McKinley Army Climb
U.S. Army Alaska climbing team members (CREDIT: TARA YOUNG — Alaska Dispatch)

Two U.S. Army climbing teams have set out to climb Alaska’s Mount McKinley.

At 20,322 feet, McKinley is the highest mountain peak in North America.

The two teams arrived at the base camp last Wednesday for a journey that is expected to take between two and three weeks, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Capt. Sam Palmer of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division told the Anchorage Daily News that the two seven-man teams will complete the climb wearing “full winter uniforms, complete with camouflage outer layers, bulky brown packs and white plastic pull sleds.”

Each soldier will carry about 120 pounds of gear. That includes civilian tents, lighter than the 10-man, 300-pound canvas tent they would usually carry on a scouting trip, Palmer said. It also includes gas, sleeping gear, cookstoves, skis, other mountaineering equipment and food. The men will be eating winter rations along the way, similar to the typical “meals ready to eat” soldiers usually consume, though the mountain meals are freeze-dried and lighter.

The U.S. Army Alaska climbing team has been making the climb since 1980.

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