Chena Dome in a Day – the 2011 edition

One of my favorite hikes in the greater Fairbanks area is Chena Dome. It is a wonderful 30 mile long ridge hike, with wonderful views and fantastic walking, and lots of climbing. I have made it a goal to hike it at least once a year. Lately I have been doing it as a long day hike, taking a little less than 12 hours to finish the loop. Doing it as a day hike means you don’t have to carry a heavy pack up and down all those hills. You can read about some of the other times I have hiked this trail with the family and as a day hike. It took us about 11.5 hours to hike the 30 miles and 8k to 14k feet of climbing (how much actual climbing there is is open to debate apparently) , which is about what it has taken me the other two times I have done it. Not nearly as fast as the rumored sub 7 hour times some of the local hot shot runners have done it in, but fast enough we got home at a reasonable hour.

My friend Tom, who joined me for this adventure, maintains that fall has yet to arrive, though I think the tree’s colorful display’s disagree with him.

The fireweed was in full color too.

The views from the ridges were, as always, fantastic.

Tom and I had fantastic weather for the hike for most of the day, though we had a brief and heavy rain storm while we were at the trail shelter at mile 17.

After the rain storm it appeared that a section of the ridge we had been on a hour or so before now a dusting of snow. It was nice to have missed that.

Near mile 8 there is a old plane crash.

The rubble and twisted plane parts has always been a pretty sad sight for me and a reminder of how dangerous air travel in Alaska was back in the day, and to some extent still is today. When I got back into town I decided to spend a bit of time looking for details on the crash. It appears the crash was a Curtiss C-46 operated by Transocean Airline on a flight from Umiat to Fairbanks. The plane crashed late in the evening on December 30, 1951. The details can be found here.

A photo of the plane, prior to the crash, complements of .

I would love to know the full details of the crash if anyone has them. I found reference to a rescue attempt in -70f temperatures but was unable to find the CAB report on the accident – if anyone has it I would love to read it.

More photos can be found here.

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3 Responses to “Chena Dome in a Day – the 2011 edition”

  1. Jay C says:

    For more info on the plane crash, see Broken Wings by G.P. Liefer . It has a whole chapter on the accident on chena dome.

  2. Isaac H says:

    I went on this hike many times while stationed in Alaska. Even with added many new hikes all over the Pacific Northwest, this one remains one of my most treasured spots on Earth.

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