Alaska Update: Denali Winds Down, Summit Rate Unusually Low

The season has almost ended on Denali. It’s been a tough year, with the weather never quite breaking right for most climbers. Of 1,015 registered climbers, only 102 remain on the mountain.

A very low summit rate

This year, the weather has not cooperated. High winds and poor visibility have consistently ravaged the upper mountain. In our last update, the season’s summit percentage was just 32%, and we anticipated it would climb rapidly after the season’s peak. Instead, an extended period of good weather never appeared. Instead, the summit percentage decreased to 30%.

Climbers have registered 272 summits with the National Park Service (NPS) so far. The NPS reports that there is “still lots of snow up high,” so that summit figure might not climb much before the season ends in the next week or so.

Climbers move up Denali.

A typical day on Denali this year. Photo: NPS Photo/Chelsea Bomba


Despite the weather, the last few weeks have been quiet on the search-and-rescue front. A couple of climbers suffered minor injuries (a dislocated shoulder and frostbite) but there has been no repeat of the drama from earlier in the season.

Mount Foraker

Mount Foraker is never particularly busy, especially compared to Denali, but the mountain did see a late-season bump in registered climbers and summits. An issue with the NPS database led to a handful of climbers not appearing in the statistics. The figures now show the correct final tally. Of 12 parties who attempted it, four summited.

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a writer and editor for ExplorersWeb.

Martin has been writing about adventure travel and exploration for over five years.

Martin spent most of the last 15 years backpacking the world on a shoestring budget. Whether it was hitchhiking through Syria, getting strangled in Kyrgyzstan, touring Cambodia’s medical facilities with an exceedingly painful giant venomous centipede bite, chewing khat in Ethiopia, or narrowly avoiding various toilet-related accidents in rural China, so far, Martin has just about survived his decision making.

Based in Da Lat, Vietnam, Martin can be found in the jungle trying to avoid leeches while chasing monkeys.