The days of unlimited climbers attempting America's highpoint are over: The National Park Service has announced they plan to introduce an annual cap of 1,500 climbers on Mt. McKinley, in Denali National Park. With the new cap, they hope to limit overcrowding, environmental damage, and strain on park resources while increasing climber safety.
Before you flip your crampons and scramble over Vern Tejas to get a permit, though, keep in mind that McKinley has never seen that many climbers in a year. An average of 1,250 people attempted McKinley over the last five years, and climber registration peaked at 1,340 in 2005. Instead, the regulations are meant to provide safeguards against overcrowding over the next several years.
So far, most climbers and mountaineering organizations have accepted the new limits with little to no reaction, especially since the park announced its intentions to institute a future cap back in 2006. But some wonder whether this could signal future climbing caps in places like Mt. Rainier and Yosemite.
For now, there's plenty of space for you to fulfill your wildest dreams of two to three weeks with no showers, horrible sleep, crap weather, and managed suffering on the highest peak in the U.S.
Any Daily Dirt readers planning a Denali climb in the near future? Tell us what you think about the climbing caps in the comments section below.