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Dennis Kogl

Dennis Kogl was interviewed on September 13, 2000 by William Schneider at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska. In this interview, Dennis talks about running a dog sledding business in the Denali National Park area, taking clients out, and hauling freight up to mountain climbing groups on Denali. He also discusses differences between racing sled dogs and using them for freighting, the details of how to freight supplies and properly care for the dogs, and his thoughts about the use of dog teams for access into Denali National Park.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2000-17-28

Project: Denali Mountaineering
Date of Interview: Sep 13, 2000
Narrator(s): Dennis Kogl
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
Videographer: Jarrod Decker
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

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


1) Personal background

2) Family history and his mother's role as an immigrant woman in the United States during World War II

3) Becoming interested in wilderness living and dog mushing

4) How he got into commercial use of his dog team in Denali National Park

5) Starting Denali Dog Tours and his first season in Denali National Park

6) Stories about various trips with passengers

7) The importance of passengers' attitudes

8) The conflict between racing with the dogs and running a business with the dogs

9) Giving up on racing and missing travel by dog team and freighting with his dogs

10) A story of a tough freighting trip

11) Dropping off gear for a future climbing expedition on the Muldrow Glacier

12) Preparing for a route and changes he has observed in the Muldrow Glacier

13) The disruption of caches by wildlife and issues of dog handling

14) An exceptional lead dog, Suzy

15) The dogs decision to follow commands over following instincts

16) Positions on the sled

17) Maximizing the haul capacity and other uses of the pole

18) Feeding the dogs and the caching supplies at the ranger cabins

19) Strenuous parts of freighting and dog injuries

20) The most common dog injuries and running dogs in various conditions

21) Trails between Kantishna and Park Headquarters, and life with the dogs

22) Dog involvement in Park access and closing

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

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


Section 1: dog mushing\ Denali Park, AK\ St. Paul, MN -- born\ parents -- divorce\ California\ job -- prospects\ twin cities\ Oakland, CA\ job -- cotter\ shipyards\ bulkheads -- cutting\ torch -- oxyacetylene\ engineers\ Los Angeles, CA\ Santa Monica, CA\ aircraft industry\ war -- aftermath\ upholstery|

Section 2: mother -- Belarussian\ Russia -- former\ father -- jobs\ industry -- railroad\ career -- nightwatchman\ General Electric\ St. Paul, MN\ mother -- talents\ singing\ dancing\ World War II\ cows -- tending\ people -- young\ troops -- German\ canons\ father -- United States\ money -- saving\ family -- immigrant\ Ellis Island\ travel -- train\ language -- English\ shipyards\ Russia -- ally\ Los Angeles, CA\ schools\ Venice High School\ Santa Monica, CA\ Humbolt State College\ UAF|

Section 3: graduation\ working\ Alexander, Vera\ marriage\ wilderness living\ sled dogs\ Viereck, Les\ dogs -- animosity\ dogs -- raising\ dog team\ Denali National Park\ Bureau of Land Management\ land -- availability\ homesite\ Yanert Valley\ misinformation\ dogs\ truck\ moving -- procedure\ land -- acquisition\ state -- deal\ property -- lease|

Section 4: work -- seasonal\ National Park Service\ State of Alaska\ Fish and Game -- sport fish\ Alaska -- interior\ North Slope, AK\ fisheries\ seasons -- number\ opportunity\ job -- permanent\ dogs -- concession\ Cooper, John\ Denali Dog Tours\ permit -- special use\ Denali National Park -- interest\ Talkeetna, AK\ Ruth Glacier\ Ruth Amphitheater\ concession -- split\ Denali National Park -- interior\ Denali National Park -- boundary\ gear -- hauling\ mountain climbers|

Section 5: Denali Dog Tours\ market\ Cooper, John\ National Outdoor Leadership School -- guiding\ Wyoming\ National Outdoor Leadership School -- climbing\ Kahiltna Glacier\ dog teams -- revenue\ brochure\ National Park Service\ permit -- special use\ prospectus\ Brown, Gary\ season -- first\ expedition -- Heggerness 1974\ passengers\ secretary\ Los Angeles, CA\ Olvera Street|

Section 6: passengers -- notorious\ magazine -- Travel and Leisure\ New York\ photographers\ Zimmerman, Nancy\ Anchorage, AK\ writers -- magazine\ ski -- support\ gear -- hauling\ conditions\ cabins\ party -- French\ newlyweds -- Boston, MA\ weather -- conditions\ wind\ honeymoon\ complaints\ dog team\ clothing -- adequate\ mentality|

Section 7: cinematographer\ Anchorage, AK\ church -- affiliation\ Wonder Lake\ trail breaking\ cabin -- none\ sleeping bag -- army\ Thorofare Gorge\ Wonder Lake Ranger Station\ tents -- mountain\ temperature\ trips -- skiing\ passengers -- attitude\ expectations\ flexibility\ Iditarod North Boundary -- Denali National Park\ wall tent\ stove\ cabins|

Section 8: business -- passenger\ Denali Dog Tours\ racing -- interest\ compatability\ business -- schedule\ Forsberg, Will\ take-over\ gear -- hauling\ Yukon Quest\ Iditarod\ season -- racing\ training\ competition\ trail -- heavy\ dogs -- size\ trail -- speed\ pace\ dogs -- injury\ injuries -- shoulders\ injuries -- wrists\ dogs -- weight\ dog teams -- cost|

