Kahiltna Glacier is a 36-mile (58 km) long glacier of the Alaska
Range in the U.S. state of Alaska. It starts on the southwest slope of Mount McKinley
near Kahiltna Pass (elevation 10,320 ft (3,150 m)). Its main channel runs almost due south between Mount Foraker
to the west and Mount Hunter
to the east.
The glacier has a few notable forks. The Northeast Fork lies just under, and to the south of, the large plateau which houses the 14,000-foot (4,300 m) camp on the standard West Buttress route of Mount McKinley. It also provides access to the popular, but more technical, West Rib and Cassin Ridge routes. The East Fork is rarely visited, but provides access to the west side of the South Buttress of McKinley.
The mouth of the Southeast Fork is the site of the seasonal airstrip and base camp for McKinley. This location is just outside the southern boundary of the wilderness portion of Denali National Park and Preserve
. It also serves as the base camp for climbers attempting routes on the west or north sides of the formidable Mount Hunter, which rises just south of the Southeast Fork, and on the east or southeast sides of Mount Foraker, which lies just across the main part of the glacier.
Many other unnamed forks split off to the east from the main stream of the glacier in the region south of Mount Hunter, providing access to a complex of small but steep rock peaks, popular with climbers, known as Little Switzerland
. The snout of the glacier lies further to the south, at elevation approximately 1,000 ft (300 m), where the glacier gives rise to the Kahiltna River.