|Elevation||4,396 ft (1,340 m) |
|Listing||List of mountain ranges in the world named The Sleeping Lady|
|Translation||Sandy River or Little Mountain (Dena'ina)|
|Location||Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska, U.S.|
|Topo map||USGS Tyonek B-2|
Mount Susitna is a 4,396-foot (1,340 m) mountain in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is located on the west bank of the lower Susitna River, about 33 miles (53 km) northwest of Anchorage, Alaska. The mountain is a prominent landmark in the Anchorage area and can be seen across the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet from most of the city, especially at higher elevations.
Mount Susitna is often called The Sleeping Lady for its resemblance to a recumbent woman. The name is thought to have originated from a short story written by Nancy Lesh and published in the Alaska Northern Lights magazine in the early 1960s. In the story, a woman named Susitna belonging to a race of giants vows to sleep until her beloved comes back from battle. In "The Sleeping Lady", a children's picture book written by Ann Dixon in 1964, the giant woman fell asleep waiting for her beloved to return from battle, unaware that he had been killed. Dixon and her publisher were sued for their version of the story, but a judge ruled that the story had become a legend, and was therefore uncopyrightable. The mountain's Dena'ina name is Dghelishla, meaning "Little Mountain"; in English it was simply named for the Susitna River which means Sandy River. "Dinglishna" in Alaska, such as in the name of the Dinglishna Hills, Alaska subdivision of Matanuska-Susitna Valley is a similar word which means "Little Ridge that Extends". This is pointed out on page 113 of the second edition of Shem Pete's Alaska 2003. In "A Dena'ina Legacy," Peter Kalifornsky a Dena'ina Athabascan elder tells the story of the Mountain People who gathered at Susitna, and a giant lady who said she would lie down by the river she loved to become Susitna Mountain. Her relatives followed, Kalifornsky said, to become Mount Redoubt, Mount Iliamna and the Chigmit Mountain Range. Another wandered inland to become Denali. 
Mt. Susitna is a roche moutonnée, a landform created when a glacier flows over a resistant, topographically high, bedrock body, creating a smooth-sided and teardrop shaped feature aligned with the direction of ice flow.
The Anchorage bowl topography has been influenced by 5-7 glaciations. Over several thousand years, thick ice sheets from the Talkeetna, Chugach and Alaska Ranges flowed down Cook Inlet. The five well documented glaciations from oldest to most recent were the Mt Susitna, Caribou Hills, Eklutna, Knik and Naptowne. The earliest glaciation in the Anchorage area is known as the Mount Susitna for the erratics and other glacial features found on the top of Mount Susitna. This is the time period when it obtained its characteristic streamlined shape. It is dated to the late Pliocene to the early Pleistocene (2-6 million years ago).
Mt. Susitna is part of a suite of Jurassic plutons of quartz monzonite to granodiorite composition.
- Kari, James; Fall, James A. (2003). Shem Pete's Alaska: The Territory of the Upper Cook Inlet Dena'ina (2nd ed.). University of Alaska Press. p. 112. ISBN 1-889963-57-7.
- Connor, Cathy; O'Haire, Daniel (2005). Roadside Geology of Alaska (8th ed.). Mountain Press Publishing Company. p. 250. ISBN 0-87842-213-7.