Section 9: Denali Dog Tours\ racing -- mid-distance\ dog team -- selling\ sleds\ gear\ traveling -- winter\ Denali National Park\ traffic\ lead dog\ trips -- freighting\ expedition -- Heggerness\ Heggerness, Larry -- contract\ dentist\ Vancouver, WA\ Muldrow Glacier -- surge\ ice -- condition\ spring -- snowpack\ fractures\ dogs\ wrist\ military\ Norris, Earl\ maneuvers\ dogs -- usefulness\ airdrops\ sacks -- burlap\ gear -- containers\ cache\ crates -- durability\ crates -- wooden\ sleds -- dimensions\ crates -- painted|

Section 10: materials -- assembly\ Kantishna, AK\ Sheldon, Don\ Wonder Lake Ranger Station\ Turtle Hill\ gear -- haul\ people -- local\ Denali -- area\ Reeves, Ford\ Lindner, Sonny, dog teams\ Jones, Steve\ expedition -- climbing\ Cache Creek\ Schlentner, Bob\ dog driver\ Cooper, John\ Larsen, Laurie -- helper\ Schlentner, Bob -- hernia\ Denali National Park -- entrance\ team -- handling\ Iditarod|

Section 11: Turtle Hill\ gear -- ferrying\ Cache Creek\ tree-line\ willows\ drainages\ High Camp\ tents -- mountain\ McGonagall Pass\ Muldrow Glacier\ Heggerness, Larry\ Bacon, Bill\ record -- cinematographic\ altitude\ dog teams\ ascent\ Denali\ climbers\ Lindner, Sonny\ fixed rope\ sled holes\ Great Ice Fall\ cache -- snow\ boxes\ markers -- wands\ gear\ climbers -- summer\ conditions -- stability|

Section 12: research\ route\ Norris, Earl\ Simmar?, Chris\ National Park Service -- archives\ video\ Army\ glacier -- appearance\ glacier -- incline\ snowfall\ glacier -- surge\ gear -- hauling\ cache\ ice fall\ glacier -- mounds\ season -- racing\ climbers -- walk-in\ McKinley River -- wading\ Turtle Hill\ McGonagall Pass\ cache -- security\ bears\ wolverines|

Section 13: food -- contamination\ bears\ wolverines\ gear -- cache\ McGonagall Pass\ Muldrow Glacier\ dogs -- training\ dogs -- awareness\ dogs -- obedience\ team -- recreational\ vehicle -- winter\ gear -- hauling\ cabin\ dogs -- handling\ training -- job\ freighting\ highway\ cabin -- Revine Creek\ dog team -- racing|

Section 14: dogs -- lead\ Fletcher Ice Island\ transpolar expedition -- Italian\ Greenland\ dog teams -- Eskimo\ Arctic Ocean\ expeditor -- Naval Arctic Research Lab\ Barrow, AK\ dog -- natural\ Denali Park Dog Kennels\ dogs -- breeding\ breed -- malamute\ Burgroff?, Roger\ lead dog -- Suzy\ dogs -- registered\ sled dogs -- Alaskan|

Section 15: trail breaking\ landmarks\ trail -- none\ lead dog -- Suzy\ Nenana River\ voice -- rising\ dog -- insticts\ Thorofare Pass\ valley\ freighting -- supplies\ snow\ snowshoes\ skis\ Turtle Hill\ climbers|

Section 16: haw pole\ sled\ wheel dogs\ leads -- hook ups skis -- small\ binding -- leather\ trail\ guiding -- sled\ freight -- hauling\ Big Timber|

Section 17: sled -- hickory\ sled -- width\ Wonder Lake Ranger Station\ McKinley River\ haul -- maximize\ gear\ dogs\ fuel oil -- barrels\ pole -- stability\ side hill -- traversing\ sled -- rolling|

Section 18: dogs -- food\ food -- pemican\ food -- chicken\ dog racing\ people -- food\ freight\ cache points\ cabins -- ranger patrol\ concessionaire\ supplies\ cabins -- fire\ firewood\ wall tent\ oil stove\ willows -- dead\ trail -- main\ Riley Creek|

Section 19: freighting -- strenuous\ McGonagall Pass\ haul -- weight\ trail -- none\ dogs -- attitude\ Yukon Quest\ Eagle Summit\ Cache Creek\ loads -- multiple\ Muldrow Glacier\ sled -- runners\ brake\ wheel dog\ dog -- knee injury|

Section 20: dog -- injuries\ booties\ dog racing -- overflow\ injuries -- shoulder\ lead dogs\ freighting\ dogs -- size\ Cache Creek\ pack trains\ sled -- runners\ trail -- dry\ horse trail\ McGonagall Pass\ snow -- deep\ rock -- slides\ Mercer, Berle|

Section 21: pack trips\ people -- sightseeing\ hauling -- loads\ Denali National Park\ caches\ cabins\ food -- dog\ North Boundary -- Denali National Park\ trail breaking\ Forsberg, Will\ Forsberg, Linda\ Stampede Road\ Kantishna, AK\ Park Headquarters\ dog racing\ recreation team\ life -- change\ job -- full-time\ Sawatzky?, Dave\ Healy, AK|

Section 22: Park Headquarters -- Denali National Park\ property\ mines\ horses\ gear\ pack dogs\ National Park -- history\ chief ranger\ concession -- backpacking|