Most American mountains are not very tall by global standards. The United States has only one mountain that is over 20,000 feet high. Yet, that peak does not make the list of the 100 highest mountains in the world. At the top of that list, Mount Everest is 29,031 feet tall. It is in a country where most of the highest mountains are located, Nepal, a small country of 28 million people.
Most of America’s tall mountains are in Alaska. This includes the tallest, Mount McKinley, which was named after the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley. It carried that name from 1917 until 2015. Its official name is now Denali, the name given to it by the Alaskan native Koyukons. It is the major attraction of Denali National Park and Preserve. The mountain was first summited in 1913, and now it has about 500,000 visitors a year.
Denali is 20,310 feet above sea level, which makes it the tallest by about 2,000 feet. Second place Mount Saint Elias is around 18,000 feet high.
For several decades, there were questions about exactly how tall Denali is. According to The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), modern technology changed the widely accepted number. In a report titled “New Elevation for Nation’s Highest Peak,” researchers wrote: “A new, official height for Denali has been measured at 20,310 feet, just 10 feet less than the previous elevation of 20,320 feet which was established using 1950’s era technology.” The figure was calculated by climbers who used, among other tools, GPS.
The most popular way that people reach the highest levels of Denali is via a route laid out by mountaineer Bradford Washburn in 1951.
These are the 15 highest points in America:
- Mount Denali (20,320 feet)
- Mount Saint Elias (18,008 feet)
- Mount Foraker (17,400 feet)
- Mount Bona (16,500 feet)
- Mount Blackburn (16,390 feet)
- Mount Sanford (16,237 feet)
- Mount Vancouver (15,979 feet)
- South Buttress (15,885 feet)
- Mount Churchill (15,638 feet)
- Mount Fairweather (15,300 feet)
- Mount Hubbard (14,950 feet)
- Mount Bear (14,831 feet)
- East Buttress (14,730 feet)
- Mount Hunter (14,573 feet)
- Browne Tower (14,530 feet)
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