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Title: With Sack and Stock in Alaska
Author: Broke, George
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           WITH SACK AND STOCK
                                IN ALASKA


                      GEORGE BROKE, A.C., F.R.G.S.

                        LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
                    AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET

                          _All rights reserved_


                            TO THE MEMORY OF

                                  A⸺ M⸺

                        KILLED ON THE DÜSSISTOCK

                             AUGUST 16, 1890


The publishing of these simple notes is due to the wishes of one who is
now no more. But for this they would probably have never seen the light,
and I feel therefore that less apology is needed for their crudeness and
‘diariness’ than would otherwise have been the case.

                                                                    G. B.



                                CHAPTER I

                             LONDON TO SITKA

    The summons—Across the Atlantic in the ‘Polynesian’—A deceitful
    car-conductor—The C.P.R.—At Victoria—On the ‘Ancon’—Fort
    Wrangel—Juneau—Sitka                                                 1

                               CHAPTER II

                            SITKA TO YAKUTAT

    The town—Ascent of Sha-klokh—Expedition to Edgcumbe—Dick’s
    dismissal—Enlisting recruits—Ascent of Verstovia—Arrival of
    W.—On board the ‘Alpha’—Miserable weather—Run ashore at Yakutat     20

                               CHAPTER III

                           OPENING APPROACHES

    Getting canoes and men—A false start—Icy Bay—Torrents of
    rain—On march—The Yahkhtze-tah-heen—A wet camp—More wading—Our
    forces—Camp on the glacier—Across the ice—The Chaix Hills           37

                               CHAPTER IV

                      AN ATTACK AND A COUNTERMARCH

    A long lie—Men return to the beach—We make a
    cache—Shifting camp—The Libbey Glacier—The south-east
    face of St. Elias—Right-about-turn—Lake Castani—The Guyot
    Glacier—Reappearance of the men—Wild-geese for supper               61

                                CHAPTER V


    Across the Tyndall Glacier—Ptarmigan—Another bear—The Daisy and
    Coal Glaciers—A catastrophe—The others go on—Alone with Billy
    and Jimmy—More geese—The blue bear—Marmot hunting                   81

                               CHAPTER VI

                            BACK TO THE SHORE

    Ptarmigan with a revolver—Back to Camp G—The others
    return—Their narrative—The men turn up again—We start down—A
    wasp’s nest—Mosquitoes—Wading extraordinary—We leave Icy Bay—A
    luxurious breakfast                                                 99

                               CHAPTER VII

                             LIFE AT YAKUTAT

    Curio-hunting—Small plover—W. goes down on the ‘Active’—Siwash
    dogs—A great potlatch—Cricket under difficulties—No signs of
    the ‘Alpha’—I determine to go down in a canoe—The white men
    accompany me                                                       122

                              CHAPTER VIII

                            YAKUTAT TO SITKA

    Farewells—A drunken skipper—Cape Fairweather—Loss of our
    frying-pan—Mount Fairweather and its glaciers—Murphy’s
    Cove—Stuck at Cape Spencer—Salmon and sour-dough bread—We reach
    Cape Edwardes—The ‘Pinta’—Safe back—Height of St. Elias            137


    ALPS                                                    _To face p._ 1

    THE SOUTHERN SLOPES OF MOUNT ST. ELIAS                            〃 61

[Illustration: COAST OF part of SOUTH-EASTERN ALASKA showing the ST.

_Longmans, Green & Co., London & New York. F.S. Weller._]




On the twenty-fifth of April, 1888, I was playing golf on our little
links at home, and had driven off for the Stile Hole, situated on the
lawn-tennis ground, when I observed the butler emerge from the house
with an orange envelope in his hand, and come towards me across the
lawn. Having with due deliberation played a neat approach shot over the
railings on to the green, I climbed over after it, putted out the hole,
and then went to meet him. The telegram proved to be from my friend
Harold T., with whom at Saas in the previous summer I had discussed
Seton-Karr’s book on Alaska, and we had both come to the conclusion that
we should much like to go there. Finding that I should have the summer
of ’88 at my disposal, I had written to him at the end of March to ask
about his plans and now got this telegram in reply. It was sent from
Victoria, B.C., and was an urgent appeal to join him and his brother at
once, as they meant to make an attempt on Mount St. Elias that summer,
and must start northward by the end of May. I retired to the smoking-room
to consider the situation, and finally came to the conclusion that such a
hurried departure might be managed.

I crossed over to Brussels, where I was then posted, packed up all my
goods and chattels, left masses of P.P.C. cards, and returned again
three days later. The afternoon of May 11 found me on board the Allan
liner ‘Polynesian’ at Liverpool. I was fortunate in making some very
charming acquaintances among the few saloon passengers on board, and
though the good ship did not bely her sobriquet of ‘Roly-poly,’ we had a
very pleasant crossing till the 17th, when we got into a horrible cold
wet fog, the temperature on deck not rising above 34° for two days,
while for about twelve hours we ran along the edge of, and occasionally
through, thin field-ice, all broken into very small pieces. About noon
on the 18th we sighted land to the north, covered with snow, and entered
the Gulf of St. Lawrence next day. We stopped off Rimouski to pick up
our pilot at lunch-time on Whit-Sunday, a lovely day but very cold, and
having left summer in England, we seemed to have returned suddenly into
winter. Next morning we awoke to find ourselves at Quebec.

As we had brought nine hundred emigrants, and the ‘Oregon’ and
‘Carthaginian’ came in at the same time, there was a mob of over two
thousand despairing passengers at the landing-stage station hunting
wildly for their luggage. I abandoned the conflict and went round the
town, calling at the Post Office, in hopes of hearing something from
H., but there was nothing, which was not very wonderful, as, though I
had telegraphed to say I was coming, I had not indicated my route in
any way. So I returned and collected my things, and after a successful
interview with the Customs officials got the greater part of them
checked to Vancouver, and conveyed the remainder to the railway station,
where I found my friends of the voyage. There was a train to Montreal
at half-past one, but it was very crowded, and we fell victims to the
blandishments of a parlour-car conductor, who represented to us that his
car would be attached to the emigrant special which would leave at three
o’clock and reach Montreal as soon, if not sooner, than the ordinary
train, as it would run right through. We fell into the snare, deposited
our properties in the car, and went off into the town again, returning
punctually at three. Alas there was no sign of the emigrant train, and
it did not leave till six, while its progress even then was of the most
contemptible character, stopping for long periods at benighted little
stations, so that we did not reach Montreal till three in the morning.
Fortunately we had furnished ourselves with biscuits, potted meat,
etc., including whisky, and so did not actually starve, but we were all
very cross, the ladies especially; and though the train was going to
continue its weird journey we declined to have anything more to do with
it, and hurried up to the big hotel, where we were soon wrapped in
dreamless slumbers, which lasted so long that we very nearly came under
the operation of a stern rule which decreed that no breakfasts should be
served after half-past ten.

After seeing as much of the city as we could during the day, we had
an excellent dinner, drove down in plenty of time to catch the 8.30
Pacific train, and ensconced ourselves in the recesses of a most
admirable sleeping-car, the name of which was, I fancy, the ‘Sydney.’ The
C.P.R. berths are most comfortable, and so wide that in many cases two
people are willing to share one, but the greater part of dressing and
undressing has to be done inside the berth, as in all Pullmans, which
is inconvenient till you get used to it. In this respect the gentlemen
are better off than the ladies, as we were able to make use of the
smoking-room which was next our lavatories, while I fancy the ladies’
accommodation was much more circumscribed.

The next day was very hot, and was spent in running past little lakes
and through marshy forest, called ‘muskeg’ or peat land. Early in the
morning we picked up an excellent dining-car in which we breakfasted,
lunched, and dined most luxuriously, the intervals of the day being
occupied with whist, tobacco, and light literature. On the following
morning we found ourselves skirting the northern edge of Lake Superior,
enjoying superb scenery as the line followed the curves of the rock-bound
shore. That day we had the best dining-car of the whole trip, which
unfortunately was taken off after lunch, and we had to content ourselves
with high tea at Savanne; but a far greater disaster awaited us next
morning, for, on inquiring for our breakfast at a fairly early hour,
we heard that an ill-mannered goods train had run into it in the night
as it was peaceably waiting for us, and had reduced it to a heap of
disintegrated fragments. This was a pretty state of things, but I had
been warned beforehand that such calamities were sometimes to be met
with, and so our party were prepared. Setting up an Etna inside a
biscuit-tin so as to guard against the possibility of disaster from
the jolting of the carriage, we brewed our tea, and made a comfortable
meal off biscuits, potted meat, sardines, and marmalade, while the
rest of the passengers, who seemed to have neglected these precautions,
glared upon us in hungry envy. However, we reached Winnipeg at noon,
and they rushed in a tumultuous body to the refreshment-room. Here we
overtook that ghastly train in which we had started from Quebec, and
some waifs and strays were recovered which the ladies had left behind.
At Portage-la-Prairie a dining-car was attached, and we were enabled to
get our evening meal in peace. Next morning, Saturday, we secured our
travelling restaurant at a place called Moosejaw about six o’clock—at
least I was told so.

And here I wish to protest against the insane habit of early rising which
seems to possess the passengers on the C.P.R. I am an early riser myself,
in fact I pique myself on it, but in this car I was always the last,
with the exception of one of my friends, a young Englishman ranching at
Calgary. By seven o’clock the Babel of voices, and the noise made by our
coloured attendant as he stowed away the beds, compelled one to get up,
which was unkind if one had been talking and smoking till 1 or 2 A.M.
One could, however, always get a nap in the smoking-room.

That day we had a quite shocking dining-car, so bad that I hereby publish
its name, which was ‘Sandringham,’ in the hope that the Cuisinal Director
of the C.P.R, whoever he may be, will have taken care to reform that car
before I next meet with it.

As our Calgary friend got off the train at 2 A.M., some of us sat up
till that hour to see him off, but we turned out again at four o’clock
to enjoy the grand scenery of the Rockies, into the heart of which we
crept, up the Bow River, over the Kicking-Horse Pass, down to Donald, and
then we crossed the Columbia, and began to climb up the valley of the
Beaver into the Selkirk range. This is even finer than the Rockies, owing
to the greater size of the snowfields and glaciers, and the view from
Glacier House, where we stopped for lunch, the grades in the mountains
being too steep to allow of a dining-car being attached, was magnificent
in the extreme. At this point the great Illecillewaet glacier descends
into the valley, backed by the superb spire of Mount Sir Donald, and the
C.P.R. have most obligingly built a summer track outside the snow-sheds
to enable the passengers to see it in comfort. It was on this day that
we crossed the trestle bridge in the Beaver Valley, 295 feet above the
stream below; two of us happened to be sitting at the time on the step of
the car, and as the bridge, which has no parapet or floor of any kind, is
curved, we were tipped forward till we could contemplate the water far
beneath between our feet as they overhung the edge of the step. We held
on rather tight during the minute or so spent in creeping over it. This
sitting on the step of the platform was most enjoyable, as there had been
rain in the night, and consequently there was no dust, but every now and
then the one who was sitting farthest from the projecting roof of the
carriage received an icy shower-bath, as the train dashed suddenly into
a snow-shed through the roof of which the melting snow was dripping,
and little feminine squeals might be heard, intermixed with deeper bass

At Glacier House I received a letter from H., saying they could not start
for another fortnight, and recommending me to stop off there for a day
or two and go up the glacier; but, as all my climbing things were in my
checked baggage, I preferred to go on. We were detained an hour or so by
a disobliging boulder which had playfully rolled down on to the track
and had to be removed with dynamite before we could proceed, and then we
went down over some marvellous loops, which resembled the twistings of
the St. Gothard near Wasen, crossed the Columbia again, and climbed up
into the Gold Range. From Revelstoke to Sicamous we were accompanied by a
dining-car, but our dinner would, perhaps, have been more satisfactory,
though more devoid of interest, had they not selected the moment at which
we were running fast down a steep incline to jam the brakes on. Away went
every wine-glass, soup hopped out of the plates, potatoes out of the
dishes, and we might as well have been in a rough sea with no fiddles
on. At last peace, and as much of the dinner as could be collected, were
restored. Late in the evening we enjoyed a most lovely view over the
broad smooth expanse of Lake Shusroap, the train running along its reedy
shore for some time.

During the night we careered down the Thompson, and found ourselves at
daybreak accompanying the Fraser in its wild career to the sea. We were
compelled to breakfast at North Bend, at the objectionable hour of seven,
and my toilet was hurried in a very undue manner; but the views all that
morning were ample compensation for having been dragged out of bed.

All this time I had no conception of where H. was, his letter having
said nothing, but in London I had been given an address in the town of
Vancouver, and so had determined to go there first. Being a Monday, no
boat ran to Victoria from Vancouver, and so I had to part with my friends
and nearly all the other passengers at Westminster Junction, whence they
went on to New Westminster. I reached Vancouver at two o’clock, and after
securing comfortable, not to say luxurious, quarters in the brand-new
C.P.R. hotel, strolled down to find out about H., and discovered that he
and his brother were located at the famous Driard Hotel in Victoria.

