Climbing Details

Climbing Season

The typical climbing season for the high mountains in the Alaska Range is mid-April through mid-July.  In the later part of July, travel on the glaciers becomes more difficult at snow bridges disappear and more crevasses are visible.

Climbing Lower Peaks

Historically, April has been found to be a great month to climb some of the lower peaks in the Alaska Range due to the cold weather and often clear conditions in the early season.

Best Chance to Summit

During the month of June, more clients will summit Denali than in any other month.  

Registering with National Park Service - 60 days in BEFORE CLIMBING DENALI AND MT. FORAKER

  1. Register with National Park Service 60 days before your intended climb.
  2. Climbers will need to pay $360 per person (or $260 for climbers aged 24 years or younger) with their registration. 
  3. Select expedition name and expedition leader to put on all paperwork.
  4. You can register online or by mailing in registration

    Talkeetna Ranger Station

    PO Box 588
    Talkeetna AK 99676 

  5. If mailing registration paperwork, mail all expedition members information at same time and put expedition name on each registration.
  6. Put expedition name on all correspondence with NPS.
  7. Contact Talkeetna Ranger Station by email ( or phone (907-733-2231) to confirm that they have received your registration.
  8. To add someone to your expedition, the expedition leader should contact the Talkeetna Ranger Station.
  9. Climbing orientation/check in is required prior to departure for base camp.  These appointments must be scheduled in advance by the expedition leader with the Talkeetna Ranger Station - or 907-733-2231.  Appointments are available from 8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., seven days a week.  Expeditions should arrive 15 minutes prior to the appointment time.  Bring photo identification when you check-in.
  10. After returning from base camp, be sure to check out with the Talkeetna Ranger Station.

Have you climbed either Mt. Foraker or Denali since 1995? 
If you have, you may be able to use the seven-day rule exemption. Check with the Talkeetna Ranger Station to see if they have you on file.

Recommended Reading

Guided Climbing Partners

K2 Aviation provides air support to both American Alpine Institute and Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated. Both are concessionaires and provide excellent service into the Alaska Range. American Alpine Institute has been flying with K2 for over 30 years.  RMI has been leading McKinley expeditions for over 35 years and flying with K2 Aviation since 2010.

American Alpine Institute -

The American Alpine Institute was founded in 1975 and since then has been dedicated to helping climbers raise their skills, protect the environments in which they climb, develop good judgment, and safely gain access to the great mountains of the world.

In its early years AAI was best known for its leadership in alpine guiding, but since the early ‘80’s, the Institute’s programming has given equal importance to rock, snow, ice, glacier, and high altitude climbing. AAI also offers nationally recognized programs in wilderness and glacier skiing, avalanche hazard assessment, and technical rescue. We offer courses, climbing trips, and expeditions throughout the year in six states and 16 countries.

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. -

Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (RMI Expeditions) is one of America's most reputable and long standing guide services with over 42 years of mountain guiding experience.  An American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) accredited guide service specializing in mountaineering expeditions, alpine climbing, trekking and ski touring programs, RMI is committed to leading  exceptional mountain adventures.

RMI is the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Mt. McKinley and has been guiding on Mt. McKinley since 1975 leading over 300 successful expeditions on the mountain. RMI leads training seminars on the Kahiltna Glacier as well as climbs of McKinley.


Mountain Coordinates

Mount Russell

11,670 ft (3557 m)
Elevation Gain 3,500 ft (1067 m)
62°47'56" N 151°52'55" W
BASE CAMP is @ 8,200' upper Yentna Glacier


20,320 ft (6193 m)
Elevation Gain via West Buttress 13,100 ft (3993 m)
63°04'10"N 151°00,27W
Base camp on the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier is @ 7,200ft (2,196 m)
Mount Foraker 17,400 ft (5,304 m)
Elevation Gain 10,200 ft (3111 m)
62°57'39"N 151°23'53"W
Base camp is @ 7,200ft (2,196 m) Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier
Mount Hunter 14,573ft (4,442 m)
Elevation gain 7,373 ft (2,249 m)
62°57'03"N 151°05'22"W
Base camp is on the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier 7,200ft (2,196 m)

Little Switzerland

(The Munchkin, North Troll, Middle Toll, South Troll, Royal Tower, Hobbit King, Hobbit's Footstool, Practice Wall, Dragon's spine, Crown Jewel, and Your Highness).
Base Camp is on the Pika Glacier 5,600 ft (1708 m)
62°41'52"N 151°12'12"W

Ruth Glacier

(Mt. Dan Beard [63°01'10"N 150°47'24"], Peak 11,300, Mt. Silver Throne, Mt. Barrill, Mt. Dickey [62°56'46"N 150 °43'20"W, The Moose's Tooth [62°58'07"N 150°36'48"W], The Eye Tooth, Sugar Tooth, Broken Tooth, Bear Tooth [62°57'51"N 150°36'22"], Wisdom Tooth, Mt. Bradley, Mt. Wake, Mt. Grosvenor, Mount Church, Hut Tower, Werewolf Tower, London Tower, and lots more.
Mountain House 5,700 ft (1739 m)
62°58'12"N 150°44'43"W
Great Gorge 5,000 ft (1525 m)
62°58'05"N 150°41'42"W
Root Canale 7,350 ft (2,242 m)
62°57'48"N 150°37'51"W

West Fork of the Ruth Glacier (Peak 11,300)

7,100 ft (2,166 m)
62°59'20"N 150°54'04"W
Denali's Northern Route (Muldrow Glacier) also Mt. Brooks and Mt. Silver Throne Elevation gain 18,200 ft (5,551 m)
Drop off in Kantishna (Wonder Lake)
1,570 ft (479 m)
63°32'25"N 150°59'32"W
Eldridge Glacier 7,200 ft (2,196 m)
63°01'09"N 150°27'51"
Back Side Glacier
(Landing at toe of Bake side Glacier on Back Side Lake)

3,000 ft (915 m)

62°59'20"N 150°54'04"W


Denali Day Hikes

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Interested in exploring Alaska?

Venture out on a Denali Day Hike.

K2 Specials

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AK residents celebrate your birthday with K2!

Happy birthday Alaskans! In your birthday month, we will offer you a percentage discount that matches your age...