Day before departure: Arrivals in Talkeetna
We meet in Talkeetna for a thorough briefing and equipment check.
Day 1: Flight to Kahiltna Glacier
Today we make our registration with the National Park Office, before flying to the Kahiltna Glacier. Here we establish Base Camp and time-permitting can review camp protocols and rope skills.
Day 2: Load Carry to Camp I (2,377m/7,800ft)
Here we establish Camp I, normally reached in around 4 hours. However, we depart early to avoid excessive heat if the weather is clear.
Day 3: Kahiltna Pass Haul to Cache Gear
This is a moderate day where we cache equipment and food at 11,000 feet approx., returning to Camp I to sleep. We now begin employing a climb-high sleep-low strategy for our elevation gains to come.
Day 4: Move to Camp II (3,414m/11,200ft)
Today we take the infrastructure from our Camp I up to Camp II; moving days are tougher than haul days, but we are rewarded by a stunning sunset at Camp II.
Day 5: Cache Pick Up Day
Almost a rest day, today we descend to our gear cache at 11,000 feet and move it up to Camp II.
Day 6: Load Carry Up The Mountain
Today we move gear up to the 'Windy Corner' cache at just above 14,000 feet, a four-mile round trip.
Day 7: Move to Camp III (4,328m/14,200ft)
Another move day, with thinning air to combat. En route we pass our gear cache at 17,000 feet and take up only our camp and meals for the night. We will have to construct snow walls to protect our camp, hard work for which every bit of stamina counts.
Day 8: Cache Pick Up Day
We descend to our gear cache at 17,000 feet and move it up to Camp III today.
Day 9: Load Carry Up The Mountain
Today we move gear up to almost 17,000 feet, and if possible cache it as high up as our High Camp/Camp IV, passing en route the infamous head-wall which requires the use of ascenders. This is a really tough and technical day and we also feel the altitude.
Day 10: Rest day
Today we factor in a full rest day. Our bodies need rest by now, as well as some time to acclimatize and properly re-hydrate.
Day 11: Move to High Camp (5,243m/17,200ft)
Probably our toughest day, today we move up to Camp IV. The climbing is superb, and a true reward for the hard effort being put in! Again we must save some energy to build snow walls for our camp on arrival.
Day 12: Rest day at High Camp
This is a final rest day before our summit push, normally much appreciated by everyone.
Day 13: Summit Day
Summit Day on Denali is tough and cold and long. Guides' decisions are always made with safety as our primary concern. The summit ridge is utterly breathtaking, but we enforce a strict turnaround time.
Days 14 to 15: Descent
Our descent normally takes a couple of days, depending on team energy and motivation. We finally return to Base Camp for a well deserved celebration dinner!
Days 16 to 20: Contingency days
Day 21: Return to Talkeetna, trip ends
Weather permitting we fly out and catch a shuttle out from Talkeetna, with much to celebrate in Anchorage!