Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level (when we climbed it). At some 18,000 feet (5,500 m), the base-to-peak rise is considered the largest of any mountain situated entirely above sea level. Measured by topographic prominence, it is the third most prominent peak after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of US state of Alaska, Denali is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.

The first European to document sighting the mountain was George Vancouver in 1794. In 1903, James Wickersham recorded the first attempt at climbing McKinley, which was unsuccessful. In 1906, Frederick Cook claimed the first ascent, which was later proven to be false. The first verifiable ascent to McKinley’s summit was achieved on June 7, 1913 by climbers Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper, and Robert Tatum, who went by the South Summit. In 1951, Bradford Washburn pioneered the West Buttress route, considered to be the safest and easiest route and therefore the most popular currently in use.

  Alaska, USA

  6194m / 20,320ft

  West Buttress Route


   21 days

   Completed June 2010

On September 11, 2013, Alaska’s lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell announced Mount McKinley is 20,237 feet (6,168 m) tall and not 20,320 feet (6,194 m) as measured in 1952 using photogrammetry (and as it was when we climbed it). The Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, said the more accurate height was 83 feet (25 m) lower using measurements from a 2012 survey that used Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar. The new height was accepted by the U.S. Geological Survey and is now part of its National Elevation Dataset. In September 2015 President Barack Obama announced the renaming of the peak from Mount McKinley back to it’s original name of Denali.

Paul & Niall were the 53rd & 54th recorded Irish climbers to reach the summit of Denali since records began in 1995

Expedition Location

Expedition Images