Beginning the planning for a climb of Mount McKinley or Mount Foraker in Denali National Park and Preserve is just a click away, thanks to an online registration program launched by the National Park Service.
Of course, if you want to climb during the peak months of May and June you better get with it, as the Park Service requires that you register at least 60 days before you climb. That requirement was adopted in 1995 with hopes of preventing climbing-related accidents and altitude-related sicknesses.
How much will it cost this year? The Park Service charges a $200 per-person mountaineering special use fee.
The online registration and associated payment system is operated by Pay.Gov, a service of the United States Department of Treasury. Climbers wishing to register online should go to this site and follow the Mountaineering Information link.
In this first phase of implementation, climbers who use a credit card to pay the $25 mountaineering special-use fee deposit will be able to submit the registration forms electronically using the Pay.Gov system. Park officials believe the online system will greatly improve in-house efficiency and data accuracy. From the climber’s perspective, submitting the data and payment information electronically will be much quicker, ensure greater security, and provide immediate confirmation that the park has received the registration form.
As of April 14, 738 mountaineers have registered to climb Mt. McKinley for the 2008 season, with ten registered for Mt. Foraker. These early registration numbers do not yet include guided clients, guides, or Park Service patrol members. Based on previous years, the park anticipates a fairly typical registration year of between 1,200 and 1,300 climbers, the vast majority of whom will climb during the months of May and June.
Denali’s mountaineering rangers will fly to the Kahiltna Glacier to install the seasonal basecamp on Thursday, April 24, while the first upper mountain ranger patrol of the season will start their climb to the 14,200-foot camp on Monday, April 28.