Overview:

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.

Prerequisites:

This is an intermediate level course. Participants should be familiar with snow climbing techniques, crampon use, self arrest, glacier travel, and rappelling. Completion of Mountaineering Series Level I and Mountaineering Series Level II or equivalent experience preferred.

Duration:

9 days

Meeting location:

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.

The major goal for this expedition is to have individuals walk away as more knowledgeable and skilled mountaineers.  This is the perfect expedition if you fall into any of the categories below:

  •  want to build your winter camping skill set
  •  want to experience the Alaskan wilderness
  •  want to become a more experienced mountaineer
  •  want to climb to a remarkable summit
  •  want to prepare for a large glaciated peak

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.

In-house AMGA Guide, breakfasts and dinners while on the glacier, air transport to/from the glacier, Denali National Park fees and group equipment.

Item Description Quantity Example Purchase At Rent At Equipment Type
Autoblock

This is a small sewn loop to assist in rappelling. The #1 choice on the market is the Sterling Hollowblock, or the Sterling Autoblock.

1

Sterling Auto Block

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Avalanche Beacon

Modern, digital, three-antennae beacon with fresh batteries.

1

BCA Tracker 2 or 3

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Avalanche Probe

Collapsable metal or carbon rod used to probe avalanche debris while attempting to strike a buried target.

1

BCA Stealth 300

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Avalanche Rescue Shovel

Ski specific shovel used to dig pits and avalanche rescue. A metal blade is mandatory.

1

BCA B1 Ext

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Baselayer Bottoms

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Lightweight or mid-weight are recommended.

1

Men: Rab Merino 120 Pants
Women: Rab Merino 120 Pants

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Beanie/Fleece Hat

Should cover the ears and fit under a helmet. Hats with fluff balls on top do not fit under helmets.

1

Rab Logo Beanie

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Belay/Rappel Device

Plaquette style devices with auto-block mode are ideal.

1

CAMP Piu 2

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Bowl, mug, fork/spoon

Personal utensils

1

Sea to Summit Delta Camp Set

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Climbing Harness

UIAA/CE approved; With belay loop and gear loops. The waist belt should fit over multiple layers of clothing.

1

CAMP Laser CR

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
Compass

Used for navigation and orientation. A compass with adjustable declination is preferrable.

1

Silva Ranger CLQ

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
First Aid Kit

Your guide will have an emergency First Aid Kit. You should bring a small kit including blister prevention and care products such as a role of athletic tape and Moleskin. Your kit should also contain a few Band-aids, some Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Food

Proper lunches that are prepared ahead of time are recommended (sandwich, burrito, leftover pizza, etc), along with an assortment of snack bars, gels, and/or trail mixes. Feeze-dried meals are acceptable on overnight trips, but not day trips.

1

Made in Nature, Thrive Tribe

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Gaiters

These are instrumental when wearing crampons. They protect your softshell pants from getting ripped and keep snow out of your boots.

1

RAB Latok Extreme

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Goggles

Protect your eyes and face from wind and sun burn.

1

Julbo Atlas

Julbo

Equipment
Headlamp

Load with fresh batteries. Critical for hiking before sunrise and great to have in the pack in case you are caught out after dark.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Heavyweight Waterproof Glove

This glove comes out when the winter going gets cold and wet or at higher altitudes.

1

RAB Alliance

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Hot Drinks

Coffee, tea, hot cocoa are great for warming up when it's cold outside.

1

Cusa Tea; Alpine Start Coffee

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Ice Tools

Ice tools are specifically for ice climbing and have curved shafts and more aggressive picks (different from a mountaineering axe).

2

CAMP X-Dream

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Lightweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Worn against the skin and is considered a "wicking" layer that facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin and through the layers. Hooded base layers add extra versatility.

2

Men Rab Merino 120 Long Sleeve
Women Rab Merino 120 Long Sleeve

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Lightweight Gloves

Synthetic; Thin gloves used when hiking the early morning approach. Belay gloves can suffice if full-fingered.

1

RAB Power Stretch Pro

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Lip ScreenSPF 15 or higher.

Non-SPF rated lip balms can actually increase your chances of getting burned.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Lip Balm

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Midweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Adds extra warmth and protection from the cold and wind without creating a moisture barrier as a jacket would. Having at least one base layer that is hooded adds versatility, protecting the neck and ears from cold winds.

1

Men Rab Merino 160 Hoody
Women Rab Merino 160 Long Sleeve

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Midweight Softshell Glove

This is the workhorse glove and is most often worn on warmer days when mountaineering. Softshell gloves are water-resistant and durable. They often have leather palms and fingers.

1

RAB Guide

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Mountaineering Axe

Utilized in ascending or descending snow slopes. Ideal length is variable based on terrain and height of person.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Mountaineering Boots

Waterproof, insulated, leather or synthetic boots. Two levels of boots can be appropriate depending on the season, conditions, and personal needs. These boots have rigid and semi-rigid soles so they climb rock well and are compatible with crampons. 1. Lightweight (May - October): This is a single-layer, semi-insulated, waterproof boot, such as the La Sportiva Trango Cube. 2. Mid-weight (October - June): This is a single-layer, insulated boot, such as the La Sportiva Nepal.

