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Park service suspends issuing of climbing permits for Denali or Foraker

  • Author: Matt Tunseth
  • Updated: March 20, 2020
  • Published March 20, 2020

The base camp for climbing Denali is on Kahiltna Glacier. (Steve Mock / NPS)

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Climbing season on North America’s tallest mountain may have ended before it began.

The National Park Service has suspended the issuing of climbing permits for Denali and Mount Foraker for the 2020 climbing season, according to a statement issued Friday by Denali National Park and Preserve. The park service had not yet issued any permits for the 20,310-foot Denali or 17,402-foot Foraker but decided to act now before climbing season begins in April.

“Considering the anticipated longevity of the international coronavirus response, social distancing protocols, and travel restrictions, park managers have determined the most appropriate course of action is to suspend all 2020 permitting,” the NPS wrote in a statement.

Climbing usually begins on the Alaska Range peaks in April or May and runs through July. More than 700 people summited Denali in the 2019 climbing season, with most of those reaching the summit in May, according to statistics on the Denali website. The busiest day in 2019 was May 29, when 97 people reached the top.

The park’s Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station will also be closed to the public indefinitely.