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North America, United States, Alaska, Kilbuck Mountains, Western Alaska

Kilbuck Mountains, Western Alaska. During the course of an 18-day kayak trip on the Tikchik Lakes in July, my wife Sharon and I caught glimpses of an intriguing range of mountains, one which, it is safe to say, no mountaineer has yet explored. Less than ten miles northwest of the head of Lake Chauekuktuli lies a string of glaciated 5000-foot peaks, some of which are clearly rugged, although possibly of bad rock. Just southwest of the head of Nuyakuk Lake there is another group of peaks, not quite so high or so glaciated, but easier to get to and apparently of good rock. The weather in this part of Alaska is better than that found in the Alaska Range, but not as good as the Brooks Range’s. The greatest obstacle to exploring the mountains is a cover of horribly thick brush, ubiquitous to 1500 feet. Best approach would be via float plane from Dillingham. The area has the distinction of being Alaska’s poorest-mapped: the mountains, on Goodnews and Bethel quads, are shown only in 1000-foot contours, the glaciers are vague circles, and even the rivers are somewhat misdrawn.

David Roberts