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Craig Medred

The summer of 2014 will go down as a good year for shoveling snow in the Alaska Range and a bad year for climbing Mount McKinley.

Denali National Park rangers who just finished crunching the numbers for the season report a success rate of only 36 percent for the 1,204 mountaineers trying to reach the summit of North America's tallest peak.

Most years, slightly more than half of those who try reach the top. Not since 1998 has the success rate fallen so low. By contrast, 68 percent made it 2013 when the weather gods smiled on Alaska.

It was all the opposite this year, and it could have been worse...

Craig Medred

Halibut anglers who hire charters in Alaska appear destined to take another hit as the federally run North Pacific Fishery Management Council continues efforts to roll back the sport catch of the popular flatfish.

An advisory committee to the council on Monday recommended that halibut charters be banned on Thursdays this summer and that charter anglers be restricted to an annual limit of five fish. Previously, anglers could fish any day and there was no seasonal cap...

Craig Medred

Confession time. I bought a $16.95, Chinese-made LED headlamp back in October. Every night it's used, I feel a little guilty as an America-first kind of guy. But this light is hands down one of my best gear purchases in years.

In fact, I just returned home from a night out on snowshoes above treeline in the Chugach Mountains. It is near 1 a.m. Up high, the snow was close to knee deep in places, despite Anchorage's snow-sparse winter. It was dark. The wind was gusting to 30 mph or so at times. Some snow was moving around. In places, the old snowshoe track I was trying to find was drifted in...

Craig Medred

Officials in New Jersey last week released photos of a bear taken by a hiker just before the animal killed him last fall in a nature preserve in a case eerily similar to those involving hikers found dead in Alaska's Denali and Glacier Bay national parks. The biggest differences are that the Alaska hikers were alone and killed by grizzly bears, the statistically more aggressive of the two North America bear species. In New Jersey, 22-year-old Darsh Patel was with friends, or at least he started off hiking with friends before they met the black bear that eventually killed him...

Craig Medred

Chitina dipnetters will see catch limits boosted next year thanks to a somewhat surprising vote by the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

Meeting this week in Cordova -- a commercial fishing community where dipnetters are about as welcome as the December rain at Alyeska Ski Resort -- the board voted 4 to 3 to bring limits for the Copper River east of Anchorage in line with those for the Kenai River south of the state's largest city.

That means the old limits of 15 for a one-person household and up to 30 for a household of two or more have been expanded. The permit holder can now harvest 25 salmon -- with another 10 for each additional member of the household...

Craig Medred

Remington Arms -- the nation's oldest continuous manufacturer of firearms -- is preparing to announce it will replace the triggers on almost 8 million rifles, CNBC.com is reporting.

The weapons in question are Remington Model 700 bolt-action rifles. They are one of the most popular hunting weapons in Alaska and the rest of the U.S.

Remington has for years been fighting accusations the triggers are faulty and that because of a design defect the Model 700 can fire inadvertently without the trigger being pulled.

CNBC.com reports that the deal to retrofit millions of rifles with new triggers comes as part of an out-of-court settlement Remington has reached with plaintiffs in a class-action suit...

Craig Medred

Alaska State Troopers are describing what sounds like a weekend moose hunt from hell along the Chistochina River about 200 miles northeast of Anchorage.

Problems, according to a trooper dispatch, started with some partying, which led to some shooting -- maybe -- which led to two would-be hunters being hauled off to jail.

Troopers reported they received a 911 call at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday from 35-year-old Jeremy Rutherford of Eagle River. He told the dispatcher he'd set out on a hunting trip up the Chistochina with 29-year-old Robert Edwards and a friend troopers identified only by the last name "Eversmeyer."

The three men made camp somewhere along the river, and then the craziness began...

Craig Medred

One of the best and brightest young U.S. paddlers died in a kayaking accident near Seattle on Sunday. Twenty-seven-year-old Xavier Engle of Anchorage -- a graduate of West High School and Dartmouth College -- was living in the Seattle area while enrolled in the WWAMI Regional Medical Education Program at the University of Washington, which trains physicians for the Northwest. Engle had already completed a fellowship at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and become a cancer researcher during his undergraduate years at Dartmouth. But what he was best known for in Alaska, and among paddlers, was his whitewater boating skill....

Craig Medred

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND -- On the surface, this is an idyllic island nation. The people are warm and friendly. The capital city is beautiful. The roads, bike trails and walking paths are wonderfully designed and maintained. The energy that heats home and provides most electricity is renewable and cheap. Everyone you meet seems happy.

Dig a little deeper, though, and the island nation at the edge of the Arctic Circle looks a lot like Alaska...

Craig Medred

The long-debated idea that Kodiak brown bears -- the biggest of North America's grizzlies -- come running to the sounds of gunshots hoping to grab an unlucky Alaska hunter's Sitka blacktail deer could have a new twist based on preliminary results from a study out of Montana...

Craig Medred

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