Mount McKinley
Overview
 
Mount McKinley or Denali (Koyukon
Koyukon language
Koyukon is an Athabaskan language spoken along the Koyukuk and middle Yukon River in western interior Alaska. It has about 300 speakers - generally older adults bilingual in English - from an ethnic population of 2,300....

 Athabaskan
Athabaskan languages
Athabaskan or Athabascan is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family...

 for "The High One", Dghelaayce’e in Ahtna
Ahtna language
Ahtna or Ahtena is the Na-Dené language of the Ahtna ethnic group of the Copper River area of Alaska. The language is also known as Copper River or Mednovskiy...

) in Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, United States is the highest
Extremes on Earth
This article describes extreme locations on Earth. Entries listed in bold are Earth-wide extremes.-Extreme elevations and temperatures per continent:This article describes extreme locations on Earth. Entries listed in bold are Earth-wide extremes....

 mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 peak in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, with a summit elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

 of 20320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and contains Denali , the highest mountain in North America. The park and preserve together cover 9,492 mi² .The longest glacier is the Kalhiltna glacier....

.
Mount McKinley is a granitic pluton
Pluton
A pluton in geology is a body of intrusive igneous rock that crystallized from magma slowly cooling below the surface of the Earth. Plutons include batholiths, dikes, sills, laccoliths, lopoliths, and other igneous bodies...

. It has been uplifted by tectonic pressure while at the same time, erosion has stripped away the (somewhat softer) sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

 above and around the mountain.

The forces that lifted Mount McKinley—the subduction
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

 of the Pacific plate
Pacific Plate
The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. At 103 million square kilometres, it is the largest tectonic plate....

 beneath the North American plate
North American Plate
The North American Plate is a tectonic plate covering most of North America, Greenland, Cuba, Bahamas, and parts of Siberia, Japan and Iceland. It extends eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and westward to the Chersky Range in eastern Siberia. The plate includes both continental and oceanic crust...

—also raised great ranges across southern Alaska.
Encyclopedia
Mount McKinley or Denali (Koyukon
Koyukon language
Koyukon is an Athabaskan language spoken along the Koyukuk and middle Yukon River in western interior Alaska. It has about 300 speakers - generally older adults bilingual in English - from an ethnic population of 2,300....

 Athabaskan
Athabaskan languages
Athabaskan or Athabascan is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family...

 for "The High One", Dghelaayce’e in Ahtna
Ahtna language
Ahtna or Ahtena is the Na-Dené language of the Ahtna ethnic group of the Copper River area of Alaska. The language is also known as Copper River or Mednovskiy...

) in Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, United States is the highest
Extremes on Earth
This article describes extreme locations on Earth. Entries listed in bold are Earth-wide extremes.-Extreme elevations and temperatures per continent:This article describes extreme locations on Earth. Entries listed in bold are Earth-wide extremes....

 mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 peak in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, with a summit elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

 of 20320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and contains Denali , the highest mountain in North America. The park and preserve together cover 9,492 mi² .The longest glacier is the Kalhiltna glacier....

.

Geology and features

Mount McKinley is a granitic pluton
Pluton
A pluton in geology is a body of intrusive igneous rock that crystallized from magma slowly cooling below the surface of the Earth. Plutons include batholiths, dikes, sills, laccoliths, lopoliths, and other igneous bodies...

. It has been uplifted by tectonic pressure while at the same time, erosion has stripped away the (somewhat softer) sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

 above and around the mountain.

The forces that lifted Mount McKinley—the subduction
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

 of the Pacific plate
Pacific Plate
The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. At 103 million square kilometres, it is the largest tectonic plate....

 beneath the North American plate
North American Plate
The North American Plate is a tectonic plate covering most of North America, Greenland, Cuba, Bahamas, and parts of Siberia, Japan and Iceland. It extends eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and westward to the Chersky Range in eastern Siberia. The plate includes both continental and oceanic crust...

—also raised great ranges across southern Alaska. As that huge sheet of ocean-floor rock plunges downward into the mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

, it shoves and crumples the continent into soaring mountains which include some of the most active volcanoes on the continent. Mount McKinley in particular is uplifted relative to the rocks around it because it is at the intersection of major active strike-slip faults (faults that move rocks laterally across the Earth's surface) which allow the deep buried rocks to be unroofed more rapidly compared to those around them.

