April 3, 2011

2011 Arctic Expedition – Mountain v. Coastal Travel

Arctic Alaska is a dynamic place comprising various landscapes. From the jagged peaks of the Brooks Range, to the rolling North Slope foothills and tussock-laden tundra, to the fractured turquoise sea ice – the arctic is without a doubt a place of great diversity. Naturally, these different types of terrains bring with them their own special obstacles and hardships when it comes to traveling with a dog team.

Joe and our malamutes have about 30 years of experience traveling both the Arctic Coast/North Slope as well as the Brooks Range mountains, so we wanted to share with you some of the main differences. The table below summarizes some of the pros and cons of mountain and coastal travel. 




Photo comparisons:

*** Mountains ***

- 037




2010 388

06-07 Expedition 109


***  Coastal  ***



2008_Expedition 523




Both settings are amazing aesthetically, but the mountains are definitely more of a physical challenge for Joe and the team and a major technical feat in the realm of dog sled travel.  Overall, the mountains are Joe’s favorite place to explore with our malamute team. 

Where would you rather travel – the mountains or the coast?


  • http://dogblogemma.blogspot.com Emma Rose

    I like to travel right here in my chair via your wonderful pictures! That way I always stay warm :)

    • Hahah…fair enough. Good answer! ;)
  • katy fitz

    Both please. Dang shame I am miserable on x-country skiis for the mtn part. I still need to figure out an axe-still have the curse words sheathed and all ten fingers.

  • http://thzkennels.com Tim McElravy

    Mountains…the coast would scare the heck outta me as I don’t know how I’d tolerate -95f…I’m more of a -5 sorta guy :)

  • Wyoming Fan

    Mountains, as we are used to those here in Wyoming. The cold isn’t that bad at -20f or -30f , but we don’t travel by dog sled in it down here. That would be quite a deal for us to try our hand at it though.

  • Kit Harland

    Wow, what a great post!!!
    Hmmm, mountains or coast? If all I had to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery, I’d go anywhere with Joe and the dogs! :)
    Take care!

  • Brian L. Brunner

    Sooo ! Do I want to be on the lookout for a big brown bear silhouted against the snow or a big white one camouflaged in the snow ?? L O L !!
    I think I would like the Mtns. like the Cascades in WA. where Max & I go hiking.
    We have 4 mals coming down from AK from a puppy mill seizure of some 150+ dogs near Talkeetna. I’m starting the countdown for my trip sorta, 1 year and a wake-up !!

  • Rebecca Hartley

    So very interesting. Thanks.

  • Bill

    Well life is short as we all know and for Joe to do all he and the dogs do is great. Never wait to do what you dream or you get like me…an armchair adventurer,65 years old and out of shape. I walk my Siberians and that is enough of a challenge for this stage of my life. Great to keep up with their progress and THANKS!!