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America's tallest mountain a bit shorter

By Brad Lendon, CNN
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Fri September 13, 2013
The highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley, is in the Alaska Range.
The highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley, is in the Alaska Range.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North America's tallest peak is 83 feet shorter
  • The 20,320 height had stood since 1952
  • Project will produce 11,000 new maps of Alaska by 2016

(CNN) -- North America's tallest mountain has lost some of its stature -- 83 feet of it to be precise.

Alaska's lieutenant governor announced Wednesday that new mapping technology puts Mount McKinley at 20,237 feet rather than the 20,320 it was pegged at.

"That's 83 feet shorter than we thought," Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell said in a statement. He made the announcement Wednesday at a symposium of the International Map Collectors' Society in Anchorage.

The 20,320 height had stood since 1952, when the mountain was measured using a technology called photogrammetry, Treadwell's announcement said.

The new height was measured last year with a radar mapping system deployed by the Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey. The project will produce 11,000 new maps of the 49th state by 2016, according to the statement.

Alaskans, including two who've climbed Denali, as it is called in Alaska, were unfazed by the news.

"It's hard to climb, and the air is just as thin," mountaineer Stan Justice told the Fairbanks News Miner.

"It's still high, it's still hard, it's still cold," climber Nick Parker told the Anchorage Daily News. "As long as it's higher than Texas, I don't care."

And still hundreds of feet ahead of Canada. That's where North America's second-tallest peak, Mount Logan at 19,551 feet, sits.

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