Layout of the mountain

Mount McKinley has two significant summits: the South Summit is the higher one, while the North Summit has an elevation of 19470 feet (5,934 m) and a prominence of approximately 1320 feet (402 m). The North Summit is sometimes counted as a separate peak (see e.g., the List of United States fourteeners) and sometimes not; it is rarely climbed, except by those doing routes on the north side of the massif
Massif
In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...

.

Five large glaciers flow off the slopes of the mountain. The Peters Glacier
Peters Glacier
Peters Glacier is a glacier flowing southward into the west side of Cheapman Bay, South Georgia. Named by United Kingdom Antarctic Place-Names Committee for Nikolaus Peters, a leading German authority on whales and whaling and Director of Reichstelle fur Walforschung, Hamburg, 1937-1940....

 lies on the northwest side of the massif, while the Muldrow Glacier falls from its northeast slopes. Just to the east of the Muldrow, and abutting the eastern side of the massif, is the Traleika Glacier. The Ruth Glacier
Ruth Glacier
Ruth Glacier is a glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve in the U.S. state of Alaska. Its upper reaches are almost three vertical miles below the summit of Mount McKinley. The glacier's "Great Gorge" is one mile wide, and drops almost over ten miles , with crevasses along the surface...

 lies to the southeast of the mountain, and the Kahiltna Glacier
Kahiltna Glacier
Kahiltna Glacier is a long glacier of the Alaska Range in the U.S. state of Alaska. It starts on the southwest slope of Mount McKinley near Kahiltna Pass . Its main channel runs almost due south between Mount Foraker to the west and Mount Hunter to the east.- Forks :The glacier has a few notable...

 leads up to the southwest side of the mountain.

Naming

The Koyukon
Koyukon
The Koyukon are a group of Athabaskan people living in northern Alaska. Their traditional home is along the Koyukuk and Yukon rivers where they subsisted by hunting and trapping for thousands of years...

 Athabaskan
Athabaskan languages
Athabaskan or Athabascan is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family...

 people who inhabit the area around the mountain referred to the peak as Dinale or Denali ("the high one" or "the great one"). In the late 1890s, a gold prospector named it "McKinley" as political support for then-president William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

. The Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to Denali, which is how it is referred to locally. However, a 1975 request by the Alaska state legislature to the United States Board on Geographic Names
United States Board on Geographic Names
The United States Board on Geographic Names is a United States federal body whose purpose is to establish and maintain uniform usage of geographic names throughout the U.S. government.-Overview:...

 to do the same was blocked by Ohio congressman Ralph Regula
Ralph Regula
Ralph Straus Regula was a Representative in the United States Congress from the 16th District of the State of Ohio. He retired in January 2009 after 18 consecutive terms. He is a member of the Republican Party. In the 110th Congress , he was the second longest serving Republican member of the U.S...

, whose district includes McKinley's hometown. Members of the Ohio congressional delegation continue to protect the McKinley name, blocking attempts by the Alaska congressional delegation to get the Board of Geographic Names to change it to Denali. Thus, "Denali" is correct according to the Alaska state board, while "McKinley" is correct according to the national board.

History

The Koyukon
Koyukon language
Koyukon is an Athabaskan language spoken along the Koyukuk and middle Yukon River in western interior Alaska. It has about 300 speakers - generally older adults bilingual in English - from an ethnic population of 2,300....

 Athabaskan
Athabaskan languages
Athabaskan or Athabascan is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family...

s are the first Native Americans with access to the flanks of the mountain (living in the Yukon
Yukon River
The Yukon River is a major watercourse of northwestern North America. The source of the river is located in British Columbia, Canada. The next portion lies in, and gives its name to Yukon Territory. The lower half of the river lies in the U.S. state of Alaska. The river is long and empties into...

