You’ve come here to read a rundown of the highest mountains in North America because, contrary to what the rolling news cycles would have you believe, there’s actually so much more to this massive, mountainous, continent than the United States of America’s incompetent President. And so, without further ado, trumping all others on the ‘highest mountain in North America’ list is Denali; formerly known as Mount McKinley and officially part of the famous Seven Summits.
Made up of 23 countries, North America is the world’s third largest continent. Out of these 23 countries though, it’s just the USA, Mexico, and Canada that have mountains high enough to feature here. Oh and, FYI, it’s not just traditional mountain peaks like Denali making up this collection. There’s also three very big stratovolcanoes to be discussed.
Height: 6,190 metres
Location: Alaska (United States)
Widely known as Mount McKinley after a gold prospector named it so in 1896 as a way of showing support for the then presidential candidate William McKinley, the name went against the original title of the mountain – Denali – given to it by the native Koyukon people.
In 1917, the federal government officially recognised the name Mount McKinley to the mountain. This name lasted until 2015, where the Obama administration announced the change back to the original name of Denali – which is what it’s known as today.
“The mountain is regularly climbed, with around 58% of attempts reaching the summit”
The first climbing attempts to reach the summit of Denali were made by James Wickerham in 1903, but as Wickerham’s attempts were made via the steep and avalanche prone North Face his efforts proved futile. Frederick Cook made claims to have reached the summit in 1906 – though these claims were welcomed with a large amount of scepticism, and were eventually proved to be false.
It wasn’t until 1913 that people reached Denali’s summit – Alaskan Robert Tatum summited during a small expedition organised by Hudson Stuck and Harry Karstens.
These days the mountain is regularly climbed, with around 58% of attempts reaching the summit. It’s popularity is largely due to Denali’s existence as one of the Seven Summits (a collection made up of the highest peak on each of the world’s seven continents).