Location: Latitude 63° 07′ N, Longitude 151° 01′ W.
Altitude: 6,194 m (20,320 feet)
First Ascent: Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum on 7th June, 1913
Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska, USA, is the highest mountain peak in North America at 20,320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level, located in Denali National Park and Preserve. Denali, meaning ‘The High One’, is the Native American (Athabascan) name for the peak. The mountain is a granitic pluton, uplifted by tectonic pressure, from which erosion has stripped away the sedimentary rock around the mountain. It has two peaks: the South Summit is higher while the North Summit has an elevation of 19,470 feet (5,934 m) and a prominence of approximately 1,320 feet (402 m). Five glaciers flow from the mountain’s icecap. Although Mount McKinley has a larger bulk and rise than Mount Everest, Everest’s summit is higher at 29,029 feet (8,848 m). Everest’s base sits on the Tibetan Plateau at about 17,000 feet (5,200 m), giving it a real vertical rise of little more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m). The base of Mount McKinley is roughly at 2,000-foot (610 m) elevation, giving it an actual rise of 18,000 feet (5,500 m).
Dealing with the commitment, physical endurance, altitude and Arctic cold and storms, provides an incredible challenge to climbers. Mount McKinley is noted for its extremely cold weather, with temperatures as low as −75.5 °F (−59.7 °C) and windchills of −118.1 °F (−83.4 °C) recorded by an automated weather station at 18,700 feet (5,700 m). The coldest weather on Denali is experienced from November to April, with average temperatures ranging from -30F to -70F. The weather conditions alone make Denali a severely challenging climb. It is usually considered the tenth most dangerous mountain for climbers, and the ‘coldest’ mountain in the world. On average, only 40-50% of climbers who set out on the ascent actually reach the summit, and over 100 have died on the mountain. 2010 saw at least two more fatalities.