The afternoon was spent in wandering about the town, the evening in
smoking at the house of an hospitable fellow-countryman, and the next
day the little steamer ‘Yosemite’ conveyed me across the blue waters of
the Gulf of Georgia, muddied in one place by the flood of the Fraser, to
Victoria, a distance of about seventy miles. We had an exciting race with
the old Cunarder ‘Abyssinia,’ now employed in the mail-service between
Canada and Japan. She moved first from her moorings in Burrard Islet, but
her head was lying the wrong way, and before she got round we were out
of the harbour with a quarter of a mile’s start. Down the long straight
piece that followed she gained slowly but steadily, and was almost level
with us on our left when we just succeeded in getting into Plumper’s Pass
first, and in the intricate windings of this tortuous channel, where the
ship kept spinning round in little over her own length, we again got
a long start which was gradually reduced till there was nothing of it
left as we neared the south-east point of Vancouver Island; but here we
cut inside a group of small islands, where apparently the larger vessel
could not come, and this time we gained such an advantage that we were
not again caught. We steamed round the corner into the very beautiful
harbour of Victoria, and reached the wharf at half-past eight. Here I
was met by H., apprised by telegraph of my approach, and really hardly
recognised him without his moustache, which for some obscure reason he
had chosen to shave off while staying at the Glacier House in the spring.
Having entrusted my baggage to an express man, we did not go up at once
to the Driard, as it was too late to procure dinner, or indeed anything
else to eat there, but repaired to the Poodle Dog, where my hunger was at
last appeased. We then proceeded to the hotel, where we found E., H.’s
brother, and most unlike him, and talked over plans far into the night.
A fourth man, W., an American member of the A.C., was coming to join us,
but the taking of his degree was delaying him. Still he did his best for
us by sending us long telegrams of advice every day.

The next few days passed rapidly, the mornings being spent in shopping,
though that was a task which fell chiefly to H., who had been elected
‘boss’ of the party, or in frantic endeavours to ascertain how we
were going to get from Sitka to Yakutat, a distance of nearly three
hundred miles. We entered into negotiations with the owners of two
steam-schooners, but as one asked fifty dollars a day and the other
four thousand for the whole trip, we rejected these noble offers.
The afternoons were spent by E. and me in sailing on the harbour in
‘plungers,’ stiff little Una-rigged cutters, which revealed the meaning
of their name if there was any sea on, or in lawn-tennis in the gardens
of various hospitable magnates of Victoria. At the house of one of these
I encountered an old friend, a neighbour at home, whose ship was now
on the station, and I had the pleasure of dining with him on board at
Esquimault the next evening.

There was great uncertainty even about the arrival of the ‘Ancon,’ the
steamer which was to take us up to Sitka; she was expected to arrive
early on the 4th of June, but did not turn up till the evening of the
5th, crammed with American tourists. With the utmost difficulty we
obtained a fairly airy but exceedingly diminutive cabin, for at first we
found ourselves condemned to a pocket edition of the Black Hole. H. tried
to make us believe that the majesty of his presence had over-awed the
purser, but we somehow fancied that bribery and corruption had something
to do with it. In consequence of this mob of passengers there were three
breakfasts, three lunches, etc., a most horrible arrangement, while at
all of them the food was bad, and the waiting worse. Thus we grumbled,
little thinking with what enthusiasm the same cookery would be received
on our return.

As a sea voyage this trip up to Sitka is quite unique, though possibly
travelling among the fiords of Norway might be compared to it in quality
if not in quantity, for these steamers travel about eight hundred miles
between Victoria and Sitka, only about thirty miles of which, the
crossing of Queen Charlotte’s Sound, can in any sense be termed open
sea, though the whole of it is on salt water. The whole coast up to Cape
Spencer is fringed with a mass of islands separated by deep and very
narrow channels, in some instances so narrow that, as in the case of
Peril Straits and Seymour Narrows, even a steamer can only pass them at
slack water. One American gentleman assured me that in the latter strait
the tide had been known to run seventeen knots! All these islands are
densely wooded with conifers, among which may every now and then be
detected the white streak of a waterfall racing down the steep hill-side.

We stopped to coal at Nanaimo, and while this objectionable process was
going on, H. and I spent the afternoon in drifting about the harbour in
an Indian canoe, a dug-out about twelve feet long, managed in just the
same way as the Canadian canoes we have in England, and in endeavouring
to acquire some Chinook, the jargon invented more or less by the old
traders, and used all over British Columbia and the southern part of
Alaska. It contains chiefly Indian words, most of which are common to
various different tribes, a few English, a few Russian, and a good many
French words, such as Siwash (i.e. _sauvage_) for Indian, and _sawmon_
for any kind of fish.

Then for six days it rained at intervals, while a grey pall of cloud
stretched ceaselessly over our heads, and we spent most of our time
playing whist or euchre in our cabin, which would just hold four people.
Our fourth on these occasions was a most cheerful Scotchman, known to
us as the King of Cassiar, to which kingdom he was now returning. He
possessed a large stock of most excellent whisky when he came on board.
During these sad and gloomy days we visited sundry salmon canneries,
and about midnight on Sunday the 10th we arrived at Wrangel. We had now
got so far north that there was quite light enough even at that hour
to walk about the streets, and I accompanied our Scotch friend ashore,
as he was to leave us here and go up the Stickheen river. While in the
town I gleaned the information that canoes went up almost every summer
from Hooniah to Yakutat along the unprotected part of the coast, and we
proceeded to sketch out plans for conveying our expedition in the same

The next day was still wet and cold, and though we met sundry small
icebergs floating down from the glaciers in Taku Inlet, we saw nothing of
the mountains which gave them birth. Some excitement was caused by our
stopping about eleven o’clock to pick up a fair-sized canoe with four of
Mr. Duncan’s Metlakatla Indians in her, who had encountered rough weather
and damaged their frail craft. We reached the mining city (!) of Juneau
in the evening, and H. and I plunged about till late at night, seeking,
with the assistance of Mr. Reed, a Juneau store-keeper, for some sloop or
schooner which might convey us up to Yakutat. This we failed to find, but
we engaged a certain Dick as interpreter, who was said to be the smartest
Indian in Alaska, and rejoiced in the appellation of the Dude. For this
aristocratic Siwash’s services we weakly consented to pay four dollars a
day and his food, and he accompanied us on board, his luggage being about
as voluminous as that of a Swiss guide.

On Tuesday the 12th we had at last a perfectly beautiful day, during
which we steamed from Douglas Island, the seat of the biggest gold-mine
in Alaska, up the Lynn Canal to Pyramid Harbour. The mountains on each
side of the narrow inlet were covered with glaciers, all obviously
shrinking, and none of any great size, till we came to the Davidson
Glacier, close to Pyramid Harbour, which at a distance appears to come
right into the sea, though it is really separated from it by a narrow
belt of moraine. Retracing our course next day down the Lynn Canal,
we then went down Chatham Strait to Killisnoo, where I saw the biggest
salmon that I ever came across in Alaska, a brace of about fifty pounds
each, and then, passing through most beautiful scenery in Peril Straits,
finally reached Sitka at 11 P.M.



As we were detained at Sitka for a fortnight, making preparations for
the expedition, and waiting for W. to come up on the next boat, I may as
well give some description of one of the most beautiful places I have
ever seen. As the traveller lands on the pier, he has the Indian village
of about five hundred inhabitants on his left, while just in front are
the barracks of the United States marines, and the old Russian citadel,
from the top of which he will obtain a lovely view, somewhat resembling
that of the Bay of Naples, but with the additional charm of the snow
mountains and small glaciers at the head of Silver Bay. Numbers of small
green islands stretch across its mouth, while further away to the west
lies Kruzoff Island, humping itself into the dormant volcano of Mount
Edgcumbe and the double summit of the Camelsback. Due east, and almost
overshadowing the town, rises the sharp peak of Verstovia, so called
by the Russians from its being supposed to be exactly a _verst_ (about
three thousand feet) high, but the translation of the Indian name is
Arrowhead. To the north-east lies the little pool of Swan Lake, above
which the forest-clad hills sweep up again to the height of about two
thousand feet, while across the bay to the south rise mountains of very
respectable proportions.

As he goes on up the main street, our traveller sees on the left a broad
grassy _place_ beyond which are the remains of towers and stockades,
now no longer required to keep out the hostile Siwash, while on the
right are a row of stores, of which one or two are still the old log
buildings erected by the first inhabitants. He then passes the simple
but hospitable little Baranoff hotel on his left, and finds himself in
front of the Greek Church, the main feature of Sitka. Brilliantly though
rather tawdrily decorated inside, its service on Sunday was impressively
conducted and was well attended by many of the older Indians, and by the
few Russians left in Sitka.

The road continues along the shores of the bay to the Indian River, a
broad rapid stream, foaming in places over ledges of rock; the ground
in its neighbourhood has been reserved as a sort of public park, and,
though wild and uncared for, presents pictures of great beauty. But
though beautiful, the town is very diminutive, and its permanent white
population does not, I should think, amount to more than one hundred
souls. We had a letter of introduction to Mr. Vanderbilt, one of the
Sitka merchants, and, after securing rooms at the aforesaid hotel, went
to interview him with decidedly satisfactory results. His partner, Mr.
De Groff, was at that time at Yakutat, where he had established a small
store, and was supervising some gold mining that had been commenced
in the black sand on the shore. His small schooner, the ‘Alpha,’ was
expected back every day from sealing, and as soon as she returned she
would be sent up to Yakutat with stores for his partner, and could take
us as passengers. At that time we did not intend to take any white men,
trusting that we should be able to get canoes and porters at Yakutat,
Dick being the medium of communication.

We then decided to go on a little training expedition, and selected a
sharp peak we had noticed from the steamer in approaching Sitka, and had
set down as between seven and eight thousand feet high. To reach this we
departed one afternoon in a fair-sized canoe with its owner and Dick,
and rowed (for most of these large canoes are fitted with oars) in a
northerly direction for about six miles, till we reached the mouth of a
narrow bay known as Nusquashinsky or Nushanitzky. Here the wind, though
light, was in our favour, and we sailed peaceably up it, reaching its
head about seven o’clock, and camped by a broad stream, along which we
had at first thought we could make our way towards our mountain, which
the Indian informed us was called Sha-klokh, or Spear-peak, but the bush
in the valley was so dense that we struck straight up next morning,
till in about four hours we got above tree-level, and pitched camp at a
height of about two thousand feet close to a big bed of snow. Next day
we climbed our peak triumphantly in about three hours, and even put on
the rope to cross a big snow-patch hanging on the face, but its height
proved to be only 4,300 feet, so easily is one deceived at first in a new
country. We built a big stone-man on the top, which we afterwards found
was visible with a glass from the bay, and returned to the tents, where
we spent most of the afternoon in slumber. At this camp we got one or two
deer, and took a lot of venison back to Sitka, intending to dry it and
take it north, but unfortunately it all went bad in that moist atmosphere.

Our next expedition was to Kruzoff and Mount Edgcumbe, and this time
we had rather a sickener. As we had about fifteen miles of much more
open sea we took a bigger canoe, and had to pull the beastly thing all
the way, so landed in the first place which came handy, a very awkward
landing with a lot of big rocks about. From the appearance of clouds of
mosquitoes in the evening Dick prophesied bad weather, and he was right,
for it poured the whole of the next day, most of which we spent in the
tent. In the afternoon I went out to look for deer, but the bush was
so dense that it was impossible to get through it silently, and though
I just glimpsed a couple as they started away, I couldn’t even get a
snap-shot, and returned _bredouille_ in a very dripping condition. The
following day the weather was not quite so adverse, though there was
still plenty of rain, and getting our canoe afloat we rowed for an hour
and a half along the beach, till we reached a spot where the men said the
bush was not so thick. In this they were right, but the ground was broken
into countless ravines which always seemed to be at right angles to our
course, and getting up and down the slippery sides of these with a heavy
knapsack on one’s back proved rather exhausting, so that the afternoon
was well advanced by the time we began to climb the steeper slopes of
Edgcumbe itself. At last we came on a small clear space in the middle of
the thick scrub; and though no level spot could be found for the tent,
we decided to pitch camp. A lot of cedar boughs were cut and arranged as
evenly as possible for our bed, and after we had fried with bacon and
disposed of a ptarmigan H. had picked off with his rifle as we came up,
we made what the Indians called ‘a white man’s fire,’ and so got warm if
not dry before crawling into our blankets for the night. On the previous
evening we had made a nondescript meal off cockles and ‘gumboots,’ a
large species of _chiton_ found adhering to the rocks. The Indians
are very fond of these and attribute soporific powers to them, but I
certainly cannot recommend them, for they resemble nothing more than the
indiarubber after which they are named, being absolutely tasteless and
appallingly tough.

It rained all night, but the Edgington tent stood it well, very little
coming through, and that, I fancy, only where carelessness had left some
article touching the canvas. With a view to assisting the commissariat
department, we separated in the morning, E. and H. going up to the top
of Edgcumbe, and securing two more ptarmigan on the way. They found
the bottom of the shallow crater covered with snow, and on the summit
itself encountered the tracks of one of the enormous Alaska brown bears
(_Ursus Richardsonii_). I took Dick towards the Camelsback, but we never
saw a sign of deer or bear, and so about two o’clock I turned to come
home, giving him the rifle that he might make a last effort to procure
venison. I had no doubt about being able to find my way back, for I had
taken my bearings carefully, and a fair-sized dead tree standing in the
middle of our small clearing afforded a capital landmark. I went at a
fair pace, and though all the ravines were very much alike, I presently
felt pretty sure I was nearing camp, an opinion confirmed in a minute
or two by hearing, as I thought, the crooning song of the Indian we had
left behind. Still no dead tree appeared, and thinking I must have been
mistaken, I pushed on for another quarter of an hour, by which time I
felt sure I had gone far enough. I struggled up the mountain, I scrambled
down, I shouted and yelled, I had an exciting chase after a couple of
ptarmigan, one of which I managed to bag with my revolver, but nowhere
could I see this mangy tree, and began to feel very unhappy, as it was
gradually borne in on me that I was very decidedly lost. At last I saw
far below me two tiny lakes which we had passed on the previous day, and
decided to go down to them, as I felt pretty sure I could make camp
from there. Hardly had I descended a hundred yards, when I came into
the corner of a clearing, and heard E.’s voice. And then the mystery
was explained; the other Indian, with praiseworthy but most mistaken
industry, had cut down the dead tree for firewood. It had rained all day,
and in the night a tremendous south-west gale came on which proved the
last straw, and we settled to return to Sitka, where we were going to
dismiss the Dude, with whom we had had a row. He had accidentally left
his blankets on the beach by the canoe, and though we had lent him one of
ours, he was very dissatisfied, and apparently coming to the conclusion
that serving us was not likely to be all beer and skittles, announced
that he was not coming to Yakutat. We made no attempt to get him to
change his mind, for we had already come to the conclusion that he had
much too good an opinion of himself, and was more than a little lazy,
though he was an entertaining conversationalist, and gave us interesting
scraps of information, either social, such as the number of slaves he had
till quite recently possessed, or geographical, such as that twenty-one
miles up the Copper River a glacier stretches across its whole width, a
phenomenon which existed on the Stickheen till comparatively lately. He
added that the river was two miles wide at this point, and that a portage
of fifteen miles across the ice was made by the Indians with skin canoes,
or bidarkies, but as he had never been there I am inclined to doubt his
details. Although we were unanimous as to the expediency of dismissing
him, we were not at all so united as to how he was to be replaced, and
became, indeed, a little despondent as to whether we should get further
than Yakutat, so that had we been able to communicate by telegraph with
W., I am not at all sure that the expedition would not have then and
there come to an end, and the members of it taken refuge in the Selkirks.
Luckily we had to wait for him, and in the interval more cheerful
counsels prevailed.

