Denali (Mount McKinley)


Mount McKinley (also known by its native name Denali, or "The High One") is the highest peak on the North American continent.

Located in Alaska, it is 20,320 feet (6,193 m.) above sea level, and the highest peak in the United States.

This great peak was uplifted by tectonic pressure, but at the same time erosion has done its work of stripping the mountain of its softer sedimentary rock. Two significant peaks make up the mountain: the South Summit is the higher one, and the North Summit is nearly a thousand feet lower, 19,470 feet (5,934 m.).

Five large glaciers flow off the slopes of the mountain. The Peters Glacier lies on the northwest side, while the Muldrow Glacier falls from its northeast slopes. Then to the east and southeast are the Ruth and Kahiltna glaciers.

Because the mountain is so far north, it is characterized by extremely cold weather. The temperature on the upper slopes never gets above 0° F. Adding the windchill to this often produces conditions of more than 100 degrees below Zero!

In 1906 Dr. Frederick Cook, an American explorer, claimed to have been the first man to have reached the top, but in 1910 this claim was proven to be false. That same year a group of miners from Fairbanks, led by Peter Anderson and William Taylor, said they had reached the top and placed a flag pole that could be seen from Fairbanks with a pair of binoculars.

However, it wasn't until 1913 that the actual highest point on the South Peak was reached. This was accomplished by Archdeacon Hudson Stuck, Harry P. Karstens and two of their companions. From the South Peak they did see the miners' flag pole planted on the lower North Peak.

Mount McKinley was named after the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley, and is surrounded by the beautiful Denali National Park and Preserve.
Return to Seven Summits from Denali


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