Transportation and Description
The Mountain House air transportation is exclusively available through K2 Aviation ski-equipped fixed-wing plane, or, when necessary, by contracted helicopter.
- Fixed–wing planes land on a historical glacier airstrip. Upon arrival at the landing site on the east side of the Mountain House outcrop, visitors hike up-glacier and ascend a 30-35° snow slope which gains access to the south end of the rock outcropping where the Mountain House sits. The distance is approximately 300 yards and the level of difficulty depends on snow conditions and whether a trail is broken and/or locatable.
- Helicopters will land within the 4.9 acre Mountain House property boundaries. Upon arrival, visitors will find themselves adjacent to the Mountain House.
The Mountain House is a hexagonal hut, approximately 14 feet in diameter with large windows, four sleeping benches, and a wood stove. It can accommodate six people relatively comfortably if two people are willing to sleep on the floor. Larger groups typically sleep in tents they pitch on the property and use the Mountain House as a base to warm up and dry out.
Season and Weather
The Mountain House is located in the Alaska Range, a remote and glaciated mountain range known for its unpredictable and severe weather and winter conditions. Weather permitting, the rental season is from February 15th to November 1. At any time, it is possible to experience sudden snow or windstorms, which decrease visibility and can result in large amounts of precipitation. Storms can cause visitors to become housebound and weathered-in beyond their scheduled pickup date. Late February is considered the tail end of dangerous conditions, and while the days are getting longer and the temperatures warming, winter conditions prevail. The first and last 30 days of the rental season are available to people with extensive knowledge and experience with glacier travel and crevasse rescue, or with a guide from Alpine Ascents International, Inc. Travel to the Mountain House in December and January is not recommended due to extreme weather, decreasing temperatures, lack of daylight, and generally poor travel conditions.
Visitors to the Mountain House must provide all of their own gear such as sleeping bags, cooking utensils, clothing, and personal items. Various items may be available for rental through Alpine Ascents International, Inc. in Talkeetna. Visitors must also provide all of their own food. It is recommended to bring extra food as changing weather can sometimes cause a party to be weathered-in for several days beyond their intended stay. The wood stove at the Mountain House has a built in heating element, but is generally too small for many cooking purposes; there are normally two propane stoves available for more general cooking needs. However, all visitors should bring their own camp stoves and propane canisters, or other fuel, in case of inoperable or unavailable equipment. Vented windows in the kitchen area should be used each time cooking is done inside. Food should be stored inside the Mountain House to prevent ravens from raiding food caches.
The Mountain House is located at a remote region therefore communication is spotty at best. Cellular devices do not work at that location; satellite phones are used with some success. There is a satellite phone with booster antenna located inside the Mountain House but it is only for logistical communications with K2 Aviation. All unauthorized uses will incur a substantial fee.
First Aid Kits
The First Aid kits are NOT maintained at the Mountain House and therefore should not be relied upon. Any supplies have been left there as a good will gesture by past visitors. Please bring your own and be prepared to be as self sufficient as possible.
Mountain House visitors are provided with Alaska produced “all-wood briquettes” both at a backup wood storage shed adjacent to the Mountain House and via K2 Aviation. We only allow the use of these locally produced briquettes as the fuel source because of ease of use, ease of transportation and environmental soundness. Normally, a maximum of two 20lb bags for each day are required, but often visitors find that ½ bag per day is enough depending on the weather and the time spent physically in the Mountain House. As the time for departure from the Mountain House nears, please deposit any unopened bags in available wood storage shed bins adjacent to the Mountain House.
To eliminate any waste left at the Mountain House, all garbage should be flown out to Talkeetna for proper disposal at the end of your stay. Please keep garbage compact and double bagged for the flight out. Careful packing can reduce garbage. You may deposit your trash at the local Talkeetna Transfer Station.
Please bring reinforced plastic “heavy duty trash bags” to line the portable loo with. We recommend that after each day of use, the bag is removed and placed in an additional bag, and a new bag is used to line the portable loo. Upon your return to Talkeetna, the bags are to be disposed of with your other trash at the Talkeetna Transfer Station.
Electricity and Water
There is no electricity or water available at the Mountain House or anywhere nearby. Bring bottled water, or five-gallon containers, for drinking. Snow can be used for washing and cleaning, by melting slowly in pots on the wood stove. Since the average person drinks at least one gallon a day and more is needed for washing dishes, it makes sense to bring two stoves: one for cooking and one for melting snow. Choose a designated location for harvesting clean snow for water production and a separate location for depositing waste water (grey water). Clean water can be harvested at the north end of the ridge (well away from the storage shed, but near the Mountain House); grey water can be deposited at the south end of the ridge (near the storage shed). There is a screen for filtering grey water and fireplace ash; larger particles should be “packed out” with your trash.
Mountain House Community
The Mountain House draws a very special group of visitors who love and care for it. Cleaning the Mountain House and the outside grounds from use and debris has been a tradition that visitors honor for the next incoming guests. Each year we spend time and money on the upkeep of the Mountain House. If a guest damages something, please let us know and so we can figure the repair costs incurred. We cherish the situation where the rental rates are sensible and the trust in the guests is high.
Please Note Your Responsibilities
1) All persons traveling to or using the Mountain House will be required to follow the policies and procedures of Mountain House, LLC and of the guides that have access to the Mountain House. 2) All persons traveling to or using the Mountain House will be required to sign a Participant Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims, Assumption of Risks and Indemnity Agreement in favor of Mountain House, LLC, and Briefing Guide, before departing to the Mountain House. 3) Each person traveling to or using the Mountain House agrees and acknowledges when they sign up to stay at the Mountain House that they have primary responsibility for their own safety and they are agreeing they are ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE for their own safety during travel to or use of the Mountain House.