Meanwhile we packed down again to the canoe; the wind was very high and
there was a lot of sea, but the men thought that as the wind was fair we
might venture, and after lunch off a confiding grouse which had fallen a
victim to E.’s rifle, we started, and found that, whether we liked it or
not, we had got to go on, as returning to the island in the teeth of the
gale was quite impossible. The rollers were enormous, but with a little
scrap of sail we flew along finely, and in about two hours were back in
Sitka harbour.

The next few days were spent chiefly in endless confabulations with
various white men and Indians who were willing to accompany us as
porters, which resulted in the engagement of two white men, Lyons and
McConnahay, and four Sitka Indians, the former to receive three, the
latter two dollars a day and their food. E. and I occupied ourselves
one morning in the ascent of Verstovia. We left at four o’clock along
the Indian River by a fair trail for about an hour, and then, crossing
the stream by a fallen tree, struck up to the right through the most
abominable bush, full of devil’s clubs, an exceedingly evil plant with
large green leaves and scarlet berries, covered as to the stem and the
backs of the leaves with minute prickles which penetrate the human skin
with unpleasant facility, and, if left in, cause festering sores. It
was steamingly hot in the low ground, but we struggled up somehow, or
rather I did the struggling, for E. appeared provokingly cool while I
was dripping and breathless, and eventually reached the top of the sharp
rocky cone which forms the highest peak, at half-past seven, getting just
scrambling enough in the last hundred feet to find our rifles rather
a nuisance. As we had been told we should take at least six hours, we
were rather pleased with ourselves, and after spending an hour on the
top and setting up a flagstaff left there some years before by a party
of marines, we descended leisurely by the west face, instead of the
north-west ridge up which we had come, and got back to Sitka just after

At last the ‘Alpha’ returned from sealing with 119 skins on board and
was beached for repairs. She was followed next day by the ‘Elder,’
which brought W., and after two or three days’ packing and arranging,
we actually started on Tuesday, July 3, at 10.30 A.M. About half of
the slender population of Sitka came down to see us off, and to wish
us every success. While the little five-and-twenty-ton schooner was
beating out between the islands against the fresh north-west breeze we
discovered that we were being pursued, and soon afterwards a boat came
up, bringing an American flag, provided by the kindness of Mr. Hayden,
the Acting Governor, and we accordingly hoisted the Stars and Stripes at
the masthead. Mrs. Hayden had previously presented us with a small silk
flag to be left on the summit of Mount St. Elias, if we ever got there.
Dinner was soon announced and we proceeded below, but recoiled from the
fearful heat and smell, caused by the want of ventilation in the cabin
in which was the cooking-stove. E., who was proof against anything,
remained below, but H., W., and I retired to the deck, where we ate our
meals during the greater part of our voyage. Shortly afterwards we three
yielded to the gruesome attacks of seasickness, as the little vessel was
now pitching freely; W., who had often cruised off the east coast of the
United States in small yachts, soon recovered, but H. and I remained more
or less prostrate the whole time we were on board.

The wind was dead ahead, west by north (magnetic), and our craft made so
much leeway that our onward progress was insignificant. Next morning,
under a grey sky, we were only fifteen miles from Sitka; Edgcumbe was
still in sight the morning after that; and it was not till Friday the 6th
that we sighted Mounts Fairweather and Crillon, some sixty miles off, and
right ahead. Next day we were only about twenty miles from them, and went
tacking steadily up the coast, the glories of which were veiled in almost
constant rain and cloud, without making much progress.

On Sunday we at last got past Lituya Bay, near which we saw a
humming-bird. In the evening, the wind, which we now regarded as a
personal enemy, since, blowing from the north-west, it ought at least to
have brought fine weather, began to die away, and at about two in the
morning a vigorous south-easter sprang up, so that we flew along finely
in the right direction at last; but, to our intense disgust, Captain
Jimmy, whose only fault was over-caution, perhaps a natural one on these
very dangerous coasts, hove to, fearing lest we might be driven ashore
in the thick weather that prevailed. In the evening the wind collapsed
and we got a glimpse of land, as to the identity of which there arose a
considerable argument, but on the whole those who had been there before
held the opinion that we were about thirty miles from Ocean Cape, which
view proved correct, as next morning, which was more or less fine, we
were only ten miles off. Mount St. Elias and the range as far east as
Mount Vancouver were visible, but swathed in clouds. Their height did
not impress us much at first sight, but we were greatly struck with the
enormous mass of the Malaspina Glacier, the white upper part of which
presented such a curiously regular appearance that at first we believed
it to be a layer of cloud, till undeceived by the telescope. There was
hardly any wind, but we crept round Cape Phipps at last, and came in
sight of Yakutat. Once round the corner, the light breeze from the west
sent us along faster, and we were soon abreast of the ‘ranche’ on Kantag
Island. Great was the excitement among our men: ‘There’s De Groff,’—‘and
Callsen,’—‘and Dalton.’

We had hoisted our flag, but the halliards got entangled and the Stars
and Stripes were an unsightly ball, omen perhaps of what was to befall
us, for as we rounded the point at the end of the island, we kept a
little too far out, the tide, ebbing swiftly through the narrow channel,
caught our bows, and we ran hard and fast on to a rocky shoal instead
of sailing into the harbour known as Port Mulgrave. We were evidently
a fixture till the tide rose again, and so went ashore in the hope of
finding strawberries, in which we were disappointed, as, though there
were any number of plants, the Indian women and children had been
beforehand with us, and we only collected a meagre half-dozen. We made
the acquaintance of Mr. De Groff, Vanderbilt’s partner, and so part-owner
of the ‘Alpha,’ a short, rather good-looking man, with blue eyes and
fair hair and beard. Our Siwashes soon found friends and relations in
the village, and we agreed to pay them board wages at the rate of $1.25
per day for the lot, while McConnahay (‘Shorty’) and Lyons were to feed
with us on the ‘Alpha.’ Another little schooner, the ‘Three Brothers,’ of
Kayak Island, was in the harbour when we arrived, but took her departure
next day.

There being some alarm as to whether the water would not come in and
damage our stores when the schooner floated, we at first resolved to sit
up, but eventually we gave it up and turned in. About midnight she was
got off and beached in front of the ranche without our knowing anything
about it, and without taking in any water.

From this point onwards I give the events just as they are noted in my



_Wednesday, the 11th._—H. spent a large part of the day in interviewing
the chief, ‘Billy Masterman,’ on the subject of canoes and men. We also
engaged two white men who, with several others, had come prospecting
up the coast from Juneau in a whale-boat, but had done no good and
were anxious to return in the ‘Alpha.’ ‘Ed.’—I never knew his other
name—was tall and dark; Finn, commonly called the Doctor, was a smaller,
red-haired man. Both seemed rather slight for packing, but had the
reputation of being good cooks. As they were repairing the schooner, we
pitched the green tent on the beach, and H., W., and I slept in it, E.,
who had a slight cold, preferring to remain on board.

_Thursday, the 12th._—We managed to engage two large canoes, one of
which was to wait at Icy Bay for us. Its owner agreed to this on the
condition that he was to stay with it, and with him a youth who was said
to be his son, but who subsequently proved to be his brother. Crews were
also secured, and we were to have started at three, but there was some
wind and they declined to go. W. and I went off and bathed, and then
wandered a little way along the beach after a small variety of plover, of
which we had seen a good many the day before, but now they all seemed to
have vanished. As we returned, however, we came on a small flock; ‘Dick,’
De Groff’s setter pup, spoilt the shot by chasing them, but I got four,
and he made some amends by fetching them out of the sea. This outer shore
of Kantag Island is a regular shingle beach exposed to the surf; H. and I
went along it the day before for about a mile to De Groff’s and Callsen’s
gold claim, where they were washing the black sand, or, as some call it,
the ruby sand from the quantity of garnets in it, in an amalgamator, but
they were doing little more than would pay their expenses.

In the evening the Indians suddenly announced their readiness to
start, and at nine o’clock we got off in the two big canoes, and a
smaller one which we had purchased for five dollars from one of the
miners returning to Sitka on the ‘Alpha.’ We were arranged thus:—In
the large canoe we were to keep at Icy Bay were E. and W., with Ed.,
Lyons, Billy, Jimmy, and three Yakutats; in the other, H. and I, with
Shorty, Matthew, Mike, and five Yakutats; and in the small one Finn and
two Yakutats. De Groff photographed us from the beach, and we started,
the Indians yelling wildly, and the two big canoes racing till we were
past the point, when they settled down to a more sedate stroke. Off Cape
Phipps, however, the weather looked so threatening in the south-east
that we returned ignominiously at half-past ten. We put up our tent on
the sand in front of the ranche; everything else was left in the canoes
ready for a start, with the sails, etc., stretched over them to protect
them from the rain, which came down in torrents. In the middle of the
night the tent collapsed at W.’s end, and he had to emerge in the wet
and fasten it again, in much peril from the Siwash dogs which we heard
growling indignantly as he disturbed their slumbers in the search for
something solid to which to attach the rope, while we chuckled inside
and congratulated ourselves that we did not sleep next the door. In the
morning we found the sand beneath us swarming with maggots bred from the
refuse which the Indians used to cast on the beach; the warmth of our
bodies had presumably brought them to the surface.

_Friday, the 13th._—Next day the weather looked better, and after
hiring two more Yakutats, who were put in the small canoe while Finn
was transferred to ours, we got off again at 11 A.M. We rowed round the
point, and some little way up the bay, when we set sail. There was a
strong north-east wind, and the small canoe was soon a good way behind.
About half-past three we were off Point Manby; things looked rather bad,
with dense black clouds to the south-east, so we waited for the others
to come up, and held a council of war. Shorty, who was always on the
safe side strongly urged our going ashore, pointing out that there was
no landing between Point Manby and Icy Bay, a distance of over thirty
miles, and that, should it come on to blow from the south-east, it would
probably be impossible to land through the surf by the time we reached
the latter place; we should be unable to turn back against the wind, and
our only chance would be to run right on before it, in which case we
should be carried on to Kayak unless we swamped by the way. Unwilling as
we were to land at Point Manby, which, if the weather became bad, would
involve a detention of unknown length, and would in any case cause much
confusion among our stores by our having to land, and then re-embark
them, H. and I were inclined to agree with him, but E. and W. so strongly
opposed it, pointing out with justice that the similar appearance of
the evening before had only resulted in heavy rain, that we gave way
and decided to go on, thereby, as I believe, running the biggest risk
encountered on the whole expedition. Fortunately the others were right,
the wind died down, causing the men to take to their oars, and was
succeeded by a deluge of rain, after which the north-east wind came again
and our canoe took the small one in tow.

All this time we were running along the face of the Agassiz, or rather
the Malaspina, Glacier, for it is all one field of ice, which here seems
quite motionless, its front covered with gravel and boulders, among
which appear a few sparse bushes. At last we reached a point which we
recognised as Cape Sitkagi from the delta of flat land which commenced
just beyond, and Gums, one of the Yakutats who had been with the former
expedition, indicated that we were near our destination. Going on some
five or six miles further we then prepared to land. From our men’s
accounts of surf-landings and from Seton-Karr’s book, we were prepared
for a fearful struggle with the waves. Shorty transferred himself to the
little canoe, and they went ashore without apparent difficulty; but then
she was light and small. Then came our turn, and H. and I went up into
the bows with instructions to jump the moment she touched, and, should
she get broadside on and capsize, to be careful to jump to sea, so as
not to be pounded between the canoe and the beach. After these cheerful
directions we were a shade nervous as we contemplated the shore, which we
were now rapidly approaching, while the others stood ready to receive
us, but as we got closer we came to the conclusion that the breakers were
very small, and before we touched our contempt for the Pacific surf in
its then condition was complete. We were now quite close; the Indians
paused for a favourable moment, and then dashed in their paddles with
wild yells. We rode in on the crest of a wave and were swept up the beach
as it broke. Instantly the others grasped the canoe, and there ensued
a scene of the wildest confusion. Every man seized the first thing he
could lay hold of, rushed up the beach with it, tossed it down, and ran
back for more, till the canoe was empty, when we hauled her up a little
way and prepared to receive the others, who were not quite so fortunate,
for, as they touched land, another breaker came in over their stern but
did no damage. The beach was now strewn with our properties, which were
gradually collected and conveyed beyond the reach of the highest tide,
where we pitched camp and the canoes were dragged up. It was now nine
o’clock, but quite light, and some of the Indians went off after seals
which had been seen in the mouth of a small river just to the east of
us. A good deal of firing was heard, and according to their own account
they shot three, but unfortunately these were all lost in the sea.

