Little Switzerland/Pika Glacier Expedition


Little Switzerland is the name given to a series of dramatic granite spires jutting up out of the Pika Glacier like broken teeth. Found just 35 miles south of Denali, this sub-range provides ample opportunities for climbers to ascend dramatic towers in single pushes from a base camp on the glacier. Little Switzerland is an alpine playground in a grand setting. Routes require varied skills as climbers must apply glacier travel, ice climbing and moderate rock climbing skills to successfully ascend these spires.

Ascents off the Pika glacier give one a glimpse into what it is like to be on a longer more remote expedition in a backwater of Denali National Park. Not only will you learn expeditionary tactics and techniques, but you will have the opportunity to design and plan multiple ascents throughout the duration of the course. If your long-term goals are more in line with an expeditionary style that attempts multiple peaks over a short period of time, then the dramatic and complex terrain of Little Switzerland will be the perfect place to explore expeditionary climbing.


  • Previous ski mountaineering and/or alpine climbing experience
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Glacier travel experience and crevasse rescue knowledge
  • Pervious climbing experience in Alaska is helpful, but not required

Little Switzerland/Pika Glacier Expedition

Ascent Options

Ascent options in Little Switzerland include, but are not limited to:

  • The Munchkin - II, 5.2
  • Dragonspine, First Buttress - III, 5.7
  • North Troll, South Ridge - III, 5.7
  • Hobbit King - Hobbit Arete - III, 5.7
  • Hobbit Footstool, East Ridge - II, 5.8
  • Middle Troll, South Face - III, 5.8, 45-degree snow
  • The Throne, The Lost Marsupial - III, 5.8
  • The Royal Tower, East Ridge - IV, 5.8
  • South Troll, South Face - IV, 5.9
  • The Royal Tower, Gargoyle Buttress - IV, 5.10a

Little Switzerland/Pika Glacier Expedition

Related Courses

Program Finder