Teresa Whipple loves bears more than beer, rodeos, and even eight-week old yellow lab puppies. She began her bear viewing and guiding career a decade ago in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. There, she met a coastal grizzly nicknamed Bella, whose beauty, elegance, and intelligence inspired Teresa to venture deep into the bear world. Now, Teresa leads bear viewing trips all over Alaska, including grizzly havens like Admiralty Island and Katmai National Park. Right around the time brown bears are denning up for the winter, she often travels to Hudson Bay to guide polar bear adventures. After years of hanging with bears, Teresa created Ursus Major Training & Consulting, a company that specializes in bear safety training and education. Bear behavior and safety are complex, nuanced topics, and there’s a lot of contradictory information out there. Teresa’s training programs are customized to companies’ and individuals’ unique needs and offer a no-nonsense approach to getting along with bears. The company is dedicated to supporting wilderness conservation efforts so people can experience bears in the wild for generations to come. Check out her website, ursamajortc.com. – Bjorn Dihle
Product descriptions by Teresa Whipple.
Most Alaskans are devoted XTRATUFers (a type of rubber boot), but I swear by and can’t live without my Lacrosse boots. They’re super comfortable, especially for long distance hiking, and they don’t pinch the ankle or get sweaty!
Grundens Gage Tech Rum Runner 30L backpack
I do not leave home without this pack; it feels like a permanent attachment to my shoulders during bear watching season. It’s waterproof, put-to-the-test durable, and easy on the back, even with a heavy load.
Southeast Alaska sees at least 65 inches of rain a year, and in some areas more than 200 inches. After many trial-and-error rain jackets, I found the Beta AR, and it’s kept me drier than the rest.
Vortex Diamondback HD 10×42 binoculars
Of the multitudes of binoculars I’ve accumulated in my wildlife viewing career, from Swarovski to Leupold, Vortex’s Diamondback are my go-to favorites. They’re very bright, lightweight, and good to take anywhere.
Chest waders are super practical for work (and play) but don’t earn any points for comfort. When water pressure squeezes the boot, thick socks just don’t do the trick. Viking Bama Socks save the day and prevent toe rubs.