1

Men: Scarpa Grand DRU GTX
Women: Mont Blanc GTX WNM

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Mountaineering Crampons

Steel crampons with horizontal front points are ideal. Must be semi-rigid and compatible with your boots.

1

CAMP XLC 390

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Neck Gaiter

"Buffs" are quite versatile in their uses. They can be used as light beanies, neck warmers, and can offer face protection from the cold wind or sun.

1

BCA Neck Tube

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Pajamas

It can be nice to have something clean to change into each night for sleeping in your sleeping bag.

1 Clothing
Personal Care Items

Medications, glasses/contacts, feminine products, etc.

1 Optional
Personal Toilet Kit

At minimum, bring a small Ziploc with toilet paper. Consider bringing a travel sized package of hand-wipes. Idealy, purchase, or for free from the RMNP Backcountry office, bring a "Rest Stop." The Rest Stop, known as "Blue Bags" in the Pacific Northwest, or the "Wag Bag" in other areas, are poop-in-a-bag systems that include toilet paper and a sanitizing hand wipe.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Prussik Cord

1m of 6mm nylon accessory cord. Tech cord (kevlar, spectra) is not acceptable.

2

Sterling HollowBlock

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Rock Climbing Helmet

UIAA/CE approved; Should be large enough to fit over a beanie. Plastic helmets are more durable, but heavier. Foam helmets are lighter, but more easily damaged when carried in a pack.

1

CAMP Titan

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
Ski or Trekking Poles

Two poles, with powder baskets, are required for all skiers, splitboarders, and snowshoers. It is ideal if poles are ski-specific and collapse small enough to fit onto a pack when climbing.

1

BCA Scepter

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Sleeping Bag (0° to -30°)

Down or synthetic sleeping bag is acceptible.

1

Rab Ascent 1100

Neptune Mountaineering

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Smartphone

Great for taking photos and videos. Smartphone batteries tend to shut down in freezing temps - keep your phone in a warm inner layer. A tether is ideal in the mountains to protet against dropping your phone.

1 Optional
Snow Saw

For cutting columns during snowpack analysis

1

BCA 35cm Snow/Wood Saw

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Softshell Pants

Softshell material is stretchy, wind-proof, water-resistant, and resists abrasion. Mid-weight is recommended and light-weight pants can work for warm days. Typical thin, nylon "hiking pants" are generally not tough enough.

1

Men: Rab Vapour Rise
Women: Rab Upslope

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Softshell/Fleece Jacket

Water-resistant, windproof, yet it "breaths," which means it allows moisture to move through. Hoods are ideal. There are multiple thicknesses of Softshell jackets. A lightweight or medium-weight jacket is preferred. Fleece jackets are acceptable.

1

Men: Rab Alpha Direct
Women: Rab Alpha Direct

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sports Bra

Provides support and allows for full range of motion

1

North Face Beyond the Wall

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sun Hat

A billed hat to keep the sun at bay during the approach and descent.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sunglasses

"Wrap-Around" style sunglasses with 100% UV Protection.

1

Julbo Stunt

Julbo

Equipment
SunscreenSPF 30 or higher.

Travel size.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF 50

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Synthetic or Down Puffy Jacket

Fits over all other layers and is worn at breaks and on really cold days. Synthetic puffies are more durable, are easily laundered, and dry out quickly if wet. Down puffies are lighter weight, pack smaller, and provide exceptional warmth, but once wet, they stay wet.

1

Men: Rab Zero G
Women: Rab Electron

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Synthetic/Merino Wool Socks

Wool/Synthetic blends are great for long days on the trail. "Ski" and "Snowboard" socks are especially useful when warmth is desired.

2

Point 6 Hiking Light Crew

Point 6

Clothing
Thermos

Many ice climbers prefer to bring a thermos of hot water or soup instead of one of their water bottles.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Toe Warmers/hand Heaters

Help keep you warm on particularly cold days.

1 Optional
Toiletries

Bring enough for the trip. Toothpaste & brush, floss, deoderant, lotion, eye drops, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.

1 Optional
Trash Bag

Lining the inside of your pack with a heavy duty trash bag will keep the contents of your pack dry on rainy days.

1 Optional
Watch w/ Altimiter

An altimeter is very useful in gauging progression of altitude gain or loss when climbing, and especially when visibility is decreased due to weather. Many Altimeter watches have compasses and/or GPS tracking functions.

1

Suunto Vector; Suunto Core

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Water Bottles

1 liter bottles are the standard. Bladders such as Camelbacks and Platypus are acceptable for above freezing temps, but only in conjunction with another bottle. Bladders are not acceptable during sub freezing temps. Sports drinks are also acceptable.

2

Nalgene, Hydro Flask

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Waterproof Shell Jacket

Non-insulated, Gore-Tex, Dermizax, Event, or other waterproofing system is required. Mostly, this jacket sits in the bottom of your pack and comes out when the weather gets nasty with precipitation. This jacket should fit over all other layers.

1

Men: RAB Latok
Women: RAB Latok

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing