Mountains of the World Mt. McKinley

About the history and height of Mt. McKinley, the great mountain of Alaska, account of expedictions and climbing adventures.



Mt. McKinley, or Denali, "the Great One," dominates 300,000 sq. mi. in the Alaskan Rockies 130 mi. northwest of Anchorage.

At 20,320 ft., it is the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas and the Andes and has the greatest base-to-peak rise of any mountain on earth--17,000 ft. McKinley's summit experiences some of the world's coldest temperatures--down to 100 deg. below zero.

According to Indian legend, Denali was created from a bunch of magic stones hurled into the air to protect their ancestors from harm.

The mountain was first sighted by western eyes, though not approached, by the English navigator George Vancouver in 1794. After America's purchase of Alaska in 1867, prospectors visited the area, and one of them, William A. Dickey, gave McKinley its name, after the U.S. president-elect.

In 1906 Dr. Frederick Cook claimed to have conquered McKinley, and produced laterdisputed photographs and a book to substantiate his claim. In the spring of 1910, three prospectors inexperienced in mountaineering climbed McKinley on a whim and miraculously came within 300 ft. of the top. The true conquest was made in 1913 by Archdeacon Hudson Stuck and three companions, who cut a 3-mi. staircase in the ice, placed a cross on the summit, and said a prayer.

Always a formidable challenge, "the Great One" has been undertaken by a number of later expeditions, including an all-woman's team in 1970.

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