Haines hiker injured during encounter with brown bear sow, cub

A view of the Chilkat River as seen from Mount Ripinsky in summer of 2017. (Photo by Emily Files, KHNS – Haines)

A hiking party of four cruise ship passengers encountered a brown bear sow and her cub while hiking on Mount Ripinsky in Haines on Wednesday. They set out from the Young Lake trailhead, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist Carl Koch, who investigated the incident with a state wildlife trooper.

At about 2,000 feet, they surprised the bear in a steep area. It charged toward a male who fell over trying to get away and then came very close to a female who also fell over and suffered a minor injury.

“Bears don’t like surprises and they’re even more protective when they have a cub with them,” said Koch.

Koch says the injury is likely a result of the fall rather than contact with the bear. The hikers descended the mountain and were given a ride back to their cruise ship by Haines Police Department. Medical staff on board treated the hikers injury.

ADF&G will post warning signs in the area. Koch says the group was spread out on the trail with no bear deterrents. He recommends hikers stay together and make noise.