Mount McKinley, Alaska

Prominence: 20156 ft, 6144 m

Elevation: 20,320 feet, 6194 meters

True Isolation: 4629.37 mi, 7450.24 km
Alternate Name(s)Denali
Highest SummitSouth Peak
SubpeaksArchdeacons Tower (19,600 ft/5974 m)
Mount McKinley-North Peak (19,470 ft/5934 m)
Peak 18735 (18,735 ft/5710 m)
Peak 17400 (17,400 ft/5304 m)
West Buttress (16,030 ft/4886 m)
South Buttress (15,885 ft/4842 m)
East Buttress (14,730 ft/4490 m)
Browne Tower (14,600 ft/4450 m)
Southeast Spur (13,100 ft/3993 m)
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)63° 4' 9'' N; 151° 0' 23'' W
63.069042, -151.006347 (Dec Deg)
600733E 6994844N Zone 5 (UTM)
CountryUnited States (Highest Point)
State/ProvinceAlaska (Highest Point)
County/Second Level RegionDenali (Highest Point)

Search Engines - search the web for "Mount McKinley":
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Other Web Sites
     Denali (Mount McKinley) at
     Denali at
     Denali Trip by George Kashouh

Weather and Snow
     National Weather Service Forecast
     NOAA Snow Depth Map

Lists that contain Mount McKinley:
     USA/Canada Range4 High Points (Rank #1)
     World Peaks with 4000 meters of Prominence (Rank #3)
     North America 14,000-foot Peaks (Rank #1)
     World Country High Points (Rank #15)
     Western USA CoHPs (Rank #1)
     North America Peaks with 2000 meters of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Most Isolated Peaks of the U.S. States (Rank #1)
     United States State High Points (plus DC) (Rank #1)
     The Seven Summits (Rank #3)
     U.S. State High Points (Rank #1)
     United States 13,750-foot Peaks (Rank #1)
     CoHP High Five List (Rank #1)
     U.S. County High Points over 13,000 feet (Rank #1)
     USA Peaks with 6000 feet of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Most Prominent Peaks of the U.S. States (Rank #1)
     World Peaks with 1000 km of Isolation (Rank #3)
     Seven Summits - Continental Landmass High Points (Rank #3)
     USA/Canada Peaks with 7000 feet of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Alaska Borough/Census Area High Points (Rank #1)
     North America Range3 High Points (Rank #1)
     Alaska Peaks with 5000 feet of Prominence (Rank #1)
     U.S. National Park High Points (Rank #1)
     5000 foot Prominence CoHPs (Rank #1)
     Fifty Highest CoHPs (Rank #1)
     Alaska 13,000-foot Peaks (Rank #1)
     North America Country High Points (Rank #1)
     5000 foot gain CoHPs (Rank #1)
     United States State/Territory High Points (Rank #1)
     United States Peaks with 100 miles of Isolation (Rank #1)
     Alaska Wilderness High Points (Rank #1)
     Alaska Borough/Census Area Prominence Peaks (Rank #1)
     Alaska Peaks with 100 Miles of Isolation (Rank #1)
     Combined USA-Canada-Mexico State/Province High Points (Rank #1)
     United States 14,000-foot Peaks (Rank #1)
     "Helman Counties"-Greatest Elevation Differential (Rank #1)
     Top 10 Elevation Grid for U.S. States (Rank #1)
     Top 10 Prominence Grid for U.S. States (Rank #1)
     Top 10 County High Points Grid for U.S. States (Rank #1)
     Top 10 Isolation Grid for U.S. States (Rank #1)
(Peak is on over 20 lists; Not all shown here.)

Selected Guidebook(s) for this Peak:
       Denali Climbing Guide (Secor)
       Fifty State Summits, Guide with Maps to State Highpoints (Zumwalt)
       Highpoints of the United States: A Guide to the Fifty State Summits (Holmes)
       Mount McKinley Climber's Handbook (Randall)
       Denali's West Buttress: A Climber's Guide to Mount McKinley's Classic Route (Coombs)

Selected Trip Reports from this site:
     1987-07-01 by Tom Sewell (Unsuccessful)
     1994-05-29 by Lou Hibbard
     1995-06-24 by Robert Garneau (Unsuccessful)
     1997-05-27 by Greg Slayden (GPS Track)
     1998-05-15 by Stephen Wark (Unsuccessful)
     1999-06-08 by Jonathan Wunrow (Unsuccessful)
     2001-06-04 by Jonathan Wunrow
     2006-05-20 by Dennis Poulin (Unsuccessful)
     2006-06-14 by Petter Bjørstad
     2007-06-10 by Brian Kalet
     2007-08-17 by TJ Buchanan
     2008-06-07 by Caj Svensson
     2010-05-26 by Eric Gilbertson
     2010-06-01 by Bob Kerr
     2010-06-06 by Robbie Massie
     2012-05-19 by Eric Lichtenstein (Unsuccessful)
     2012-05-20 by Darren Knezek
     2012-07-10 by David Kuwayama (Unsuccessful)
     2013-06-20 by Adam Helman (Unsuccessful)
     2015-06-15 by Ken Curtis

View ascents of peak by registered members (146 total)

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Mount McKinley
     Elevation Ladder from Mount McKinley
     Prominence Ladder from Mount McKinley


Mount McKinley (Denali) is the highest mountain in North America and perhaps the single most impressive mountain in the world--all higher peaks are in the greater Himalaya or in the Andes, part of enormous mountain ranges. McKinley rises almost alone, 16,000 feet above the snowline, with only nearby Mount Foraker even close to it in height. Although McKinley is part of the Alaska Range, a massive ice-clad range of spectacular peaks, it so utterly dominates its area that what would otherwise be major ice peaks sometimes seem like mere foothills.

McKinley is also perhaps the coldest mountain in the world outside of Antarctica--its combination of great height, high latitude, and terrible weather are literally unique. The summit area is below zero degrees Fahrenheit almost all of the time, and ferocious wind lashes the peak virtually incessantly.

Climbing Notes

Although considered a technically easy climb by the most popular routes, an ascent of McKinley is a serious undertaking made difficult by the cold, the weather, and the sheer scale of the massive mountain. On average during the past few years, about 1000 climbers attempt the summit per season, 500 make it, and 3 die. The climbing season runs 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. Theoretically, early season (May) is colder but less stormy, and later (June) is warmer with more snowfall, but in a given year anything can happen. Success percentages for a year have gone as low as 31% (1987) or as high as 67% (1983).

The standard route is the technically easy West Buttress, which starts at a glacier airplane runway at 7200'--virtually everyone flies on to the glacier to avoid an arduous approach. The standard rule is to allow three weeks for the climb, and to be prepared to spend a week of that holed up in your tent waiting for the weather to clear. Other routes include: the Muldrow Glacier route, technically easy but involving a long approach over the tundra from the north; the West Rib, a more challenging climb involving a steep couloir; and the Cassin Ridge, a committing and difficult rock climb.


Many climbers call the mountain by its original Native American name, Denali, meaning "great one". To many it seems a more fitting name than one memorializing the obscure 25th U.S. president, William McKinley. The U.S. Congress changed the name of the surrounding park to Denali National Park, but a congressman from Ohio (McKinley's home state) blocked the name change for the mountain itself. So the official name of the mountain remains Mount McKinley. Although the peak was named by a partisan prospector before McKinley was even elected president, his subsequent 1901 assassination helped make the name stick.

The best justification for continued use of the name McKinley is that Theodore Roosevelt was the vice-president selected by William McKinley, whose subsequent assassination put the first environment-minded president into office.

Climbers make their way along the very summit ridge of the South Peak of Mount McKinley, nearing the 20,320' top of North America (1997-05-27).
Web Map LinksAcme Mapper   MyTopo   Gmap4   Bing Maps
Google Maps
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 20,156 ft/6144 m
  Optimistic Prominence: 20,188 ft/6154 m
  Line Parent: Volcán Chimborazo
  Key Col: Rivas, Nicaragua    164 ft/50 m
Isolation4629.37 mi/7450.24 km
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Yanamax  (NW)
Isolation Limit Point: 42° 17' 15'' N; 81° 2' 32'' E
    ILP Map Links:
Bing Maps   Google Maps
RangesContinent: North America (Highest Point)
Range2: Alaska-Yukon Ranges (Highest Point)
Range3: Alaska Range (Highest Point)
Range4: West-Central Alaska Range (Highest Point)
Ridges/DividesAlaska-Yukon Divide (Highest Point)
Drainage Basins
Susitna (HP)
Cook Inlet (HP)
Gulf of Alaska (HP)
Pacific Ocean
Yukon (HP)
Bering Sea (HP)
Pacific Ocean
OwnershipLand: Denali National Park and Preserve (Highest Point)
Wilderness/Special Area: Denali Wilderness Area (Highest Point)
Topo MapMount McKinley A-3 I63151a1 1:63,360
First AscentJune 07, 1913
Walter Harper
Henry Karstens
Hudson Stuck
Robert Tatum
Route #1 Glacier Climb: West Buttress
Trailhead: Southeast Fork Kahiltna Glacier (Airplane Flight) 7200 ft/2195 m
Vertical Gain: 13,570 ft/4136 m
Google Maps Dynamic Map

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Other Photos

Camp is well dug-in at 11,000 feet on Denali (1997-05).

Looking down the broad Kahiltna Glacier (1997-05).

The treacherous slopes leading up to Denali Pass (1997-05-27).

Standing on the Summit of North America (1997-05-27).

Washburn's Thumb on the West Buttress (1997-05).

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Ken on the Summit of Denali (2015-06-15). Photo by Ken Curtis.
Click here for larger-size photo.

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