_Saturday, the 14th._—The morning was spent in sorting and arranging the
stores. With the object of remaining as long as possible in the vicinity
of the mountain, we four agreed to carry our own properties, so that the
men might be free to carry more food, and soon came to the conclusion
that we must leave our rifles at the beach. W. and E. tried to take one
between them, but left it at the first cache. We saw a green humming-bird
flashing along the shore, and another had been observed at Yakutat. In
the afternoon we all sallied forth to explore the neighbourhood; H. and
Ed. went along the beach, which was covered with bear-tracks, for some
four miles to the first outlet of the river, re-christened by Lieutenant
Schwatka with the euphonious name of Jones, and Ed. returned considerably
impressed with the walking powers of our gallant captain. E. and Shorty
penetrated with great difficulty for some distance along the banks of
the river, which ran into the sea close to camp. I took the shot-gun
and started with W. and Lyons along the beach, but I soon separated
from them, and went on the shore-side of the lagoons, where I hoped to
find duck. In this I was disappointed, but I shot a large sandpiper and
a couple of ring-necked plover. On the sandhills of the beach were the
largest wild strawberries I ever saw, some fully as big as a shilling,
while the supply was utterly inexhaustible. It came on to pour in
torrents, and we all returned soaked through, and quite undecided as to
our future route. All that night the rain descended in a deluge, and,
driven by a fierce east wind, even succeeded in penetrating our excellent
green tent which had stood so well on Mount Edgcumbe.

_Sunday, the 15th._—In the morning the men showed no sign of life, so
after a cold breakfast H. and W. sallied forth to see whether it would
be possible to ‘pack’ up the river by our camp, while E. and I curled
up again in our blankets. About 2 P.M. the rain began to leave off, and
the men emerged and made a fire. For lunch we fried some seal-meat, the
Indians having been successful in shooting one the day before. H. and
W. returned dripping at three o’clock, in time to share our repast, and
reported that the bush was too dense to pack through, so we decided to
start early next morning and follow the same route as the Schwatka party.
In the evening E. announced the presence of two plover by the river close
to camp, so I executed a stalk through the sand which brought me within
easy shot, but trying to get both at once, I missed with the first barrel
and only secured one. I then plucked and cleaned my four birds, and we
fried them with bacon for supper.

_Monday, the 16th._—Fine at last and some sunshine! We had a grand view
of St. Elias through the clouds, which gradually cleared off, and we were
able at our leisure to survey the monarch, who looked most formidable,
but we hoped he would improve on acquaintance.

Though we were up at five, there was so much to be done that it was not
till eight that the procession began its march along the sandhills. As it
was the first day, the men were not used to their burdens of from sixty
to eighty pounds, and could only go about two miles an hour, in addition
to which they stopped to rest every three or four hundred yards. As some
of the Indians seemed to be overburdened, I went back to H., who had not
yet started, and we hired for the day three of the other Yakutats. At
the site of Schwatka’s shore camp we picked up a short .44 cartridge and
a piece of sheet-lead. While resting there I suddenly perceived a bear
cantering along the other side of the lagoon about five hundred yards
off. Shorty, who was carrying his rifle, which was also left at the first
cache, was anxious to go in pursuit, but H. declined to allow this, as
being a waste of valuable time. Progressing very slowly, and halting
continually to attack the strawberries, we at length reached the first
river at half-past eleven. Seton-Karr recommends the ascent of this, but
it looked very unpromising and we kept on. Most of the men stripped more
or less to cross this stream, which was well over our knees and horribly
cold, but as we knew there would be lots more wading, none of us four
took the trouble of taking off boots or stockings. In an hour more,
across a flat grassy plain with scattered fir-trees we reached a creek
of the main river and halted for lunch, after which the fun began.

The streams were not deep, being seldom above our knees, but their beds,
and generally the spaces in between, were of that terrible glacier mud,
as glutinous as quicksands, and through this we toiled, every now and
then skirting the edge of the forest, where a scanty vegetation of sedge
and marestails gave a little sounder going, and resting whenever a fallen
log or two offered something substantial to sit on. Presently it began
to rain heavily; Gums pointed out a spot where he declared Schwatka
halted the first day, but this disagreed with Seton-Karr’s account,
and as it was yet early we pushed on in hope of at least finding a dry
camping-place. In this, although the moraine of the Agassiz Glacier was
now looming near at hand, we were doomed to be disappointed; and after
two unusually deep and rapid crossings, in one of which Lyons lost his
footing and emerged in a pitiable plight, though with nothing gone except
his temper, we sought the shelter of the woods, thoroughly numbed by this
ceaseless wading in ice-water. Such a thing as a flat place was not to
be found above the level of the mud, but by careful search we discovered
a spot where the logs and stones were more or less disguised by the
dense layer of moss, and pitched the tents. With the aid of a couple of
roaring fires and some excellent pea-soup we restored some warmth to our
shivering limbs, but, as it was still pouring, dryness was not to be
hoped for, and decidedly weary with the first day’s march, we sought our
blankets. E. and I then discovered the deceitfulness of the moss; H. and
W. were fairly well off, but at our end of the tent an enormous boulder
projected. With the aid of knapsacks I enlarged the mountain, so that I
was able to doze more or less on its summit, while E. curled himself in a
ball in the valley at my feet. The mosquitoes attacked us in myriads, but
E. and W. were soon asleep; H. and I were not so fortunate, and I never
became enough accustomed to the absence of darkness to sleep well. In the
middle of the night, just as I was dropping off, I was suddenly aroused
by something tickling my neck, and putting up my hand grasped an enormous
beetle. Flinging it from me, I promptly massacred it, and discovered H.
eyeing my movements with mild astonishment. I explained, and we composed
ourselves to rest again, if not to sleep.

_Tuesday, the 17th._—Next morning we got off at half-past seven and
continued up the river, but with less wading as we were now next the
Agassiz moraine. At one point, which must have been very near the site of
Schwatka’s first camp, we halted for about an hour while W. and H. made
an attempt to get up the face of the moraine. In this they succeeded,
but only to find the scrub on the glacier itself so dense that it would
have been impossible for the packers to penetrate it, and we pushed on
up the bed of the river. Gums soon announced that there would be no more
wading, to the delight of the men, who put on their boots; but their
joy was turned to wrath when, on rounding the next corner, we had to
plunge in again. Of course these streams are always changing their bed,
and we found very great variations in their rise and fall apart from
their natural increase by day and decrease by night. This was probably
to be accounted for by the periodical closing and bursting of the many
glacier lakes. At last the river began to contract, and its bed was now
only about a mile wide. On the other side was the bare ice of the Guyot
Glacier, while we were now driven by the depth of one of the main streams
on to the moraine of the Agassiz Glacier, where we halted from half-past
eleven till two, while we had lunch, made a cache, and dismissed our
three extra Yakutats, one of whom was the boy who was to stay at Icy Bay
as company for the canoe-owner.

We were now reduced to our proper quota of fourteen, and our retainers
deserve a somewhat more elaborate description than they have hitherto
had. Of our four whites, our right-hand man was Arthur McConnahay,
nicknamed Shorty, apparently on the _lucus a non lucendo_ principle,
being some six feet four inches in height. Very handsome, with fair
hair and blue eyes, he was the ideal Anglo-Saxon in appearance, and,
being extremely good-natured, he was a great favourite with our Indians,
with whom he would readily share his last bit of tobacco; but he was an
inveterate grumbler, and often roused H.’s wrath by his ceaseless growls
against the hardships of the way. Though the son of an Indiana farmer,
he had been on the Pacific coast for some years, and, being captured
in one of the sealers seized in the Behring’s Sea, had been stranded
at Sitka without means to get away. In May he had been up to Yakutat
and back in a canoe, searching for a lost sloop, the ‘Leola,’ and the
knowledge he thus obtained of the coast proved subsequently most useful
to me. He had, however, once been shipwrecked near Valparaiso, when he
had a narrow escape of his life, being washed up insensible, and always
had a great distrust of bad weather at sea.

Harry Lyons, his great friend, though not so tall, was a man of immense
strength, with light hair and grey eyes. He hailed from Iowa, and had
been for some time a fisherman on the Columbia river, where he seemed
to have had some rather exciting experiences, and to have made things
exciting for other people too; for, when one of the steamers was running
through his salmon-nets, he put a bullet into the bridge within a foot of
the captain. He once got in one haul seven hundred and fourteen salmon,
each over twenty pounds, and also captured the biggest salmon ever taken
in the river, weighing over seventy-four pounds. Having lost boat and
nets in a storm he had gone in for sealing, and when we engaged him had
just come in on the ‘Alpha.’ A good packer, and a first-rate man in a
boat, he was terribly lazy in camp, not wilfully, but it didn’t seem to
occur to him to do things.

Ed. and Finn were both Eastern men, the former coming from Maine, and
the latter from Erie. Neither was conspicuous for ardour in packing, and
it would have been pretty safe to bet on their loads being lighter than
other people’s. But in camp they were very useful, especially as bakers.
Ed. generally undertook this task, and it was not till we were back in
Yakutat, and the baking-powder began to run short, that we discovered
Finn’s talent for ‘sour-dough’ bread. He was a man of considerable
education and of a scientific turn of mind, with some knowledge of
chemistry and botany. With Ed. and three or four others, he had come
prospecting up the coast from Juneau, stopping every few miles. They
had been up in Disenchantment Bay, a long fiord running inland from the
head of Yakutat Bay, and were going on to Nuchuk, but a few miles west
of Point Manby they were imprisoned on the beach by a storm from the
south-east. Trying to get off too soon, they were swamped, and barely
escaped with their lives. Luckily for them their boat was not injured,
and when they got off a day or two later, they returned to Yakutat, as
they had lost most of their stores, and there we found them.

Of our Indians, Matthew, our so-called interpreter, was not popular with
us. He had been a mission boy, and accordingly thought a good deal of
himself, and was inclined to be insolent.

Mike, a short burly fellow, with a most ruffianly cast of countenance,
was in reality very good-natured, and, like all the Indians, a
magnificent packer; but he was very slow and somewhat dense.

Billy, who had been specially recommended to us by Milmore, steward to
Captain Newell of the ‘Pinta,’ was my favourite among them. Taller than
usual, and not at all deformed in the legs, he had almost a European cast
of countenance.

Jimmy was just the contrary, being very small and ugly, with
much-distorted lower limbs. Both he and Billy were extremely strong, and
on the occasion of my return from Camp I to Camp J their loads came very
near a hundred pounds.

Of the two Yakutats who accompanied us, ‘Gums’ was quite a character.
He had been so christened by Schwatka, from his peculiar smile, which
revealed not only his teeth, but the whole of the interior of his mouth.
He was the incarnation of undisciplined devilry. Full of pluck, he would
rather wade a glacier stream twice over than go a hundred yards round,
as we often found to our cost when he was professing to guide us up the
river. If we declined to follow the route he selected, or if he thought
his burden too great, he would get very sulky, not to say wrathful; but,
like a child, he was easily appeased.

Of the other one, George (not to be confounded with the second chief
of Yakutat), I recall but little, except that on our return he set the
fashion of wearing knickerbockers in the village by rolling his trousers
up to his knees, after the manner of the Swiss guides. The extreme
brilliancy of his striped stockings impressed this fact on my memory.

After leaving the cache we went on up stream for about a mile, sometimes
on little strips of beach, but oftener driven by the river on to the
face of the moraine, which was covered with dense alder scrub, offering
terrible difficulty to the laden packers, as the boughs, pressed down by
the winter’s snow, mostly sloped down-hill, while the foothold on the
slope itself was of a most precarious character. Eventually we left the
river and steered to the east, hoping to get through to bare ice, but
the bush seemed to grow thicker and the ubiquitous devil’s clubs more
numerous at every step. At last, as we were resting, thoroughly sick of
creeping and crawling through the tangle, W. valiantly climbed a somewhat
stouter alder than usual, and from that eminence, which threatened
momentarily to collapse with him, announced, to our intense delight, that
he could see bare rocks only a few hundred yards ahead.

Summoning up our last energies, we soon pushed through, and as it was
now half-past four, E. and I, who were ahead, began to search at once
for a convenient spot for camp. Although on a glacier, water was the
great desideratum, for the ice was here completely covered with rocks
and gravel, but I was fortunate enough to discover a tiny stream by its
sound in a convenient hollow, and set to work, with E.’s assistance, to
level a place for the tent, while H. and W. pushed on a little way to
get some idea of our route for the next day. It had been discovered that
our bacon was fading away too rapidly, so we confined ourselves to soup
and bread for supper, after which the sun came out and held out hopes
of improvement in the weather. My watch now caused me some annoyance by
stopping twice, and though it went spasmodically for about a week, it
then gave out altogether.

_Wednesday, the 18th._—Our luxurious couch of alder-boughs did not manage
to keep the cold out, so that we did not sleep very well, and obeyed with
alacrity H.’s réveille at five o’clock. It was a glorious morning and
we were off by seven, in a northerly direction at first, but the going
was so bad that we went back westwards to the depression where the two
glaciers joined. This Agassiz Glacier, on which it was our miserable fate
to meander so much, to the great detriment of our boots and our tempers,
was covered with the worst kind of moraine I have ever encountered,
not excepting the streets of the city of San Francisco. At first sight
it appeared to consist of mounds of stones, but appearances were, as
usual, deceitful; for these mounds were in reality of ice, produced by
the effect of weathering, and covered with a skin of rocks and dirt,
which was thick on the north, but thin and often altogether absent on
the south side. Plenty of mud lay in the hollows between, varied by an
occasional ‘moulin,’ and we were rarely able to travel twenty yards in
a straight line. In the depression it was at first a little better, but
soon after our lunch of bread and smoked salmon it got much worse, so
that frequently E. and I, who were in front, had to cut a few steps, and
in one of these places Gums came a most splendid cropper.

