The incredible scale of Alaska’s Ruth Gorge seems reminiscent of Patagonia, but with better weather. The vast glaciers and huge alpine rock faces offer breathtaking scenery and phenomenal mountaineering opportunities. The Ruth is a great place to improve your alpine climbing skills. Our Alaska Mountaineering Seminar is for climbers who want their first taste of Alaskan climbing. Designed for those with limited time off, we pack this nine-day trip full of climbing, skills training and expedition living. Participants will experience each aspect of Alaskan mountaineering – including, glacier travel and camping. This trip teaches and reinforces the skills required for climbing serious peaks around the world.
From Talkeetna, a small, historic and funky town that comes alive with climbers each summer, we board a ski plane and take a stunning flight into the Ruth Gorge. On the flight you will notice the enormous Alaskan rock faces that dominate every view. We establish base camp near the landing zone and begin training for the climbing to come. First we focus on honing our glacier travel and crevasse rescue systems, then we review and practice alpine ice techniques, route finding, avalanche assessment and rope ascension.
Day 1: Arrive in Talkeetna. We’ll then head over to the NPS office to pick up our permits. Afterwards we’ll head over to check in with the flight company, do an equipment check and introduction to the course. Hopefully we’ll have clear weather and be able to fly onto the glacier and establish base camp. This may sound like a lot but luckily we’ll have much longer daylight than down in the lower 48.
Day 2: Today we will work on various snow travel skills. We’ll cover such topics as walking as a roped team, propering walking in crampons, properly using a mountaineering axe, self arresting a fall.
Day 3: Today we’ll cover different snow anchors as well as crevasse rescue. During the crevasse rescue part of the day, we’ll cover how to pull someone else out of a crevasse as well as being able to rescue yourself out of a crevasse.
Day 4: On day four we’ll go and work on ice climbing techniques.
Day 5: Day five we’ll cover topics such as mountain navigation and sled rigging. We’ll prep for the next days summit attempt.
Day 6: Today we’ll put all the skills we learned to summit a peak. There are numerous peaks we can attempt in the area. Which one we attempt will be based on the group’s skill level and weather considerations.
Day 7: Today we’ll fly back to Talkeetna. Most individuals spend the evening there to catch the shuttle the next day.
Day 8: Built-in weather day. Having a built in weather day is super important. This day is there in case we need an extra day to get on or off the glacier.
Day 9: Travel back to Anchorage and fly home.
Note: This schedule is subject to change at the guide’s discretion due to unforeseen difficulties such as weather, illness, road conditions, etc.
This expedition starts and ends in Talkeetna, AK. Direct flights are available daily to Anchorage. From Anchorage, you can get to Talkeetna by car, rail, air, or motor-coach. If you need help making your reservations, we are happy to help. For more information on logistics and planning your arrival in Talkeetna please contact the Expedition Manager.