A Terrific View of Denali

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Above – Denali, the mountain, the peak is in the clouds. At 20,000 feet, that happens. A note about the name, Denali. It means “The Great One” and it was the name given to the mountain by the Alaska natives living around the mountain. A politically inspired event had it named ‘Mount McKinley’ in 1897. The Alaskans have tried to get it changed back to Denali ever since, but the Ohio Congressional delegation has continually blocked it; apparently they are proud of President McKinley, for reasons not totally apparent to historically astute non-Buckeyes.


Renaming Effort Begins

In 1975, the name controversy reemerged when the State of Alaska petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) to change the name of the mountain to Denali officially. Unfortunately for Alaskans, the Ohio congressional delegation (representing former-President McKinley’s home state) blocked their efforts for the next four decades.

In 1980, momentum continued to favor the name Denali after the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act changed the park’s name to Denali National Park and Preserve. But the official name of the mountain remained Mount McKinley.

Name-change efforts led by Alaskan politicians continued to be thwarted by Congress until President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell took action in 2015 to restore the name Denali to the mountain. Secretary Jewell cited a 1947 law that empowers the Secretary of Interior to use authority when the USBGN “does not act within a reasonable time” as a justification to make the change.


Above – The ‘exploding propeller’ is an iPhone illusion fortunately. This is a picture of the 14,200 foot base camp from which climbers launch. The climbing season is nominally April 1 to August 1. This year the climbs were ended by the time we were there in mid-July. Shucks!

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Above – Is he going to fly us through that notch?


Above – Yep!


Above – Clear on the left…..


Above – Clear on the right, I think…..


Above – The precision of the ice and rock movements is endlessly fascinating. The one above is like this for miles.


Above – Others, like the one above, have more of a ‘teenager’s bedroom’ look.

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Above – Glaciers of every kind, I never get tired of looking at them. Even with all the glaciers grinding down the mountains, this 600 mile long Alaska range is being pushed higher every year by the convergence of the North American and Pacific Plates. If you want to climb Denali, better hurry and make your plans, it gets about a millimeter higher each year!

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Above – What? Me worry? We made it through the notch didn’t we, and we didn’t land on a glacier, we’ll leave that to the helicopters.


Above – Well, imagine that, I found another train, the one we will take to Anchorage in a couple of days.

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