Mount McKinley – Highest Mountain Peak in North America
Mount McKinley is the highest peak in North America with a summit elevation of 20,237 feet above sea level. This is perhaps the single most inspiring mountain in the world all higher peaks are in the greater Himalayas 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 have been lost attempting the ascent.
The number of attempts at the summit has increased dramatically in recent years, and a greater percentage of these are ending in failure. This is really the heart of Alaska, and famous as the “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 that 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. The 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 the major facts about 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: – April, May, and June
Year first climbed: – 1913
First successful climber(s): – Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, W. Harper, R. Tatum