There are several high-altitude destinations worldwide, with the highest mountain, Mount Everest, with its mighty presence in the Himalayas. The beauty of such high-altitude peaks covered in white snow is undeniable. Throughout the decades and centuries, people have always been curious to know what it is like to be on top of such towering peaks. With such curiosities, the expeditions got started in the mountaineering industry. But climbing peaks might not be an easy feat – the geographic location impact the most when it comes to mountaineering.
Things aside, there are several high-altitude mountains on all seven continents. And concerning the beauty of the snow-capped peaks in North America, eleven mountains are over 5000 meters, and hundred and thirteen peaks are above 4000 meters. Here we will discuss and learn about some of the highest mountains in North America. We will delve into a detailed overview of where they are located, how tall they are, and how to reach their summit.
In the meantime, these mountains are the prime source of the tourism industry as well. Featuring their rich history and abundance of surrounding nature, these mountains are must-climb peaks if you are an adventure enthusiast and a passionate mountaineer. But before that, let’s dive into the details of some of the highest mountains in North America.
Mount Denali (6190.5 Meters)
Mount Denali is the highest peak in North America, standing at 6190.5 meters (20,310 feet) above sea level. Mount Denali is located in the United States of America in Alaska. It is also the most geologically active mountain range in the whole North American continent. Also, it is the highest peak in the Alaska Range, one of the parts of the mountain ranges known as the North American Cordillera.
While being the highest peak in North America, Mount Denali comes to be on the frontline, known for its extreme climate and weather conditions. The lowest temperature in the Denali is recorded at -70 degrees centigrade, and winds of up to 150 miles per hour. As per the geological study, around three-quarters of Mount Denali is covered in snow and ice. Similarly, the baseline of the mountain is covered with 45-mile-long glaciers.
Previously, Mount Denali was known as Mount McKinley.
Mount Logan (5959 Meters)
Mount Logan is the second-highest peak in North America, with its elevation at 5,959 meters (19,551 feet) above sea level. Interestingly, it is the highest peak in Canada. It was named after a Canadian geologist, Sir William Edmond Logan, who founded the Geological Survey of Canada.
Mount Logan lies in the neighboring country of the United States, just 25 miles north of Alaska, where Mount Denali sits. It is a part of Saint Elias Mountain and is located southwest of the Yukon Territory.
The elevation of Mount Logan increases at a rate of 0.35 mm per year. Also, it is speculated to be the biggest base of any non-volcanic mountain. It consists of 12 peaks and has a distance of 25 miles. At the base of Mount Logan, two of North America’s major glaciers, Hubbard and Logan Glaciers, where temperatures can drop to -45 degrees centigrade.
Pico de Orizaba (5636 Meters)
With its mighty elevation, Pico de Orizaba stands as the third-highest peak in North America. Pico de Orizaba has an elevation of 5,636 meters (18,491 feet) above sea level.
Not only is it the third-highest mountain in North America, but it is also the continent’s highest volcanic summit and Mexico’s highest peak. As per the geologists, Pico de Orizaba is an inactive stratovolcano shaped with conical spheres of many layers. It is also known by the poetic Nahuatl name of Citlaltépetl, meaning “star mountain.”
One of the interesting things about the mountains of North America is their glaciers. Pico de Orizaba also has several massive glaciers, including Mexico’s largest, Gran Glaciar Norte.
Mount Saint Elias (5489 Meters)
Mount Saint Elias is the fourth-highest mountain in North America and the second-highest peak in both the United States and Canada. Standing at 5489 meters (18,009 feet) above sea level, Mount Saint Elias shares its location on the border of the United States and Canada.
It sits on the Yukon and Alaska border about 26 miles southwest of Mount Logan. Besides, Mount Saint Elias is also known as Boundary Peak 186. It is known for its steep incline that features rugged terrain and unpredictable weather conditions.
Only a few people have reached the top of this mountain. The first recorded ascent was led by Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of Abruzzi, in 1897.
The suburbs of Mount Saint Elias is a habitat for the indigenous community of Tlingit people. They call it the ‘mountain behind Icy Bay‘ and ‘Big Mountain.’ According to the local mythology, Mount Saint Elias and Fairweather were once together but later separated after conflict. It also represents the peaks between them as their children.
Popocatépet (5410 Meters)
Popocatepet is the fifth highest peak in North America, with its elevation 5,410 meters (17,749 feet) above sea level. It is North America’s fifth-highest peak and Mexico’s second-highest peak. It is located in Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park with its well-preserved entity and natural beauty.
It is also an active stratovolcano that lies on the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. It stands between the central Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos. Popocatépetl features a steep-walled around 400x600m wide crater. Popocatepetl has experienced major volcanic eruptions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars as an inactive stratovolcanic mountain.
The mountain has experienced over 15 major eruptions since 1519. The first recorded European ascent of the volcano was in 1519. Some of the notable eruptions that occurred in this mountain were in 1947, 1994, 2000, and 2012.
Mount Foraker (5304 Meters)
Mount Foraker is the sixth-highest mountain in North America, located in the central Alaska Range. It stands at 5,304 meters (17,400 feet) above sea level, making it the third-highest peak in the United States.
Mount Foraker was named after the Senator from Ohio, Joseph B. Foraker. It is located within the Denali National Park and rises near Mount Hunter on a fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. The local people know this mountain as Sultana and Menlale.
Charles Houston, T. Graham Brown, and Chychele Waterson did the first ascent to Mount Foraker in 1934. They climbed the peak from the West Ridge of the mountain. Similarly in 1975, Gerard and Barbara Roach, Brad Johnson, David Wright, Stewart Krebs, and Charles Campbell climbed from the Archangel Ridge. Mount Foraker is 3,000 meters shorter than Denali but appears taller due to foreshortening.
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Mount Lucania (5,240 Meters)
Standing at 5240 meters (17,190 ft), Mount Lucania is the third-highest mountain in Canada. It is also the second-highest mountain which is located entirely within Canada.
The Duke of Abruzzi named Mount Lucania on July 31, 1897. It was the same day he reached Mount Saint Elias’s summit. As per the historical records, the Duke of Abruzzi saw Mount Lucania far beyond Mount Logan and immediately named it Lucania.
Bradford Washburn and Robert Hicks Bates did the first ascent of Mount Lucania in 1937. The duo used air support to reach the top of the third-highest peak in Canada. During that time, some of Washburn’s equipment was lost at the site, which was recovered by Griffin Post in 2022.
In 1967, Jerry Halpern, Mike Humphreys, Gary Lukis, and Gerry Roach made the second ascent of Lucania. The first females to reach the top of Mount Lucania were Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola in 2021.