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Thunder Bird Peak

[Brief] An Aftershock from the Thunderbird
Published 8-9-2021 | Last updated 8-9-2021
61.319, -149.091

[Unofficial name, no GNIS Entry]

Twenty-four years after the Anchorage Camera Club invented the name Thunder Bird Falls, Grace Hoeman and Lotte Kramer summited “this highest peak of the Thunderbird drainage area” from the head of Eklutna Lake in 1969 and applied the logical name ‘Thunderbird Peak.’[1] In her trip report in the Mountaineering Club of Alaska’s monthly publication, the Scree, Grace noted there were “no signs of previous visits by humans” but refrained from claiming a first ascent. She was likely respectful of the odds that Dena’ina or white hunters had reached the peak in the past, especially considering the relatively unchallenging topography and mineral licks in the area.[2] The name was endorsed by the Club, officially recognized by the Alaska State Board on Geographic Names in 1970,[3] and had percolated to the federal level by 1971.

The Dena’ina Athabascan name Chishkatnu Dghelaya (Red Ochre Creek Mountain) parallels the pattern in English where the dominant peak in a drainage shares the name with the creek.[4] Chishka Pond, a modern name coined by Stu Grenier, is the only feature which preserves that root.


[1] Hoeman, G. “Thunderbird Peak 6575'.” The Scree, Mountaineering Club of Alaska, July 1969.

[2] Grenier, S. “Mt. Thunderbird Paddle Climbs.” The Scree, Mountaineering Club of Alaska, February 2005.

[3] Hoeman, G. “News from the Committee on Geographic Names.” The Scree, Mountaineering Club of Alaska, March 1970.

[4] Kari, J., and J. Fall. Shem Pete's Alaska (rev. 2 ed.). Fairbanks, Alaska: The University of Alaska Press, 2016.