Denali West Buttress Equipment List - Other Essentials & Optional Equipment

Favorite Snack Foods

Optional. Bring no more than one pound of high energy and tasty snack food for high-energy expenditure days (like summit day) and for evening treats while in the tent.

Personal Toiletries

Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hand sanitizer, etc. We supply the TP. Each climber gets one roll for the trip, which should be more than enough. If you know you will require more than this, please bring the additional amount that you will need and try to be reasonable. Wet wipes are very handy for later in the trip when we all start to get a bit smelly.

Foot Powder/Antiperspirant

A very small bottle will allow you to treat your feet daily, keep them drier, extend the life of your socks, and help you avoid blisters/rashes from chronic wet feet.

Weight: 1-2oz / 28–56 grams Example: Gold Bond 

Lip Protection

Bring 2 containers/applicators with the highest SPF available.   Zinc oxide also works well (available in pharmacies) as do some models of “chapstick” that have Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 25 or higher.


With an SPF of at least 30. For the fair skinned, the higher the SPF the better. Stick applicators allow you to apply without exposing fingers. Dermatone produces an effective 1” diameter stick as well as a translucent zinc oxide lotion. A couple of 1 oz. tubes are adequate. Only your face and, at times, your hands will be exposed. Several small containers are better than one large one. Sunscreen is prone to freezing in the cold and smaller containers fit well into pockets for warming. 

Garbage Bags

Bring two or three large ones. They serve a variety of uses. Trash compactor bag, if available, are more durable.

Personal Medical Kit

For sunburn, blisters, headaches, and minor cuts and scrapes. AAI supplies expedition med kits with a supply of prescription drugs. If you have any special needs please communicate them to AAI and plan to bring an adequate supply of your medications based on counsel from medical professionals.

Personal Medications:

  • 20 tablets of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Aspirin
  • A few tablets of Immodium
  • If you suffer from Asthma or significant allergic reactions, please notify AAI and your guide regarding the location and presence of your epi-pen and/or inhaler.

Cuts, Bruises & Blister kit: Bring a comprehensive blister kit. This includes:

  • 10 assorted Bandaids
  • Plenty of Compeed, Bandaid, or Dr. Scholls blister pads
  • A packet of moleskin (note: some people are allergic to the glue on moleskin and other medical adhesives.)

The following drugs require a physician's prescription. Be sure to discuss the use and precautions for each drug with your doctor.

  • Acetazolamide (Diamox) - For prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness.
  • Choose one a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is known to be effective for lung microbes/respiratory tract infections. Examples include:
    • Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim or Septra)
    • Levaquin (levofloxacin)
    • Gatifloxacin

NOTE: you cannot use codeine or sleeping pills at altitude. Always consult a doctor when selecting medications and antibiotics for personal use.


Duffel Bag

Your large duffel should have a full-length zipper and be of durable construction. A second duffel 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.

Materials: Pack cloth, Cordura, ballistic cloth

Examples include: Patagonia Stellar Black Hole duffel bags, Wild Things Burro Bag, Gregory, Dana Designs. REI XL Duffel, North Face duffels are very heavy and not recommended.


Any multitool similar to a Leatherman is great. One can be shared amongst tent-mates. Smaller and simpler is better than overly complex.

Repair Kit

Include a Thermarest repair kit (for Thermarest pad users), crampon wrench and extra screws, 10 to 20 feet of lightweight nylon cord, small sewing kit, duct tape (can be wrapped on water bottles or trekking poles), pack waist buckle.

Water Bottle Parkas

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

Example: Outdoor Research Water Bottle Parka 

Pee Bottle

1-quart size minimum. A collapsible 2L Nalgene recommended. Plastic bottles from the store such as Gatorade bottles can work well, but the lids are less secure than a Nalgene. If you choose to bring one of these, use it carefully and make sure the capacity is adequate. Label your pee bottle well. Women must also bring a pee funnel; Freshette makes a tried and true model.

Optional Equipment

The items listed below are not required, although many are nice “luxury” items that can make your expedition more enjoyable. Remember that a few ounces here and there add up to extra pounds on your back and knees during your expedition.


Highly recommended. “Buffs” are a multifunctional neck gaiter that can supplement a lightweight balaclava and hat rather well.

Materials: synthetic or wool


The mountain shower. For personal hygiene and general use.


These have many uses on the mountain.

Materials: cotton 

Camp Booties

Nice for use in camp, these must be very lightweight and packable. Many climbers choose to put their boot liners inside their overboots rather than carry camp booties:

Weight: 6 – 10 oz / 170 - 280 grams Fill Materialsdown, synthetic


Books, games, cards, for stormy days in the tent. Music players like iPods and MP3 players are popular because the device and media are small and relatively lightweight. There is great radio reception at 14,000’ and above. AAI provides a solar panel than can be used to charge electronic devices. Bring the car charger for your device along for recharging on the mountain. iPods with a hard drive and air bearing (vs. flash memory) do not work above 14k. 

Ear Plugs

Defense against snoring and high winds in the area.

Journal and Writing Device

Some climbers like to keep a journal or log for writing on the trip. Ballpoint pens work well in the cold and at altitude but other ink well type pens do not. “Rite-in-the-Rain” notebooks are more durable and more functional for the mountain environment than regular notebook paper.  


We recommend small point and shoot cameras that can easily be carried in an outside pocket or small case outside your pack. If you can’t comfortably and safely carry your camera outside your pack, even in bad weather, you’ll miss the best photo opportunities. Though some climbers bring them, SLR cameras are not recommended because of weight and bulk. 

Note: If bringing a digital camera, consider your battery needs. If your camera uses a proprietary lithium ion type you may want to bring an extra. If your camera uses AA or AAA batteries, use lithium batteries and bring two sets of extra batteries.

Insect Repellent

Recommended for use in Talkneetna. If bringing repellent look for more concentrated repellent in smaller containers. Pack it in a Ziploc bag to prevent contaminating other items in your pack.

Post-Climbing Clothing

Plan ahead and pack some clean clothes in your duffel at the airstrip to change into when you get off the glacier.  

NOTE: You may have noticed that headlamps are not included on this gear list. By mid-May there is very little darkness in the Alaska Range and headlamps are not needed. Climbers on early May trips may choose to bring a small headlamp for the few hours in the late night or early morning that it is close to dark, but most people will not need one. If you do bring one it should be very small and very light like the Petzl Tikka or Black Diamond Ion.


Clothing & Footwear

Camping Equipment

Climbing Equipment

>Other Essentials & Optional Equipment