Anchorage and Talkeetna
Orientation, Gear Check, and Departure for the Glacier
The port city of Anchorage is the meeting place for all of our expeditions in Alaska. Guides and climbers meet at a hotel in Anchorage the day before their expedition is to begin for a pre-trip meeting and gear check. There is time on this day to pick-up any last minute gear items and to shop for fresh food before heading to the small town of Talkeetna the next morning.
Anchorage is at sea level and Talkeetna is at approximately 350 feet of elevation, so climbers travel nearly the full height of the mountain enroute from the city to the summit. Denali has the greatest vertical relief of any mountain in the world, rising literally from sea level to 20,320 feet.
The drive from Anchorage to Talkeetna takes about 2.5 hours and we stop for a brief leg stretch and photo opportunity on the way into town.
After arriving in Talkeetna by mid-morning, the group lays out gear in preparation for the glacier flight and checks in with the Ranger Station for an orientation talk and slideshow. We typically do a group lunch mid-day and hope to catch a flight onto the glacier that afternoon.
Just before we get to Talkeetna we stop for a quick stretch and our first view of the Alaska Range.
Talkeetna melts out of the winter snow.
The sign says it all. An AAI group takes their first scenic
tour of Talkeetna on the way to the Ranger Station.
The Talkeetna Airport and our flight service, K2 Aviation, at the end of the tarmac.
Guides packing the expedition food at AAI's base in Talkeetna.
AAI guide Seth Hobby at our gear shed preparing for an early morning departure.
Climbers sort gear on the airstrip in preparation for their flight onto the glacier.
AAI guide Erik Johnson kills time waiting for a flight out of Talkeetna.
Depending on the size of our group, we will fly in one of K2's Cessna 185's,
De Havilland Beavers, or an Otter. An AAI guide loads a Cessna 185 with group gear.
A K2 Beaver prepares to taxi onto the main landing strip behind a Piper Navajo.
Taxiing out on the main landing strip and cleared for take-off.
Packed and ready for the flight. A Denali group about to board the plane and get underway.
Aboard a K2 Otter and headed for Base Camp.
The Susitna River just outside of Talkeetna after take-off.
Views of the Alaskan tundra outside of Talkeetna headed towards Base Camp.
Our last glimpse of green for three weeks on the way to the glacier.
Approaching the foothills at the base of the Alaska range 50 air miles from Talkeetna and 25
air miles from Base Camp.
Views of Foraker, Hunter, and Denali from the banks of the Talkeetna River.
Sunset on the Alaska Range from the Talkeetna River.
After a Denali expedition, climbers can hang around and take a boat ride or tour the Park for a nice wind-down after being on the mountain for nearly a month. Here a jetboat cruises up the Talkeetna River after a day out.
A Mahay's Tour boat on the Talkeetna River.
AAI climbers on a horseback tour after having returned from the mountain.
Wildlife is abundant in all parts of Alaska and especially within Denali National Park and Preserve.
An early spring sunset over the foothills of the Alaska Range.
Evening over the Alaska tundra.
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