Denali behind tents at base camp

How to climb Denali: all your questions answered

Our Q&A-style tips on how to climb Denali, gathered from the many questions asked by our readers

Whenever I get back from a big climb, I invariably receive an array of questions about the expedition via email and social media. As usual, I’ve collated them all below in a detailed Q&A that includes all my tips on how to climb Denali. If I’ve missed anything, please do get in touch.

Denali gear list flat lay

Denali gear list: the kit that got me to the top

My complete Denali gear list includes everything you’ll need to summit the highest mountain in North America

Denali in Alaska, USA, stands at a lofty 6,190m (20,310ft), making it North America’s highest mountain and one of the seven summits (the seven peaks that make up the highest point on every continent). 

I recently returned from climbing Denali with American Alpine Institute (AAI). Any good guiding company will issue you a detailed kit list, but I always like to see exactly what others have used. As such, I thought it would be helpful to share my complete Denali gear list for future climbers to reference.

Sleeping system for Denali inside my tent

Steep dreams: my tried and tested sleeping system for Denali

My sleeping system for Denali worked a treat and ensured I always enjoyed a good night’s sleep on North America’s highest peak

The coldest I have ever been in my life was while climbing Denali – hardly surprising considering it’s one of the coldest and windiest places in the USA. During the expedition, there were several times when I felt the cold intensely, so much so that I even suffered some mild frostbite on my fingers after we were delayed on the fixed ropes for several hours. That said, I was never cold when safely cocooned in my sleeping bag. 

Peter on the summit of Denali

Climbing Denali: a dream almost slips through my fingers

Although it was the natural next step in my bid for the seven summits, climbing Denali proved to be an altogether different beast

At around 6.30pm local time on Tuesday 28 May 2024, six grown men stood on the summit of Denali, the highest peak in North America, crying their eyes out. Among us was a triathlon athlete, a veteran of the Marathon des Sables and an Everest summiteer returning to Denali for his second attempt. One of our group, a Californian who regularly climbed in the Sierras, was on his knees sobbing over his ice axe. I tried to record a video message for Instagram but couldn’t speak through my tears of relief

10 famous trees cut down by humans

Following the felling of the beloved Sycamore Gap tree, we dig into other famous trees cut down by humans

It was an act of vandalism that scandalised a nation. Britain’s iconic Sycamore Gap tree was cut down with a chainsaw in the early hours of 28th September 2023. The senselessness of the act was particularly poignant. There have been other famous trees cut down by humans, but there has usually been a reason: accident, protest, exploitation. In the case of the Sycamore Gap tree, it appears to be sheer malice.

Horsetail Falls illuminated by the setting sun

The most stunning natural phenomena on Earth

From the famous northern lights to the lesser-known sea of stars, we share the world’s most stunning natural phenomena

It’s firefall time. Every year, beginning around late February, the setting sun hits Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall at just the right angle to light the cascade in blazing orange and red hues, giving the appearance of flowing fire or lava. To celebrate the spectacle, we’re exploring the world’s most stunning natural phenomena.

crowds at Yellowstone national park watch a geyser erupt

9 US national parks that require a reservation in 2024

America’s outdoor spaces are becoming increasingly congested, so more US national parks will require a reservation in 2024

In 1872, the US established Yellowstone National Park. It was the first protected site in the country and only the second in the world after Bogd Khan Uul in Mongolia. Yellowstone soon became the international standard for the preservation of biodiversity and cultural history; a standard that has since been widely replicated around the globe.

A bright emerald lake in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2023

After a hiatus from the blog, Kia looks back at our top 10 posts of the year

There’s a slight break from tradition this year here at Atlas & Boots. Our top posts of the year are usually a balanced mix of articles by me (Kia) and Peter. This year, however, all but one are by Peter thanks to my hiatus from the blog. 

America's most dangerous hikes

Not for novices: America’s most dangerous hikes

From an exposed ridge on a Colorado fourteener to a remote Hawaiian jungle trail, these are America’s most dangerous hikes

While most will – and do – complete these hikes unscathed, the trails can be perilous enough that a spot of bad luck, small mistake or slight miscalculation can leave you seriously injured, or even dead.

