An atlas of geographic naming history in Southcentral Alaska
“The history of any human activity is easily lost and often irrecoverably so with the passage of the persons who made it. For instance, what became of sourdoughs Pete Anderson, Billy Taylor, Martin Nash, Miles Atkinson, John Barrett, Billy Soule, and many others who pioneered our mountains? We only assume they are dead and any scrap of unrecorded information about them would be welcome.”
- J. Vin Hoeman, March 1969. The Scree (Mountaineering Club of Alaska)
“That’s a long story. I don’t want this story to die. That’s why I am telling this story.”
- Shem Pete. “Basdut - Old Man Ezi” in Shem Pete’s Alaska (Kari and Fall, rev. 2 ed. 2016)
Southcentral Alaska, particularly the Chugach and Kenai Mountains, is characterized by choss: brittle, low-quality rock known for crumbling just when a climber relies on it as a handhold. By global mountaineering standards it’s considered unremarkable and undesirable compared to the granite of Yosemite Valley or the limestone of the Dolomites. Nobody is expected to love choss. Yet the term is used affectionately by local peakbaggers who take fierce pride in their challenging and ‘substandard’ home ranges. ‘Choss Lore’ is a self-deprecating name chosen to indicate a devotion to these wild lands.
The Choss Lore project is not yet a registered Non-Profit, but it is certainly non-profit!
Donations are not currently tax deductible, but if you would like to support the project every cent will be appreciated and spent to research and preserve the history of southcentral Alaska.
Special thanks to the MEA Charitable Foundation for supporting the project through a 2022 Operation RoundUp® grant.
Thanks as well to Ground Truth Alaska for support and partnership, without which the MEA grant would not have been possible.