Travel and Adventure

Soaring Free over Alaska's Chugach Mountains and Knik Glacier by Paraglider

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The western edge of Alaska's Chugach Mountains comes all the way up to the city of Anchorage. That access makes the peaks an attractive landscape for paraglider pilots like Chris Reynolds, who lives in nearby Big Lake. In ultralight aircraft, pilots are free to skim the terrain's contours. Just 50 miles east of Anchorage the Knik Glacier spills out from the Chugach Range over more than 100,000 acres.

This glacier extends 28 miles starting up around the 13,000-foot peak of Mount Marcus Baker, the highest in the Chugach. Formed in the Pleistocene, the whole glacier is in motion, sliding downhill at less than 0.0001 MPH. Every day at the terminus, icebergs calve and feed the Knik River.

Like most of the region's glaciers, the Knik is losing more ice each year than precipitation can replace. Despite its proximity to the city, you can't get to Knik Glacier by road. But that's no obstacle if you can take to the sky.