Original painting by artist Gail Niebrugge
“Ultima Thule Experience” original painting
Acrylic on rag board 13″ x 31.5″ matted and framed under glass SOLD.
Many years ago Alaska artist Gail Niebrugge became friends with a young couple, Paul & Donna Claus, who operate an adventure guide service and lodge, Ultima Thule Outfitters, in a very remote part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Located 100 miles from the Chitina Airport with no road access, visiting this lodge is indeed a wilderness experience. The Claus’s commissioned Niebrugge to do a painting of Paul’s Cessna Super Cub flying around the 14,470 ft. University Peak in the St. Elias mountain range. Paul guides climbers all over the mountains specializing in first ascents, and at this time he had two unsuccessful attempts to climb University Peak. Several years later he accomplished the climb.
To gather research for the painting, Paul flew Niebrugge all around the peak looking for the best angle for the painting. He landed on a glacier and left her standing alone on the ice, then guided the tiny cub across the face of the mountain so that she could grasp the scale of the plane against the peak. With the passenger door removed to get the best photos the artist was chilled to the bone in the frigid air, scared of falling and charged with adrenaline. It was an exciting commission and brings back many memories.