Wilderness racer Sam Hooper named Alaska athlete of the week

August 11, 2020

Wilderness racer Sam Hooper of Denali Park hiked and packrafted  over 150 miles alone on ATV trails, along caribou routes, over tundra, through swamps, and down rivers to win the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic.

The former Denali National Park backcountry ranger struggled with nausea most of the way and was thus only able to consume half of the nine pounds of food he brought. With perpetually sodden feet, he developed severe “trench foot.” To save weight, he carried neither a stove nor a sleeping bag.

He completed the trek from the Jack River near Cantwell to the Sheep Mountain Lodge on the Glenn Highway in 86 hours and 5 minutes.

Hooper, 32, went so fast he finished the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic nearly a day quicker than the next group and 27 hours faster than he and partner Sean Pociuk did the same route in 2019.

The AMWC, founded in 1982, is a low-key, unsupported, human-powered event of 120 to 250 miles through remote and unforgiving terrain. Any rescue is up to the participant to coordinate and a satellite communication device is required. There is no entry fee for the 15-30 participants and no finishers awards.

The athlete of the week recipient is selected by a panel each Friday and announced Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Sports Guys on CBS Sports Radio 590AM and 96.7FM.

View past winners here.