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Eugene Karstens is the son of Harry Karstens, an early mountaineer in Alaska who was the guide and leader of the first complete ascent of Denali in 1913 and served as the first superintendent of Mount McKinley National Park (now Denali) from 1921 to 1928. Eugene came to Alaska in 1921 at age four when his family came to join his father during his tenure as superintendent. Eugene quickly learned the ins and outs of surviving in Interior Alaska, and enjoyed hunting and other outdoor activities with his father. For more about Harry Karstens see: The Seventymile Kid: Harry Karstens and the Conquering of Mount McKinley by Tom Walker (Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books, 2012).