American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Denali Season Summary and Speed Record

Alaska, Alaska Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Dougald MacDonald
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

Forty-two percent of climbers registered to attempt Denali reached the summit in 2017, the lowest percentage since 2014. More than 90 percent of the summit days were after May 30. No climbers succeeded on Mt. Foraker (Sultana).

In a difficult season on Denali, the highlight was a speed ascent by Katie Bono from Colorado, who left Kahiltna base camp at 6:01 a.m. on June 13 and followed the West Buttress Route to the summit in 14 hours 45 minutes. Her round-trip time was 21 hours 6 minutes. High winds caused drifting snow and whiteout, forcing her to break trail for two long sections of the route. Both the ascent and round-trip times are the fastest known for a female climber. Kilian Jornet (Spain) set the fastest ascent time (9:43) in 2014, using a variation to the West Buttress (AAJ 2015).

– Dougald MacDonald, with information from Denali National Park

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