Visitors to Alaska will tell you how difficult it is to get a good view of Mount McKinley from ground level. The mountain is so high that it “creates its own weather,” and is therefore covered by clouds most of the time. Denali National Park, probably the most visited location with potentially excellent views of Mount McKinley, will sell you a T-shirt declaring you a member of the “30% Club,” i.e., one of 30% of the visitors that actually get to see the mountain.
Donnette and I are having better luck with each visit to Alaska. In 2008 we did not see Mount McKinley at all. In 2012 we saw it, but we cheated; we went up in an airplane. (See the earlier post to this blog, Mount McKinley Flight.) This year, while driving from Denali National Park back to Anchorage on George Parks Highway, we saw McKinley a few times from the road.
The first photo below was taken from Parks Highway at a point about 65 miles east-northeast of the mountain.
The two highest peaks on the mountain are South Peak (left) and North Peak (right), almost two miles apart, with Harper Glacier between them. South peak is the highest point in North America at 20,237 feet above sea level. The rather sharp peak in front and slightly to the left of South Peak is, I believe, East Buttress.
Forty minutes more driving on Parks Highway brought us to a somewhat different view of the mountain as shown below. This photo was taken from a location about 44 miles slightly south of due east from McKinley. In this image, the ridge extending from South Peak eclipses Harper Glacier, but we have a better view of the south face of North Peak.
There were several locations on our bus tour in Denali National Park that, given the right weather, would have afforded much better views Mount McKinley than you see here. As mentioned in an earlier post, however, that tour was in overcast, drizzly conditions. I am not complaining, though. We enjoyed our visit to the park very much, and these shots of McKinley on the way home were welcome lagniappe.
The locations from which these photos were taken are shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.