, Tanana
Tanana River
The Tanana River is a tributary of the Yukon River in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to linguist and anthropologist William Bright, the name is from the Koyukon tene no, tenene, literally "trail river"....

 and Kuskokwim basins). The historical first European sighting of Mount McKinley took place on May 6, 1794, when George Vancouver
George Vancouver
Captain George Vancouver RN was an English officer of the British Royal Navy, best known for his 1791-95 expedition, which explored and charted North America's northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon...

 was surveying the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet and mentioned “distant stupendous mountains” in his journal. The Russian explorer Lavrenty Zagoskin
Lavrenty Zagoskin
Lavrenty Alekseyevich Zagoskin was a Russian naval officer and explorer of Alaska.Zagoskin was born in 1808 in the Russian district of Penza in a village named Nikolayevka. Even though Nikolayevka was not near the ocean, Zagoskin would eventually train for the Russian Navy and served as a naval...

 explored the Tanana and Kuskokwim rivers in 1843 and 1844 and was probably the first European to sight the mountain from the other side.

William Dickey, a New Hampshire-born Seattleite who had been digging for gold in the sands of the Susitna River
Susitna River
The Susitna River is a long river in the Southcentral Alaska. It is the 15th largest river in the United States of America, ranked by average discharge volume at its mouth. The river stretches from the Susitna Glacier to Cook Inlet....

, wrote, after his return to the lower states, an account in the New York Sun
New York Sun
The New York Sun was a weekday daily newspaper published in New York City from 2002 to 2008. When it debuted on April 16, 2002, adopting the name, motto, and masthead of an otherwise unrelated earlier New York paper, The Sun , it became the first general-interest broadsheet newspaper to be started...

that appeared on January 24, 1897. His report drew attention with the sentence “We have no doubt that this peak is the highest in North America, and estimate that it is over 20000 feet (6,096 m) high.” Until then 18000 feet (5,486.4 m) Mount Saint Elias
Mount Saint Elias
Mount Saint Elias, also designated Boundary Peak 186, is the second highest mountain in both Canada and the United States, being situated on the Yukon and Alaska border. It lies about southwest of Mount Logan, the highest mountain in Canada. The Canadian side is part of Kluane National Park,...

 was believed to be the continent’s highest point (Mount Logan
Mount Logan
Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest peak in North America, after Mount McKinley . The mountain was named after Sir William Edmond Logan, a Canadian geologist and founder of the Geological Survey of Canada . Mount Logan is located within Kluane National Park and...

 was still unknown and Mount St Elias’ height had been overestimated to beat Pico de Orizaba
Pico de Orizaba
The Pico de Orizaba, or Citlaltépetl , is a stratovolcano, the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America. It rises above sea level in the eastern end of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, on the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla...

). Though later praised for his estimate, Dickey admitted that other prospector parties had also guessed the mountain to be over 20000 feet (6,096 m).

Climbing history

The first recorded attempt to climb Mount McKinley was by Judge James Wickersham
James Wickersham
James Wickersham was a district judge for Alaska, appointed by U.S. President William McKinley to the Third Judicial District in 1900. He resigned his post in 1908 and was subsequently elected as Alaska's delegate to Congress, serving until 1917 and then being re-elected in 1930...

 in 1903, via the Peters Glacier and the North Face, now known as the Wickersham Wall. This route has tremendous avalanche danger and was not successfully climbed until 1963.

Famed explorer Dr. Frederick Cook
Frederick Cook
Frederick Albert Cook was an American explorer and physician, noted for his claim of having reached the North Pole on April 21, 1908. This would have been a year before April 6, 1909, the date claimed by Robert Peary....

 claimed the first ascent
First ascent
In climbing, a first ascent is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route...

 of the mountain in 1906. His claim was regarded with some suspicion from the start, but was also widely believed. It was later proved false, with some crucial evidence provided by Bradford Washburn
Bradford Washburn
Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. was an American explorer, mountaineer, photographer, and cartographer. He established the Boston Museum of Science, served as its director from 1939–1980, and from 1985 until his death served as its Honorary Director .Washburn is especially noted for exploits in four...

 when he was sketched on a lower peak.

In 1910, four locals (Tom Lloyd, Peter Anderson, Billy Taylor, and Charles McGonagall), known as the Sourdough expedition, attempted McKinley, despite a complete lack of climbing experience. They spent approximately three months on the mountain. However, their purported summit day was impressive: carrying a bag of doughnuts, each a thermos of hot chocolate, and a 14-foot (4.2 m) spruce pole, two of them reached the North Summit, the lower of the two, and erected the pole near the top. According to them, they took a total of 18 hours – a record that has yet to be beat(as of 2006). No one believed their success (partly due to false claims that they had climbed both summits) until the true first ascent, in 1913.

