Compare Denali Vs Everest: Which Is Harder To Climb?

Denali and Everest are two of the most iconic and challenging peaks. But the question remains: which is more difficult to climb, Denali vs Everest? The answer depends on many factors.

In this article, we explore the key differences between Denali and Everest. Keep reading right now!

Denali Vs Everest: Is Denali Harder To Climb Than Everest?

Both mounts present unique challenges and need different technical skills and physical and mental endurance to reach the summit.

But Everest presents more challenges regarding altitude and weather conditions.

On the other hand, Denali is a more technical climb because of its steep terrain and crevices. We will analyze their differences in more detail in this section.

Let’s learn about these factors:

#1. Denali vs. Everest: Height

Mount Denali (Mount McKinley) is the highest peak in North America and Alaska, US. On the other hand, Everest is the highest in the world. It is on the border between Nepal and Tibet.

Regarding height, there is a notable difference between them. Mount Denali is 20,310 feet. Meanwhile, Everest has an elevation of 29,032 feet. Hence, Mount Everest is about 8,722 feet taller than Mount Denali.

The height difference may be due to their locations and features. Mount Everest was formed by the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Besides, the Himalayas continue to rise at about 0.2 inches (5 mm). So Mount Everest is higher every year. In contrast, Mount Denali is in the Alaska Range.

It is a young mountain range, so it does not have the same tectonic activity level.

Besides, Mount Everest has a higher base elevation. It is on the Tibetan Plateau, which is already high altitude. In contrast, Mount Denali is closer to sea level. So its base altitude is much lower than that of Mount Everest.

#2. Denali vs. Everest: Difficulty

Denali and Everest are two of the most challenging peaks. They need extensive climbing experience and physical endurance. But there is a notable difference in the difficulty of the two mounts.

Mount Everest is the more difficult of the two. Reaching the top requires climbers to navigate through Khumbu Icefall. This area is dangerous because of the mountain. Here, climbers have to cross unstable ice sheets and crevices.

Besides, the extreme altitude makes it a challenging climb that needs physical and mental strength.

Mount Denali is less challenging than Everest. The altitude is lower than Everest, and climbing does not need the same technical level as Everest. But climbers must bring their gear up the mountain. So climbing requires a lot of strength.

But the Denali climb is more of an endurance challenge, while Everest combines endurance and technical climbing skills.

Moreover, the routes to their top are very different. Denali’s West Buttress and Cassin Ridge. They offer different levels of difficulty.

On the other hand, Everest has only one main route to the top, the South Col route, which is challenging and technical.

#3. Denali vs. Everest: Weather

Weather on these mounts varies widely due to their locations and climatic zones. Both mountains have unique weather patterns and can be subject to extreme weather conditions.

Mount Everest is near the subtropical jet stream. So, the mountain experiences distinct seasons, with the cold and dry winter months (December to February).

The summer months are warmer and wetter. Besides, the monsoon season can bring heavy rain. Hence, they make climbing difficult during these months.

Everest’s high altitude means climbers must be ready for extreme temperatures and cold winds. Specifically, temperatures can drop to -76°F at the top.

In contrast, Mount Denali is in the subarctic region of Alaska. Besides, it has a colder and drier climate than Everest.

The mountain has snow and ice year-round. Temperatures are as low as -100°F during winter. Meanwhile, the summer months are short (20°F to 40°F).

Besides, the weather in Denali has strong winds. The wind speed can reach 150 mph. Hence, it causes dangerously cold winds.

Both mountains can experience sudden and unpredictable weather changes. So climbers must be prepared for any eventuality.

On Everest, climbers must prepare for sudden storms, high winds, and sub-zero temperatures. Meanwhile, on Denali, climbers must prepare for strong winds, cold temperatures, and snowfall.

In short, weather conditions on Mount Everest and Mount Denali are unique to their respective locations. Besides, it can be extreme and unpredictable.

Proper equipment, training, and preparation are essential for any climber to climb these mountains.


It is time to answer questions about Denali vs Everest

Is Denali The Tallest Mountain?

No, it is not. Mount Everest, located in the Himalayas, is the highest in the world.

Is Denali Or Everest Colder?

No, it is not. Denali is colder than Everest. While temperatures on Everest can drop as low as -76°F (-60°C), temperatures on Denali can drop as low as -100°F (-73°C) during the winter months.

Do You Need Oxygen To Climb Denali?

The answer is dependent. Oxygen is not always needed to climb Denali. Although the altitude at Denali can cause altitude sickness, some climbers can adapt to the conditions without supplemental oxygen.

Can A Normal Person Climb Denali?

Yes, he can. Although climbing Denali is challenging, you can climb the mountain with proper training and preparation.

Why Is Denali So Hard To Climb?

Denali is difficult to climb due to its remote location, extreme weather conditions, and technical needs for climbing.

The steep terrain, fissures, and unpredictable weather make it a challenging climb that needs physical and mental endurance.

How Many Climbers Have Died On Denali?

Since the first recorded ascent to Denali in 1913, more than 120 climbers have died. The common causes of death are falls, avalanches, and altitude sickness.

Does It Cost Money To Climb Denali?

Yes, it costs money to climb Denali. Paid climbers:

  • Permit
  • Transportation
  • Device

Who Climbed Denali Fastest?

The fastest climb to Denali was made by a Korean climber in 1995 – Park Young-Seok. He completed it in just 11 hours and 40 minutes.

Do You Need The Training To Climb Denali?

Yes, you do. Training and preparation are essential for any climber looking to climb Denali. Climbers must know glacier travel, ice climbing, and cold-weather camping.

Besides, they must have the physical stamina and courage to handle the challenges of the climb.


In short, the question of which is more challenging to climb, Denali vs Everest, cannot be answered definitively. Both mountains have technical needs and extreme weather conditions.

Ultimately, the difficulty of climbing either peak depends on many factors. Regardless of which mountain is more challenging, Denali and Everest need intensive training, preparation, and experience to summit.

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