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Gannett and Rainier as Denali prep objectives

Original Post
Lauren Burgess · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 10

Looking into trying to tackle Gannett and Rainier (hopefully unguided if I can wrangle together a few experienced partners) next summer to bolster experience for a 2019 Denali attempt - Gannett possibly in late spring / early summer and Rainier (maybe the Emmons route) in July, permit / conditions / etc dependent. Any thoughts on those being reasonable midway training goals (on the two year plan) and using Gannett as practice for Rainier?

(For context, I've already done a weeklong midwinter Denali prep course on Rainier. I ski, climb rock, ice & mixed, & do multi-day backcountry trips. Have practiced crevasse rescue skills but don't have experience yet on glaciers in summer).

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 322

Rainier is a lot of a shorter climb than Denali - most people will climb the Emmons or DC in 2 days.  If you really want to have a training experience, you probably should consider spending 5-7 days out there in the spring.

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 65

Most people around here try and do a guided winter trip up rainier for Denali prep

Kevin Bradford · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 149

Gannett in May or June would be a great trip to get you ready for Denali. Using Gannett as practice for Rainier might be a little backwards, as Chris said above Rainier is a 2 day climb. Gannett can be a 2 day approach, depending on what roads have been plowed at that point in the year. Snow camping, weather and heavy load hauling is probably the crux of a Denali climb, so maybe spending a week in the cascades like Chris mentioned is more of a warm up for Denali than a summer climb up the Emmons. 

Lauren Burgess · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 10

Thanks for the helpful input! I took a weeklong Denali prep course this past winter, snowshoeing and hauling a sled and building camps etc in the bad weather & heavy snows on Rainier in February, and for next summer I'm more specifically looking for someplace to practice group travel in (more open than midwinter) crevassed terrain. I know Gannett is a longer climb because of the approach, but I live closer to the Winds, and so would have some more flexibility with spring conditions (and required permitting or lack thereof) in Wyoming than with a later summer attempt on Rainier. In terms of technical difficulty, would Gannett be a good warm up for the Emmons? Or is there a route up Rainier that would be better prep for Denali than Emmons, and still be reasonable given my level of experience?

Kevin Bradford · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 149

In that case your plan sounds solid. Emmons on Rainier and Gooseneck on Gannett would both be good warm ups for Denali in terms of glaciers. Climbing moderate snow and rock in the Tetons would be a great pre-req as well. If you haven't considered what route you want to do on Denali, I would recommend the upper west rib over the west buttress.

Lauren Burgess · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 10

It looks like I'll be spending a month visiting family in Alaska next summer, which also provides a great opportunity to gain experience up there. Any recommendations on a good multi-day or week-plus trip to cut my teeth on (in addition to Gannett and Rainier)? Possibly a Kahiltna Dome attempt? 

Chad Hiatt · · Bozeman, Mt · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 85

Hey Lauren. A couple of friends of mine are interested/have experience with climbing Denali. I'm trying to plan a get together fairly soon to formulate a plan for a May/June trip this year and next.  The whole idea behind getting together is to toss around idea for training, routes, etc.   We're all in the Bozeman area, so shoot me a message if you're interested in joining.  


DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 215

The glaciers in the Winds don't really open up until mid-late summer. And a mid winter attempt on Gannett will be similar to Denali in that 80% of the trip will be approaching and camping, rather than climbing. There are many other objectives in that area that are more fun, rather than slogging your way up Gannett. It may be the highest point in Wyoming, but it's a pretty damn boring climb; or, look at other routes other than the Gooseneck. I would be more excited to hit Rainier than the Winds.

Skibo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

You should be able to get some good beta on the Chugach around Anchorage, or the eastern Alaskan Range if you're in the Fairbanks area.  A peak I never got around to climbing was Mt. Drum near Glennallen--a very aesthetic peak (SW Ridge), and reasonably accessible and only about 12,000 ft.

Jason Antin · · Golden, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 1,275

I got a great piece of advice from some cutting edge alpinists regarding Denali: Get really good at winter camping.

It didn't make much sense at the time, but while sitting in my kitchen tent for days on end at 14K, it all started to make sense.  If you truly enjoy winter camping, you will stay psyched up there!

Greg Shea · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10


Greg Shea · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10

sorry didnt mean for caps

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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