“Sourdough” Denali Dogsled Expedition
Join us on an ascent of Denali in the footsteps of the pioneers! This is an extremely challenging expedition that should only be considered by very fit and experienced mountaineers. For those with the proper preparation, we have little doubt this could easily be the trip of a lifetime, as we will access the remote north side of Denali in early April, and climb the route forged by the first ascentionists of what was known at the time as Mount McKinley.
The first day will be spent learning to mush a dog team with Jon Nierenberg, a professional musher and owner of Denali Dog Sled Expeditions. Jon has been mushing in the area since 1982 and in the Park since 1985. Depending on conditions, the next 4 – 6 days will be spent traveling through the northern portion of Denali National Park with climbers mushing their own teams of dogs. We will say goodbye to our sled dogs at Cache Creek and hike up McGonnagal Pass to our cache of mountain food and supplies that we transported in via dog freight earlier in the winter. From this point we will climb through the icefalls of the Muldrow Glacier and up Karstens Ridge to our high camp on the Harper Glacier. After summit day, we will descend the West Buttress Route to fly out in ski planes from the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.
Any climb of the north side of Denali is a serious undertaking. A north side climb in April is an even more serious endeavor. Using sled dog teams to get us across the tundra adds an element of authentic Alaska that is not necessarily found on most Denali expeditions. When traveling with the dog sleds, you will also have access to a heated tent, which will help ease your transition to the colder temperatures of early season. Once we start the climbing portion of the expedition, we will rely on our modern clothing systems, clear team communication, and conservative decision-making to help mitigate the cold. By traveling early in the season, we should be able to cross the McKinley River while it is still frozen and eliminate one of the most hazardous elements of a north side climb. The timing of this trip puts us on schedule to summit about the same time as will early season West Buttress expeditions.
The remote nature of this expedition requires us to be very selective in who we enlist on the team, and team size will be limited to four to six climbers and two guides. This is an expedition unlike any other on Denali and we are very excited to offer it. Please call us to inquire about specifics.