Denali in Alaska loses in height

North America’s tallest peak, Mount McKinley in Alaska, just got shorter, according to new maps published by the official US geographers.

New technology used by the US Geological Survey found that Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, tops out at 6 168m – short of the 6 193m commonly cited as the summit elevation.

For years, mountain climbers, aviators and others have relied on the published 20,320-foot measurement for the mountain because that was on topographic maps, the product of a 1952 geographic measurement.

The new data came from a 2012 survey that employed Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar, or IFSAR, a technology designed to track digitally very small geographic forms and changes that might be taking place.

The new 23 237-foot summit measurement is actually the second revision issued since 1952. Mapping in 1989, which used then-new GPS technology, found the mountain to have a summit elevation of 6 189m. But that figure was not considered published because it was not on topographic maps, Anderson said.

The mapping initiative added into the database an entire ridge of a nearby mountain, Mount Dickey, Treadwell said. That ridgeline had been omitted from previous documents.

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