Climbing Fees to Increase on Denali?

This story has been making the rounds the past few days and it seems there is some truth to rumors that climbing fees are going to be going up on Denali, possibly substantially. The National Park Service is considering raising the cost of a climbing permit from their current rate of $200 up to $500 by the 2012 season. That’s an increase of 150%

In recent years, traffic has begun to increase on Denali, and that has led to increased expenses for the Park Service. There have been more search and rescue operations conducted, and the funds necessary to maintain resources on the mountain and remove waste, have gone up dramatically as well. As a result, there the budget for services on the mountain is reportedly $1.2 million below what is needed. Raising the climbing fees is one way to try to ease this situation.

The fee increase is far from a sure thing at this point, and local businesses are saying that it could hurt the economy there, forcing climbers to go elsewhere. The Park Service is expected to have an 18-month long period for public comment, hoping to hear multiple sides of the situation and exploring all options before deciding on the fees increase.

Personally, while I’m seldom in favor of these kinds of increases, I have to say that $200 for a climbing permit is pretty damn cheap for a mountain of the stature of Denali. It is the highest peak in North America, and a substantial challenge for climbers, especially those that want to test themselves on a big mountain, with unpredictable weather, before they go to the Himalaya. While I appreciate that a $300 increase is a hefty one, a $500 fee still seems affordable and reasonable for this mountain. Especially if it makes a difference in how safe and clean the Park Service can make it.

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on “Climbing Fees to Increase on Denali?”

  1. For every climber that tries to go to the top, there are one thousand trekers that trow their garbage in the open.

  2. Very true, and an excellent point. Raising the fee for climbing only hits the mountaineers and not the many others who are using the park as well. Perhaps there will be a fee increase there too, but this is one of the reasons why they aren't rushing to raise the rate.

  3. For every climber that tries to go to the top, there are one thousand trekers that trow their garbage in the open.


    682 climbers summited Denali in 2009, according to NPS.

    So, there were 682,000 trekkers who threw their garbage in the open?

    I'm being extremely sarcastic, but Denali is quite clean from what I've seen. The climbing rangers, and the guide services do a very good job of getting the word around to "take everything out that you take in".

    I don't think raising the fee to $500 is going to stop many people from attempting Denali. Most people who climb aren't exactly the types of people who are struggling economically.

  4. That was the point that I was trying to make in the post as well Wade. The fees are extremely low for this type of mountain to begin with, and I don't think paying $300 more is going to prevent many of them from making the attempt. Frankly, I'm surprised that they haven't been raised already.

Comments are closed.