Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 62.98315°N / 150.68745°W
Activities: Big Wall
Season: Summer
Elevation: 6840 ft / 2085 m


"The Gargoyle"
The Great Gorge
Denali National Park
Alaska, USA

"The Gargoyle" (elev 6,840+ feet) is a 2,000-foot high big wall that forms the eastern pillar of the Gateway at the entrance to the Great Gorge.

The 5,000-foot high cliffs of the mile-wide Great Gorge

The Great Gorge is a gigantic chasm carved over a mile wide in solid granite by the grinding ocean of ice called the Ruth Glacier. At the entrance to the Great Gorge there are a pair of 2,000-foot high pillars of golden granite, one on each side of the gorge. Mount Barille forms the western pillar; The Gargoyle, the eastern pillar.

A Map of Denali and the Great Gorge

A Map of the Great Gorge

An aerial view of the Moose's Tooth massif. The Gargoyle (arrow) is shown.

Looking up at the Gargoyle (left) and the Moose's Tooth (distance, center)

Getting There

Most people will fly into the Don Sheldon Amphitheater from Talkeetna. See the main Mount McKinely (Denali) page for more details.

Flying through the Gateway (Gargoyle, left. Moose's Tooth, right)

The Big Wall

The Gargoyle is a familiar sight to anyone staying in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater.

Looking southeast across the Don Sheldon Amphitheater towards the Moose's Tooth and Gargoyle

The southwest face of the Gargoyle is probably the best and safest (?) face to climb.

The west face of the Gargoyle
(click on the photo to see a large, detailed photo)

The south face of the Gargoyle
(click on the photo to see a large, detailed photo)


Like any Alaskan big wall, the Gargoyle's faces are swept with enormous avalanches. No one is safe on these big walls. It is defintely a game of Russian Roulette.

While we were climbing on the Gargoyle, we saw two large avalanches sweep down the west face. We were also subjected to a lot of rockfall on our route, including rocks the size of refrigerators. You can bet that the areas of the face with large black streaks are subjected to the most avalanches.

Chose your poison carefully.

The red shaded area of the west face is where we saw two very large avalanches. Don't climb there. I'm not saying that everywhere else is safe, just that the red shaded area isn't safe.

Climbing Routes

I know that there are climbing route on the Gargoyle, I just don't know where. If you have any information, please contact me.

An Attempt in 1983

Here are some photos from an attempt on the Gargoyle back in 1983. We were not prepared for big wall climbing, but attempted a route anyway.

Interactive Map

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