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Mountain Climbing > Mt. McKinley - Denali

Mt. McKinley - Denali

Elevation: 20,320 ft (6,194m)
Location: Alaska, USA

Denali Summit June, 1999

Mount McKinley, referred to by climbers as Denali (“The Great One”), is the highest peak in North America. It is a huge snowy mass, flanked by five giant glaciers and countless 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 major ridges extend from the summit, and many spurs and buttresses extend from these. Denali’s weather is more severe than anywhere else in the world, and many climbers lose their lives attempting the ascent. The West Buttress is the standard route on Denali and is populated by over 80% of the climbers each year.


Routes & Skills

The main routes require 15-17,000 feet of elevation gain over icy, crevasse-laden terrain. Expedition-style trips are typically 21-26 days long, depending primarily on weather conditions. Strong technical mountaineering skills are required, and high-altitude experience is highly recommended.

SummitPost.com info on Denali
PeakWare.com Info on Denali

Physical Requirements

All routes on Denali require 15-17,000 feet of elevation gain while carrying 40-140 pounds expedition style, by hauling loaded sleds or completing multiple carries of weeks’ worth of personal gear, either on snowshoes or skis. Trips require substantial cardiovascular stamina, strength, and strength endurance in the entire body, as well as capability of sustained steady exertion with heavy loads at high altitudes.

Six Month Training program to climb High Altitiude Peaks

Additional Planning Resources



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