Denali, the King
Denali outshines all the other summits in the massif, standing both head and shoulders above them. It surpasses Menlale (Mount Foraker, the second highest summit at 5,304m/17,400ft) by almost 900m/2,950ft. This giant that has intrigued man for many centuries can be seen from a great distance. Text: Claude Gardien.
Denali was known to the Athabaskan Indians, a migratory population that lived on caribou hunting and fishing in many of Alaska’s rivers. Their territory stretched from the south of the central Alaskan mountains to the north, well beyond Fairbanks and the Arctic Circle. For the coastal Athabaskans, the great white dome they could see in the distance was Traleika (the Great). The northern tribes, who lived around Lake Minchumina, to the northeast of the massif, had named the highest of the mountains Denali (the King), and the second, Menlale (the Queen). For a very long time, they alone were aware of these mountains. No one had ever dared to explore the Alaskan inland areas.
The Denali-Menlale-Begguya trinity
The first foreign eyes to set sight on them came from the sea.Vitus Bering, a Danish sailor who was hired by Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, discovered the strait that now bears his name in 1728. When he
Right: The huge masse of Denali from the north-east.
Below: In 1776 James Cook sailed up the north-west coast of North America during his
third voyage of discovery to the Pacific.