Denali West Buttress Equipment List - Mountaineering Equipment

*It is recommended to create zipper pulls on all your zippers to make it easier to use with gloves and mittens on.

Pack and Carriage


Duffle Bags

Your large duffel (120L-140L) should have a full-length zipper and be of durable construction for use on the mountain to transport gear in your sled.

A second duffel (40-60L) or travel bag will be needed to store your town clothes and personal items while on the mountain. This bag will be left in a secure storage area at the glacier flight service base.






  • Wild Things Mule Duffel 144L
  • Gregory Alpaca Duffel 120L
  • Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry Kit Bag 140L

  • Wild Things Carry-On Duffel 42L
  • Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry Kit Bag 40L

Large Internal Frame Pack

Large internal frame pack should fit your body type. This pack must be at least 5600 cubic inches in size; larger is better if possible. Avoid bells and whistles like large, full-length zippers, separate sleeping bag compartments, etc. It is very important that your pack be in good working order and not prone to failures of any sort.

Size Range: 90-100 Liters / 5600 + cu in.


  • Osprey Xena 85
  • Osprey Xenith 105
  • Gregory Denali 100
  • Mountain Hardwear BMG 105


 Technical Gear

Ice Axe

 A straight shaft ice axe like the Petzl Glacier or Black Diamond Raven Pro is recommended. An adze is required. Please contact our Equipment Shop if you have any questions.

Use the following tables as a rough guide on length. Ice axe leashes are not required and not recommended.

Straight Shaft Axe:

-5'8" or shorter: 50cm-55cm

-5'9"- 6': 55cm-60cm

-6'1"- 6'3": 60cm-65cm

-6'4" and up: 65cm-68cm                                                                          


  • Petzl Glacier

  • Petzl Summit
  • SMC Kobah


Expedition Climbing Harness

Bring the simplest, lightest harness that fits over bulky clothing and is comfortable in combination with your fully loaded backpack. Padding on the waist or legs not necessary. Adjustable leg loops are highly desired.





  • Petzl Altitude
  • CAMP Alp Mountain

Women’s specific  recommendation:

  • Blue Ice Choucas Light


Climbing Helmet

Must be UIAA rated for climbing. Helmets are required for certain sections on the upper mountain. Choose the lightest weight helmet that still fits your head shape well.


Material: Hard plastic, EPP foam shell



  • Petzl Sirocco Helmet
  • Black Diamond Vapor Helmet
  • Mammut Wall Rider Helmet


Steel Crampons

Modern steel, 12-point, strap-on crampons are recommended. Step-in crampons are easier to put on with cold fingers but can be harder to work well with overboots. Strap-on crampons provide more reliable attachment to boots with overboots. Regardless, be sure crampon, overboot, and boot combination work well together. Make sure that you get a longer linking bar if your boots are too big for the standard one. You must also bring crampon adjustment tools if your crampons require them. Crampons should be suitable for steep ice climbing. Aluminum crampons are not functional on Denali.

Material: Steel, stainless steel

  • Petzl Vasak
  • Black Diamond Sabertooth
  • Grivel G12


Trekking Poles

Two are required. Leverlock closures are highly recommended. Twist lock closures either break or wear out easily and then there is no good way of fixing them. 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 snowshoes.



  • Black Diamond Expedition 3 Ski Poles



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.

  • MSR Evo Ascent
  • MSR Revo Ascent


2 Shoulder Length Slings

We require two 60cm (24in.) “single-length” pre-sewn slings, used to attach your ascender to your harness and for other uses throughout the trip. We supply the ascender. Thinner spectra/Dyneema slings are not recommended because they are hard to remove knots from with gloves on.

Materials: Nylon, synthetic blends



  • Black Diamond 18mm Nylon Runner 60cm (24in.)


MUST be easy to manipulate with large gloves on, lightweight is preferred.

3 large, pear-shaped locking carabiners and 4 wire gate non-locking carabiners are required.  

Carabiners are considered group gear and will wind up changing hands while on the expedition. Label/tape them well if you want your exact carabiners back at the end of the trip.

Materials: Aluminium, NO Steel








  • Grivel Clepsydra K10G
  • CAMP HMS Compact
  • CAMP HMS Nitro


  • CAMP Photon


Specifically 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. 

  • AAI Prusik kit
  • 6mm Accessory Cord


 Sleep System

Sleeping Bag

Down only. Synthetic bags are not acceptable due to their size and weight. Rated to -30F (-34C) for the early and mid-May expeditions; to at least -20F (-28C) for expeditions in June. If you know you sleep cold, take this into consideration when purchasing/selecting your bag.

Shell Materials: Drilite, Dryloft, eVent, Epic, nylon

Fill Materials: Down





  • Mountain Equipment Iceline -22F
  • Mountain Equipment Redline -49F
  • Feathered Friends Snow Goose -40F
  • Feathered Friends Peregrine -25F
  • Feathered Friends Plover Women’s -25F
  • Marmot Cwm -40F
  • Western Mountaineering Puma GWS -25F


Compression Stuff Sack

Used to shrink sleeping bag and expedition parka into the smallest size possible. Bring two.

Materials: SilNylon, eVent, or similar



  • Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack

Sleeping Pads

Two are required. One full-length 1/2" thick closed cell foam pad. The second pad can be either a closed cell foam or an inflatable pad. The inflatable pad should be a modern, lightweight, and packable version. Old Thermarest pads with metal valves are not acceptable as the valves freeze.






Closed cell foam:

  • Thermarest Z Lite SOL

Inflatable Pad:

  • Mountain Equipment Aerostat Down 7.0
  • Thermarest NeoAir XTherm MAX


 Mountain Dining Ware


Bigger is better. Long handle preferred. Plastic and high temp nylons are not recommended as they break easily in cold temps.

Materials: Titanium, aluminum





  • Sea to Summit Titanium Spork
  • Snow Peak Titanium Spork
  • Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork Long

Insulated Eating Container

A lightweight Tupperware-type container with insulation is recommended. Avoid small bowls that are prone to tipping and more fragile (plastic). Metal containers conduct heat more rapidly and lead to colder food and drinks faster than other materials.

NOTE: Wrapping your eating container in closed-cell foam (sleeping pad material) is a Guide’s tip for keeping your food warmer longer.



  • Nalgene 16oz storage container
  • GSI Fairshare Mug II

Thermal Mug

12-32oz with a lid.






  • Zojirushi SM-LA 48

Water Bottles

Two or three water bottles, one-liter wide mouth Nalgene type, are required. 2.5-3 liters of water capacity minimum. Narrow mouth bottles are not functional and should not be used. Hydration packs are not recommended as they will freeze and stay frozen.




  • Nalgene 1L bottles
  • 40 Below Cold Weather Expedition Water Bottle 1L

Water Bottle Parkas

These insulating jackets are for your water bottles to help prevent freezing. Bring one for each bottle.

NOTE: Please write your initials on the outside of the parka, making it easy for your guides to fill up and return them to you.

  • 40 Below Bottle Boot
  • OR Bottle Parka #1

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