ⓘ Alaska Range

Alaska Range

ⓘ Alaska Range

The Alaska Range is a relatively narrow, 400-mile-long mountain range in the southcentral region of the U.S. state of Alaska, from Lake Clark at its southwest end to the White River in Canadas Yukon Territory in the southeast. The highest mountain in North America, Denali, is in the Alaska Range. It is part of the American Cordillera.

The range is the highest in the world outside Asia and the Andes.


1. Description and history

The range forms a generally east-west arc with its northernmost part in the center, and from there trending southwest towards the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutians, and trending southeast into the Pacific Coast Ranges. The mountains act as a high barrier to the flow of moist air from the Gulf of Alaska northwards, and thus has some of the harshest weather in the world. The heavy snowfall also contributes to a number of large glaciers, including the Cantwell, Castner, Black Rapids, Susitna, Yanert, Muldrow, Eldridge, Ruth, Tokositna, and Kahiltna Glaciers. Four major rivers cross the Range, including the Delta River, and Nenana River in the center of the range and the Nabesna and Chisana Rivers to the east.

The range is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, and the Denali Fault that runs along the southern edge of the range is responsible for a number of earthquakes. Mount Spurr is a stratovolcano located in the northeastern end of the Aleutian Volcanic Arc of Alaska, USA which has two vents, the summit and nearby Crater Peak.

Parts of the range are protected within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Denali National Park and Preserve, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The George Parks Highway from Anchorage to Fairbanks, the Richardson Highway from Valdez to Fairbanks, and the Tok Cut-Off from Gulkana Junction to Tok, Alaska pass through low parts of the range. The Alaska Pipeline parallels the Richardson Highway.


1.1. Description and history Naming history

The name "Alaskan Range" appears to have been first applied to these mountains in 1869 by naturalist W. H. Dall. The name eventually became "Alaska Range" through local use. In 1849 Constantin Grewingk applied the name "Tschigmit" to this mountain range. A map made by the General Land Office in 1869 calls the southwestern part of the Alaska Range the "Chigmit Mountains" and the northeastern part the "Beaver Mountains". However the Chigmit Mountains are now considered part of the Aleutian Range.


2. Major peaks

  • Mount Moffit 13.020 ft/ 3.970 m
  • Denali 20.310 ft/ 6.190.5 m
  • Mount Deborah 12.339 ft/ 3.761 m
  • Mount Huntington 12.240 ft/ 3.730 m
  • Mount Brooks 11.890 ft/ 3.624 m
  • Mount Hayes 13.832 ft/ 4.216 m
  • Mount Silverthrone 13.218 ft/ 4.029 m
  • Mount Russell 11.670 ft/ 3.557 m
  • Mount Hunter 14.573 ft/ 4.442 m
  • Mount Foraker 17.400 ft/ 5.304 m

3. Subranges from west to east

  • Revelation Mountains
  • Nutzotin Mountains
  • Kichatna Mountains
  • Delta Mountains
  • Teocalli Mountains
  • Mentasta Mountains
  • Neacola Mountains
  • Eastern Alaska Range/Hayes Range
  • Central Alaska Range/Denali Massif

4. Documented wilderness traverses of Alaska Range

  • Tok to Lake Clark 1996: Kevin Armstrong, Doug Woody, and Jeff Ottmers by snowshoe, foot, and packraft: first foot traverse. 620 miles 1.000 km in 90 days.
  • Lake Clark to Mentasta Lake 2016: Gavin McClurg by paraglider and foot: first vol-biv fly/camp traverse. 466 miles 750 km in 37 days.
  • Mentasta Lake to Kitchatna Mountains 1981: Scott Woolums, George Beilstein, Steve Eck, and Larry Coxen by skis: first traverse. 375 miles 604 km in 45 days.
  • Canada to Lake Clark 1996: Roman Dial, Carl Tobin, and Paul Adkins by mountain bike and packraft: first full length traverse. 775 miles 1.247 km in 42 days.
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