Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 9:18 PM on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Steve W. Hackett

June 25, 1945-Feb. 26, 2011

Steve Hackett, 65, of Homer, died Feb. 26, 2011, while skiing, of natural causes. A memorial service is planned for the summer in Homer.


Steve W. Hackett

Steve was born in Monterey, Calif., and as the son of a National Park ranger spent his childhood in the freedom of the parks of Wyoming, Montana and Colorado, from which grew his lifelong passion for wilderness and outdoor adventure. In 1968, he graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., with a degree in geophysical engineering and shortly thereafter he moved to Alaska. He obtained masters degrees in geology and geophysics in 1977 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Steve's professional career was as varied as the mountains he loved; in addition to being a geologist, he worked as a trail crew foreman in Rocky Mountain National Park, a mountaineering guide on Denali, a back country ranger in Denali National Park, an avalanche specialist for the Department of Transportation, an avalanche safety instructor, on the ski patrol and as a ski instructor at Alyeska, as a math and science teacher in rural Alaska and as a homeschool contact teacher for IDEA (Interior Distance Education of Alaska) in Soldotna. While working for the Cook Inletkeeper, he helped create the State's first agency-approved citizen-based water quality monitoring program.

Steve met his wife, Ann, on the Ruth Glacier, where he maintained a base camp and dogsledding service. It might have been just the rarified air, but their heads were soon spinning and they were married in 1987. They worked together as teachers in Russian Mission and Seldovia and then settled on their small homestead at the head of Kachemak Bay.

Steve was an accomplished mountaineer, skier, and athlete from an early age. His work as a geologist brought him to Alaska, where he continued to hone his outdoor skills, always ready to fit expeditions and backcountry adventures in between his fieldwork.

He participated in numerous first ascents in Alaska and many expeditions; among his favorites were an early trip to Nepal in 1972 with his brother Jim; a traverse of the Bagley Icefield from Miles Lake to Yakutat in 1986; a joint Soviet expedition to the Pamir Mountains in what is now Tajikistan; a 1976 solo ascent of Mount Igikpak in the Brooks Range; and a 1974 river trip from Lake Chakachamna to Anchorage via the Skwentna, Yetna and Susitna Rivers.

His company, Alaska Treks and Voyages out of Moose Pass, guided remote wilderness dog pack and river trips, and sea kayaking trips in Kenai Fjords National Park. Steve greatly valued the camaraderie of his fellow adventurers. Steve generously volunteered his time and energy for many organizations, including the Mountaineering Club of Alaska, Alaska Backcountry Guides Cooperative, Alaska Natural History Association, Alaska Natural Resource and Outdoor Education Association, Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council, Kachemak Bay Nordic Ski Club, Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition and for many ski races.

Steve will be dearly missed for his infectious enthusiasm for the things he loved, his generosity, his radiant smile, his perseverance in the face of obstacles, his dedication to teaching and his gentle spirit.

Steve was preceded in death by his father, Ted Hackett; his mother, Lucy Hackett; and his brother, Jim Hackett. He is survived by his wife, Ann, of Homer; sister-in-law, Jan Hackett, and nieces, Jenna and Jessie, of Fort Collins, Colo.; his extended family, including many nieces, nephews and cousins; and many dear friends.