This was a rare and uncommon predatory attack involving a black bear. American black bears typically avoid confronting humans when possible. Aggressive encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. Cooper was a participant in the juniors division of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb. The popular mountain race is in its 29th year. The steep course takes adult runners up Bird Ridge, a familiar mountain that looms over the Seward Highway at about Mile 100.
Authorities on the race route after incident
After receiving the communication, the victim’s brother alerted organizers of the race giving them GPS coordinates from the missing runner’s phone. Cooper was found about a mile from the trailhead about 500 yards off the trail in steep. The bear, estimated to be about 250 pounds, was remaining in the area. A park ranger shot the bear but he ran. Rangers try locate and kill the animal. “This young man didn’t do anything wrong. He was just in the wrong place,” Tom Crockett, a park ranger with Chugach State Park said. The Bird Ridge trailhead and parking lot will be closed until the bear is located.