Army Alaska Mount McKinley
Army Alaska Soldiers Climb Mount McKinley For Gear Test (CREDIT: U.S. Army Alaska)

At 20,237 feet, Alaska’s Mount McKinley is the highest mountain peak in North America.

Eight soldiers from U.S. Army Alaska, the Army’s Northern Warfare Training Center and the Army Mountain Warfare School reached Mount McKinley’s peak on June 15 in a rigorous test of new Army gear, according to the Army Times.

U.S. Army Alaska has conducted expeditions up Mount McKinley for years, but this is the first time the climbers have relied almost solely on Army-issued equipment, said Capt. Matthew Hickey, the team leader.

“The purpose of climbing Mount McKinley wasn’t so much about climbing Mount McKinley as it was to validate the cold-weather training and equipment that soldiers up here use year-round,” Hickey told the Army Times.

The 15-day climb started with two groups of eight, but only one group made it to the peak.

 A second team of soldiers made it up to about 14,000 feet before they had to turn around because of weather and illness.

“As soldiers in U.S. Army Alaska, we’re expected to be the nation’s premier arctic warriors,” Hickey told the Army Times. “There’s no better place to train and validate as Mount McKinley.”

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