Office Report, April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri
Holy mackerel, we can't believe it's April 2016. The climbing season is off to the races, with two early-season teams already on Denali. Below are the stats as of this morning, though before you start thinking its going to be a particularly quiet year, be aware these numbers do not include all the guided parties. You'll see rapid changes in these numbers in the weeks to come.        



Mt. Foraker

Registered Climbers



Climbers Currently On Mountain



Completed Climbs



Number of Summits



Summit Percentage



The Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station also maintains a daily automated statistics phone line, so if this blog is lagging behind and you need up-to-date registration numbers, call (907) 733-9127.

Ranger Update

Looking back, a lot has changed around here since our last Field Report of 2015. The end of summer was surprisingly eventful for our operation despite the fact there were no climbers on the hill. Officially speaking, the Secretary of the Interior (re-) re-named the mountain Denali. The US Geological Survey announced that climbers only have to ascend 20,310 feet to reach its summit. A handful of Talkeetna staff members were honored to help support President Obama's visit to Kenai Fjords National Park in late August.  And two Denali mountaineering rangers participated in a Risk Management workshop with NPS search and rescue professionals from other mountainous parks, including Mount Rainier, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, and North Cascades National Parks.

Then last winter, a few key staffing changes took place at the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station. First, South District Ranger (and Acting Chief Ranger) John Leonard moved up (and east) to a position at the NPS Directorate in Washington, DC.  Denali hired a new Chief Ranger, Erika Jostad, who moved to the park last summer with her family. Erika is based up at park Headquarters, but is taking an active, interested role in our South District ranger activities as well.

Longtime mountaineering ranger Tucker Chenoweth has stepped into the role of Acting South District Ranger, overseeing all Talkeetna operations. New seasonal mountaineering ranger Frank Preston joined the team this spring after working the last two seasons as an NPS patrol volunteer.  And we will be announcing the addition of another new seasonal mountaineering ranger in the days to come...a familiar face in the Alaska Range.

Climbers will be greeted by a few other new faces at the front desk as well.  Longtime registration supervisor and Concessions Management Specialist Missy Smothers is away on a detail assignment at Glacier National Park this summer.  In her stead, we welcome Becca Stenerson, who was hired as the Supervisory Visitor Use Assistant. She will be joined by longtime VUA Pam Robinson, as well newbie Geoff Pfeiffer and (relative newbie) Mike Connolly.

Lastly, former Denali staff member and jack of all trades (VUA, interp ranger, janitor, trail crew, road crew...) Laura Wright has re-joined the team, and will be working alongside Jay Katzen as an Interpretive Ranger.

We're excited to be back in action, and look forward to a safe but exciting climbing season in the Alaska Range.  In the days to come, we'll be sharing more news about the patrol season ahead, the camp insertion schedule, weather reports, early season condition descriptions, and more.  Stay tuned...

Staff members standing in front of Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station

Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station Staff ...most of them anyway.  (NPS Photo: Front row: Becca Stenerson, Coley Gentzel, Chris Erickson, Frank Preston; Middle:  Pam Robinson, Roger Robinson, Tucker Chenoweth, Dr. Jennifer Dow; Back row: Maureen Gualtieri, Erika Jostad, Mark Westman, Dave Weber, Martha Armington, Joe Reichert, Dan Corn, Mik Shain, Joey McBrayer.  Not in photo: Laura Wright, Mike Connelly, Jay Katzen, Geoff Pfeiffer, and Cary Birdsall)

Last updated: August 18, 2016

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park , AK 99755


907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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