At length we left this and steered east again, being much cheered by
reaching a comparatively flat region, and soon afterwards clear ice. We
had had a grand view of our mountain all day, but it was still too far
off for us to make out any possible route. On the white ice we progressed
much more rapidly, though it was anything but level, being weathered
into hummocks three or four feet high. There were not many crevasses,
and those only a few inches in width. By four o’clock we were not more
than two miles from the Chaix Hills, which we could see were well wooded
on their lower slopes, but we were steering for a break in them some
seven or eight miles off, where we hoped might lie the glacier reported
by Professor Libbey as coming direct from St. Elias. But the men were
thoroughly exhausted, and it was evidently impossible to get there that
night, so we held a council. H., wisely as it afterwards proved, was in
favour of sleeping where we were on the glacier, and continuing our route
next day; but the rest of us opposed this frigid course with such warmth,
that he reluctantly gave way, and we accordingly turned north-west to
gain the hills, and soon got into difficulties again among the stony
mounds; while, when H. and I at last reached the edge of the glacier,
we found ice-cliffs, varying in height from fifty to a hundred feet,
utterly cutting us off from the land. However, I thought I saw a possible
place half-a-mile or so further up, and going on with great difficulty,
I discovered a spot where the cliffs gave way to a steep slope covered
with débris, down which we wound our weary way, and then waded the
inevitable river which always sent us wet to bed. On the other side
we found a charming camping-place on a sort of raised beach, marking,
presumably, the height of the river in some former flood, but now covered
with flowers, among which I recognised a large blue lupin, mimulus, two
kinds of spiræa, and three of willow-herb. Mosquitoes were also abundant.
After supper we held a consultation and decided to keep Billy and Jimmy
with us while the rest of the men were to return to the beach for another
load, and in the meantime we would coast along the east side of the Chaix


From observations by the author, worked out by H. Broke, Lieut. R.E.

_Longmans, Green & Co., London & New York. F.S. Weller._]



_Thursday, the 19th._—We spent a comfortable night and indulged next
morning in the luxury of a ‘long lie.’ About nine o’clock the men
departed, going down stream along the edge of the hills. This was in
opposition to our advice, as we felt sure the ice-cliffs would get worse
as they approached Lake Castani; but Gums confidently asserted his
capability of finding a route, and they thought anything would be better
than repeating the toils of the previous day. They would, we reckoned,
take two days to go down and three to return, so that, allowing them a
day’s rest at the beach, we might hope to see them again on Tuesday.
After their departure we reckoned up our stores; there was not much
bacon, but plenty of soup, chocolate, etc., and flour enough for at
least a fortnight. We then heated water in the big kettle and indulged
in the luxury of a good wash, which was perhaps slightly needed, as our
scanty ablutions for the last week had been perforce in glacier water,
which at a temperature of 32° or so, has not much cleansing power.

After lunch (bread and chocolate) we took about twenty and the men about
forty pounds each, and set out to make a cache further up the stream; H.,
in addition to his burden, attempted to carry the coal-oil stove, a most
detestable fardel, but dropped it when he had gone about half a mile. For
the first three miles our going was fairly easy, along the landward side
of the stream, but we then came to a glacier lake, where we surprised a
small flock of geese, at which H. and I fired our revolvers unavailingly.
We at first attempted the land side of the lake, but were soon defeated,
as the cliffs went sheer down into the water, and we had to return,
wade the stream, and climb up on to the débris-covered glacier. Half an
hour of this sufficed to bring us to the other side of the lake, and we
descended again to the river-bed, up which we proceeded for another three
miles, wading frequently from side to side so as to make the most of
the little bits of beach. Here the hill-side was very steep and with the
ice-cliffs of the glacier formed a miniature cañon just beyond which we
deposited our burdens on a flat bed of gravel and returned rapidly to
camp, wading the river twelve times between the cache and the lake. While
we were making the cache, E. went on a little way and found that the
river issued from an ice-arch under the glacier, from which we hoped that
Libbey’s glacier might be near at hand. We discovered on our homeward
route that it was possible to pass along the lake under the glacier, and
so to save both time and exertion, though at the risk of a falling stone
or two.

We decided that evening to move camp as far as the lake before attempting
further exploration. Just after supper, Billy, who had wandered off a
little way down stream, rushed back shouting, ‘Coonch, coonch!’ and
explained by saying, ‘All same dog.’ We ran out with our pistols, but
were only in time to see a large wolf vanish into the bushes.

_Friday, the 20th_.—We struck camp at 7.15, and I started first with
the men. Before going far I came on the discarded stove, and managed to
hoist it along; but for this I received no thanks, as the others wasted
a quarter of an hour in vainly searching for it. Dropping our loads at
the point where the stream issued from the lake, Billy, Jimmy, and I went
back for a fresh lot, and buried a letter for Shorty, directing them to
follow us up stream. As E. had a cold, it was thought he had better not
do any wading, and he remained in camp to pitch the tent and arrange
things generally, while H. and W. went on to explore beyond our cache.
After lunch the Indians went back for the last load, while I tried to get
round the lake on the land side, but I found the rock so dangerous that
I abandoned the attempt. I am no geologist, but it appeared to be a sort
of clayey sandstone, very hard below, but with a soft crust on top, which
gave way beneath hands, feet, or ice-axe. I then went round the lake on
the ice side, and tried to cross what seemed to be a peninsula between
the river and the head of the lake; but the ferns and alder-scrub on this
proved to be so dense that after going some way without being able to see
anything, I gave that up also, and returned to camp at half-past three.
H. and W. came in at five o’clock, having got as far as a second lake,
whence they were able to see the glacier that descends from St. Elias.
Though this was still at some distance, we felt encouraged, and after
supper indulged in a little whist. W. and E. played against H. and me;
W.’s whist was indeed extraordinary, and he apparently so confused his
partner as eventually to make him revoke in the most palpable manner by
trumping clubs and then leading them. We never played whist again, but
confined ourselves to piquet.

_Saturday, the 21st._—A cloudless morning greeted us, and at 7.30 we
four started out with the firm determination of reaching the long-sought
glacier. We went up the river to the ice-arch, where we climbed again
on to the glacier to turn the second lake. When we had gone a little
further, we halted to sketch and photograph our mountain, the upper
part of which was showing well over the Chaix Hills. We then plodded
on over the disgusting moraine, and at noon reached the point where
Libbey’s Glacier runs into the Agassiz. We halted here for lunch, and
then started to climb it. Though descending at a considerable angle, it
was not much broken, and in fifty minutes more E., W., and I, slanting
across it in an easterly direction, reached a green island which so
much resembled the Gletscher Alp at Saas Fee that we christened it the
Langenfluh. On the other side of this there was a grand ice-fall with
great black seracs. H. had stayed behind to take some bearings, and at
first we failed to see him anywhere, but soon discovered that he was
taking a more direct course up the glacier towards St. Elias. We pushed
on, and soon joined him on the plateau above. Here, though a little
later the ice would doubtless be bare, we found some snow-patches in the
hollows, and had to be a little cautious about crevasses.

Fairly on the top at last, we halted before one of the most magnificent
views I ever hope to see. The plateau stretched before us, at much the
same level for eight or ten miles, right to the foot of the mountain,
which here rose in one appalling precipice. Put the Dom as seen from Saas
on the top of Monte Rosa as seen from Macugnaga, and you will have some
idea of the grandeur of the spectacle that lay before us. To the right
rose the double-headed Cook, seamed with a great couloir down its centre,
then the rather shapeless mass of Vancouver, and beyond that numbers of
unnamed peaks, some of which we thought we recognised as having been
noticed at Yakutat. Far away to the east were Fairweather and Crillon,
clearly defined on the horizon.

The upper part of our mountain was not so steep as the lower, but the
whole face was streaming with avalanches, the dull boom of which was
plainly audible from time to time, and on the mountain itself no possible
route could be discovered. On the south arête rises a very prominent
and beautiful peak (subsequently christened Haydon Peak), and beneath
this were some rocks on which W. urged that an attempt might be made,
but through the big telescope they looked most unpleasant, and he
yielded to our united advice that we should return on our tracks, and,
circumnavigating the Chaix Hills, which, from their broken nature, it was
impossible to cross, see what we could do on the south-west side, where
Seton-Karr had failed. After taking observations, which afterwards gave
the height we had reached as 1,625 feet above the sea, we reluctantly
left at about four o’clock, and tried to improve our return route by
keeping down the bed of the stream, instead of on the ice, till nearly
at the second lake; but I do not think we gained much, as we were then
forced on to the glacier in its most unpleasant part. We stopped at the
cache to bring back some stores, and finally reached camp at nine, very
weary and footsore from the fearful moraine-walking, which had nearly
destroyed one of my two pairs of boots already. Some tomato soup revived
us somewhat, and we turned in at half past eleven.

_Sunday, the 22nd._—The weather was again perfect, and we spent the
morning in sketching and similar peaceful occupations, but H. was not
going to allow us the luxury of a whole day’s rest, and after lunch
we packed down again to Camp D, whence E. and I went on down stream,
following the tracks made by our men on Thursday, which were plainly
visible in the sandy soil. In forty minutes we reached Lake Castani,
which presented an extraordinary scene; the water was very low, and
enormous bergs lay stranded far up the hill, even to the very edge of
the timber, some of them as much as a hundred feet above the level of the
lake. We were here much puzzled by the sudden disappearance of the tracks
at the water’s edge. The ice-cliffs were, as we had expected, utterly
unscaleable, and we could only suppose that they had gone round, their
footprints being invisible on the harder face of the hill.

We continued along the shore till we had crossed a small stream running
in from the north, and kept on to the west for some distance, when we
realised that the lake was in shape something between a broad arrow and a
crescent moon, and that our best route in future would be to cut across
from horn to horn. Accordingly, we turned inland through the trees, and
in fifteen minutes reached a beautifully clear little rivulet, near which
were many flat places well suited for a camp. Stepping out briskly,
eighty minutes brought us back to camp at six o’clock, where we found the
others preparing supper.

_Monday, the 23rd._—We actually succeeded in getting off at 6.45, no
light task, as it generally took a good two hours to make breakfast,
including bread-baking, strike the tents, and arrange the packs. We
coasted round the lake and dropped our loads, not on the stream where E.
and I had been the day before, but by a small pond to the left, where we
could see across Castani to the glaciers. The Indians then returned to D
for more things, while H., E., and W. started with the hope of finding
a way across the hills at our back. I had no belief in the possibility
of this, and went on round the lake to try and find out, if possible,
what had been the route of our other men. At the westernmost point of
the peninsula projecting into the lake, I came on their traces for a
few yards, when they again vanished at the water’s edge. Oddly enough,
the true solution never once occurred to us. Going leisurely, I reached
at 11.15 the north-west extremity of the lake, putting up half-a-dozen
geese as I went whose wildness argued considerable knowledge of man. I
then meditated a return to camp, but my plans were suddenly changed by
coming on tracks in the herbage which I believed to be those of the men.
I followed them, first over a space where the wind had overthrown all the
trees in every direction, raising a natural abattis that presented most
formidable obstacles, and then through some dense alder-scrub to the edge
of the Guyot Glacier.

I supposed they must have gone back by this, and, as there was no
objectionable river cutting me off, I thought I might as well go on
to the glacier for a bit and ascertain its nature. A belt of moraine
separated me from the white ice, and this moraine was different to that
on the Agassiz. The glacier was much more even and the stones fewer, but
in the hollows between the mounds lay pools of horrible red mud often
knee-deep, which made the way anything but a primrose path, for the mud
was often crusted enough to bear biggish stones, and so deluded the
unwary traveller on to it. At length I got beyond this, making a slight
sketch _en route_, and, going up parallel with the hills, found myself on
white ice, but involved in a system of rather formidable crevasses, in
one of which I nearly came to grief. It was at a point where two large
crevasses ran together; I was between them, and as I reached the apex of
the triangle, from which I intended to jump, the ice gave way beneath me,
and I descended abruptly a distance of some seven or eight feet, but
the block wedged beneath me, saving me from a violent squeeze, if not
worse. Though somewhat jarred, I had not let go of my axe, and chipping
a step or two, was soon out of my prison. A few minutes more brought me
to level ice with very few stones on it, and as I was able to walk very
fast on this, I had at two o’clock nearly reached the west end of the
Chaix Hills, which here had subsided into green knolls, though a mile or
so further back a large lake, which with its ramifications and the gorges
from them evidently extended far inland, must have hopelessly cut off the
others had they tried to cross the hills direct.

I was congratulating myself on my superior astuteness, when, to my utter
amazement, I heard shots, and discovered the others pursuing ptarmigan
on the hills with their revolvers. By the time I reached them they had
exhausted their few cartridges, and I found W. anxiously watching over
the old hen, who obligingly waited till I arrived, but unfortunately I
also missed, and we had no ptarmigan for supper that night. The others
had failed almost at once in their attempt to cross the hills and so had
descended to the glacier, and it was their track I had followed through
the bush. E. was very full of a small trout which they had discovered
in one of the pools of a tiny rill on the hills, and it was certainly
a complete marvel what that fish could do with himself in winter, when
one would think everything would be frozen solid. E. went back next day,
captured him and bottled him in alcohol.

On the hills we all scattered; I went across to the other side and had
a grand view of St. Elias across the curve of the Tyndall Glacier, but
coming back to the Guyot a good deal lower down than where I had left it,
I found I had missed the others. Being rather tired, I was disinclined
to go back, so kept on homewards, and an hour’s moraine, and then fifty
minutes across the neck of the peninsula, on which were one or two pools
full of yellow water-lilies, brought me into camp at six o’clock pretty
well beat, but I got two loaves made and some apples cooked by the time
they arrived an hour later. We then had to pitch our tent, and it was, as
usual, hard to find a flat place, but we managed it at last, though the
flies and mosquitoes here threatened to be worse than ever.

