Mt. Rainier Denali Seminar
This program is designed as an introductory skills and training seminar for persons seeking a good primer in general cold weather mountaineering skills as well as those with aspirations of greater climbs in the future. As the name implies, this is excellent base level training for a Denali expedition or other high altitude, glaciated, technical peaks. The Denali seminars climb expedition style, working their way up the mountain from camp-to-camp to put the team in position to summit, and to familiarize the group with expedition logistics. Sleds are used to haul loads to the first camp just like on Denali. The seminar teaches and reviews basic climbing skills then progresses on to more advanced training such as anchors, crevasse rescue, ice climbing, and fixed line ascension. A summit climb is attempted as conditions permit, and is used mainly as a training vehicle to learn and practice additional climbing techniques, avalanche hazard evaluation and route finding skills. The chance of summiting Mt. Rainier in early season is not high, but the potential for training during the attempt is the major goal. The majority of the seminar will be conducted at 10,000 foot Camp Muir for the best possible training on the surrounding glaciers.
Topics to be covered include:
- Expedition gear and its use
- Basic skills with ice axe and crampons
- Sled rigging and use
- Expedition camp building and maintenance
- Construction of snow caves and snow shelters
- Ascending and descending fixed ropes
- Building snow anchors and anchor systems
- Expedition glacier travel and route finding
- Crevasse rescue practice
- Lectures on high altitude medicine and prevention of cold weather injuries
- Avalanche hazard evaluation
Why Choose This Program?
This is an excellent introductory program for anyone aspiring to climb Denali or other large, glaciated, technical peaks. Unlike our normal climbs, this program is not solely focused on the summit. The primary focus is teaching valuable expedition climbing skills. The Denali Seminar offers hands-on base level instruction and training, lectures, and informal discussions in a smaller group setting. It is a great way to immerse yourself in a big mountain environment and learn through hands on practice about expedition climbing. This is invaluable training from our internationally renowned guide staff.
One fundamental aspect of the Denali Seminar is that the itinerary varies from course to course. The guides will determine the route of ascent and the course profile prior to the seminar and it will be dependent upon the weather, conditions, ability of the group, and skills they want to highlight. There is real opportunity to get away from the crowds and experience cold weather, big mountain training. The seminar progresses up the mountain establishing at least one mountain camp below Camp Muir. Sleds will be used to establish this camp and travel will be with the aid of snowshoes up to 10,000'. The group will ultimately occupy Camp Muir, from which the team will make a summit attempt, weather and conditions permitting. The guides will determine which day is most suitable to attempt the summit. Most of the days will be centered on training, skill exercises, lectures, and informal discussions at camp.
IMG provides breakfasts, dinners and hot drinks for the group on the mountain. As part of the program we provide bunk space for the first night in Ashford and a continental breakfast the next morning prior to heading up the mountain. We feel this adds a lot to the experience in terms of value, convenience, comfort and camaraderie.
Climbing with a 2:1 client-to-guide ratio provides a superior level of support and safety. Our group size is never larger than twelve (8 climbers and 4 guides). The seminar is led by one of the veteran expedition leaders from IMG's renowned staff of guides.
No previous experience is required as basic mountaineering skills are taught as part of the program. However, previous cold weather camping and overnight backpacking trips carrying up to 60 pound loads is strongly recommended. A prior climb of Rainier during the summer months or comparable training is advised. For training suggestions please review the information provided on our Training for Rainier page »