Arctic Expeditions


Alaska's Arctic is a brutally cold environment with North American record-breaking cold temperatures and fierce wind.  Within this landmass of over 94,000 square miles, that is larger than several countries, is a vast wilderness that encompasses The Brooks Range which is the world's highest mountain range within the Arctic Circle. It extends 600 miles west to east across Alaska and into Canada. This region of jagged mountains, canyons, and rivers reaches widths of 200 miles and heights of 8,500 - 9,000 feet. Arctic Alaska is like no other place on earth.

To quote Joe, "I've mushed tens of thousands of miles in Alaska's arctic and have only seen a portion of it.  It would take two-hundred years to cover it all.  I just wish I had two, maybe three lifetimes to explore it."

I have been traveling with Alaskan malamutes and conducting expeditions throughout Alaska's Arctic for almost 40 years; including nearly 20, multi-month, solo, unsupported (without resupply).

Also, the team and I have conducted many other expeditions of shorter lengths than what is listed below and have travelled in regions of Arctic Alaska where it was believed to be impossible to access by dog team due to rugged terrain and deep snow.

However, it wouldn't have been possible to accomplish these expeditions if it wasn't for God's graces in strength and stamina. I take absolutely no credit for these accomplishments. Just knowing that my contributions have helped preserve the working Alaskan malamute and has inspired others is sufficient. However, the Alaskan malamute breed certainly deserves credit!  They are amazing dogs!!

Someday I will consolidate data from the expeditions in books that will include dog training techniques, arctic travel methods and gear, and weather conditions and how it correlates to necessary traits for dogs to live and travel in Arctic Alaska.

Below are only some of the Arctic expeditions that I have conducted

--During the winters of 2006-2008, pulling three sleds in tandem with two tons of supplies, my team of 22 Alaskan malamutes and I mushed entirely for up to five months at a time without seeing another human being.

The expedition was a tribute to the "forgotten explorer," Ernest de Koven Leffingwell (1876-1971). Leffingwell was a member of the Anglo-American-polar Expedition (1906-1908) which established that there was no land North of Alaska. Leffingwell is credited for mapping much of the Arctic coast and the Brooks Range, which is now part of ANWR, between 1906 and 1914.

2009: Exploring Alaska's Arctic coast by dogteam, and the conclusion of the Leffingwell Expedition.

2010:   multi-month solo traverse across the Brooks Range. An unprecedented trek to regions where it was believed inaccessible by dogteam.  It was conducted solo and without resupply.

2011:  Solo and without resupply, 95-day Brooks Range dogsled expedition.  Prior to this expedition series, it was believed to be impossible for dogs, particularly Alaskan malamutes, to travel through 2-5 feet deep snow.  This snow depth is prevalent in the Brooks Range.

  Not only did the series of expeditions 2011-2013 dispel the deep-snow belief, it also dispelled the theory that ancient Inuit resided only on the Arctic coast.  Prior to the expeditions, it was believed by many that it was impossible for Inuit to live in the Brooks Range because of deep snow. Thereby, claiming that necessary deep-snow traits were not important for malamutes to possess. This theory justified the smaller sized standard for the Alaskan malamute breed,

However, my data gathered during the expeditions, accompanied with historical documents that suggests ancient Inuit lived throughout the Brooks Range, proves that deep-snow (trail breaking) traits are necessary for Alaskan malamutes to possess and should be considered in breeding programs and the standard to preserve the original breed.    

2012 multi-month, solo, without resupply, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) expedition. (Continuation of the series mentioned 2011).

2013; multi-month, solo, without resupply, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) expedition. This expedition concluded the 2011 expedition series and solidified that regardless of snow depth, Alaskan malamutes can travel/break-trail while pulling heavily loaded sleds. And proves that documents from early explorers were correct: Inuit in fact, did live in deep-snow mountainous regions, thereby justifying more diverse/larger sizes in the Alaskan malamute breed standard.

2014:  searching for the multiple sources of warm springs that flow from the Brooks Range, which were unknown, and ultimately discovering the enormous "Malamute Warm Springs".

2015; multi-month, solo, without resupply- first attempt at ANWR- Continental Divide traverse.  This endeavor hasn't ever been accomplished in recorded history. And the expedition proved the soundness of strength and stamina of the Alaskan malamute breed.

2016: 68-day, solo and without resupply; successfully concluded the Continental Divide traverse.

2017: 6 weeks, solo and without resupply, western Brooks Range foothills expedition, discovering ancient campsites that were noted by explorers in the 1800's.

 2018: 6 weeks, solo and without resupply, western Brooks Range foothills expedition-continuation of discovering ancient campsites and ancient Inuit travel routes as noted by explorers in the 1800's.

2020: 6 weeks, solo and without resupply, western Brooks Range foothills expedition; discovering the mystery of Alaska's "badlands".  This region was forbidden to travel through in winter by natives as noted by explorers in the 1800's. 

 2021 Crossing the badlands, 6 weeks, solo and without resupply. Concluded in discovering the mysteries of the forbidden badlands. Will be described in an upcoming book.

 "When both an animal and a person recognize their survival depends on each other there is no longer a dominate role of either person or animal. They work and live together as one unit. Emotions are felt between them like they are one being. When one suffers, or feels joy so does the other." -Joe G. Henderson-