_Tuesday, the 24th._—E. and W. went off about nine to cut a trail through
the worst part of the bush by the Guyot Glacier, and the Indians to E
for the last load of stores. H. and I stayed at home mending our boots
and raiment, much plagued by the flies, of which there were many kinds,
varying from a large house-fly to a microscopic grey beast, but all
equally anxious to feed off us. About eleven I went towards the lake and
succeeded in setting fire to a couple of dead trees, to serve as a signal
to the men whom we were expecting from the beach. After this we lunched
early off a few beans, and then H. set off with Billy and Jimmy to make a
cache at the place where we left the bush for the Guyot Glacier. Directly
afterwards E. and W. came back, and at the same moment we heard shouts
across the lake. The men had returned. E. shouted to them to go round by
the Guyot, and I rushed off and caught up H., who, after the cache had
been made, set off to meet them, while the Indians and I returned slowly
as it was very hot.

As the rest of us were having supper, a little after six, we suddenly saw
a figure come in sight round the _eastern_ corner of Castani. It was the
energetic Gums, followed at intervals by the rest of our men, who had
failed to understand our cries and had gone on by the Agassiz Glacier
to our old camp at D. Gums, who had sworn he would never go that way
again, kept his word in the letter if not in the spirit by cutting steps
down the cliffs some three hundred yards short of the slope opposite
camp, down which the others came as they had done before. The mystery of
their footprints was then explained. When they reached the lake its bed
was quite dry, and they went right across it to the western side, where
they were able to get on to the ice, and, the Guyot Glacier proving much
easier than the Agassiz, they reached B without difficulty the first day.
The next day they reached the shore, going down by the river recommended
by Seton-Karr, which we had advised them to try. They took a day’s rest,
returned in one day to B, and made their camp next night at the spot
where the river issued from the ice. Leaving this at 4.30 A.M., they had
nearly got to Castani by nine o’clock, when Gums, who was on ahead,
reported that the lake was too high to cross, and they turned towards the
old route on the Agassiz, finding very bad going.

While thus engaged they saw the smoke from the fire I had lit, and Gums
then said he could get round by the Guyot, but as he had previously
denied the existence of such a way the men declined to try it, and, after
hailing us without understanding what we said in reply, went on to D and
so round. They were all in good health, but George, the only one who
had no boots, was very footsore. H. came in about half-an-hour later,
somewhat annoyed by his wild-goose-chase, splashed with glacier-mud,
and hoarse with shouting after the lost caravan; but he was too hungry
to waste time in grumbling, and after supper we turned in early. At
this camp, in consequence of E.’s snoring, which had become perfectly
maddening, packed like sardines as we were, I turned round and slept with
my head where my feet used to be. W. occasionally did a little snoring in
a mild way, but was nothing to E., who not only snored his breath in, but
blew it out again with a puff like a locomotive. Sleeping with his head
under the blankets because of mosquitoes, increased the evil, and it was
no good my poking or kicking him, for he always went to sleep again long
before I did.

_Wednesday, the 25th._—After the fatigues of the previous day the men
slept late. Gums went to fetch some of the Indians’ blankets, &c., left
at D. At nine o’clock E. and nearly all the men got under way, followed
shortly by H. and W., while an hour later I brought on Mike, George, and
Gums, who went very slowly and did not reach the edge of the glacier
till twelve. Here I had a row with Gums, who had apparently got out of
bed wrong leg foremost, and maintained that his load was too heavy,
threatening, in order to lighten it, to throw away the frying-pans and
kettles. As he had been ahead of us most of the time, so that I had had
to call him back more than once, and was, besides, much the strongest
of the three Indians with me, this was absurd, and I nearly lost my
temper with him, a fatal thing when dealing with the natives; but,
curbing my righteous indignation, I merely remarked, ‘Halo kettle, halo
muck-a-muck,’ _i.e._, ‘No kettles, no supper,’ and, leaving him to
digest that information and a ship’s biscuit to soften it down, I went
on after the others, who were vanishing over the glacier. For this my
conscience rather reproached me afterwards, for, without amounting to an
ice-fall, there were some rather ugly crevasses a little way on, in which
laden men might conceivably have come to grief, but they turned up all
right. I had caught up most of those ahead, and had relieved W. of the
camera which he was carrying, when we heard shouts from E. and Shorty at
the edge of the glacier.

With the exception of H., who was on ahead up the glacier and took no
part in the struggle that ensued, we hurried on and found that, as they
got on to the hill-side, they had espied a small flock of geese on a
pool between the glacier and the land. Shorty fired his pistol at them,
on which, instead of flying away, they swam into a cave under the ice,
and he ran down and blockaded them while E. shouted for us. We went down
to the water, and with some difficulty reached the mouth of the cave on
pieces of ice that were more or less afloat. To get there we had to pass
under a slender ice-arch that seemed to be on the point of falling, but
once on the ice-blocks we were quite safe. Accordingly Shorty, W., and I
commenced firing, whilst the others guarded the exit as best they could,
and a wild scene ensued. E. in his excitement slipped into the water,
where he grabbed no less than three geese, but was only able to secure
one, with which he retired to shore terribly numbed. Meanwhile a good
many had got out of the cave, but, to our delight, they could not fly,
the old ones being in moult at the time and the young ones being still
flappers, so that, after much stone-throwing, firing, and occasional
use of ice-axes, we found ourselves in possession of ten geese. Two, I
believe, escaped under the ice, one badly wounded.

We then pushed on after H., bearing our spoils with us, and camped about
four o’clock in a most lovely spot at the west end of the Chaix Hills.
Just at our back was a little lake about two hundred yards long, in which
we used to bathe, and in front of us rose our mountain, partly concealed
by a group of fir-trees to our right, the last timber that we met
with, though I saw three dead trunks on the other side of the Tyndall
Glacier. We made a tremendous supper off stewed goose and apple-sauce,
and afterwards decided to cross the glacier next morning to the site of
Schwatka’s last camp, where, though there was no timber, we could see
that there was plenty of scrub, probably alder, like that surrounding us.
There was a most lovely sunset, but directly afterwards it got very cold,
and we rapidly sought our blankets.



_Thursday, the 26th._—A beautiful sunrise ushered in a splendid day,
and we turned out at four o’clock. At 5.30 Ed., with Matthew and Mike,
started down to bring up the stores left in the cache by the Guyot
Glacier, and half-an-hour later the rest of us descended the slopes
to the Guyot, as a long lake cut us off from going directly on to the
Tyndall Glacier. Once on the ice, we curved round to the north, making
for the north-east extremity of the opposite hills. The glacier was
fairly flat and not much broken, though there were a good many small
crevasses in the white ice as we approached the hills. All these glaciers
are shrinking so rapidly that crevasses, generally of considerable size,
are always to be found anywhere near their edges, and as these are
naturally nearly always parallel to their direction, they are some times
a great nuisance.

We got on to the green hills at 9.30; Gums showed us Schwatka’s last
camping place, and, after rummaging about a bit in the bushes, produced
the Niagara crampons brought by Professor Libbey. The last hill, which
rose about two hundred feet above the glacier, was almost isolated from
the rest, and we pushed on over the low col between it and the main mass,
putting up several coveys of ptarmigan as we went over the grass and
through patches of alder-scrub. In a few minutes we came to the glacier
again; between it and the land was another small lake on which were
numerous geese, but we made no attempt at the time to molest them. Two
fair-sized streams ran into this, and as Gums declared, wrongly as usual,
that we should find no firewood further on, we halted directly after
crossing the first of these.

The men then returned, except Jimmy and Billy, who were to stay with us
as before. Shorty and Harry were to remain at Camp G, and the rest to go
down to the beach and return in about ten days, by which time we expected
to have done our possible, though our hopes of getting to the top were
very faint by this time. As they departed along the edge of the lake we
saw them waving and pointing, but could not make out what it was all
about. After resting a little, H. and W. went off to explore, while E.
stewed a goose and I made bread and pitched the tent. Our camp was on the
edge of a low cliff above the stream, and at the extreme verge of this a
bear had been squatting in the long grass. The Indians utilised this spot
as their camping-place. H. and W. did not return till half-past eight,
decidedly despondent. They found a relic of Seton-Karr on the Tyndall
Glacier in the shape of an empty tomato-can. We came to the conclusion
that we should have to go a good deal nearer the foot of the mountain
before establishing a base camp, and that we must get hold of Lyons and

_Friday, the 27th._—We spent a quiet morning looking over our stores, and
made the painful discovery that a large portion of the oatmeal biscuits,
which had not before been unpacked, had gone mouldy, so we spread them in
the sun to dry. Directly after lunch W. went off to sleep at G and bring
the men back next day, and H. and E. took the Indians with light loads
to the proposed site for the new camp, the disadvantage of which was the
apparent absence of fuel. I followed up the course of our camp stream,
finding fresh and large bear-tracks, to a curious cirque. A promising
couloir filled with hard snow presenting itself, I worked up to a height
of perhaps two thousand feet, when there came a break in my gully. I
tried to turn it, but the rock was of the same rotten clayey consistency
that I had before encountered, and I had to give it up, so glissaded down
my couloir and returned to camp, where I had got supper ready by the time
the others came back.

_Saturday, the 28th._—The nights were now very cold, but the weather
continued glorious. The Indians got off at 7.30, and we followed them in
a few minutes. About a hundred yards beyond our camp the second stream
had cut a deep, precipitous gully, but we had found a good place to cross
this, just opposite to where a small stream came in on the other side,
and we then followed up this stream, flushing sundry ptarmigan. There
was very little scrub here, our route lying over what were apparently
grassy uplands. In reality there was little or no grass, the vegetation
consisting of willow-herbs, veratrum, ranunculus, mallow, violas, and
many others, some of which were strange to us but doubtless common enough
in America. I noticed a scarlet flower which I had seen in abundance on
the Pacific slope of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which is, I believe,
known to botanists as _Castilleja miniata_. It is something like a
rattle, but the calyx is scarlet and the real flower green, or at least
it looks as if it was. Just as we were getting on to the glacier, which
has here a slight outflow from which the stream that we were following
up emerges, we saw a brown bear about half-a-mile ahead on a green knoll
which was nearly surrounded by ice. E. said, ‘How easily we could cut
that fellow off if we only had our rifles,’ and we sighed in chorus. A
little later we found that, had we been able to attempt such a manœuvre,
it would only have ended in gnashing of teeth, for our furry friend on
seeing us had gone straight down on to the glacier, and we now saw him a
mile away, going straight for St. Elias, and steeplechasing gaily over
the intervening crevasses. We had rather a bad bit of ice here, and in
future the men always went over the hill where his bearship had been,
which was fearfully steep but saved a good piece.

We then crossed two glaciers coming in from the west, which were
curiously different in appearance. The first, subsequently christened
the Daisy Glacier, was about a mile wide and six miles long, beautifully
smooth and white, with hardly a crevasse in it except at its junction
with the Tyndall, at which point it was lower than the glacier into
which it flowed. The other, which we called the Coal Glacier, was rather
smaller, say five miles long by twelve hundred yards wide, was a good
deal broken, and was covered with débris, among which we found lots of
coal which burnt fairly well in our camp fire. The mountains adjacent
were sandstone with great seams of coal plainly visible. The amount of
débris on the surface of the Coal Glacier protected it so much more from
waste than the Daisy Glacier, that its level was about the same as that
of the Tyndall. On the north side of this we put down our packs, and the
men returned to H for more, with instructions to bring up a load of
fuel as well. This proved to be unnecessary, as there was still enough
alder round Camp I to supply us with fire-wood. H., E., and I then went
on up the Tyndall Glacier. We had gone about a mile, and the others were
some little way ahead, when in jumping a crevasse the elastic of my
snow-spectacles gave way and one of the glasses got broken. As they were
my only pair and I am hopelessly short-sighted, so that ordinary ones are
no use, here was a fearful catastrophe! I shouted to the others that I
was going back, and returned shortly to camp. From previous experience in
Switzerland I knew I could use no makeshift without fearfully delaying
the others. The risk of ophthalmia too, from which I had once suffered,
was not lightly to be risked in these desert places, and I reluctantly
came to the conclusion that I must abandon all idea of climbing. It was
a fearful nuisance after coming so far, but was partly attributable to
my carelessness in not bringing two proper pairs, instead of these and
a ramshackle old pair which I found at Sitka to have come to grief on
the journey. This was due to the haste with which I had had to leave
England. My first idea was to return to the beach so as not to be
wasting the food we had brought up with so much labour, but no one could
be spared to go down with me, and the others were opposed to my going
alone, so I consented to wait for them.

I then pitched the tent, to do which I had to excavate part of the hill
and remove a good many boulders. About six o’clock the shrill whistles
of the marmots, which were very plentiful here, heralded some one’s
approach, and a few minutes later W. arrived, followed by the four men.
H. and E. came in ten minutes later, having had rather a bad time among
the big crevasses of the Tyndall Glacier, many of which were more than
partly covered with snow. Shorty said they were waving at the lake as
they went down to point out that the geese were leaving the water and
climbing on to the moraine, so that we might have cut them off, but we
had not understood.

_Sunday, the 29th._—A cool grey day with high clouds, the first break
in the brilliant weather which began on the 21st. The other three, with
Lyons and Shorty, left at 7 A.M. to make a high camp on the other side
of the Tyndall Glacier. They took the big white tent and the Edgington
ground-sheet, with provisions for about four days, their intention
being to try to reach at least the upper rim of the so-called ‘crater’
on the south arête. Soon afterwards I took Billy and Jimmy leisurely
down to Camp H for more stores, and, as Shorty had said, my going round
the lake sent the geese up the moraine. Billy and Jimmy lay in ambush
and succeeded in slaying four with ice-axes. I got back first to Camp
H, lit a fire, and had to make a damper, as there was no baking-powder
in the sack of flour there. By making it quite thin it turned out very
palatable, and, after lunching off this and some of the dried salmon,
which was a trifle high by this time, we set off home again, Billy
carrying the hams, fish, beans, and one goose, Jimmy a box of stores and
medicines and another goose, while I took the other two. We plucked,
singed, and cleaned them all, and then buried three in the snow on the
glacier. We had the fourth for supper, with an entrée of _foie gras_ (not
very _gras_) and bacon, and as I felt lazy I commanded Billy to make the
bread. The result was so excellent that he remained chief baker while I
was alone, and I fancy he washed his hands quite as often as I did.

