkeetna, AK 99676 (907) 733-2231 (phone) (907) 733-1465 (fax)
 

Last updated: December 23, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755

Phone:

(907) 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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