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Gates of the Arctic National Park

Tue, 2024-01-23

Tanja Pietrass will speak at the January 23 Mountaineers meeting, recounting her expedition to the Gates of the Arctic National Park.

She writes: “There are neither roads nor trails in Gates of the Arctic National Park, which is 4 times the size of Yellowstone and the least visited of all the national parks. Five of us flew to Anaktuvuk Pass north of the Arctic Circle, an enclave within the park inhabited by Inland Eskimos, and hiked east towards the Dalton Highway. On the way we braved soggy tundra, steep ravines, a hidden pass, grizzly bears lurking in the willows, a lone moose, an arctic fox and fireweed salad. We  developed the new, international rating scale for soggy tundra, ranging from 1 (almost firm - “I’m likin’ the lichen”) to 5 (full immersion). Just like the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) proved insufficient, we had to expand the STS to 7. After 10 days of wet feet, we happily greeted our shuttle taking us back south to Fairbanks. This backpack is the hardest, most remote and most amazing I have ever done and will be very hard to top (I do have a plan though!).”

Tanja grew up in Bavaria and spent spring and fall vacations hiking in the alps with her parents, skiing in the winters. Her love for the outdoors has inspired her many adventures all over the world, including bike touring, climbing, high altitude mountaineering, whitewater canoeing, caving, cave diving, skiing, snowboarding, and her current favorite, backpacking.

We welcome all to this Mountaineers’ meeting, on the regular fourth Tuesday of the month. The social hour, with cookies, begins at 6:45 PM and the program at 7:00 PM. The presentation will be streamed at Los Alamos Nature Center; the slides will be live-streamed on Zoom. Registration is required to Zoom and recommended for in-person – we would love to see your smiling face. Registration for in-person or remote participation is at

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