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North America, United States, Alaska, Brooks Range, Philip Smith Mountains

Philip Smith Mountains. A striking 6,400-plus foot massif rises prominently three miles to the north of Porcupine Lake out of the upland tundra fields. George Budenbender, Katy Elwyn and I were able to attain the summit from the south face by traversing westerly two miles along the harrowing summit ridge.

This summer was to gain worldwide notoriety for the unprecedented number and severity of bear attacks in the western arctic. A severe berry crop failure was a contributing circumstance. In 30 years of exploring the region it was the first time I found myself without alternative but to take down a stalking bear.

Dennis Schmitt