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Spring Denali National Park Scientific Expedition

with Sheldon Chalet Launches in May 2022

Be a Part of History and Discover the Bottom of the Continent's Deepest Gorge

Denali National Park, Alaska (March 28, 2022): In 1992 a team of scientists instigated and funded by the late legendary cartographer Bradford Washburn attempted to record the depth of the Great Gorge in Denali's mighty Ruth Glacier. The glacier on the southeast flanks of Denali gets squeezed down into a mile-wide gorge aptly named the Great Gorge. Imagine discovering what is at the bottom of the continent's deepest gorge. 


This May, 30 years later, another team of scientists, including Jack Holt, who was on the original expedition, is returning to the world-renowned Ruth Glacier to map the bottom of the Gorge and the 35-square mile Don Sheldon Amphitheater. Thanks to advanced technology, the team of scientists hope to successfully record the exact depth of the Great Gorge and confirm Mr. Washburn’s belief that it is indeed the deepest on the continent, and perhaps on Earth.


The science expedition is being hosted and funded by the family of the late Don Sheldon, an Alaskan bush pilot who supported Mr. Washburn in 8 years of mapping the Alaskan mountain range from 1951 to 1959, and used his quarters on the flanks of Denali, the now historic Sheldon Mountain House, as the base for his ongoing research. 

“As a family, we are very proud to be able to continue our family’s legacy of contributing to the scientific study and mapping of Denali. While our father assisted in mapping and surveying the mountain range as well as partnered with the Institute of Arctic Biology to maintain the highest airport and scientific station in the world at 14,300’ our generation endeavors to facilitate mapping below the surface for the advancement of science in our neighborhood and beautiful national park,” shares Robert Sheldon, co-owner of the Sheldon Chalet with his wife Marne Sheldon and sister Kate Sheldon. He continues, “While our dad was the visionary of Sheldon Chalet, he never did see the structure completed. We know he’d be proud that his quarters on the flanks of Denali continue as a base for research and exploration, welcoming guests from around the world to experience Denali’s grandeur.”

The family is thrilled to make this expedition available to the public, allowing a select group of guests to book this once-in-a-lifetime experience to be part of Denali’s history. Guests will join the scientific team from May 3-6, 2022 participating and contributing to the findings which will be published along with their names. Proceeds from the booking go directly to funding the expedition and compensating the scientific team. The Sheldon Chalet Denali National Park Scientific Expedition starts at $32,500 for two guests, based on double occupancy, or $22,500 for solo travelers. 

Experience Includes: 

  • Round trip flight to Sheldon Chalet / depart from Anchorage, return to Talkeetna

  • Ground transportation back to Anchorage

  • Accommodations

  • All meals and beverages

  • Use of sauna

  • Use of exploration gear

  • Use of outdoor adventure apparel - boots, parka, pants, hats, gloves

  • Certified adventure guides

  • Tour of the historic Sheldon Mountain House and guided glacier exploration

  • A chance to make history by participating in glacier research with our team of scientists

  • Opportunity to join the exploration team in the survey and analysis phases

Starting at $32,000 per night for up to 4 people for an exclusive 3-night minimum, guests will experience Denali’s unparalleled vertical grandeur at this eco-conscious chalet in a way that’s never been available until now. This ultimate experience includes gear, exploration guides, a concierge, a personal chef matching gourmet Alaska fare with premium wine pairings, guided glacier adventures, helicopter tours to and from the Chalet and life expanding moments. At Sheldon Chalet, guests can further choose from unique aerial tours, back-country skiing adventures and incredible snowshoe treks with unparalleled views of the Denali summit just ten miles away. For more information about Sheldon Chalet and its exclusive explorations, please visit


Further details on the science expedition and historical information can be found here.




About Sheldon Chalet:

Sheldon Chalet is perched on a private 4.99 acre nunatak [glacier rock outcropping] located in Denali National Park on the southern flanks of North America’s tallest massif at an elevation of 5,818 feet in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater of the mighty Ruth Glacier. The incredible panoramas feature vertical grandeur including the summit of 20,310 ft Denali dominating the landscape just 10 miles away. Air transportation is the only way to reach Sheldon Chalet which sleeps up to ten guests in five bedrooms. The dream of Alaskan visionaries, Don and Roberta Sheldon, Sheldon Chalet is a platform for the adventure of a lifetime and offers guests guides, gear, a chef, concierge, and life expanding experiences at the only destination on the flanks of North America’s highest mountain. There are no roads, rails or trails accessing the area. The closest town of Talkeetna is 55 air miles away. Robert Sheldon, his wife Marne, and sister Kate have made the Sheldon family dream become a reality. Serving delicious Alaskan fare, Sheldon Chalet provides a crown-jewel Alaskan experience with curated activities including guided glacier trekking and aurora borealis viewing. Each guest is certain to "Experience Grand" at Sheldon Chalet. 

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Media Contact:

Julie Leventhal

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