View of the Chugach Mountains from the Glenn Highway north of Anchorage
|Peak||Mount Marcus Baker|
|Elevation||13,094 ft (3,991 m)|
|Length||300 mi (480 km) E-W|
|Parent range||Pacific Coast Ranges|
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 250 miles (402 km) long and 60 miles (97 km) wide, and extends from the Knik and Turnagain Arms of the Cook Inlet on the west to Bering Glacier, Tana Glacier, and the Tana River on the east. It is bounded on the north by the Matanuska, Copper, and Chitina rivers. The highest point of the Chugach Mountains is Mount Marcus Baker, at 13,094 feet (3,991 m), but with an average elevation of 4,006 feet (1,221 m), 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 (800 in).
The Richardson Highway, Seward Highway, Portage Glacier Highway, and the Glenn Highway run through the Chugach Mountains. The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel of the Portage Glacier Highway provides railroad and automobile access underneath Maynard Mountain between Portage Lake and the city of Whittier on Prince William Sound.
The name "Chugach" comes from Chugach Sugpiaq "Cuungaaciiq," Alaska Natives inhabiting the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound on the south coast of Alaska. The Chugach people are an Alutiiq (Pacific Eskimo) people who speak the Chugach dialect of the Alutiiq language. In 1898 United States Army Captain William R. Abercrombie spelled the name "Chugatch" and applied it to the mountains. It is possible that the Koniagmiut (Sugpiat or Alutiit of the Kodiak Archipelago and the Alaska Peninsula) may also have called these northern Sugpiat "Cuungaaciirmiut" in ancient times but it is also possible that this was a neologism during Russian times.
The twelve highest peaks in the Chugach Mountains are listed below:
|1||Mount Marcus Baker||13,094 feet (3,991 m)|
|2||Mount Thor||12,132 feet (3,698 m)|
|3||Mount Valhalla||11,850 feet (3,612 m)|
|4||Mount Witherspoon||11,745 feet (3,580 m)|
|5||Mount Einstein||11,401 feet (3,475 m)|
|6||Mount Tom White||11,155 feet (3,400 m)|
|7||Icing Peak||10,955 feet (3,339 m)|
|8||Mount Grace||10,540 feet (3,213 m)|
|9||Mount Goode||10,384 feet (3,165 m)|
|10||Mount Steller||10,082 feet (3,073 m)|
|11||Mount Gannett||9,629 feet (2,935 m)|
|12||Mount Miller||8,694 feet (2,650 m)|
Other important peaks in the Chugach Mountains include:
Peters Creek backcountry, below Mount Rumble
Bashful Peak, the tallest mountain in western Chugach State Park