At this camp there were hardly any flies or mosquitoes, the former
of which plagues had been terrible down at H. After supper the men
went after marmots, but of course without getting any, and I saw them
clambering up and down the most break-neck-looking places behind the
camp. They showed no distaste for ice, but they were never on snow, and
we never had occasion to use the rope with them.

_Monday, the 30th._—In the morning there were light clouds, but the sun
was more or less visible, and from its position I judged that we got up
at about eight o’clock. (Finn and H. were the only two whose watches
were still going, and they didn’t agree particularly well.) I spent the
morning in camp, washing myself and my clothes, cleaning my revolver,
etc. In the afternoon I set out up the rocks behind camp; they were
very rotten, and I got into considerable difficulties, especially at
one point, where, my foothold having disappeared, I dangled for some
time by my fingers in imminent expectation of returning to camp in a
rather undignified, not to say disorderly, manner. At last I got a knee
up to the ledge, and soon stood on the ridge, in which was a large seam
of coal, six or eight feet wide. Along this crest, then over snow-beds,
and then up more rock, always more or less rotten, I reached a height
of between four and five thousand feet, from which I had a magnificent
view of the wide sweeps of the Tyndall Glacier below me, but to the north
and west I was cut off by the spurs of the peak I was on. It was very
thick in the south, and rain was evidently driving up, so I determined
to descend promptly, and, by making a detour to the right, found a much
easier way down, and got in just as the rain began. It was only slight,
and kindly left off during supper, but then went on all night.

_Tuesday, the 31st._—In the morning the camp was enveloped in thin
clouds. As the sun was quite invisible, we had no ideas of time; but
just after breakfast, while we were still sitting round the fire, the
rain having left off and the clouds dispersed a good deal, the men
suddenly said ‘(K)hoots’ (the guttural being the same as in the Arabic
_Khamsin_—something like the German _ich_), and looking up at once, I saw
two bears leisurely crossing the stones on the Coal Glacier, about three
hundred yards off, going diagonally across towards the point below us.
Hurriedly telling the Indians to keep quiet, I sneaked down to the tent,
got H.’s big telescope (how I longed for a rifle!) and had a splendid
view of them.

The first was the much-talked-of ‘blue’ bear at last. The body was
slate-colour, much lighter on the back, with a very well-marked white
crescent on the shoulders, while the head was nearly, if not quite,
black. He was decidedly smaller than the other, which was an undersized
cinnamon. The blue one was also much neater-looking and smarter in his
gait, the pair resembling a park-hack followed by a cart-horse. The brown
one had, I think, seen the tent, for he kept stopping and staring in our
direction, but the blue kept quietly on, and when he reached the point
at about two hundred yards from the camp, he lay down in the long grass.
The other came on after him, but, instead of lying down, wandered about
in a restless manner. After about five minutes, the blue one got up, and,
followed by the brown, came leisurely towards us along the slope. I
heard the men whispering nervously together behind my back, and when the
bears were about a hundred yards off they couldn’t stand it any longer,
but gave vent to a most fiendish yell, which made me nearly drop the
telescope, while the bears, puffing and snorting, rushed wildly up the
hill and disappeared over the ridge. I went down to inspect their tracks
at a place where they had crossed a small patch of snow at the edge of
the glacier, and found them to be totally different. The blue had gone
with his heel down the whole time, like the black bear, while the brown’s
tracks only showed the print of the fore-part of the foot. From this and
from the general appearance of the animal, I have but little doubt that
these blue ones are a variety of the black bear. No doubt, as in the case
of the black bear in other parts of America, they will breed with the
brown ones, and hence puzzling variations are met with, such as a skin I
afterwards saw at Yakutat, which had been obtained near Dry Bay, and was
of a uniform yellowish grey.

Halleck is the only author on Alaska in whose works I have found any
mention of this bear. He says (‘Our New Alaska,’ p. 166): ‘Up on the
ridges back of Mount St. Elias, which constitute a favourite (_sic_)
hunting-ground for goats, is found a bear similar to the roach-back or
silver-tip of the Rockies, but of a beautiful bluish undercolour, with
the tips of the long hairs silvery white. The traders call it the St.
Elias silver bear.’ In another place (p. 160) he says: ‘Besides there is
a small albino bear found on the coast, which is known as the coast bear.
Being white and a good deal about the ice in winter, some have supposed
it to be a variety of polar bear, but the zoologists dispute it.’ My
own impression is that these bears are the same, the white variety not
being an albino, but the blue bear with his winter coat on. I could only
hear of two of these white bears having been killed—one at Chilcaht, the
other on the Taku Glacier, near Juneau, and this latter was described
as having been almost white. The blue skins are also very rare, as much
as seventy-five dollars being given for a good one. They seem to rather
prefer the company of their brown brethren, as Shorty a few days later
saw three bears on the glacier, of which one was brown and two blue; and
Anthony, the Sitka watchmaker, whom we first met at Yakutat, whither he
had come prospecting up the coast, met four near Dry Bay, some brown and
some blue, but I forget the exact proportion.

After lunch I set to work to prepare a sumptuous supper, as I expected
the others back that evening. I made a pudding by boiling rice and dried
peaches together, and even added some sugar, which had become a rare and
precious commodity, so that I did not use it while the others were away.
I then left the pot in the snow to cool, put a goose to stew on a slow
fire, and wandered up a little way beyond camp to make a sketch of the
glacier. About five o’clock the weather improved, the clouds gradually
disappearing and the sun being pleasantly warm. The others did not
return, and the pudding was so good that about half of it was eaten at
supper, but I put the rest by for next day. After supper I went out on to
the Tyndall Glacier and had a grand view of the mountain, though there
were still some clouds about. I could see no sign of the others, but took
a lot of bearings.

_Wednesday, August the 1st._—It was so cold in the night that I woke up
several times and got up pretty early. (Having the tent all to myself and
without the ground-sheet no doubt contributed to this.) Making bread for
breakfast exhausted the flour, so I started the men off to get some more
from Camp H, and went down with them as far as the Daisy Glacier. On the
way I had to pitch into Master Jimmy pretty severely; the crevasses at
the junction of the Coal and Tyndall Glaciers gave us some little trouble
from having kept too near to the latter, and one of these was spanned
by an exceedingly frail snow-bridge. Merely glancing at it, I went some
thirty yards lower down, and, looking back as I crossed, saw, to my
horror, that, though Billy was following me all right, Jimmy, who had
been a little behind, was crossing the rotten bridge, which he traversed
in safety, but two or three strokes from my ice-axe sent it tinkling into
the depths, and why it did not give way with him is a great mystery.
Jimmy looked rather awestruck, and I pointed out to him with some vigour
the necessity of following absolutely in my tracks.

The weather was again perfect, and on arriving at the Daisy Glacier I
let them go on, while I turned on to the glacier, up which I went for
nearly three miles, when my eyes began to ache a good deal, and, as some
_schrunds_ appeared which threatened to prove awkward for a solitary
climber, I returned. In the lower part of the Daisy there are hardly any
crevasses, and in consequence there are some very fine _moulins_, while
the surface was there in many parts very swampy, if such an expression
can be used, a thin crust of snow overlying the wet glacier. As I had
expected, it had a small outflow on its south side, about half a mile
from its junction with the Tyndall; and the stream from this, augmented
by another from the latter glacier, runs into the little lake by Camp H,
and so gets back to the glacier.

I made a slight sketch of Mount St. Elias from the terminal moraine, and
got back to camp about one o’clock (estimated), visiting on the way the
big blocks on the Coal Glacier, the biggest of which probably contained
about six thousand cubic feet. I found that the others had been over
for stores and the kerosene stove, and H. had left a note saying that
I could go down and wait for them at G, and that they would be back in
four days. Among other things they had carried off the small kettle with
the remains of the rice-pudding, and so got their share after all. They
left the skins of four young marmots to be stretched and dried. These
afterwards vanished when we were camped at Yakutat, presumably the prey
of some Indian dog. The men came back about two o’clock, and after lunch
we also went hunting marmots, which they called _tsahkh_; but though we
got pretty near one or two, and dug up a great deal of the hill-side, the
only results were the expenditure of a few revolver-cartridges and the
not uncommon one of smashing the stock of an ice-axe.



_Thursday, the 2nd._—In the odds and ends sack I had found an extra
flannel shirt, and, fortified by this, was not much troubled by the cold,
though I was not too warm in spite of the thick vest, two flannel shirts,
leather waistcoat, Norfolk jacket, and macintosh, that I put on before
creeping into my blanket-bag. I had announced to the Indians that we were
going back, and their delight got them up first for a wonder, though
indeed as we returned they were generally the first to move, in their
eagerness to escape from the detested country. At this camp they had been
chanting the most doleful ditties, and when I inquired what it was all
about, they said, ‘Siwash sick tum-tum, want go home.’ Among Indians the
tummy is generally regarded as the seat of the feelings.

To get everything into one load the packs had to be very heavy. Billy had
about a hundred pounds and Jimmy very little less, while in addition to
my own properties I had kettles, frying-pan, and tent-poles. We left a
small cache for the others, and our last goose, but we hoped to get some
more at H, and were off by about seven o’clock. On the Daisy Glacier we
found fresh bear-tracks, much larger than those of the two who had paid
us a visit, but we saw nothing of the beast himself. Putting up lots of
ptarmigan in the hollow of the little stream by which we descended to
cross the ravine, we went on past H to the site of Schwatka’s last camp,
flushing more ptarmigan by the stream there. Altogether I fired five
pistol-shots at them, and got a young one with my last. It was well-grown
and about the size of a French partridge. We pitched camp at the edge of
the glacier, and after lunch the men went back to fetch the things cached
at H, and to try for geese, but they only got one small one, all the rest
being able to fly. Meanwhile I took my ptarmigan on to the glacier, to
avoid the flies, and tried to skin it. This was not very easy, as the
bullet had smashed both shoulders, but I managed it in a sort of a way,
and then went for a bit across the glacier towards the Chaix Hills to get
some idea of the lie of the crevasses. We had an excellent supper, and
the men displayed marvellous appetites, eating the whole of their goose,
the legs of my bird, and two goes of rice-pudding, but I think they were
then tolerably crowded. After this I started to climb the last little
hill, which looks like an island from the opposite side of the glacier,
but coming on more ptarmigan, fired my last five cartridges and got an
old bird. I ought certainly to have had two more, but the pistol was
so foul that accuracy was impossible, while only three of the chambers
would work. Coming back, I drove two or three young ones on to the
moraine, and, shouting for Billy and Jimmy, we pursued wildly for about
half-an-hour, the men barefooted and I with only moccasins on, so that
it would have been amusing to observe our skips and hops when we lighted
on a sharper stone than usual. At last the one we had selected was too
beat to fly any more, and Billy finally succeeded in knocking him over
with a better aimed rock than usual, most of their shots being awfully
wild. Just as we were going to turn in we heard a curious cry, something
between the bleat of a sheep and the mew of a cat. The men said, though
rather doubtfully, that it was a bear, and shouted vigorously to frighten
it away, but we heard it again afterwards, and I fancy it may have been a

_Friday, the 3rd._—I again woke several times in the night from the cold,
and could hear the ptarmigan calling quite close to the tent. We did not
get up till rather late, and got off about nine o’clock, leaving sundry
properties which I intended Mike and Matthew, who had been luxuriating at
the beach, to have the pleasure of fetching. Thinking, from my survey of
the previous day, that we could improve on the way we had come, I struck
right in nearly to the centre of the glacier, and for a long way we had
very good going with hardly any crevasses; but as we approached the two
conical mounds which made such a land-mark on the Tyndall Glacier, we
got some very bad moraine indeed, and in one place I nearly succeeded in
breaking my leg by pulling a loosely-perched boulder on to myself. It
came to an end at last, and we got up to G about noon, where we found
no sign of the other men. After pitching the tent and examining the
cache, which, like all our others, had been left untouched by four-footed
prowlers, we lunched, and I then had a delicious bathe in the little
tarn. The men slept most of the afternoon while I skinned the ptarmigan,
a futile task, as it was found impossible to preserve the skins by the
time I got home. At supper-time the view was unusually fine; a thin layer
of cloud hid the many crevasses of the Guyot Glacier, as a veil conceals
the wrinkles of a faded beauty, while above this the peaks to the west
showed with unusual grandeur, especially the long snow-clad mass which
we had christened Snowshoe Mountain. Later on the clouds thinned off a
great deal, and St. Elias, which had been banded with mist all day, came
out quite clear. The flowers on the hills, especially the violets, were
mostly over, but I found a fine rose-coloured lupin among the blue ones
at the edge of the lake.

_Saturday, the 4th._—The day dawned brilliantly fine and hot. After a
bathe I mended my clothes, and then, putting my luncheon in my pocket,
wandered over the hills, taking a good many bearings with the sextant.
As I came leisurely back along the edge of the glacier lake, which was
very bad walking, I flushed sundry ptarmigan, one of which, an old one,
perched in the top of a dead fir-tree. Just as I reached the end of the
lake I heard shouts, and, hurrying to the glacier, found H. and W. E. was
behind with the men, and, as Shorty had a bad ankle and the packs were
very heavy, we sent the Indians to help them. While they related their
adventures I got supper ready for them.

After leaving Camp I, they crossed the Tyndall Glacier for about
half-an-hour, and then put on the rope. The crevasses were very bad,
and covered with rotten snow, so that it was with difficulty that they
made their way to the foot of Mount St. Elias, and established a camp
on the last grassy slope that was visible. The scenery was very grand,
resembling the view up the Mer de Glace from the Montanvert, but on a far
larger scale. The double ice-fall of the Tyndall Glacier was well seen,
divided by a small island of rock; further to the right were two very
steep and narrow glaciers, resembling frozen waterfalls. This camp had
been reached at half-past ten (three and a half hours’ going), and at
twelve they sallied forth to explore, and mounted round the camp hill,
keeping it on the right. Two hours up a rather steep ascent brought them
to the top of a snow col connecting the camp hill with one of the arêtes
leading to the rim of the crater which was then their object. The arête
was of loose shale, everything giving way directly it was touched, but,
apart from that, the climbing was not difficult, and after reaching
a height of about six thousand feet they turned back at 4.30 P.M.,
undecided as to the morrow. Having left the stove and kerosene behind,
they expected to have to live on cold food, but found moss and shrubbery
enough to make a small fire.

