Alaska Mountaineering School
" I felt 100% comfortable with my guides even when dangling 15 feet below the lip of a crevasse. My only complaint... I should have taken the 12 day course. "
— Stuart Pearce, 6 day MTC
Alaska Mountaineering School Alaska Mountaineering School Alaska Mountaineering School Alaska Mountaineering School

Prerequisites

6 and 12 Day Mountaineering Prerequisites

The 6 and 12 day courses are introductory climbing courses with the following prerequisites: participants arrive in good physical condition; participants have a positive attitude and a desire to learn; participants must be willing to work hard, have an open mind and be a team member. Prior experience backpacking, tent camping, and belaying put students at an advantage, but are not required.

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Advanced Mountaineering Prerequisites

The vigorous nature of the advanced mountaineering course requires participants to have a minimum of 2 years of roped climbing experience, be comfortable in exposed locations, and be familiar with belaying, building anchors, and rappelling. Winter camping and downhill skiing experience are encouraged.

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Kahiltna Dome Denali Prep Course Prerequisites

The prerequisite for the Kahiltna Dome climb is that participants arrive in good physical condition, have a positive attitude, and have a strong desire to learn, work hard, and practice as much as possible during the course. This climb will accommodate beginner and intermediate mountaineers.

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Mountain Guide Prerequisites

The advanced nature of the mountain guide course requires that students have a minimum of 3 years roped climbing experience, know how to belay, build anchors, and rappel and be comfortable in exposed locations. Participants are required to have some experience winter camping. Participants should be familiar with avalanche mechanics and rescue procedures. Downhill skiing experience is also recommended. Though not required, anyone seriously interested in pursuing a career in guiding or outdoor education should also be certified in Wilderness First Responder.

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Wilderness Hike and Trek Prerequisites

The Wilderness Hike and Trek are introductory wilderness courses with the following prerequisites for each participant: arrive in good physical condition; possess a positive attitude and a desire to learn; be willing to work hard, have an open mind, and be a team member.

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Denali, West Buttress & Traverse Prerequisites

Denali is a tremendous challenge for people with experience and the attitude to enjoy the rigors of expedition life. As an advanced climb, Denali requires a significant amount of prior climbing experience and training. For the best chance of success, applicants should be in excellent physical condition and have climbed mountaineering routes that require roped glacier travel, winter snow camping, and the use of an ice axe and crampons. Prior winter camping and travel experience for extended periods of time is essential training. Dealing with the cold on Denali is a day-to-day challenge. The figure eight knot series, rope coiling, and belaying with a munter hitch should be familiar. The ability to arrest a fall on a steep snow slope with a pack is paramount to your safety and the safety of your rope team. Above 16,000 feet, expect to use crampons with a 60-plus pound pack on slopes up to 30-35°. Some sections of the route require you to bend down and clip through running belays. The mountain is too severe to be learning these skills for the first time. Smaller peaks in the Alaska Range, winter climbs of Mt. Washington, Colorado 14'ers, Mt. Rainier, the Tetons, and Mount Blanc are suitable training grounds for Denali. A non-technical, high-altitude climb is a great way to train for the altitude. Our best prepared expedition members have taken a mountaineering course and trained for a year or more before joining an expedition.

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Denali, West Rib Prerequisites

Denali's West Rib is a tremendous challenge for people with the experience and attitude to enjoy the rigors of expedition life and apply themselves to an outstanding mountaineering challenge. As an advanced climb, the Rib requires a significant amount of prior climbing experience and training. For the best chance of success, applicants should be in excellent physical condition and have climbed steep mountaineering routes that require roped glacier travel, winter snow camping, and the extensive use of an ice axe and crampons. Prior experience at altitudes above 15,000', technical winter climbing, and winter travel for extended periods of time is necessary. Dealing with the cold on Denali is a day-to-day challenge. Tying knots, coiling ropes, and belaying should be second nature. The ability to immediately arrest a fall on a steep snow slope with a pack is paramount to your safety and the safety of your rope team. Expect to crampon in balance with a 60-plus pound pack on slopes up to 50° using a fixed line. Many sections of the route require you to bend down and clip through running belays while wearing a pack. This route is too steep to be un-practiced in these skills.

Suitable training grounds for the West Rib include ice climbing, climbing other peaks in the Alaska Range, technical winter climbs of Mt. Washington, Colorado 14-ers, Mt. Rainier, the Tetons, or Mount Blanc. A non-technical, high altitude climb is an effective way to train for the altitude.

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Cerro Aconcagua Prerequisites

Aconcagua is a tremendous challenge for people with the experience and physical and mental stamina to enjoy the rigors of expedition life. As a non-technical high altitude climb, Aconcagua does not require a significant amount of prior climbing experience, but the mountain should not be under-estimated. Applicants must be in excellent physical condition and be familiar with winter back packing, the use of an ice axe for self-arrest, and basic cramponing.

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Mount Hunter Prerequisites

Mt. Hunter is a tremendous challenge for people with the experience and attitude to enjoy the rigors of expedition life. As an advanced climb, Mt. Hunter requires a significant amount of prior climbing experience and training beforehand. All participants must submit a climbing resume to the AMS office. Do not let the lower elevation of this climb fool you; it is an Alaskan mountain with all the challenges that give Alaskan climbs the reputation they deserve. Expedition members must be in excellent physical condition and have climbed mountaineering routes that require roped glacier travel, winter snow camping, extensive use of ice axe and crampons, and the use of fixed lines. The figure eight knot series, rope coiling, and belaying with a munter hitch should be second nature. The ability to arrest a fall on a steep snow slope with a pack is paramount to your safety and the safety of your rope team. Mt. Hunter is an exceptional climb that will draw on all your prior experience.

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Mount Foraker, Sultana Ridge Prerequisites

Foraker's Sultana Ridge is for experienced mountaineers only. As an advanced climb, Foraker requires extensive prior climbing experience and training beforehand. Applicants must be in excellent physical condition and have climbed mountaineering routes that require roped glacier travel, winter snow camping, and the extensive use of an ice axe and crampons in exposed locations. Prior winter camping and travel experience is essential; there is no time to learn these skills on Foraker. Climbing knots, rope handling, and belaying have to be second nature. The ability to immediately arrest a fall on a steep snow slope is paramount to your safety and the safety of your rope team. All Foraker applicants must have a climbing resume which includes Denali or a close equivalent.

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Glacier Travel Workshop Prerequisites

No previous experienced is required. This is an entry level climbing course with a large amount of curriculum so come prepared to receive a lot of information. You can help prepare by reading "Glacier Mountaineering: The Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue" by Mike Clelland and Andy Tyson, published by Climbing Magazine. This is available at bookstores or by calling AMS. AMS instructors wrote this book; therefore, it reflects what they teach on this course. If possible, practice two basic climbing knots: the figure 8 on a Bite and the Double Fisherman's. Practice these knots with a four foot piece of 6 mm cord available at climbing shops. Participants are expected to be in average athletic condition.

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Denali Skills Workshop Prerequisites

The Denali Skills Workshops are made available for those currently enrolled in an AMS expedition. You can help prepare by reading "Glacier Mountaineering: The Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue" by Mike Clelland and Andy Tyson published by Climbing Magazine. This is available at bookstores or by calling AMS. Much of the information in the book is from the AMS glacier travel and crevasse rescue protocol.

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Glacier Treks Prerequisites

Glacier Treks require no prior experience; participants are expected to be healthy and of average physical fitness. Fitness training and reading may be done before hand to enhance one's experience, but this is not necessary to have the experience of a lifetime.

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