In 1912, the Parker-Browne expedition nearly reached the summit, turning back within just a few hundred yards of it due to harsh weather. In fact, that probably saved their lives, as a powerful earthquake shattered the glacier they ascended hours after they safely left it.
The first ascent of the main summit of McKinley came on June 7, 1913, by a party led by Hudson Stuck
Hudson Stuck
Hudson Stuck with Harry P. Karstens co-led the first expedition to successfully climb the South Peak of Mount McKinley.Stuck, an Episcopal Archdeacon, was born in London and graduated from King's College London...

. The first man to reach the summit was Walter Harper
Walter Harper
Walter Harper was the first person to reach the summit of Mount McKinley/Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Harper, an Alaska Native, was part of the mountaineering team of Hudson Stuck...

, an Alaska Native. Harry Karstens and Robert Tatum also made the summit. Tatum later commented, "The view from the top of Mount McKinley is like looking out the windows of Heaven!" They ascended the Muldrow Glacier route pioneered by the earlier expeditions, which is still often climbed today. Stuck confirmed, via binoculars, the presence of a large pole near the North Summit; this report confirmed the Sourdough ascent, and today it is widely believed that the Sourdoughs did succeed on the North Summit. However, the pole was never seen before or since, so there is still some doubt. Stuck also discovered that the Parker-Browne party were only about 200 feet (61 m) of elevation short of the true summit when they turned back.

See the timeline below for more important events in Mount McKinley's climbing history.

The mountain is regularly climbed today; in 2003, around 58% of climbers reached the top. But by 2003, the mountain had claimed the lives of nearly 100 mountaineers over time. The vast majority of climbers use the West Buttress Route, pioneered in 1951 by Bradford Washburn
Bradford Washburn
Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. was an American explorer, mountaineer, photographer, and cartographer. He established the Boston Museum of Science, served as its director from 1939–1980, and from 1985 until his death served as its Honorary Director .Washburn is especially noted for exploits in four...

, after an extensive aerial photographic analysis of the mountain. Climbers typically take two to four weeks to ascend the mountain.

Timeline

  • 1896–1902: Surveys by Robert Muldrow, George Eldridge, Alfred Brooks.
  • 1903: First attempt, by Judge James Wickersham.
  • 1906: Frederick Cook
    Frederick Cook
    Frederick Albert Cook was an American explorer and physician, noted for his claim of having reached the North Pole on April 21, 1908. This would have been a year before April 6, 1909, the date claimed by Robert Peary....

     falsely claims the first ascent
    First ascent
    In climbing, a first ascent is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route...

     of McKinley.
  • 1910: The Sourdoughs ascend the North Summit.
  • 1912: The Parker-Browne attempt almost reaches the South Summit.
  • 1913: First ascent by Hudson Stuck
    Hudson Stuck
    Hudson Stuck with Harry P. Karstens co-led the first expedition to successfully climb the South Peak of Mount McKinley.Stuck, an Episcopal Archdeacon, was born in London and graduated from King's College London...

    , Walter Harper
    Walter Harper
    Walter Harper was the first person to reach the summit of Mount McKinley/Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Harper, an Alaska Native, was part of the mountaineering team of Hudson Stuck...

    , Harry Karstens
    Henry Peter Karstens
    Henry Peter "Harry" Karstens was the first superintendent of Mount McKinley National Park , from 1921 to 1928...

    , Robert Tatum.
  • 1932: Second ascent, by Alfred Lindley
    Alfred Lindley
    Alfred "Al" Damon Lindley was an American lawyer and sportsman. He participated in a wide variety of sports, including rowing , skiing and mountaineering...

    , Harry Liek, Grant Pearson, Erling Strom. (Both peaks were climbed.)
  • 1947: Barbara Washburn
    Barbara Washburn
    Barbara Washburn is an American mountaineer. The widow of mountaineer and scientist Bradford Washburn, she became the first woman to climb Mt. McKinley on June 6, 1947.-Biography:...

     becomes the first woman to reach the summit as her husband Bradford Washburn
    Bradford Washburn
    Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. was an American explorer, mountaineer, photographer, and cartographer. He established the Boston Museum of Science, served as its director from 1939–1980, and from 1985 until his death served as its Honorary Director .Washburn is especially noted for exploits in four...

     becomes the first to summit twice.
  • 1951: First ascent of the West Buttress Route, led by Bradford Washburn
    Bradford Washburn
    Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. was an American explorer, mountaineer, photographer, and cartographer. He established the Boston Museum of Science, served as its director from 1939–1980, and from 1985 until his death served as its Honorary Director .Washburn is especially noted for exploits in four...

