Denali Equipment

Denali equipment

Whatever you pack you have to carry it on your back. Well, technically you also have a sledge but it is going to be full with common gear anyway. So, you would like to take about 10 – 12 kg of personal gear (excl. food) on the top of what you are going to wear.

If you are joining the expedition – they will have a very detailed gear list, just follow it.

If you are hesitant about something – drop me a mail and I’ll try to help.

The trick with this mountain is not so much what equipment do you have but how you use it. If something goes wrong (as small as a blister) you have no options to retire to the comforts of the Base Camp, or wait until it heals or change gear.  So your objective is to prevent any abnormality, when a problem arises it may be too late to tackle it.

Be super-boring-prudent about yourself. Having a mega down parka is great, but you need to wear it every time you stop to drink.  Lace the boots accurately, make sure the socks do not  wrinkle; figure out the combination of layers that will not make you sweat. You have 35 kg on your back + sledge + are roped, so it is difficult to stop for adjustments. Think how to adjust your warmth without stopping: different gloves and the combination of hat & hoods are good tools.

The West Buttress is not a technical route, and avalanches do not happen frequently, so if you take a really good care of yourself, the mountain will not hurt you.

Highlights for me:

  1. sleep with a buff or mask over your nose: air is dry and cold,
  2. invest in a pair of good warm double boots (better safe than sorry – I went for triple boots: La Sportiva / Olympus Mons),
  3. if you plan new boots – take them for a long hike BEFORE Denali and figure out weak spots,
  4. take silicone band-aid for blisters (“Band Aid” / “Compeed”/ my favorites are “Urgo”) and apply them on the point of friction BEFORE it turns to a blister,
  5. emergency stash of chemical warmers would add a piece of mind if you tend to have cold fingers (like I do). Unfortunately they are heavy,
  6. take trusted backpack. You may be lucky with rental, but if not – it may turn to a torture,
  7. get harness with quick-release leg loops,
  8. EAR PLUGS !!!



I get a lot of questions about that one.  Well, we are human at all times, even in a 3- week-long expedition, and you do feel better when you smell nice. It is actually easier to take care of hygiene on Denali than it seems. Yes, -30 C (-22 F) at night is a norm, but in a sunny day the temperature inside your tent may reach a whopping 25 C + (75 – 80 F) and a pack of wet baby wipes will defreeze easily.

Another great thing – a snow shower.  Works perfectly up to 14” (4 k) camp on a sunny day. You need to arrive at the camp before mid-day, and right after pitching your tent, while still “warm” – undress quickly and rub yourself with snow. High piles of snow around your tent provide shelter from wind and curiosity of others. After-shower feeling is AMAZING!



Find out more about Denali:

Intro Route Equipment Training

Leave a Comment