Mount McKinley is the highest peak in North America with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet above sea level perhaps the single most inspiring mountain in the world all higher peaks are in the greater Himalaya or in the Andes, part of giant mountain ranges. In 1897 the Mountain was officially named Mount McKinley, after the popular United States president William McKinley. It is a massive snowy mass, flanked by five giant glaciers and myriad icefalls.

It dominates the horizon from as far south as Cook Inlet, 200 miles away, and as far north as Fairbanks, 150 miles away. Its steep unbroken south slope rises 17,000 feet in twelve miles. Five main ridges extend from the summit, and several spurs and buttresses extend from these. The mountain is progressively more known by its native name, “Denali”, which means The Great One in the Athabaskan language. Denali is also the name preferred by the mountaineering community. Denali is not a particularly difficult climb technically, but the weather is more severe here than anywhere else in the world and countless lives has been lost attempting the ascent.


The number of attempts on the summit has increased dramatically in the recent years, and a greater percentage of these are ending in failure. This is really a heart of Alaska, and famous as “coldest” mountain in the world and as beautiful as it is dangerous. This is where Mrs Fahrenheit and Mr Celsius meet secretly at night: -40 degrees. In any given climbing season, more than 1000 mountaineers attempt its summit. It’s an astonishing geological feature which seems to have limitless faces as the variations in light render its views exceptional on a daily basis. Although ascent of Mount McKinley is considered a serious undertaking made difficult by the cold, the weather, and the sheer scale of the massive mountain.

The climbing season starts from mid-April until mid-July, since before then it is too cold, and after that too stormy and the snow too mushy and unstable from too much sun. First ascent of the main summit of Mount McKinley came on June 7, 1913 by a party led by Hudson Stuck. The first man to reach the summit was Walter Harper, an Alaska Native. Harry Karstens and Robert Tatum also made the summit. They ascended the Muldrow Glacier route pioneered by the earlier expeditions, which is still a popular route today.

Some of major facts of Mount McKinley are as below.

Elevation (feet): 20,320

Elevation (meters):           6,194

Continent:           North America

Country:              United States

Range/Region:   Alaska Range

State:    Alaska

Latitude:              63.0694

Longitude:           -151.004

Difficulty:            Major Mountain Expedition

Best months for climbing:             Apr, May, Jun

Year first climbed:            1913

First successful climber(s):             Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, W. Harper, R. Tatum

Nearest major airport:    Anchorage, Alaska

Convenient Center:          Talkeetna, Alaska

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