    .
  • 1954: First ascent of the very long South Buttress Route.
  • 1959: First ascent of the West Rib, now a popular, mildly technical route to the summit.
  • 1961: First ascent of the Cassin
    Riccardo Cassin
    Riccardo Cassin was an Italian mountaineer, developer of mountaineering equipment and author.-Life:Born at San Vito al Tagliamento, Friuli, Cassin was one of the leading mountaineers of the inter-war period; in all, Cassin made a total of 2,500 ascents, of which over 100 were first ascents...

     Ridge, the best-known technical route on the mountain. This was a major landmark in Alaskan climbing.
  • 1963: Two teams make first ascents of two different routes on the Wickersham Wall.
  • 1967: First winter ascent, via the West Buttress, by Dave Johnston, Art Davidson and Ray Genet
    Ray Genet
    Ray Genet, often referred to by the nickname Pirate, was an accomplished mountaineer whose many distinctions included having been the first guide on Mount McKinley in Alaska - the highest mountain in North America....

    .
  • 1967: Seven members of Joe Wilcox's twelve-man expedition perish, while stranded for ten days near the summit, in what has been described as the worst storm on record. Up to that time, this was the third worst disaster in mountaineering history in terms of lives lost.
  • 1970: First solo ascent by Naomi Uemura
    Naomi Uemura
    was a Japanese adventurer. He was particularly well known for doing alone what had previously been achieved only with large teams. For example, he was the first person ever to reach the North Pole solo, the first ever to raft the Amazon solo, and the first ever to climb Mount McKinley solo.-Early...

    .
  • 1972: Sylvain Saudan
    Sylvain Saudan
    Sylvain Saudan is an extreme skier, dubbed "skier of the impossible." He is noted for skiing down large and steep mountains, including those in the Himalayas. In 2007 he survived a helicopter crash in Kashmir....

    , "Skier of the Impossible", skis down the sheer southwest face, conquered for the first time by skier or climber.
  • 1976: First solo ascent of the Cassin Ridge by Charlie Fowler
    Charlie Fowler
    Charlie Fowler was an American mountain climber, writer, and photographer. He was one of North America’s most experienced mountain climbers, and successfully climbed many of the world’s highest peaks...

    , a climb "ahead of its time".
  • 1979: First ascent by dog team achieved by Susan Butcher, Ray Genet
    Ray Genet
    Ray Genet, often referred to by the nickname Pirate, was an accomplished mountaineer whose many distinctions included having been the first guide on Mount McKinley in Alaska - the highest mountain in North America....

    , Brian Okonek, Joe Redington, Sr., and Robert Stapleton.
  • 1984: Uemura returns to make the first winter solo ascent, but dies after summitting. Tono Križo, František Korl and Blažej Adam from the Slovak
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

     Mountaineering Association climb a very direct route to the summit, now known as the Slovak Route, on the south face of the mountain, to the right of the Cassin Ridge.
  • 1988: First solo winter ascent with safe return, by Vern Tejas.
  • 1997: First successful ascent up the West Fork of Traleika Glacier up to Karstens Ridge beneath Browne Tower. This path was named the "Butte Direct" by the two climbers Jim Wilson and Jim Blow.

Weather station

The Alpine Club installed a meteorological station on a ridge near the summit of Denali at an altitude of 5,710 m in 1990. In 1998, this weather station was donated to the International Arctic Research Center
International Arctic Research Center
The International Arctic Research Center, or IARC, established in 1999, is a research institution focused on integrating and coordinating study of climate change in the Arctic. The primary partners in IARC are Japan and the United States...

 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks, located in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, is the flagship campus of the University of Alaska System, and is abbreviated as Alaska or UAF....

. In June 2002, a weather station was placed at the 19000 feet (5,791.2 m) level. This weather station was designed to transmit data in real-time for use by the climbing public and the science community. Since its establishment, annual upgrades to the equipment have been performed with instrumentation custom built for the extreme weather and altitude conditions. This weather station is one of only two weather stations in the world located above 18000 feet (5,486.4 m).

