Denali, Winter Ascents. Two winter ascents were made in the winter of 1997-’98, both of which merit considerable note. On January 16, 1998—when Denali receives five hours, 41 minutes of sunlight per day—Russians Artur Testov, 32, and Vladimir Ananich, 40, topped out on the West Buttress route to become the first to stand on the top of McKinley in “the dead of winter.” (Their partner, Alexandr Nikiforov, 29, remained in a snowcave at 14,200 feet.) A first try at a mid-winter climb the year before by Testov and another man failed at around 12,000 feet. Over four weeks in February and March, Masatoshi Kuriaki, 25, of Japan, made the first solo of Denali in winter in nine years.