Weekend Warm-Up: North of Known

Adventure Travel

Gavin McClurg over the Alaskan Range. Photo: Gavin McClurg

The first paragliding expedition across the Alaskan Mountain Range took six years of preparation for Gavin McClurg and Dave Turner. Ignoring the dangerous and unfavourable Alaskan weather, the pair soared past the three main peaks in Alaska — Mounts Hunter, Foraker and Denali. The film, North of Known, documents the pioneering achievement.

Apart from a test flight by plane and helicopter, McClurg and Turner had almost no information about their route. Apart from the extreme weather, they found few thermals to gain lift. Rivers and dense forests obstructed them as they thrashed to their food caches, stored in wooden crates 120km apart and placed strategically on mountaintops.

Gavin McClurg and Dave Turner during the Alaskan paragliding traverse.

Gliding at a maximum 20kph over the vast Alaskan landscape gave them some darker days of hunger, exhaustion and acute mental stress. Occasional bouts of good luck kept their spirits up. They found a cabin with canned food and hot cocoa that sustained them during a difficult section. But eventually, they were grounded for six days without food, and Turner quit. While tempted to do the same, Gavin persisted. His so-called “selfish endeavour” turned into a magnificent expedition captured in this film.


About the Author

Kristine De Abreu

Kristine De Abreu

Kristine De Abreu is a writer (and occasional photographer) based in sunny Trinidad and Tobago.

Since graduating from the University of Leicester with a BA in English and History, she has pursued a full-time writing career, exploring multiple niches before settling on travel and exploration. While studying for an additional diploma in travel journalism with the British College of Journalism, she began writing for ExWeb.

Currently, she works at a travel magazine in Trinidad as an editorial assistant and is also ExWeb's Weird Wonder Woman, reporting on the world's natural oddities as well as general stories from the world of exploration.

Although she isn't a climber (yet!), she hikes in the bush, has been known to make friends with iguanas and quote the Lord of the Rings trilogy from start to finish.

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