North America's highest peak, Mt. McKinley, has been conquered again this year -- again, and again and again...
North America's highest peak, Mt. McKinley, has been conquered again this year -- again, and again and again.
A spokesman for the National Park Service says that out of 67 climbers who have attempted to scale the 20,320 foot peak, 26 have made it. In addition, there are currently seven parties with more than 60 members attempting to stand on the snow-covered summit.
The first to scale the peak this year, according to bush pilot Don Sheldon of Talkeetna, was a nine-man Austrian team in early May. Three members of a five-man Swiss climbing team also have scaled the peak, along with six of 11 from a California combing team and eight of nine of a team from Aspen, Colorado, led by John Whisnant.
"May was a tough month," Sheldon said, "because of the heavy winds."
Sheldon, who has flown 15 parties into the lower reaches of the mountain so far this year, said the first group of 10 men reached 19,000 feet before being "blown off the mountain."
Sheldon has flown in 29 people in the past two days, including 4,000 pounds of gear. The Whisnant team reached the south summit of McKinley on June 5 via the rugged Muldrow Karsten Ridge route -- the only team to scale the peak from the northwest side this year.
The park service spokesman said that of the seven parties on the mountain, one is attempting the Muldrow route, another on the south face and five on the west buttress approach.