This Flight Over Denali In Alaska Is Unbelievably Beautiful
Most of us aren’t the type to just pack up an expedition bag, bundle up, and take on the tallest mountain peak in the North America (and the third tallest in the whole world). Denali (also recognized by it’s former official name, Mt. McKinley) is known to be an exceptionally difficult adventure, even for some of the most experienced climbers in the world. The peak elevation is 20,310 feet and has a base-to-peak ascent of over 18,000 feet which, by this measurement, makes this climb higher than that of Mt. Everest (which has a base-to-peak rise of 12,000 feet)!
The trek has claimed more than 100 lives over the years, but it is still climbed quite frequently (although roughly 50% of those who attempt to tackle this monstrous mountain actually make it to the peak). The first attempt was made James Wickersham in 1903, but it wasn’t until 1913 that climbers Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper, and Robert Tatum actually made it all the way to the top. The trek typically takes 4 to 6 weeks, as climbers must stop to acclimate to the incredibly thin air as elevation increases. This is one adventure that requires months of planning, experience, and sheer endurance.
For the vast proportion of us who will never make the trek to the top, there are still other ways to see peak (and the incredible views it offers) – by flying high (when the weather permits). This pilot took a scenic flight around the world famous peak in a small craft plane, and the footage he captured is absolutely stunning.
There has quite a bit of recent controversy surrounding this world-famous mountain. In 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior, under the approval of President Barack Obama, officially changed the mountain’s name back to Denali – the name given to the peak by the native Koyukon Athabascan people, which translates to “The Great One.” The name Mt. McKinley was given to the mountain in 1896 by a gold prospector as a nod to President William McKinley. The area was officially designated as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917.
In 1975, the State of Alaska officially changed the name from Mt. McKinley back to Denali, but it was not federally recognized as the official name. In 1980, the expanded park was renamed Denali National Park and Preserve by the Federal government; however, the name Mt. McKinley remained unchanged until just last year.
Regardless of the official name, one thing just can’t be debated: this mountain is enormous and incredibly beautiful. We’re so thankful for pilots like this, who have the equipment (and the courage) to check out Denali from above and give us all a peek at view from the peak!