• Join us in the Commemoration of an Alaskan & American Icon

    The Walter Harper Project

    Help us build a life size bronze statue to commemorate Walter Harper, the first person to reach the summit of Denali.

  • About Us:

    The Walter Harper Project

    Alaskans representing the Walter Harper Project have launched a drive that will culminate in a life-size bronze statue of Walter Harper, the first person to summit Denali. The statue will be placed in Fairbanks, where the 1913 expedition began. Episcopal Archdeacon Hudson Stuck and the rugged outdoorsman Harry Karstens co-led the expedition. The Koyukon-Athabascan Harper, along with Tennessean Robert Tatum, completed the four-member ascent team. Athabascan youths John Fredson and Esaias George provided vital support, including transporting supplies and equipment to the base camp. Fredson manned the basecamp while the ascent team members scaled the mountain.


    The Walter Harper Project will recognize Harper’s critical role in the pioneer ascent team’s success, which was long unrecognized. Harper’s expert subsistence skills, superb athlete condition, courage, and cheerfulness moved the team forward under the most trying conditions. On summit day, Harper, the team member in the best condition, took the lead position and thus reached the peak first.


    For several years, Harper served as Archdeacon Stuck’s trail guide, riverboat pilot, interpreter, and right hand man, as they traveled among the Episcopal missions, Native communities, and mining camps of Alaska’s northern Interior. Wherever they stopped, Harper’s subsistence skillset, integrity, magnetic personality, and ability to navigate in both his Athabascan culture and in mainstream American society won him admirers. He planned to become a medical missionary to Interior Alaska Natives. Tragically, when he was just 25 years old, he and his wife of seven weeks, Frances Wells Harper, drowned in the 1918 sinking of the Princess Sophia.


    Walter Harper Day



    On Sunday, June 7, 2020 Alaska celebrated the first annual

     Walter Harper Day, in recognition of the Irish-Athabascan man who on June 7, 1913 was the first person to stand atop Denali, North America’s tallest mountain and the dominant landmark of Alaska’s Interior, Harper’s homeland. Fairbanks Senator Click Bishop introduced Senate Bill 144 “An Act establishing June 7 of each year as Walter Harper Day.” Alaska’s Senate and House of Representatives both passed the bill unanimously, and Governor Dunleavey signed the bill on April 29. The act recognizes not only Harper’s critical role in the success of the pioneer summit of Denali, but his “superb subsistence skills, his integrity, his strong sense of identity and purpose, and his ability to navigate comfortably in both the Athabascan culture and other cultures of the United States.”

  • Donate directly at :

    FNA Walter Harper Project

    615 Bidwill Avenue, Suite 400

    Box #13

    Fairbanks, AK 99701-7587

    (Make the check payable to “FNA / Walter Harper Project”)




    Donate Online at GoFundMe.org


    Be Part of the Project

  • Funding Information

    Together we will reach our summit.


    Funds Raised of $150,000 Goal


    Donations from Individuals


    Donations from GoFundMe


    Donations from Gold Supporters


    Donations from Corporate Donors

  • Donation Levels


    Denali Summit



    Harper Glacier



    Karstens Ridge



    Muldrow Glacier



    Base Camp



    Timber-Line Camp



    The Kantishna


  • Donors

    Thank you to all who have supported the Walter Harper Project so far. Give now to join the efforts of these supporters.

    Thank You!

    Margaret Asbury

    Linda S. Belarde

    Darlene & Click Bishop

    Dan Bishop

    John & Peggy Bryant

    Catherine Call

    Michael and Margaret Carey

    Kathy Cline

    Tim Cline

    Mary and Lars Ehrlander

    Bill Gordon

    Steven Haagenson

    Jan Harper (Petri) Haines

    Johanna Harper

    Michael & Jane Harper

    Diane Holmstrom

    Ronald Inouye

    Amy Russell-Jamgochian

    Tanya Kaquatosh

    Angela Linn

    Karen Lopez

    Jamie Marunde

    Katie McCaffrey

    Jeanne Ostnes

    Karen Perdue

    Al & Ann Renfroe

    Stephanie Rivet

    Angela Schmidt

    David Tilman

    Jimmy Vining

    Tom Walker

    Andy and Judy Warwick

    Ronald & Nancy Whitten

    Gary & Susan Wilken

    Names will be updated periodically

    Please let us know if you have donated but your name does not appear here.

