Denali (previously named McKinley) is the third highest mountain of the 7 summits.  Despite not being the highest, Denali is the tallest mountain of the 7 summits, even taller than Everest (this is explained in more detail at the bottom of the page for the keeners).  On average the climb takes approximately 23-24 days, round trip from base to summit and that includes several additional days for weather and acclimatization. The ascent is both physically and mentally demanding, also requiring mountaineering expertise.  The upper half of Denali is permanently covered in snow in its entirety with some real nasty glaciers. Denali is known to have winds of over 100 mph (160 kph) and can be extremely cold, - 75 F (-60 C) with wind chills that get down to -118 F (- 83 C).  From November through April at 19,000’ the average temperature is between -30F and -70F (-34 C to -57 C).  Due to these conditions Denali has a smaller ideal summit window than some of the other 7 mountains, with the common months being May to July, and June being the ideal month to summit.  The colder temperatures and stronger winds that commonly occur in May make for a harsh environment. Late June and July are warmer, but this results in a more unsettled landscape. By late July, the snowfall becomes heavier, danger of avalanche increases, and glacier travel is more difficult and unpredictable due to the melting snow exposing more crevasses.

Denali, Alaska – 20,320’ (6194m)

Denali, Alaska – 20,320’ (6194m)

*Denali is taller than Everest

There is a clear difference between measuring "highest" and "tallest", although the terms are often used interchangeably.   The highest mountain is determined by measuring a mountain's highest point above sea level, in which, Everest clearly wins. The tallest mountain on the other hand is measured from the base to the peak, using the definition of the “tallest” measurement, Denali is taller than Everest.  Still don’t believe me?  Let’s compare numbers……. Denali rises about 18,000’ (5,500m) from base to peak, which is far greater in vertical rise than Everest’s 12,000’ (3700m).  This happens because the base of Everest begins at 17,000’ (5,200m).  As mentioned by Adam Helman, "the base to peak rise of Mount McKinley is the largest of any mountain that lies entirely above sea level."

Denali, Alaska – 20,320’ (6194m)

Denali, Alaska – 20,320’ (6194m)

Name:                   Denali (previously McKinley)

Continent:            North America

Country:               Alaska, USA

Height:                 6190m (20,310)

Mountain Range:Alaska Range