New Book Explores Lost Legacy Of Harry Karstens, Stuck Expedition

One-hundred years ago today, the first expedition to summit Denali was slowly making its way up the mountain. After setting out from Fairbanks in mid-March, the four man team finally toseventymilekidpped out on North America’s tallest peak on June 7, 1913. It’s often called the Stuck Expedition, after Hudson Stuck, the man who organized it. But a new book tells the story of the man who led the expedition to the top. Harry Karstens was a determined sled dog mail carrier with no previous climbing experience.

Tom Walker is the author of the book, called “The Seventymile Kid: The Lost Legacy of Harry Karstens and the First Ascent of Mount McKinley.” He relies on a previously undiscovered diary of one of the expedition members and an important missing section of Hudson Stuck’s journal to reveal a new version of the historic climb. Walker says Hudson Stuck badgered Karstens to climb Denali with him until he finally agreed to the 1913 expedition.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori