Denali, once known as Mount McKinley, is the tallest peak in North America. It forms the heart of Denali National Park and Preserve, which is located near Healy in Alaska. If climbing this incredible peak is on your mountaineering bucket list, there are some things to know before starting your ascent. Use this training information to help prepare for this trek — don’t forget to make your hotel reservations early so you get the dates you want.
5 Training Tips for Ascending Denali
1. Improve Your Endurance
If you already work out between three and four hours a week, start your training program about six months before your climb. Build up your endurance by swimming, running, biking, hiking, or skiing four to six hours per week. Get up to eight hours a week if you can. Each workout should last between 45 minutes and an hour. As you approach your start date, make one of your weekday workouts at least two hours long.
2. Condition Your Body
Condition your muscles with exercises such as yoga, CrossFit®, or strength training twice a week for 30 to 40 minutes. Increase the intensity of one of these workouts about three months before your trip. Two months or a month before your trip, begin more specific workouts that increase your conditioning and endurance, such as hiking with a heavy pack.
3. Don’t Forget to Rest
Remember to take days off to give your muscles time to heal and let your mind rest from the intensity. Take three rest days a week six months before your climb. Once your climb is four months away, take two to three rest days a week. Rest for four to five days at the end of every month to completely refresh and recharge. Use rest days to schedule your trip; for instance, you can book your flight and hotel reservations.
4. Fuel & Hydrate
Keep up with your demanding training schedule by giving your body the fuel it needs to thrive, such as a diet high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Stick to whole foods as much as possible to get the most nutrients. Drink at least one gallon of water per day — more if you sweat heavily.
5. Climb Smaller Peaks First
Ascend smaller peaks first to test yourself mentally as well as physically, as you will be dealing with a variety of intense factors: incredible heights; your ropes and other gear; and elements including snow, ice, wind, and cold, depending on when your climb takes place. The American Alpine Institute recommends experience with high altitudes, snow and ice climbing, and backcountry cold weather camping, in addition to being in outstanding cardiovascular condition, before climbing Denali’s West Buttress.
Before and after your climb, enjoy relaxing in comfortable, rustic lodging at Totem Inn. Located in Healy, AK, this inn offers hotel reservations for locals and tourists alike, as it’s conveniently located a few miles north of the Denali National Park entrance. Call (907) 683-6500 to make your hotel reservations today or learn more about room amenities online. See what customers are saying on Yelp.