Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Cliff Hudson

Cliff Hudson was interviewed on February 28, 1992 by Bill Brown in Cliff Hudson's living room in Talkeetna, Alaska. It was a busy place with family, friends, and dogs dropping in or running through the room. In this interview, Cliff talks about his experiences as an air-taxi pilot flying in the Denali National Park area. He discusses the challenges of high-altitude flying, glacier landings, dealing with bad weather, and participating in rescue operations. He also provides advice to climbers and shared his thoughts about the role of the National Park Service on Denali.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 1993-02-04/05

Project: Denali Mountaineering
Date of Interview: Feb 28, 1992
Narrator(s): Cliff Hudson
Interviewer(s): Bill Brown
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal background

2) Mount McKinley flying and climbing

3) Progression of aircrafts for Mount McKinley flying

4) Dean of Talkeetna glacier pilots

5) Glacier flying as a science and an art

6) Evolution of the airport, the basecamp, and the system on Denali

7) Advice to climber clients

8) Attitudes of climbers of different nationalities

9) Weather and the mountain

10) Rescues

11) Supplying trek parties

12) National Park Service on the mountain and in Talkeetna

13) Frances Randall, basecamp manager

14) Still flying.

15) Village airstrip

16) Landing on glaciers and other reminiscences

17) More flying adventures

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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: Talkeetna\ brother -- flying\ Aeronautical Chief\ Barrow\ flying -- brother's death\ flying -- accidents|

Section 2: airplanes -- evolution\ climbing -- early days\ equipment -- early days|

Section 3: Super Cub\ Cessna 185\ Cessna Turbo 206\ Kahiltna Strip\ air strip -- snow packing\ flying -- tricycle gear|

Section 4: Denali\ glacier pilot\ garbage\ climbing -- crowding|

Section 5: flying -- skis\ flying -- glacial\ flying -- landings\ snow drifts\ flying -- depth perception|

Section 6: climbing -- crowding\ climbing -- jamming\ access -- numbers|

Section 7: acclimation\ medical screening\ base camp\ NPS -- volunteers\ air taxi\ Randall, Frances|

Section 8: weather -- layover\ deaths -- examples\ summit zone\ jet stream|

Section 9: communication -- weather, FAA & pilot\ Polar air\ Pacific air\ weather -- phenomena\ snowspouts|

Section 10: rescue -- Korean party\ rescue -- pulmonary edema|

Section 11: ski parties\ snowshoe parties\ supply caches|

Section 12: Kahiltna -- landing strip\ snow machine\ NPS -- snow machine\ Kahiltna Runway\ Visitor Center\ Talkeetna|

Section 13: Randall, Frances\ Japanese -- American expedition, Mount Bona\ basecamp -- management\ basecamp -- roles\ Randall, Frances -- death|

Section 14: Hudson, Jay|

Section 15: airstrip\ flying -- landings, night|

Section 16: pilot -- anecdotes\ Bunch, Ken -- Wrangell Mountains\ Wilson, Jack -- Gulkana|

Section 17: Talkeetna -- flying history\ Cache Creek -- diggings\ flying -- forced landings\ bear -- tranquilized|