"but I am curious on the effectiveness of magnetic compasses up so close to the north pole"
Magnetic compasses work fine, even so close to the North Pole. They work near the Magnetic North Pole, but things start to wander around a bit. Just know what your magnetic declination is. The sun is also helpful for navigation, as long as the sky is clear.
GPS works fine in Alaska as well. As you get very far north, like 70N, the satellites do not appear to be overhead as directly, and they appear to be closer to the horizon. GPS antenna performance can get a bit limited if you are in deep vegetation, especially if it is wet. However, you learn to get out to a clearing if it becomes a problem.