Opinion, Outdoors

More Hardware Installed on Mount Marathon

On a recent run up the mountain yesterday, I noticed that the “hardware” that was previously installed on the lower waterfall has been expanded. Instead of just a couple of rickety steel hand-holds (I saw one popped off a while ago), there are now sections of rebar and rubber house to “guide” people up and down the mountain. I have heard that it was not the City or the Chamber that installed these, but perhaps the Alaska Mountain Runners.

I have several main concerns with this equipment.

1. The metal hand-holds will act like a cheese grater for anyone who happens to slip.


2. The hand-holds and the rubber hose could very, very easily fall out (especially over the course of the season and race). When I was trying out the rebar/hose yesterday, one section of rebar popped out. Thankfully I wasn’t expecting much so I wasn’t putting all my weight on it.
3. These installations will cause a false sense of security for runners and hikers and will lead to people being overly-reliant on them to the point of not exercising proper climbing techniques (i.e. 3 points of contact, not leaning backwards, etc.).
4. Did the city allow these to be installed (I believe the City owns that part of the mountain)? If not, are they aware of the potential liability issues?
5. Runners will assume that these were installed by the City and/or MMR Race Committee and therefore will error on the side of trusting them. Who is to say they are actually installed safely and properly?



  1. The City of Seward did not install or authorize the installation of the hardware on the trail. This act is considered vandalism in the most conservative sense and presents a clear and present danger to climbers. Within the hour the trail will be marked with hazard tape and climbers who desire to climb will do so at their own risk and peril. The City of Seward is offering a $500.00 reward for information leading to the identification of the person or persons whom illegally installed the hardware. Not only does this violation pose a risk to climbers, it may also threaten to reroute the famed course. The person or persons whom installed this have a forty-eight (48) hour grace period to remove all hardware from the trail. Calls with information leading to the identification of the “installer(s) will be kept confidential.
    Seward Police Department: 907.224.4022

    Jim Hunt
    City manager

  2. Interested Readers: i just spoke to one of the members of the installation crew. He assured me the gear will be removed. The city’s administration fully understands the good intent of this effort. However, installations of that type needs to be fully reviewed by the city permitting process that includes review by the city’s insurers. As to the reward? It is now null and void. Thank you.
    Jim Hunt

  3. Is there any truth to the rumor that the race might not happen this year due to the insurance being cancelled?

  4. Chewbaccagirl, if we find out that the race is canceled, we will post this information on our site.

    Sarah Fink
    SCN Editor