The Chugach Mountains of southern Alaska are the northernmost of the several mountain ranges that make up the Pacific Coast Ranges of the western edge of North America. The range is about 250 miles (402 km) long and 60 miles (97 km) wide, and extends from the Knik and Turnagain Arms of the Cook Inlet on the west to Bering Glacier, Tana Glacier, and the Tana River on the east. It is bounded on the north by the Matanuska, Copper, and Chitina rivers. The highest point of the Chugach Mountains is Mount Marcus Baker, at 13,094 feet (3,991 m), but with an average elevation of 4,006 feet (1,221 m), most of its summits are not especially high. Even so its position along the Gulf of Alaska ensures more snowfall in the Chugach than anywhere else in the world, an annual average of over 1500 cm (800 in).
The name "Chugach" comes from Chugach Sugpiaq "Cuungaaciiq," Alaska Natives inhabiting the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound on the south coast of Alaska. The Chugach people are an Alutiiq (Pacific Eskimo) people who speak the Chugach dialect of the Alutiiq language. In 1898 United States Army Captain William R. Abercrombie spelled the name "Chugatch" and applied it to the mountains. It is possible that the Koniagmiut (Sugpiat or Alutiit of the Kodiak Archipelago and the Alaska Peninsula) may also have called these northern Sugpiat "Cuungaaciirmiut" in ancient times but it is also possible that this was a neologism during Russian times.