The Seventymile Kid tells the remarkable account of Harry Karstens, who was the actual, if unheralded, leader of the Hudson Stuck Expedition that was the first to summit Mount McKinley in Alaska. All but forgotten by history, a young Karstens arrived in the Yukon during the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush, gained fame as a dog musher hauling the U.S. Mail in Alaska, and eventually became the first superintendent of Mount McKinley (now Denali) National Park. Aided by Karstens’s own journals, and the journals of the three other climbers, longtime Denali writer and photographer Tom Walker uncovered new information about the Stuck climb, and reveals that the Stuck triumph was an expedition marred by significant conflict. Without Karstens’s wilderness skills and Alaska-honed tenacity, it is quite possible Hudson Stuck would never have climbed anywhere near the summit of McKinley. Yet the two men had a falling out shortly after the climb and never spoke again. In this book, Walker attempts to set the record straight about the historic first ascent itself, as well as other pioneer attempts by Frederick Cook and Judge Wickersham. Fans of Alaska literature, American history, and mountaineering lore will love this adventurous biography of the larger-than-life sourdough Karstens, in which Alaska, its wilderness, its iconic mountain, and its pioneer spirit looms large.
Paper 6×9”, 300 pages, 60 black and white photographs, two maps, ISBN# 978-1-59485-729-4, published by Mountaineers Books. $19.95, plus 5.95 Priority mail.