Journey through the Arctic Refuge

April 2010
Location: Brooks Range, Alaska
68°12'N | 149°30'W

Journey through the Arctic Refuge

In northeast Alaska, above the Arctic Circle and 1,300 miles south of the North Pole, is the 19.6 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In spring 2010, a team of The North Face® ski mountaineers traversed the heartland of this last great wilderness, the Brooks Range, to climb and ski the region’s heavily glaciated, 9,000-foot peaks – Mounts Chamberlain, Michelson, Isto and Hubley. From the heights, the team saw a roadless, pristine vastness shaped by the mighty Hula Hula and Okpilak rivers. This is rangeland for great herds of caribou – some 155,000 of them – as well as grizzly and polar bears, muskox and wolves.

The journey will trek north to end at Barter Island and the Native Inupiat village of Kaktovik. Here lies the 1.5 million acre "1002" Area of the Arctic Coastal Plain, and the epicenter of the Arctic National wildlife Refuge oil controversy, for "1002" has been set aside by Congress for potential oil and gas development.

Their journey and the documentary that will chronicle it will be more than a ski trip or backpacking trip; it will be a celebration of wilderness and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The team assembled special talents to bring this story to life. Team Leader Kit Deslauriers, the first person to ski the Seven Summits, and Hilaree O’Neill, who climbed and skied 8,000-meter Cho Oyu, are each mothers of two; Giulia Monego is one of Italy’s top female snowsports stars; Kasha Rigby is an American legend of Telemark skiing.