Alaska's Mount McKinley Climbers Capped at 1,500
ANCHORAGE, Alaska Alaska's Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain, will be capped at 1,500 climbers a year under a plan announced by the National Park Service Wednesday.
The new management plan for the Denali National Park and Preserve imposed the first-ever limit on the number of climbers for a mountain in Alaska to ease overcrowding after a record 1,340 people climbed the 20,320-foot peak in 2005.
Mount McKinley, one of the few U.S. mountains with limits, has seen a steady increase in the number of climbers over the last decade, reaching a record 1,340 people in 2005. By comparison, 659 people climbed the mountain in 1980 and 998 climbed in 1990, according to Park Service records.
"We're closer to 1,500 than some people think. I don't know if it'll be this year or three or four years (from now)," said Daryl Miller, south district ranger for Denali National Park and Preserve.
About 95 percent of McKinley climbers use the mountain's easiest route, the West Buttress, during a compressed climbing season between late spring and mid-summer, leading to problems of overcrowding and creating bottlenecks at certain points, Miller said.