Exposure, crevasses, avalanches – all the usual threats can be found on America’s most dangerous hikes. But there are also a few wildcards here that can turn a walk in the park into a dice with death. Huckleberries, anyone?

Masaya is one of the most active volcanoes in the world

Most active volcanoes in the world

From stewing lava lakes to fatal eruptions, we chart the most active volcanoes in the world

Nature has many fearsome wonders – earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis – but none so fearsome as the most active volcanoes in the world. These hellish peaks feature in tales of ardour and heroism, loom over humble settlements and whisper threats of violence and destruction. Though potentially lethal, they hold a magnetic beauty that thrillseekers find irresistible.

Most beautiful mountains in the US: Grand Teton

21 most beautiful mountains in the US

The most beautiful mountains in the US are a contentious subject, for this is a land that brims with beauty. We scoured the states and whittled them down to a list of 21

Legendary climber​​ Reinhold Messner said that there are three rules of mountaineering: “It’s always further than it looks. It’s always taller than it looks. And it’s always harder than it looks.” 

Ama Dablam is a thing of beauty

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher.

If our resident seven-summit hopeful is anything to go by, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force.

The Tsaranoro Massif is known as 'Africa’s Yosemite'

20 most stunning big wall climbs from around the world

From El Capitan in Yosemite to remote challenges in Greenland and Antarctica, we profile the world’s most stunning big wall climbs

It was five years ago that I first came across a big wall climber. A tiny speck on the side of a gigantic granite wall, the climber was bivvying in Yosemite National Park, the Holy Land of big wall climbing.

I couldn’t comprehend how someone could sleep tacked onto the side of a wall, suspended thousands of feet above the ground, sometimes in treacherous weather conditions.

A dog in Yosemite – one of the most dog-friendly in America

Ranked: America’s most dog-friendly national parks

From accessible trails and pet-friendly campsites to kennel services and wildlife safety, these are America’s most dog-friendly national parks

Many of America’s national parks have strict policies in place for bringing along your dog – and for good reason. Some parks are home to dangerous trails, sensitive ecosystems, extreme weather or wild animals – from porcupines to grizzly bears – that you really don’t want your dog interacting with. Not only that, your dog can be a danger to them.

best hike in every US national park lead image

From Acadia to Zion: the best hike in all 63 US national parks

From the rocky headlands of Acadia to the sandstone cliffs of Zion, we share the best hike in every US national park

America’s 63 national parks offer an encyclopaedic array of natural sights – from trees that existed at the time of dinosaurs to fiercely active volcanos. That’s before we even get into the hundreds of other units such as national monuments, historic sites, preserves, reserves, rivers, parkways and recreation areas.

Icebergs in Antarctica

Arctic or Antarctic: how to pick your polar adventure

Can’t decide between the Arctic or Antarctic for your polar adventure? Our guide will help you choose between 66° north or south

The North and South Poles were only “conquered” in relatively recent history. The South Pole was first attained in 1911 by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen after his epic race with the ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott.

A walkway along Mount Hua Shan – one of the world's most dangerous hikes

Don’t look down: the world’s most dangerous hikes

With bandits, molten lava and wild animals posing a threat, blisters are the least of your worries on the world’s most dangerous hikes

From trekking across the treacherous windswept mountains of South Georgia to picking your way along the rickety walkways of Mount Hua Shan in China, these hikes are not for the fainthearted.

The museo subacuático de arte is one of our surreal man made dive sites

In videos: 12 surreal man-made dive sites

From lost ancient cities to the world’s largest underwater theme park, these man-made dive sites are sure to intrigue

At Atlas & Boots, we’ve dived some astonishing sites, from Steve’s Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef to the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba. We’re pretty hopeless at fish identification, so when it comes to diving, unless it’s a truly amazing reef system, we’re generally more interested in something unusual or unique (like an airplane or enormous bommie).