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Steve Hackett, 1945-2011

Steve Hackett, 1945–2011

The Kachemak Nordic Ski Club and the community of Homer lost a valuable member when Steve Hackett, 65, passed away while skiing at Arctic Valley on February 26. He had been at a PSIA ski instructors workshop on a blue cold day. After completing the workshop on the last run of the day, he collapsed and passed on due to natural causes.

Steves father had been a national park ranger, which allowed Steve to spend his childhood in the freedom of the parks of Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado, from which grew his lifelong passion for wilderness and outdoor adventure. In 1968 he graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, with a degree in Geophysical Engineering. Shortly thereafter he moved to Alaska, where in 1977 he obtained a Masters in Geology and Geophysics from UAF. Steves professional career was as varied as the mountains he loved. In addition to being a geologist, he worked as a trail-crew foreman in Rocky Mountain National Park, a mountaineering guide on Denali, a backcountry ranger in Denali National Park, an avalanche specialist for the Department of Transportation, an avalanche-safety instructor, a ski patrolman, a math and science teacher in rural Alaska, and a home school contact teacher for Interior Distance Education of Alaska in Soldotna. While working for the Cook Inletkeeper, he helped create the states first agency-approved, citizen- based, water-quality monitoring program.

Steve met his wife Ann on the Ruth Glacier, where he maintained a base camp and dog- sledding service. It might have been the rarified air, but their heads were soon spinning, and they married in 1987. They worked together as teachers in Russian Mission and Seldovia and then settled on their small homestead at the head of Kachemak Bay.

He made numerous First ascents in Alaska, ascents of Denali, and took part in expeditions at home and abroad. Among his favorites were a 1972 trip to Nepal with his brother Jim, a joint Soviet expedition to the Pamirs in what is now Tajikistan, an adventurous 1974 river trip from Lake Chakachamna to Anchorage, via the Skwentna, Yetna, and Susitna Rivers, a 1976 solo ascent of Mt. Igikpak in the Brooks Range, and a 1980 ski traverse of the Bagley Icefield from Miles Lake to Yakutat. His company, Alaska Treks and Voyages, out of Moose Pass, guided remote wilderness dog-pack and river trips and sea kayaking trips in Kenai Fjords National Park.

Steve volunteered for many organizations, including the Mountaineering Club of Alaska, Alaska Backcountry Guides Cooperative, Alaska Natural History Association, Alaska Natural Resource and Outdoor Education Association, Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council, and the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition.

Steve will be dearly missed for his infectious enthusiasm, his generosity, his radiant smile, his perseverance in the face of all obstacles, his dedication to teaching, and his gentle spirit.

Toby Wheeler