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Mountain Wave


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On September 18, 1989, a seasoned outdoor producer/cinematographer and a hunting party became stranded in the middle of frigid Sandy Lake

—about 500 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska after their boat capsized.

A mountain wave was to blame.


“Mountain Wave” is a story about the triumph of the human spirit

when thrust into inconceivable circumstance.

“This story is a must read for all who venture into the great outdoors and  contains several stories within the story. It not only is a riveting story, it is instructive and inspiring”.

Eddie Smith, 

Owner, CEO  Grady-White Boats

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Joe Albea has been a television producer, cinematographer, published writer and photographer in a career that has spanned more than 45 years.


Over those years, Albea has captured the outdoor experience around the world, including Africa, South America, Central America and throughout North America. Beginning in the mid 1970s he began writing and photographing hunting and fishing opportunities found in eastern North Carolina, his home state.

During this time he met and began working with Franc White, producer of one of the first outdoor television shows in the country, The Southern Sportsman. Soon, he was behind the camera shooting in 16mm film and honing his skills with moving pictures.

Albea is still working in and promoting the outdoors today. 


Nathan Summers is an award-winning writer, editor, columnist, and lifelong outdoorsman based in North Carolina. Born in Pennsylvania, Summers has worked as both a sports writer and columnist for three decades. He currently serves as the sports editor for Adams Publishing Group ENC.

Summers won awards for his coverage of college football—in particular, East Carolina University— and he has voted for seventeen consecutive Heisman Memorial Trophies. During that time, Summers also served as a regular radio, television, and livestream host and guest, discussing college football, recruiting, baseball, and conference expansion.

His freelance work includes dozens of national outlets.

Summers also has a passion for writing about the outdoors. In 2017, he penned a newspaper series titled “A Year on the Tar” and spent twelve months chronicling fishing in different parts of the Tar-Pamlico river system.


He also has written about ongoing conservation issues, specifically the ever-changing regulations on some of the state’s species of concern. He teamed with Albea on many of those projects.

Why "Mountain Wave"?

This story is meant to inspire people to never give up. The calm determination shown by the hunters and the rescuers alike is the backbone of the men’s survival. Witnessing, up close, another man’s death did not defeat the other men but, instead, steeled them to find a way out of an otherwise hopeless situation.​The book is a real-life illustration, in minute-by-minute detail, of how quickly things can go wrong in a place like the Alaska Peninsula—a location that is completely cut off from the rest of the world.​The positive outcome to the ordeal was the result of a handful of people with a penchant for helping those in need. When the men made it to the beach, they were far from saved. Helicopter pilot Leo Snyder heard the radio chatter and turned around in the midst of a flight home at the end of a long work day and played a critical, unplanned role in the men’s survival.​Through its many twists and turns, “Mountain Wave” imparts on its readers the fundamental importance of being prepared for any situation in the wild.

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  • The story is told through the viewpoint of the man behind the camera of an Alaskan adventure.

  • The story illustrates how human, almost animal, instinct can manifest in a positive outcome.

  • The story details the complex and valiant effort of complete strangers who put their own lives on

  • the line to save the men in one of the most remote regions on the planet.

  • It depicts in detail how humans in such remote settings can fall victim to life-changing weather events that are instantaneous and cannot be forecast.

  • The story, which will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, illustrates how these events can befall even the most experienced and best-prepared among them.

  • In accurate granular detail, the story educates the reader about the construction and setup of remote Alaskan hunting camps, particularly in the pre-cellphone era of the late 1980s, but also about the life of those who run them and the many places from which people make the permanent pilgrimage to Alaska.

  • The story presents the unique challenges of wilderness survival and rescue in remote settings.

  • This true story validates that the human desire to survive a life-or-death situation is incalculable and cannot be fully revealed until such a situation arises.

  • Although Mountain Wave is an allegory of survival in the face of death, it also provides a real-life blueprint for physical and mental survival in extreme outdoor settings, including expert-backed appendices specific to facing those situations, as well as on the mountain wave phenomenon itself.




The reader will:

  • Acquire a greater knowledge of the benefits of positive thinking in adverse conditions.

  • Be reminded of the value of preparation for any possible circumstance prior to any such outdoor excursion.

  • Gain a greater understanding of decision-making when faced with unforeseen perils.

  • Understand the inherent dangers of hypothermia, how it happens, how to avoid it, and how the survivors overcame it through emergency diagnosis and treatment.

  • Gain a greater appreciation for the importance of humanitarianism and benevolence as it relates to how one person can make a difference.

  • Learn that an important part of surviving a tragedy in which another life has been lost is the short and long-term reaction and that important lessons can be learned and leveraged to one’s own advantage in the future.

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