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Mount McKinley (Denali), Alaska, USA

March 19th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska is the highest mountain peak in North America, at a height of approximately 20,320 feet (6,194 m). It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park.

Denali is located in the central portion of the Alaska Range, which spans much of south central Alaska. It is approximately 130 miles (209 km) north-northwest of Anchorage and 155 miles (249 km) southwest of Fairbanks. The summit is approximately 35 miles (56 km) from the nearest major road, the George Parks Highway.

Mount McKinley has a larger bulk and rise than Mount Everest. Even though the summit of Everest is about 9,000 feet (2,700 m) higher as measured from sea level, its 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 a 2,000 foot plateau, giving it an actual rise of 18,000 feet (5,500 m).

The mountain is also characterized by an unusually severe risk of altitude illness and extremely cold weather due to its high latitude and its proximity to the jet stream. At the equator, a mountain as high as Mount McKinley would have 47% as much oxygen available on its summit as there is at sea level, but because of its very high latitude, the pressure on the summit is much lower.

Mount McKinley has two significant summits: the South Summit is the higher one, while the North Summit has an elevation of 19,470 feet (5,934 m) and a prominence of approximately 1,320 feet (402 m). The North Summit is sometimes counted as a separate peak (see e.g., the List of United States fourteeners) and sometimes not; it is rarely climbed, except by those doing routes on the north side of the massif.

Five large glaciers flow off the slopes of the mountain. The Peters Glacier lies on the northwest side of the massif, while the Muldrow Glacier falls from its northeast slopes. Just to the east of the Muldrow, and abutting the eastern side of the massif, is the Traleika Glacier. The Ruth Glacier lies to the southeast of the mountain, and the Kahiltna Glacier leads up to the southwest side of the mountain.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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