Grizzly Bear, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

A grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) on the tundra in Chitistone Pass, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

I apologize for the long delays in posting here – it’s been busy this summer, with backpacking trips, and I really haven’t taken the photos I was hoping to, either. Either smoke from numerous wildfires, bad timing, or bad weather have made the summer not a great one for me, photographically, so far. Hopefully that’ll change a little as fall approaches.

This is a grizzly bear that I’ve observed in the Skolai Pass the last few years – I saw him as a younger, immature or subadult, in 2007, again last year and this year back in July. He’s very tolerant of humans, for a bear in the backcountry, and we were really fortunate to be able to spend some time photographing him this summer.  It took a lot of patience and waiting, on both our part and the bear’s part, before we were able to be close enough to shoot some decent images of him, but it was a  real treat this year. The first evening we saw him, he appeared near where we’d camped; we watched him closely for a while, and made certain he wasn’t interested in ourselves or our camp, and I ended up going to bed around midnight, with the young bear laid up and sound asleep by a large erratic (boulder) on the tundra, maybe 200 yards distant from our camp. It’s quite an experience crawling inside a tent knowing a grizzly is sleeping nearby. The next morning we awoke and he’d moved off up over a nearby ridge.

Normally I don’t pursue grizzlies in the backcountry much, especially when I’m guiding a trip, but this bear had displayed no interest in our group at all, and was very tolerant of us being nearby – so I thought it might be worth the effort. We ended up spending hours up on a ridge with the bear, and managed to take some keeper photos. He ignored us for the most part, and we did our best to move slowly, or not at all, and only when he appeared to be comfortable with out presence. It was a great afternoon, and all the folks on the trip commented how much they enjoyed it. Definitely a highlight for everyone!

Thanks for viewing, and I’ll try to add another post before too long.

Cheers

Carl

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6 thoughts on “Grizzly Bear, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

  1. Carl D Post author

    Hey Ron,

    I named him Carl – he’s clearly an alpha male, the dominant and coolest bear in the park. 🙂

    Hey Michael,

    Thanks for the note – I guide backpacking and photography trips in Alaska. Expeditions Alaska – easily the dominant and coolest business in Alaska. 🙂

    Cheers

    Carl

  2. Pete Zwiers

    Hey Carl,

    I can’t imagine getting asleep easily when you know he is just 200 yards away – I mean, it’s not exactly like Katmai, eh. Pretty wild stuff man! One hairy bear though, isn’t he?

    Sounds like you’re having a good busy summer being the CEO of the dominant & coolest business in the big AK. You planning on staying over another winter up there? If not, remember that our place is always open for road tired, half crazed photograhers. 🙂

    – Pete

  3. Carl D Post author

    Hey Mark,

    naw – the kayak eater was way huger, and a couple hundred miles south of here. 🙂

    Hey Pete,

    “CEO” sounds so formal. Folks refer to me more simply as “Cap’n”. I’ll be her another winter – expect to be in Anchorage this year. Come on up bro. 🙂

    Appreciate the offer, as always.

    Cheers

    Carl

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