Chugach Mountains

Chugach Mountains

[choo-gach, -gash]
Chugach Mountains, one of the Pacific coastal ranges, S Alaska, extending from the St. Elias Mts., on the Alaska-Yukon border, NW to the Manuska River. Mt. Marcus Baker, 13,176 ft (4,016 m), is the highest peak. Rugged, with forested lower slopes (the southern slope is a national forest) and glacier-covered summits, the Chugach are a barrier for movement inland from the coast. The Richardson Highway, a north-south road running from the coast to Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Copper River are the only corridors through the range.

The Chugach Mountains of southern Alaska are the northernmost of the several mountain ranges that make up the Pacific Coast Ranges of the western edge of North America. The range is about 500 km (300 mi) long, running generally east-west. Its highest point is Mount Marcus Baker, at , but most of its summits are not especially high. Even so its position along the Gulf of Alaska ensures more snowfall in the Chugach than anywhere else in the world; an annual average of over 1500 cm (600 in).

The mountains are protected in the Chugach State Park and the Chugach National Forest. Near to Anchorage, they are a popular destination for outdoor activities. The World Extreme Skiing Championships are held annually in the Chugach near Valdez.

The Richardson Highway, Seward Highway, and the Glenn Highway run through the Chugach Mountains. The tunnel from Portage on the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet to Whittier on Passage Canal also provides railroad and automobile access underneath Maynard Mountain to the Prince William Sound.

The name "Chugach" is from the Eskimo tribal name Chugachmiut recorded by the Russians and written by them "Chugatz" and "Tchougatskoi"; in 1898 U.S. Army Captain W. R. Abercrombie spelled the name "Chugatch" and applied it to the mountains.



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