Great expedition with an awesome team and great guides!.
Guides for this trip are super important and irrespective of who you go with (i.e. you realistically have to choose between a small number of US accredited companies unless you want to solo).
I chose AAI (that's American Alpine and not Ascents International) on the basis of friendly pre-trip service and dates that suited be down to a tee. As a solo expedition traveller I also always ask about who is already booked so as to avoid being stuck with 6 Norwegians and myself. Don't get me wrong I love Norwegians but I just want to find a trip with a mix of people and at least a few other independent solo travellers that are likely to want to speak English.
Anyhow, most of these trips are very similar, all excellent companies providing solid safe itineraries. The difference therefore in my opinion comes down to the guides. Some companies have better than others, some have different culture, and some guides just stand out and provide an experience that just takes it to the next level. These trips can be brutal at times, getting stuck in a tent for 5 days and wondering if you are going to miss the window can be stressful and have some cool laid back but mega high quality performers on the mountain in charge totally makes the difference.
Anyhow I give top marks to AAI]
But really I am saying if you ever have a chance to go on a trip with
These guys totally rock, fun vibes and total chill but serious when we need to be and always made us feel safe. At the end of this trip we got stuck for what feels like a month (more like a 5 days) at base camp waiting for clouds to shift so a plane could land on the glacier to pick us up! Great team of people and cool guides meant that we all stayed the right side of losing our marbles.
This trip was the trip where I decided to give Everest a go when we completed safely.
Our Denali expedition through American Alpine Institute could not have been better. AAI’s guides, logistical support, and professionalism exceeded all expectations. I would sign up for another trip through AAI tomorrow without hesitation, and recommend this trip to any mountaineers interested in experiencing an epic cold weather expedition.
This was probably the best expedition I have ever been on. Everything was organised perfectly from start to finish. We had three very competent guides who got us to the top negotiating bad weather along the way and got us all down safely helping a few other teams on the way down. Great experience and would do it again with AAI in a heartbeat. Team members were awesome also but that was just luck of the draw ;)