Home > News

Rare Winter Ascent of North America’s Highest Mountain

Jost Kobusch has become the fifth climber ever to climb Denali alone in winter

German climber and experienced high-altitude mountaineer Jost Kobusch has become the fifth person ever to reach the summit of Denali, North America’s highest mountain at 6,190 metres, solo and unsupported in winter.

Kobusch’s media team shared the news this morning that he’d reached the top, but that he still has to safely return to base camp. Accurate details about his descent route are unknown, but he climbed the Messner Couloir. There are several hazards that come with this objective, including extremely cold weather, bad conditions, crevasses and unstable snow.

Previous to this historical ascent, there had only been four solos of Denali in winter: Naomi Uemura in 1984 via the West Buttress, he died on the descent; Vern Tejas in 1988 via the West Buttress, he dedicated the summit to Uemura; David Staeheli in 1989 via the West Rib; and Lonnie Dupree in 2015 via the West Buttress.

Kobusch has climbed a number of big Himalayan peaks in the past, including Nangpai Gossum II in 2017, which he climbed solo and unsupported. The year before, he climbed Annapurna. In Alaska, he made a winter ascent of the smaller of the two summits on the Moose’s Tooth. His first solo climb was at 19 years old when he summited Mount Kenya, Africa’s highest peak alone.