De­nali, the King

Vertical (English) - - Special Report -

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.

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