The Tokositna Glacier is a thing of beauty. The glacier runs an impressive 25 miles long, featuring frozen marvels such as thundering waterfalls, hanging glaciers, and treacherous icefalls. From the air, the Tokositna Glacier appears as if a frozen river between mountain peaks.
Kahiltna Base Camp
Perched at 7,200 ft (2,195 m) elevation, Kahiltna Base Camp is the starting point for the majority of climbing expeditions in Denali National Park. The camp houses people from all over the world, especially during May and June. It is affectionately nicknamed the “Kahiltna International Airport”, thanks to the many planes that visit the camp each year.
So named due to its popularity with climbers, skiers, and mountaineering schools, Little Switzerland is a destination spot for the adventurous. The area contains Pika Glacier, a common drop-off point and where many of our glacier landings take place. Nearby peaks include the Royal Tower, The Throne, The Trolls, Hobbit King, Your Highness, and Dragon’s Spine.
Kahiltna Glacier is the longest glacier in Denali National Park, running a length of 45 miles (72 km). It serves as the starting point for many brave souls attempting to scale Denali and neighboring peaks.
In one of the Alaskan Native languages, this mountain is known as “Begguya”, or “Denali’s Child”. Don’t let the name fool you; Mount Hunter is still taller than the highest point in the continental United States. The 14,573 ft (4,442 m) tall mountain rests only 8 miles (13 km) south of Denali, and is crowned by a glacial plateau.
10 miles (16 km) from Denali, Ruth Glacier cuts a breathtaking picture into the Alaskan landscape– quite literally. This glacier measures 3,800 ft (1,158 m) deep, and many of our glacier landings take place here.
The Great Gorge
Over time, the Ruth Glacier has carved into the surrounding granite to create these picturesque stone walls up to 5,000 ft (1,524 m) above the glacier’s surface.
“Denali” roughly translates to “the Great One”; it’s an impressive title, but doesn’t begin to describe the sheer awe that this 20,310 ft (6,190 m) giant inspires. Denali reigns as the highest mountain in North America, and the third highest of the Seven Summits.
Mount Foraker is the second highest peak in the Alaska Range, and third highest peak in the United States. This 17,400 ft (5,304 m) colossus has multiple native names, including “Sultana” (“The Woman”) and “Menlale” (“Denali’s Wife”). It was first climbed in 1934, and has been host to a series of expeditions since then.
The Tokosha Mountains are a collection of mountains that lie adjacent to the Tokositna and Ruth Glaciers. The highest peak, Grand Tokosha, dominates all others in the cluster at a height of 6,148 ft (1,874 m). Though highly visible from the Parks Highway, the mountains are not often climbed due to the challenging approach. In the Tanina language, Tokosha translates to “place where there are no trees”.