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Mt McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska - The cold, beautiful and unpredictable mountain!

On a clear day, I could observe that the sun illuminated the snow covered Mount McKinley and made a mirrow of the mountain in the Wonder lake. From a far distance it`s hard to imagine how big challenges climbers encounter to reach the top of this mountain.

Photo. Mount McKinley with Wonder Lake in the foreground. Mt. McKinley south face, as seen from the Parks Highway. © Travel Explorations. 

Some travellers come to climb the mountain, but most come to see wildlife and experience untouched wilderness, especially the big mammals, such as moose, bears, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, caribou and wolves.

Since i could observe the mountain so clearly this day, it looks so close to me , but I as understood from all the dramatic stories its really far within reach.

The first recorded attempt to climb Mount McKinley was by Judge James Wickersham 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.

Mount McKinley or Denali, Koyukon Athabaskan for "The High One", Dghelaayce’e in Ahtna, in Alaska, United States, is the highest mountain peak in North America and the United States, with a summit elevation of 20,320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level. The CIA World Factbook lists its summit elevation as 6,198 metres (20,335 ft). It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Mount McKinley has two significant summits: the South Summit is the higher one, while the North Summit has an elevation of 19,470 feet (5,934 m) and a prominence of approximately 1,320 feet (402 m).

The mountain is regularly climbed today; in 2003, around 58% of climbers reached the top (source: Wikipedia), but by 2003, the mountain had claimed the lives of nearly 100 mountaineers over time. Climbers are still loosing their lives here. Two climbers died in a 1,900-foot fall during a descent of Mt. McKinley on 17th May 2007, according to The National Park Service (a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior).  

The vast majority of climbers use the West Buttress Route, pioneered in 1951 by Bradford Washburn, after an extensive aerial photographic analysis of the mountain. Climbers typically take two to four weeks to ascend the mountain.

Even my huge admiration of the beautiful Mount McKinley from a long distance didn`t inspire to climb this mountain. After I heard about the big risks and tragic stories related to many attempts, I found it safer to admire the mountain from the ground.

Stein Morten Lund, 7th November 2011

Additional information
Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and contains Denali (Mount McKinley), the highest mountain in North America. The park and preserve together cover 9,492 mi² (24,585 km²). The longest glacier is the Kalhiltna glacier.

Read more about tall mountains and amazing landscapes on our global travel guide Travel Explorations.

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