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Alaska Range Denali

The primary peaks of the central Alaska Range, Mt. Foraker (17,400 ft.), Mt. Hunter (14,573 ft.) & Denali (20,320 ft.), are stunning when viewed from any location.

Denali is the Crown Jewel of Denali National Park & Preserve & the highest mountain in North America.

At least 9 Native Peoples since time immemorial used unique names for the mountain. Five Athabaskan languages surround the Park, each having its own place name.

The name “Denali” comes from “deenaalee”, from the traditional Koyukon language spoken on the north side of the Alaska Range.

This monolithic arc of granite spires stretches approximately 600 miles from the Alaska Peninsula to the Alaska-Canada border & contains 20 of the 70 highest peaks in the state above 12,000 feet.

Official heights of Denali’s southern summit range from 20.310 feet-to-20,343 feet, with age estimates of the entire range at 359-419 million years old…the Devonian-to-Cretaceous Age.

The north face of Denali, the Wickersham Wall, is one of the earth’s highest continuous faces towering 14,000 from the Peters Glacier to the North Summit (19,470 ft.).

Denali’s base sits at 2,000 feet above sea level then rises over 18,000 feet to its summit…Mt. Everest’s base begins on a 14,000 foot high plain, rising just over 15,000 feet to its summit at 29,028 feet.

Denali rises over 3 ½ miles from its base…so by its sheer bulk as measured from base-to-summit, Denali is about a mile taller than Everest.

The great mountain is so large that it generates its own weather, rising so abruptly & high that its influences on the air masses are far more dramatic than perhaps anywhere else on Earth.

Denali has some of the world’s coldest & most violent weather, with severe winds of over 150 mph & temperatures of -93°F on record.

Snow & ice blanket about 75% of Denali with colossal glaciers as large as 45 miles long & 3,700 feet thick fanning out from its base.

On clear days, at or near ground-level without obstruction, these peaks can be seen from about 150 miles away all directions…from an airplane or jet these peaks are visible from several hundred miles away.

On several photographic excursions into Denali Park over the years I have seen many Park visitors, upon their first seeing ‘The Mountain’ show off all its glory, sit down on the tundra & cry tears of elation.


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