Denali (20,320′), Denali National Park, Alaska. [Photo] NPS collection
Those seeking to climb North America’s highest peak may see fees skyrocket in coming years. The National Park Service is considering a 150 percent increase, from $200 to $500 per individual, to climb Denali or Mt. Foraker starting as early as 2012.
In recent years, Denali National Park has significantly increased their rescue and waste disposal services. The park now faces a $1.2 million budget shortfall. The climbing fee increase is one possible method of recovering expenses.
In July, local guiding and air-taxi businesses sent a letter to Alaska Senators Murkowski and Begich stating, “It appears that climbers are inappropriately being singled out…. many can just barely afford to make the climb. An even higher fee could make the climb prohibitively expensive for the general public as well as our clients.” The businesses encouraged the senators to find other methods of raising funds.
“The Park is working together with the American Alpine Club to reduce costs and find alternative ways to fund the [mountaineering] program,” Park Assistant Superintendent Elwood Lynn said. However, the park’s Public Affairs Officer, Kris Fister, said Denali officials are “hoping to move forward with the [fee increase] process, but are awaiting approval from Washington.”
Both Lynn and Fister added that an 18-month public comment period would precede any increase of fees.
The Access Fund and American Mountain Guides Association are working together with the AAC to monitor the situation and lobby for climbers.