  • Download Now!

    Alaskan Singer & Songwriter Ben Balivet created this song to commemorate Walter Harper and support the Walter Harper Project.

  • Artist

    Gary Lee Price

    Gary Lee Price

    "Lifting the Human Spirit Through Sculpture"

    The Walter Harper Project Team is pleased to announce our selection of renowned sculptor Gary Lee Price as the artist for the Walter Harper sculpture.

    Learn more about him here.

  • Walter Harper Project Team Members

    Michael Harper

    Anchorage, AK

    Relative of Walter Harper

    Bill Gordon

    Fairbanks, AK

    Life Long Alaskan; Former Staff Assistant to Governor Jay Hammond

    Mary Ehrlander

    Fairbanks, AK

    Author of Walter Harper, Alaska Native Son; UAF Professor of History

    Darlene Bishop

    Fairbanks, AK

    Retired teacher, Doyon, Ltd. shareholder

    Tanya Kaquatosh

    Fairbanks, AK

    Sr. VP of Administration- Doyon, Limited

    Diana Campbell

    Fairbanks, AK

    Relative of John Fredson, first ascent team.

    Angela J. Linn

    Fairbanks, AK

    Senior Collections Manager, UA Museum of the North

    email the team

    Email the team directly to learn more!

  • Updates

    Keeping you informed on what is new and happening with the Walter Harper Project.

    Fairbanks Native Association

    501 C 3 Partnership

    September 30,2019

    We are excited to announce our partnership with the Fairbanks Native Association.

    Walter HArper Day

    Alaska Senator Click Bishop

    October 2, 2019

    Senator Click Bishop and staff are working with the Walter Harper Project to have a state day of recognition on June 7th for Walter Harper and the expedition.

    official project announcement

    Watch the News

    October 22, 2019

    Mary Ehrlander and Marcus Sanders are out spreading the news of the Walter Harper Project.

    State of Alaska Legislative Session 2020

    Walter Harper Day

    January 21, 2020

    A special thanks to Senator Click Bishop and Darwin Peterson for putting together the legislation to create a Walter Harper Day.

    The Cordova Times Article

    Walter Harper Day News

    Walter Harper Day PASSES HOUSE & Senate!!!

    Walter Harper Day Approved!

    March 4, 2020

    The State of Alaska House of Representatives passed SB144 creating Walter Harper Day. The bill now awaits the Governor Dunleavy's signature.

    Walter harper day official!

    Governor Signs Bill

    April 29, 2020

    Governor Dunleavy signed SB144 into law, officially designating June 7 as Walter Harper Day.

    Doyon Plaza as site of sculpture

    Walter Harper Statue to be Placed at Doyon Headquarters

    July 24, 2020

    Doyon, Limited announced that when completed, the Walter Harper statue will be housed outside of the Doyon Plaza in downtown Fairbanks. Thank you to the Doyon board of directors who approved this request.

    First Alaskans Institute supports project

    Elders and Youth Conference Pass Resolution of Support

    October 14, 2020

    The 2020 Elders and Youth Conference of the First Alaskans Institute passed a resolution of support for the Walter Harper Project. See the full resolution here.

    AFN Supports Project

    AFN Board Pass Resolution of Support

    December 8, 2020

    The AFN Board of Directors passed a resolution in support of the Walter Harper Project . Stay tuned for the link to the resolution!

    Much More to Come!!!

  • Visit WHP on Facebook

    Learn more about the man behind the project through our Facebook page