View Full Version : Pt. Hope, Alaska

09-04-2016, 01:01 PM
Just got back from a trip to Pt. Hope. It's a small Eskimo community on the NorthWest tip of Alaska, close to the International Date Line... not far from Russia.


We hopped on a 737 out of Anchorage to Kotzebue, spent a few hours there waiting for the fog to lift in Pt. Hope before jumping on a twin Navajo from Kotzebue to Pt. Hope. It was a 14 hour day just traveling there by airplane... easy money.

As is usually the case when working remotely, we work 20 hour days and taking pictures of the scenery quickly becomes a non-priority as we power through the job as fast as we can while getting everything right. This job was a hard one - we had to keep the telephone, internet & cell sites operational while replacing all the power equipment, including the backup batteries for the system. One small mistake and the whole network crashes and that's always a bad thing.

Kotzebue :


09-04-2016, 01:03 PM
A plane I spotted in Kotzebue... it's the Alaska Airlines logo with the addition of a frosty mug of beer :


09-04-2016, 01:04 PM

No trees or any kind of wind-breaking foliage to speak of... so the wind really howls through here.


09-04-2016, 01:14 PM
We flew past Red Dog Mine's port on the way.

I installed a Cat 6 network with a 10-gig fiber backbone here years ago, along with cable TV to all the residential rooms. Red Dog Mine was the largest Zinc mine in the world up until a few years ago, and the amount of minerals they pull out of the ground is staggering. They store all the zinc & lead in those huge warehouses all year long, and the port here is ice-free about 2 months out of the year - so they get everything shipped in that small window, along with resupplying a million gallons of diesel. Most of the minerals go straight from this port to China... highest bidder gets the goods!

While they were constructing this port back in 1989 or so, one night the Soviets landed a recon mission on the beach from a submarine and investigated what was being constructed - they suspected the US Navy or Coast Guard were building a base when the huge diesel tanks went in. The construction guys got up one morning and found Russian cigarette butts & empty packs & candy wrappers on the beach where they landed in their inflatable raft. Kinda cool.



09-04-2016, 01:24 PM
I cannot imagine those miners working in a place like that for any length of time. It is about as remote as I can imagine a non-Amazon jungle job to be.

09-04-2016, 01:26 PM

There is still a huge debate about this little village of about 400 people.

You can see where they built the village, and naturally, there is a real problem with the ocean battering away at the shore and they want the Feds to pay for relocating the town because of " OMG climate change!".

The whole idea is preposterous. Don't build your villages on a strip of sand on the coast and you won't have problems like this. But it's $400 million in free money, right?



09-04-2016, 01:31 PM
Random scenery.






09-04-2016, 01:34 PM
Look at that tiny house there next to that creek.

You have to wonder who would live there, other than a guy running from the law after being profiled on America's Most Wanted. Many miles from anywhere, and nothing to do other than hang out on the beach, no trees, no road, no electricity, nothing.

Lots of wind, though!


09-04-2016, 01:37 PM
This guy has a 4-wheeler trail going somewhere, though. Maybe a gold miner?


09-04-2016, 01:40 PM
Finally, some sign of civilization. This is the end of the furthest road from Pt. Hope... I'm thinking it's an FAA navigation point or something.


09-04-2016, 01:46 PM


And Pt. Hope -- if you look right above our airplane's engine there, you can see a couple of satellite dishes. We were working in those buildings clustered around those dishes. I slept in the green building while we were there.


09-04-2016, 01:48 PM
A shot of the whole village.


09-04-2016, 01:57 PM
A barge unloading during the 2-month window of ice-free ocean.

The only way to get vehicles here is to put them on the barge. If you buy a new car in Seattle and have it shipped up here, the shipping costs more than the car itself... which isn't very practical. So the cheapest way to get a car/truck here is to drive it up to the North Slope and catch the barge going back south. Then it's only about $8,000 to get your car here.

With the cost of replacing vehicles in mind, you'd think that everyone would drive their cars gently. Nope! They drive those rigs like they were stolen - I mean, they really beat the holy hell out of them with a vengeance, almost like they're trying to destroy it. It boggles the mind.

The cars & trucks aren't the only things punished. The 4-wheelers & snowmachines take a brutal beating. The snowmachines sit out in the weather on the ground, just rotting away. I saw exactly 2 snowmachines covered up with the tracks lifted off the ground to prevent dry rot. The 4-wheelers are either shut off or are going full-throttle... there is no gentle driving.


09-04-2016, 01:59 PM
I love pictures.

09-04-2016, 02:01 PM

The furthest tip pointing toward Russia :


09-04-2016, 02:06 PM
On final approach


Pt. Hope International Airport!


These are whale ribs sticking up at the airport. Back in the day, they'd use these to support their houses made from grass sod. I'd estimate the length of those about 12' above ground - pretty good sized whale.


09-04-2016, 02:06 PM

09-04-2016, 02:10 PM
Our crew of guys as we walked through town heading for the comm site.


If anyone is wondering where the ALOHA plate for Hawaii is, wonder no more! Pretty funny to find it here, of all places.


09-04-2016, 02:14 PM
We hired a guy to come move our new generator into place. That conex is a perfect generator shed.

The operator was impressive... he didn't bounce or jerk the load around, even though the gravel is extremely loose and deep. The whole town is gravel... no grass or bushes or trees. Just a giant gravel bar.


09-04-2016, 02:14 PM
I looked up Pt. Hope on google maps. It's waaaay on out there by itself. Sort of a finger of Alaska.

Thanks for the pictures!

09-04-2016, 02:22 PM
Our wheels for the trip. Pretty nice Razor fitted with an enclosed cab with a heater.


This is the hotel. I tried staying here a couple nights in a row without success - the first night, I rented a room and when I opened the door to sleep for a couple hours, there was a guy already in there sleeping, so I shut the door quietly and crashed in the comm building. The same thing happened the next night in a different room.

I paid the money, he handed me the key to the room, but apparently checking the records to see if that room was indeed vacant was too much of a hassle. :laugh:


09-04-2016, 02:30 PM

My buddy Joe as we were walking to lunch one day :


Had to laugh at this - I think it's a fuselage from a 727 that must have crashed or something. This guy hauled it to his house and made an addition! I'd have loved to seen the interior.


09-04-2016, 02:31 PM
And a shot from the airplane in Nome on our way back to Anchorage... I haven't had a job here yet, but that'll happen soon I expect. There's a ton of history here from the Gold Rush and of course, those gold mining operations continue to this day.


09-04-2016, 02:58 PM
Our wheels for the trip. Pretty nice Razor fitted with an enclosed cab with a heater.


I remember you posting a picture of some thingy a year or so ago. Now it makes sense.

09-04-2016, 02:59 PM
Had to laugh at this - I think it's a fuselage from a 727 that must have crashed or something. This guy hauled it to his house and made an addition! I'd have loved to seen the interior.

I wonder what his wife thought when he said he wanted a new bedroom, made out of a 727, lol.

09-04-2016, 07:24 PM
I wonder what his wife thought when he said he wanted a new bedroom, made out of a 727, lol.

Considering the cost of getting building materials out there, she probably thought it was a great idea!