The Tokositna Glacier is a thing of beauty. The glacier runs an impressive 25 miles long, featuring frozen marvels such as thundering waterfalls, hanging glaciers, and treacherous icefalls. From the air, the Tokositna Glacier appears as if a frozen river between mountain peaks.
It’s a strange name for a peak, but from a distance this 10,355 ft (3,150 m) mountain looks exactly like the tooth of a moose. In the same cluster of mountains, you can spy the peaks of Bear Tooth, Sugar Tooth, Eye Tooth, Wisdom Tooth, and Broken Tooth.
10 miles (16 km) from Denali, Ruth Glacier cuts a breathtaking picture into the Alaskan landscape– quite literally. This glacier measures 3,800 ft (1,158 m) deep, and many of our glacier landings take place here.
“Denali” roughly translates to “the Great One”; it’s an impressive title, but doesn’t begin to describe the sheer awe that this 20,310 ft (6,190 m) giant inspires. Denali reigns as the highest mountain in North America, and the third highest of the Seven Summits.
In one of the Alaskan Native languages, this mountain is known as “Begguya”, or “Denali’s Child”. Don’t let the name fool you; Mount Hunter is still taller than the highest point in the continental United States. The 14,573 ft (4,442 m) tall mountain rests only 8 miles (13 km) south of Denali, and is crowned by a glacial plateau.
Mount Foraker is the second highest peak in the Alaska Range, and third highest peak in the United States. This 17,400 ft (5,304 m) colossus has multiple native names, including “Sultana” (“The Woman”) and “Menlale” (“Denali’s Wife”). It was first climbed in 1934, and has been host to a series of expeditions since then.
The Tokosha Mountains are a collection of mountains that lie adjacent to the Tokositna and Ruth Glaciers. The highest peak, Grand Tokosha, dominates all others in the cluster at a height of 6,148 ft (1,874 m). Though highly visible from the Parks Highway, the mountains are not often climbed due to the challenging approach. In the Tanina language, Tokosha translates to “place where there are no trees”.
The Great Gorge
Over time, the Ruth Glacier has carved into the surrounding granite to create these picturesque stone walls up to 5,000 ft (1,524 m) above the glacier’s surface.