Rob Stapleton moved to
Alaska in 1975 to take a job as an award winning photojournalist at the Anchorage Daily news and has lived in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Nome, and once spent seven weeks in
While at the News his coverage of “oil in” on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, or the
Alaska pipeline, earned him a nomination for a Pulitzer prize in 1977.
Although he did not win the prize, his experience spread to covering the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Where he met Joe Redington and Susan Butcher. Stapleton became the expedition photographer on the first and only successful assault of climbing 20,320 ft. Mt. McKinley in 1979. Image from this expedition are still being used in books and magazines world wide.
Originally from Santa Paula California, Stapleton took to the cold weather climate and spent 10 years climbing and making photographs in the Alaska range, and again summitted Denali (Mt. McKinley) again using the West Rib route from the South East fork of the Kahiltna glacier.
Stapleton started a freelance photography business in 1979 in Anchorage where he photographed and illustrated books on Eskimo Dolls, Athabascan Fiddling, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Anchorage 2000, and was recently had numerous images published in the Alaska 24/7 book. One of these images was a self portrait flying his Antares MA-33 trike over
Chugiak, Alaska .
As a photographer Stapleton has flown all over the state making images of Eskimo whaling on St. Lawrence Island, and Barrow, trapping and living on the Yukon, fishing in the Aleutians and Bristol Bay, Tlingit and Haidi lifestyle’s in Southeast, life and wildlife on the Pribilof Islands, and was the first photographer to “break the story” on the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 for the Associated Press. Stapleton has traveled on assignment to , , , , and ,
South America . He also started a newspaper called The Bering Strait Record in Nome, Ak.
As part of a journalistic endeavor Stapleton did a story on Mike Jacober in 1998 and was talked into flying lessons in a two-place Antares trike at
Airport north of
Later he, Jacober and Sergey Zozuliya, the designer and builder of the Antares, worked on getting the trike on the 51 percent kit list, so that the trike could be built as an experimental aircraft, or motor glider. Stapleton initially worked on the Antares, How to build” manual with Zozuliya, but scrapped the project for more flying.
Flying on wheels and skis Stapleton believes in safety, and is working with the local FAA to develop training and safety programs to implement into the
Rob’s articles and photographs have appeared in the EAA Experimenter, GA News, UltraFlight Magazine Ultralight Flyer, and he recently had a three page article and photos published in the May issue of the Ultralight Flying magazine.
Stapleton speaks Spanish, and has studied Russian and Inupiat.
Despite loving photography and writing, Stapleton says, “Being in the air is like being at home.”
“When once you have tasted flight,
You will forever walk the earth,
With your eyes turned skyward,
For there you have been,
And there you will always long to return.” -Leonardo Di Vinci