Denali West Buttress Equipment List - Climbing Equipment





Expedition Climbing Harness

*Rentals Available

This harness should fit over bulky clothing. Please bring the simplest, lightest harness you can find. Black Diamond Alpine Bod harnesses are the standard. You will not need any padding on the waist or legs. Adjustable leg loops are key for changing pants. Make sure that your harness fits comfortably in combination with your fully loaded backpack. Some models have features that cause wear and tear on your waist and hips when used with a heavy pack.

Weight: 16oz or less / 453 grams or fewer Examples include: Black Diamond Alpine Bod or Couloir, CAMP Blitz


Climbing Helmet

*Rentals Available

We require a helmet for this expedition. We won’t wear a helmet for some of the route, but there are sections where they are necessary. As such, choose the lightest weight helmet that still fits your head shape well.

Weight: 10 - 14oz / 280 – 400 grams

Examples include: Petzl Meteor, Petzl Elios, Black Diamond Half Dome, Mammut Skywalker


Locking Carabiner


Non-Locking Carabiner


Bring three large, pear shaped (or Münter) locking carabiners. Four wire gate non-locking carabiners are also needed. Carabiners are considering group gear and they will wind up changing hands a lot while on the expedition. Label/tape them well if you want your exact biners back at the end of the trip.

Examples include: Petzl William Screwlock & Attache, Black Diamond Rocklock, Black Diamond Hotwire.




Ice Axe

*Rentals Available

A variety of axes are suitable, but bring one that is 65 cm max; 55cm to 60cm is preferred. A wrist loop/leash is not required or recommended. On the brief sections of the route where a leash would be helpful, we can fashion one from a sling or your pack prusik/tether. Many climbers insulate the head of their ice axe with a small piece of foam or similar material. In colder temperatures, heat can be lost conductively through your glove when gripping the cold axe. This insulation should be small enough to not affect the performance of the ice axe or your ability to grip it, swing it, and self-arrest.

Weight: 13-20 oz / 370 – 560 grams Length: 55-70cm

Examples include: Grivel Airtech Evo, Black Diamond Raven Pro, SMC Capra



Steel Crampons

*Rentals Available

Modern “New-matic” crampons are recommended. Step-in crampons are easier to put on with cold fingers, but they can be harder to work well with your overboots. Strap-on crampons provide more reliable attachment to boots with overboots. Regardless, be sure your crampon, overboot, and boot combination work well together. You must also bring crampon adjustment tools if your crampons require them. Your crampons should be suitable for steep ice climbing. Aluminum crampons are not functional on Denali. 

Examples include: Black Diamond Sabertooth, Grivel G12

Shoulder Length Slings (2)

We require sewn slings. These are used to attach your ascender to your harness and for other uses throughout the trip. We supply the ascender. 60cm or 24" slings are shoulder length.

Examples include: Black Diamond, Metolius 18mm runners. Thinner spectra/dyneema slings are not recommended because they are hard to remove knots from with gloves on.


These are specially tied loops of 6mm cord used for crevasse rescue. If you don’t have a set of prusiks from a previous AAI course, bring three lengths of 6 mm perlon/nylon: 13 feet, 6 feet, and 5 feet. Cord thicker than 6mm will not work. Precut lengths are available for sale in our Equipment Shop.


Trekking Poles

*Rentals Available

Two are required. Even if you don’t normally use trekking poles, on this expedition, in particular, they are invaluable in helping with balance while carrying heavy packs on showshoes 

Examples include: Black Diamond Expedition Flick-lock, REI/Komperdell models



*Rentals Available

They should be equipped with an integral crampon and/or aggressive traction on the bottom of the snowshoes. Snowshoes can be sized smaller than is typically recommended by manufacturers since deep snow is not common on the climbing route. Large profile basic models made by Tubbs, Atlas and Sherpa do not work well and are not recommended. Models by MSR are proven and quite durable. Many climbers rent these from AAI as they are hard to travel with. Length should not exceed 25-28 inches.

Examples include: MSR Denali, Denali Ascent, and Denali Evo


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