Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
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Denali National Park - page 2 of 3
Denali mountain (previously called Mt. McKinley)
most of the photos were taken while on the bus ride
July 12, 2016

Denali (previously known as Mount McKinley) is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level. (On September 2, 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that the mountain is 20,310 feet high, not 20,320 feet, as measured in 1952 using photogrammetry.)

At some 18,000 feet, the base-to-peak rise is the largest of any mountain situated entirely above sea level. With a topographic prominence of 20,156 feet and a topographic isolation of 4,629 miles, Denali is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of the U.S. state of Alaska, Denali is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Denali mountain

The Koyukon people who inhabit the area around the mountain have referred to the peak as "Denali" for centuries. In 1896, a gold prospector named it "Mount McKinley" in support of then-presidential candidate William McKinley; that name was the official name recognized by the United States government from 1917 until 2015. In August 2015, following the 1975 lead of the state of Alaska, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the change of the official name of the mountain to Denali. Prior to this, most Alaskans already referred to the mountain as Denali.

In 1903, James Wickersham recorded the first attempt at climbing Denali, which was unsuccessful. In 1906, Frederick Cook claimed the first ascent, which was later proven to be false. The first verifiable ascent to Denali's summit was achieved on June 7, 1913, by climbers Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper, and Robert Tatum, who went by the South Summit. In 1951, Bradford Washburn pioneered the West Buttress route, considered to be the safest and easiest route, and therefore the most popular currently in use. (above quote from

Denali has two significant summits: the South Summit is the higher one, while the North Summit has an elevation of 19,470 feet and a prominence of approximately 1,270 feet. The North Summit is sometimes counted as a separate peak and sometimes not; it is rarely climbed.

Five large glaciers flow off the slopes of the mountain. The Peters Glacier 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 lies to the southeast of the mountain, and the Kahiltna Glacier leads up to the southwest side of the mountain. With a length of 44 miles, the Kahiltna Glacier is the longest glacier in the Alaska Range.

Denali Mountain as seen from the Eielson Visitor Center

All of these photos were taken by Karen Duquette. Please ask permission before using these photos.

Denali Mountain as seen at Reflection Pond

More pictures of Denali Mountain can be seen as taken from two different Denali scenic lookouts. Return to the Denali sub-menu for those, after you visit Kantishna via the link below.

look below

please continue on to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies Continue on to page 3 of Denali National Park - Kantishna


See more of Mt. McKinly as seen in 2016. There will be a link back to this page