Category Archives: Alaska

Denali Park Alpha Female Wolf Killed

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the popular alpha female in the Toklat wolf pack, which has delighted visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve for years, was killed by a trapper outside park boundaries. The radio-collared wolf was killed Feb. 11 by a trapper on state land on the Savage River within a few hundred feet of the park’s northeast boundary and on the outside edge of a wolf buffer zone created in 2001.
The 10 remaining wolves in the Toklat wolf pack, including the dead wolf’s mate and eight young produced in 2003 and 2004, went almost straightaway to the group’s den 13 miles away. The pack also includes an unrelated female that joined up last summer.
Denning this time of year is unusual, Haber said, and was likely an indication of confusion and stress within the pack.
Haber returned to the area the next day and saw the pack headed to the trapping area again. Once there, the alpha male headed to a ridge and howled repeatedly. “The next day they came right back to the trapping area again, with the alpha male leading… call-howling his mate,” he said.
It is likely the remaining wolves will continue to return to the area between now and the end of trapping season April 30.
Haber said he tried to convince the trapper to remove his traps but was not successful.

Guide Fatality Feared in Mount Huntington Avalanche in Denali NP

The Anchorage Daily News that the NPS has abandoned a search for Johnny Soderstrom, a guide for Alaska Mountaineering School in Talkeetna, who is feared to have died in an avalanche during a first winter attempt to climb 12,240-foot Mount Huntington in Denali National Park. His partner Reichert, 37, a Park Service mountaineering ranger survived. They were approaching the summit by the West Face Couloir route.

Sumatra 9.0 Quake Set Off Quakes a Record 7,000 Miles Away on Mount Wrangell in Alaska

Sitnews reports that the 9.0 Sumatra earthquake that touched off the Boxing Day Tidal initiated 12 tiny earthquakes on Mount Wrangell, the 14,163 foot volcano in Alaska. Authorities believe this would be the longest documented reported of related quakes (7,000 miles). Wrangell heated up after the Good Friday 9.2 Alaska Quake in 1964 but ironically the 7.9 Denali fault quake in 2002 caused the mountain to calm down. Other Alaska volcanoes were not affected by the 2004 quake.

Moose Stomps Iditaord Lead Dog and Jumps Into Sled

The Anchorage Daily News reports a moose on the Denali Highway stomped to death the lead dog of an Iditarod musher. Ramey Smyth’s as he zipped the dog into his sled basket with the early evening fading into a 50 degree-below-zero night.
“I told him I loved him and not to forget me,” Smyth said. Mushers have reported numerous such encounters with moose in Alaska. The moose, Smyth said, “came down on him with both front feet, and then it just started with the rest of the team.” As the dogs rolled on, the moose came racing up the gangline, hooves flying, until it got to the sled. Smyth grabbed the only thing he had to defend himself — the ice hook used to anchor the team. “I smacked him with the ice hook,” Smyth said. And then the attack was over. Smyth watched the moose depart.