78-year-old Alaskan man breaks record with Denali climb

Mount McKinley, or Denali, in Alaska is the hi...
Mount McKinley, or Denali, in Alaska is the highest mountain peak of the United States and North America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tom Choate first climbed North America’s highest peak in 1963. He returned to the summit in late June — just three months shy of his 79th birthday, according to Climbing Magazine’s Dougald MacDonald.

MacDonald writes: “More remarkable than Choate’s age — which beat the old age record of 76 for a Denali summiter — was the nearly 50-year span between his first and most recent ascents, Gruhn told the Anchorage Daily News.


Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, is 20,320 feet tall.

Choate has climbed Denali five times in total. On his first ascent, he and three other men traversed the mountain from north to south and then, after a resupply by plane, three of them continued up Mt. Hunter’s west ridge to be the second group to ever ascend the 14,570-foot peak, as well as the first to ascend Hunter’s middle and south peaks.

“After returning to their base camp, they trekked for seven days down the Kahiltna Glacier and across rivers and foothills all the way to Talkeetna on foot — all in all, an extraordinary 180-mile journey in the days when few people ever visited these mountains,” MacDonald writes.

Click here to read more about Choate’s climb.