Denali Also Closes for Mountaineering in 2020

The National Parks Service has closed Denali to all mountaineering expeditions in 2020.

“Considering the anticipated longevity of the international coronavirus response, social distancing protocols, and travel restrictions, park managers have determined the most appropriate course of action is to suspend all 2020 permitting,” yesterday’s statement said.

The climbing season typically runs from late April through mid-July.

Among the many disappointed will be two French travelers, Matthieu Bélanger and Loury Lag, currently manhauling across the Canadian Arctic on part two of their Icarus project to climb the Seven Summits in seven years, each climb prefaced by a major expedition just to reach the base of the mountain. This was their Denali year.

The pair are skiing north over the sea ice of Committee Bay, south of Baffin Island, en route to a resupply at the Inuit village of Taloyoak. It is unclear whether they will continue beyond Taloyoak, especially considering that they are already well behind schedule, averaging less than 10km a day rather than their projected 30km.