Denali Food Support

Denali Expedition Support | Denali Food Support

Food Support

Denali food support helps you bring one of the most essential planning elements together, what to eat. With years of experience and expertise we want to set you out on the right foot, with the right food. This food support focuses on getting you the right portions, excellent quality, and ease of use so you can focus on your expedition.

Food Planning

Our philosophy is that you should eat big and eat well on the lower mountain (up to Advanced Base Camp, 14,000’). Arrive there fit and fat! Above Advanced Base Camp we recognize that your appetite and motivation to cook will both be diminished. Foods are simpler, therefor easier to digest. And quantities are slightly less. There’s no point in carrying it if you’re not going to eat it.

The almost perfect amount

We calculate total food required roughly based on 2 – 2.5 pounds per person per day (approx. 1 kg). This comes out to roughly 4000-5000 calories per day. Later in the climbing season we may leave out some of the fats to lighten the load. And we take into account rest days as well as time at high camp waiting on weather with little activity or appetite.  The totals come out to approximately 40 pounds per person for 20 days with Denali food support.

While we certainly want to give you what you pay for in terms of quantity, too much food can be a curse! It’s all weight that has to move up the hill, and you have to pay to fly it in to Base Camp. We get feedback from our teams on quantities and are constantly adjusting our formulas.  It’s not perfect, but we have a lot more data than most to get close.


We aim to supply the freshest quality ingredients that we can acquire and that are practical. We stay away from cheap imitations of known products and go as far as providing “gourmet” cheeses and specialty Alaskan products such as smoked salmon and reindeer sausage. Without being extravagant, you’ll be eating as well as anyone on the mountain.


We strip most of the commercial packaging and provide the food in tie-up plastic bags, clearly labeled and combined into 5-day bags. These 5-day rations break a large amount of food into more easily managed quantities. Also, for the standard route on Denali, the timing breakdown seems to be convenient for planning loads and caches.

You will need to provide heavy-duty stuff sacks or duffle bags for carrying on the mountain.

Our Meals

Most meals require some preparation and cooking. If you want only de-hydrated meals you do not need our service. Just go buy the meals. However, from our experience, after a few days you will be sick of the meals and needing a little more variety. We aim to provide quality meals with the energy you need to have a great start.

Breakfast: Many days breakfasts is quick and easy prepared by each climber depending on what they feel like.  For example, buffed out oat meal with nuts, raisins, milk.  But there is also the occasional big breakfast on a rest day with something like bacon and eggs or cheesy hash browns.

Snacks: The old adage in mountaineering is that lunch starts just after breakfast and ends right before dinner.  We supply a lot of snacks.  Variety is key and you don’t know what you’ll be craving or feel like eating. We don’t provide any Gu-type “power gel” substances but we do provide a few energy bar type things in addition to the standard candy bars, pretzels, crackers, salami, cheese etc.  Just about anything that Costco has could be part of the bag.

Dinners: Dinner usually involves some preparation such as Pesto Pasta, Spaghetti with Reindeer Sausage and many other recipes that we’ve created.  There are also some de-hy meals built into the plan for when you’re just too tired to cook.

Drinks: We’ll provide enough hot drinks for at least 3 per person per day including a variety of teas and hot chocolate. Other drink mixes such as Tang and Lemonade are provided in limited quantities. We’ve found these go down pretty well for a while but then become somewhat disgustingly sweet. Weight can add up fast.  Coffee can be essential to some, and just dead weight to others.  Some teams might carry a French press while others go with Instant.  For all of these reasons, we have stepped out of the coffee debate.  Coffee is not included in our packages.  

Cook Groups:

Your food is packaged for cook groups consisting of 2 or 3 people.  We’ve found that 3 is the most that can easily operate on one stove or in the vestibule of a tent.  If your team is larger, you can combine cook groups if everyone is having the same dinner on a given night.  Up to you.

Cook Gear: For each cook group we suggest the following in addition to your usual bits and pieces:
2 L Pot : Good for sauces, soups etc.
4 L Pot : your standard for snow melting
3 L Pot : Can be omitted but helps make things happen a lot faster and keep your water pot clean and grease free.

Fry Pan : We can’t say enough good things about the Banks Fry-bake.

The years of planning and refining our menus are a large part of the service that we provide, for a fee. Please understand that we will not provide detailed menus or food lists until you have booked our service and paid your deposit.

“Just wanted to let you know that I and Jan were elected to be the winner of Denali Pro Award  for our rescue of the Russian climber last year. It was the energy from your excellent food and service that made us strong enough for the rescue!”

-Bengt Bern, Team Sweden
Winners of the Denali Pro Award