The weather station recorded temperatures as low as -75.5 °F on December 1, 2003. On the previous day, November 30, 2003, a temperature of -74.4 °F combined with a wind speed of 18.4 miles per hour to produce a North American record windchill of -118.1 °F.

Even in July, temperatures as low as -22.9 °F and windchills as low as -59.2 °F have been recorded by this weather station.

Historical record

The mountain is characterized by extremely cold weather. Temperatures as low as -75.5 °F and windchills as low as -118.1 °F have been recorded by an automated weather station located at 18700 feet (5,699.8 m). According to the National Park Service, in 1932 the Liek-Lindley expedition recovered a self-recording minimum thermometer left near Browne's Tower, at about 15000 feet (4,572 m), on Mount McKinley by the Stuck-Karstens party in 1913. The spirit thermometer was calibrated down to 95 °F below zero and the lowest recorded temperature was below that point. Harry J. Liek took the thermometer back to Washington, D.C. where it was tested by the United States Weather Bureau and found to be accurate. The lowest temperature that it had recorded was found to be approximately -100 F.

Subpeaks and nearby mountains

Besides the North Summit mentioned above, other less significant features on the massif which are sometimes included as separate peaks are:
  • South Buttress, 15885 feet (4,842 m); mean prominence = 335 feet (102 m)
  • East Buttress high point, 14730 feet (4,490 m); mean prominence = 380 feet (116 m)
  • East Buttress, most topographically prominent point, 14650 feet (4,465 m); mean prominence = 600 feet (183 m)
  • Browne Tower, 14530 feet (4,429 m); mean prominence = 75 feet (23 m)


None of these peaks are usually regarded as worthwhile objectives in their own right; however they often appear on lists of the highest peaks of the United States. (Only one appears on the List of United States Fourteeners on Wikipedia.)
Nearby important peaks include:
  • Mount Foraker
    Mount Foraker
    Mount Foraker is a mountain in the central Alaska Range, in Denali National Park, southwest of Mount McKinley. It is the second highest peak in the Alaska Range, and the fourth highest peak in the United States...

  • Mount Silverthrone
    Mount Silverthrone (Alaska)
    Mount Silverthrone is a massive glaciated mountain on the east side of Mount McKinley, Alaska, United States.-References:* in the Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia...

  • Mount Hunter
    Mount Hunter (Alaska)
    Mount Hunter, or Begguya, is a mountain in Denali National Park in Alaska. It is approximately 8 miles south of Mount McKinley, or Denali, the highest peak in North America. "Begguya" means child in the Dena'ina language...

  • Mount Huntington
  • Mount Dickey
    Mount Dickey
    Mount Dickey is a peak on the west side of the Ruth Gorge in the Central Alaska Range of mountains, 12 miles southeast of Mount McKinley and 4 miles southwest of The Moose's Tooth...

  • The Moose's Tooth
    The Moose's Tooth
    The Moose's Tooth is a rock peak on the east side of the Ruth Gorge in the Central Alaska Range, 15 miles southeast of Mount McKinley. Despite its relatively low elevation, it is a difficult climb...


See also

  • Mountain peaks of North America
    Mountain peaks of North America
    This article comprises three sortable tables of major mountain peaks of greater North America.This article defines greater North America as the portion of the continental landmass of the Americas extending northward from Panama plus the islands surrounding that landmass...

  • Mountain peaks of the United States
    Mountain peaks of the United States
    This article comprises three sortable tables of the major mountain peaks of the United States of America.Topographic elevation is the vertical distance above the reference geoid, a precise mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface...

  • Mountain peaks of Alaska
    Mountain peaks of Alaska
    This article comprises three sortable tables of mountain peaks of the U.S. State of Alaska.Topographic elevation is the vertical distance above the reference geoid, a precise mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface. Topographic prominence is the...

  • Table of the highest major summits of North America
    Table of the highest major summits of North America
    The following sortable table lists the 200 highest mountain peaks of greater North America with at least 500 meters of topographic prominence....

  • Table of the ultra-prominent summits of North America
  • Table of the most isolated major summits of North America
  • Highest mountain peaks


External links



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