“The High One” presentsthe history of man vs. Mount McKinley
Kowalik McKinley expedition, 1955, Denali National Park and Reserve Museum Collection
PHOTO: Anchorage Museum
On view April 6 through Oct. 21 at the Anchorage Museum
Although Mount McKinley has claimed the lives of 114 people, each spring more than athousand climbers attempt to summit the 20,320-foot mountain.
“The High One: Reaching the Top,” on view April 6 through Oct. 21 at the Anchorage Museum, explores what drives people to climb McKinley and what it takes to conquer North America’s tallest peak. Through historical and contemporary climbing gear, videos, firsthand narratives and photographs, this exhibition tells the history of McKinley mountaineering from the first recorded attempt in 1903 to today.
With 50-below temperatures, high winds and raging storms, McKinley is considered one of the most hostile environments on Earth. Yet according to National Park Service statistics, 37,306 climbers attempted to summit McKinley during thepast 108 years, with an overall 52 percent success rate.
This exhibition begins with McKinley lore including its geologic origins and legends it has inspired. Displays outline the many “firsts” of the mountain, and introduce the people who answered its call including legendary explorers Bellmore Browne, Hudson Stuck, Bradford Washburn and Naomi Uemura.
Visitors can follow day-by-day accounts of three historic climbs, and see the step-by-step process of planning and executing an expedition. They’ll also learn about the effects of altitude on the body and the challenges of keeping the mountain pristine.
Rare objects on display include a map from 1839, the first to use the mountain’s indigenous name. Visitors can share their opinions about whether the mountain should be called Denali or McKinley. Hands-on activities include packing for the mountain, tying ropes and other climbing activities that become feats under the mountain’s extreme conditions.
“The High One” runs in tandem with the National Park Service photography exhibition “Ascent 20,320: Science on the Slopes of McKinley,” which looks at the mountain through the lens of scientific expeditions.
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska and one of the top 10 mostvisited attractions in the state. The museum’s mission is to share and connect Alaska with the world through art, history and science. Learn more at www.anchoragemuseum.org.