Standing tall at 6,190 meters, Mount Denali is the highest peak in North America and more accessible of the infamous Seven Summits. Due to this fact, Mount Denali occupies a spot on the bucket list of most mountaineers and adventure enthusiasts. The distantly located peak is not only icy but enormous, making it an equally exciting and challenging task to climb.
Are you planning to climb Mount Denali? Do you wonder what information you must have to achieve your goal of climbing it safely and successfully? Keep reading to learn more about the fascinating Mount Denali.
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Which five things must you know before climbing Mount Denali?
While many adventure seekers worldwide get fascinated by the idea of climbing the peak, they tend to overlook that it can be a daunting task. If you wish to reach the top of this Alaskan mountain, you need to be well aware of it to make the experience easier. Here is all you must know before you begin planning this exhilarating task:
1. Location of Mount Denali
An essential thing to know before you begin climbing Mount Denali is the location of the mountain. It lies in the state of Alaska of the United States, within the Denali National Park and Reserve, and belongs to the Alaska Range that goes 650 kilometers into the Yukon region of Canada. The gigantic mountain covers a surface area of 24,464 square kilometers and is around 290 kilometers away from Anchorage.
What makes Mount Denali a hot stop for mountaineers is that it is the third most isolated peak in the entire world, making it an enthralling experience. If you’re thinking about how long does it take to climb Denali, it may take around three weeks.
2. The ideal time to climb
Being a tall and isolated mountain peak, Mount Denali is cold all around the year. The ideal time to climb the peak is during the summer season, which begins in May and goes until July. The average temperature stays 19 degrees Celsius during the day; however, it may get zero at night in the high altitudes. However, snowfall and storms start from August, and winters can go on till April, making it difficult to climb the peak during this time.
While you can climb Mount Denali throughout the year, summers might make the experience more pleasant.
3. Main climbing routes
Given how massive the mountain is, there are plenty of ways to climb it. Here are four major routes that can take you to the top:
- West Buttress
The most commonly chosen route is West Buttress, which begins from the Kahiltna Glacier. It is the safest route as there are low chances of avalanches. You can take a plane to drop you off there at the base camp.
- Muldrow Glacier
This is the original way to reach the summit. It starts from the north along the Muldrow Glacier and then joins the West Buttress route at Denali Pass. Although the difficulty of climbing is the same as the previous path, it can be challenging to reach as there are no airplane landings.
- West Rib
The West Rib is a challenging path, which involves passing the ‘Valley of Death’ and two snow domes. From an altitude of 4,800 meters, you can go on the West Buttress route or follow the West Rib path that may involve a little rock climbing and bouldering.
- Cassin Ridge
The latest and most challenging route to climb Mount Denali is Cassin Ridge. The path encompasses 2,400 meters of sustained climbing, ‘Valley of Death,’ and crossing the Knife Edge Ridge.
4. Basic fitness level needed
It goes without saying, but every person aspiring to climb the infamous Mount Denali must have an excellent physical condition. While many factors like the weather might be out of your control, your fitness level is within your control. You can work on your physical fitness well before the trip to ensure you can safely climb to the top. Start training a few months before to ensure your success.
5. Required mountaineering skills
When it comes to climbing Mount Denali, you must be well-aware of the basic mountaineering skills to make the journey easier for you. While it might not be a technical climb, you can still experience challenges across the way. Having the basic know-how of mountaineering skills will help you overcome difficulties and reach the peak with ease. Here are some of the skills you must be adept at:
- Ice ax technique
- Crampon skills
- Team rescue
- Crevasse rescue techniques
- Running belays
- Fixed lines
- Basic knots and hitches
The experience of climbing Mount Denali can be an exhilarating one. Not only do you get the chance to enjoy a great sense of achievement, but you can also experience the surreal views from the peak. If you want to climb Mount Denali, keep the things listed above in mind, and you will be able to accomplish it safely.