Next morning they left at 8 A.M., with the intention of continuing the
same arête, but in half-an-hour they changed to the next one on the left,
and in two hours reached a height slightly greater than that of the
day before. The walking was terrible, over loose shale and steep dirt
giving no real foothold. They followed the edge of the arête for the
rest of the day, sending down quantities of stones. Then came a little
snow, part of which was solid ice, and H. had to cut a hundred and fifty
steps, which took the best part of an hour and a half. At four o’clock
they reached the summit of the arête, but, though on the brink of the
crater, could see nothing, owing to mist. The height, 7,725 feet, was
at all events better than Seton-Karr’s, and they built a cairn and left
the flag, hardly hoping to get any higher. After a hasty lunch they
descended, reaching camp at 10 P.M. They could see that the Tyndall
Glacier makes two long and beautiful sweeps round the foot of St. Elias,
full of tremendous crevasses, and though, if time were no object, it
might be possible to ascend it, it could never be a practicable route to
the summit.

The next day they made a day of rest, which was diversified by Shorty
and Lyons slaying in the morning with stones eight out of a covey of
ptarmigan, while in the evening they succeeded in smoking out and killing
four baby marmots.

On Wednesday they all came over to the Coal Glacier Camp in an hour and
a half, found me absent, and carried off the stove and sundry stores,
including the rice-pudding. In the evening they went up to a bit of
moraine east of, and just beneath, the snow col connecting the camp hill
with their first arête, and slept there, leaving at 4.40 next morning,
and keeping steadily up the arête till their arrival at the top. There
was no difficulty, it was only a sort of treadmill over the loose shale
and slate. They kept to the edge of the arête the whole way, and at the
point where it articulates with the mountain they went first up loose
débris, and then over a little snow, whence they diverged to climb a nice
bit of sandstone, and reached the rim of the crater at 7.10.

After ten minutes’ halt they continued along the brink to the summit
of the arête climbed on the 30th of July, which was reached at 7.40.
They then steered north-west over the snow towards the upper lip of the
crater, having to double back considerably to avoid some _schrunds_.
Once above these, they ascended a little snow and then a tedious slope
of loose shale, while on their right was a steep snow-slope, in too
dangerous a condition for climbing. Near the top of this they met with
some more fine rocks of grey sandstone which gave them their second ten
minutes of real climbing, and they then rested for lunch from 10.10 to
10.55. The aneroid gave a height of 9,500 feet, and to reach 10,000 they
had to go a considerable distance. Just above the sandstone rocks came
the top of the snow-slope alongside of which they had been climbing. It
proved here to be ice, and they had to cut up it, slanting to the right
so as to reach the top, where a sort of cornice was at its best. The
last part was dangerous, the ice being loose and granular, while the
last few feet were so steep that it was necessary to kneel in the steps.
Above this they found a snow-field stretching in waves round the brink
of the crater. The snow was very trying, being often above their knees,
while large crevasses separated the elevations from the depressions,
and wherever the grade was steep the snow changed to ice. They kept on
this till they were about due north of the crater, when they had their
second lunch at a height of 11,375 feet, as shown on working out the
boiling-point observations, and then went on to the foot of the highest
rocks that formed part of the eastern edge of the crater. These were
steep and mostly covered with snow, in which were large crevasses. The
snow mounted in sweeps and terraces to the top of the rocks, which they
estimated as about a thousand feet above them. They would have much liked
to have ascended these, but the day was advanced, the wind rising, and
the sun spoiling their steps, so that they thought it more prudent to

At this point they were above the col joining Haydon Peak to Mount St.
Elias, but could not see the col itself. They could see, however, that
the final peak, which they then estimated as being some six thousand
feet above them, would be difficult and perhaps impossible from this
col. On the further side it would first be necessary to climb east to
avoid an overhanging glacier; then to ascend over rocks, snow, and some
green ice which might perhaps be avoided by some steep rocks to the left,
but all the climbing up this first thousand feet would be very severe.
Afterwards it would be easier, up a snow-slope till above what appears as
a mound from below (1,500 to 2,000 feet above the col), then north over
a comparatively level snow-field; then up steep snow and rocks to the
edge of the true south arête which runs up for about four thousand feet
to the summit, chiefly consisting of snow and not steep. The upper half
is steeper, but there is no rock, and there would be no difficulty there
or on the south-east face, unless, as is very probable, what seems to be
snow is in reality ice. Lower down they could see distinctly that this
was so, and therefore abandoned all idea of sleeping on the col.

The south-west face is a mass of hanging glaciers. The brow on which they
were is seen from below as a wall of snow fringing the top of the crater;
on the other side this snow falls away rapidly to the glacier which
winds down from the north-east to the head of the Tyndall Glacier. From
there no route to the col could be made, as the ice is far too broken,
and should any one force the Tyndall ice-fall his best course would be
to cross the glacier to a low rock arête, which would take him to some
snow-fields whence he might turn west and gain the huge north-west arête
of the mountain. By this he could reach the west shoulder and the way
would be simple. The weather being perfect, their view was magnificent.
To the north-west the ranges were low, but the glaciers went winding out
of sight. Mount Wrangel could not be seen, but Fairweather was distinctly
visible. On their descent they found the snow and steps much worse. They
left Mrs. Haydon’s flag in a meat-tin under a pile of stones at the foot
of the sandstone rocks where they made their first lunch, as above this
there was no place of security, and got back to camp about nine o’clock.

Next day they crossed over to Camp I, and on the Saturday descended to G,
going, at Shorty’s suggestion, all along the Tyndall Glacier, but came to
the conclusion that it was not an improvement. As the other men had not
turned up, Billy and Jimmy were informed, to their great disgust, that
they would have to go next morning and fetch the cache left at J.

_Sunday, the 5th._—W. woke us all up in the night by shouting in his
sleep, ‘Lyons, Lyons, a serac is falling on the tent!’ for which he was
unmercifully chaffed. The Indians arose at some unearthly hour and went
off to J, getting back at eight o’clock. At 6.30 A.M. W. went off to
try and turn the west end of the opposite range, which we had christened
the Ptarmigan Hills. He could persuade no one to go with him as we
all believed, first, that the hills could not be turned, owing to the
crevassed state of the Guyot Glacier, and secondly, that if he did turn
them he would only see another point beyond. We bathed and sketched,
and at about noon Ed. and Finn turned up, followed half-an-hour later
by Matthew and Gums, who had laudably endeavoured to find a better way
through the crevasses on the Guyot Glacier, but had failed signally. Gums
had come up in Mike’s place, as the latter’s feet were very sore.

They had had rainy weather on the beach nearly the whole time. A lot of
the Yakutats had been there sea-otter hunting with considerable success,
and Jack Dalton had camped for one night. He brought the news that the
body of a white man had been found at Point Manby, thrown up with a
fishing dory. The poor fellow must have got among the breakers at night,
and he had thrown out a drag to keep the boat head on to them, but must
have swamped as he reached the shore. From the tracks they saw that he
was able to crawl up the beach on his hands and knees into the bush, and
whether he died there from exhaustion or was killed by a bear no one
could say, but it is to be hoped he was dead before the bear got him. No
one recognised the boat or knew anything which might lead to discovering
his name. They buried what was left of him there, and put the dory over
his grave.

Our men had had a fair time among the flesh-pots on the shore, as,
though the Indians had got no more seals, they had shot several swans
and geese. The men came up in two days, making a camp as before at the
place where the river issues from the ice, but succeeded in getting down
in one day of sixteen hours. The water was very high, and they had to
make a raft before they could cross one creek. After lunch Lyons and I
went after ptarmigan with our pistols; Shorty also started with the rifle
which had been brought up from the first cache, but his leg was too bad
and he had to go back. He looked for me to give me the rifle, but I had
vanished down a ravine. There were not very many ptarmigan, while the
ground was so broken that it was almost impossible to mark them. I only
fired two shots; Lyons was luckier, firing ten or twelve, and getting
one bird, which he nearly lost, for he fixed it in his belt by its head,
and looking down after a time found head _et præterea nil_. Retracing
his steps carefully he managed to find the corpse. We heard W. also
popping away vigorously on the other side of the glacier, but he returned
_bredouille_ without having got round the end of the hills. After supper
Finn went out with the rifle and got two ptarmigan. He hit a goose, but
it escaped into the lake. We decided to make an early start for the
shore, so as to avail ourselves of the continued fine weather and get
back to Yakutat as soon as possible.

_Monday, the 6th._—Moved by the hope of speedily leaving the regions they
so thoroughly loathed, the Indians were astir early, and by four o’clock
the whole party was up. Finn fried the two ptarmigan for breakfast, but
as it was discovered that the Indians had been greasing their boots with
the fat in the frying-pan, no one seemed inclined to partake of the dish.
We got off by 5.30, and went down to the Guyot Glacier, along which
we proceeded at a great pace as the packs were pretty light. We got
through the crevasses without much difficulty, and, though we had some
rather muddy bits near Lake Castani, we cleared the Chaix Hills at nine
o’clock, abandoning to their fate a few stores which had been left in
the cache made at the point where our trail from F struck the glacier,
Ed., Matthew, and Mike having found more than they could bring up on July
26. Keeping about half-a-mile to the west of the depression between the
glaciers, we reached the head of the river at eleven. The water boils out
finely from under the ice, but, though it was higher than when the men
had last come up, the gravel-flat on which they had then slept being now
covered, the volume was not as great as I had expected, being perhaps
equal to that of the Visp where it joins the Rhone.

We rested a bit on the beach, and then came on in very scattered order
to the cache, the two miles taking about two hours, as the alder-bush on
the face of the moraine was very bad, and the stream was too high for
us to get along on the flats by wading every now and then, as the men
had generally been able to do. H., who stopped to photograph, went all
wrong, away from the river towards Camp C, and as he came back fell foul
of a wasp’s nest, and got stung in two or three places. Jimmy, who was
one of the first at the cache, earned our high approval by coming back
of his own accord to help Shorty in with his load. We were all collected
by half-past two, and rested all the afternoon. Supper was at 4.30, and
we at last got hold of the dried vegetables, which the men had always
forgotten to bring up, and made some splendid soup. Just above the cache
E. found a white willow-herb, and I collected some seed of the red kind
to try in England.

While we were resting in the afternoon Matthew told us that the Indians
called the river Yahkhtze-tah-heen (Muddy Harbour River), and Mount St.
Elias Yahkhtze-tah-shah (Muddy Harbour Mountain). George, the second
chief of Yakutat, afterwards told us that there used to be two villages,
one on the sea and the other at the foot of St. Elias, but that the
glaciers came down and destroyed them, according to him, in a single
night. As the Alaska glaciers are all rapidly receding, this must have
been a very long time ago, for a hundred years back, when the country
was first visited, there was far more ice than there is now, Vancouver
having been unable to enter Glacier Bay for the ice, while Icy Bay, even
on modern charts, is represented as being of a V-shape from the glaciers
running out on either side, whereas it now hardly deserves the name of a
bay at all.

Meaning to make an early start, we turned in at six o’clock, but were
driven wild by the millions of mosquitoes that invaded our tent. By this
time we were thoroughly inoculated against the effects of their bites,
but their continuous trumpeting destroyed all chance of sleep; after a
time we arose and drove out and slew as many as we could, after which
we endeavoured to close up every possible aperture. Our success was but
partial, but we managed to get a little sleep.

_Tuesday, the 7th._—We got up at 4 A.M., and were off by 5.45; an hour’s
steady going brought us down to Camp B, and we went on by the old route
to the point where Gums declared Schwatka had had a camp. Here we turned
to the left instead of keeping down the main river. At first we had
a good lot of wading, but presently reached some flats, over which we
made more satisfactory progress. At this point some wild-geese were
discovered far ahead, and Shorty set forth to stalk them; as, however,
he was unwilling to crawl over the wet mud, his six-foot-four frightened
them away while he was still three or four hundred yards off. On these
flats were a great many small frogs, of which most of the Indians were
much afraid, holding some kind of superstition about them; but Matthew
and Jimmy were apparently sceptics, and the latter, with a sly look at
us, put a frog on the back of Billy, who, though his great friend, was
perfectly furious, and for a minute I thought we were going to have a
first-class row.

At last we approached the deep creek where the men had once had to make
a raft. Now the crossing appeared feasible, but it was hard to be sure,
as all the neighbouring land on our side was under water. In the midst
of this was a stranded log, where we rested and took off our coats,
fastening them on to our packs, which we carried on our heads. H. planted
the camera in the water, and prepared to photograph the passage. Gums,
of course, led; and at the second attempt discovered a place where the
water was hardly over his armpits. This was all right for the taller
ones of us, but E. went in well up to his chin, as did Finn, who, losing
his footing, vanished with his pack. Great was the dismay till it was
discovered that he was only carrying the bacon. Jimmy also disappeared
altogether, and had eventually to be convoyed across by Gums and Matthew.
Last of all came W. and H., the latter bearing the camera. He chanced on
a deepish place, and nearly went under, but struggled on, quoting: ‘And
nobly Father Tiber bare up his faltering chin’—which chin, decked with
a ruddy beard, had dipped beneath the icy wave before he emerged on the
other side.

Three-quarters of an hour through the trees, and then a little wading,
brought us to the mouth of the first river at eleven o’clock, and we
halted for a little lunch and a great many strawberries, which were not
yet over in shady places or long grass. We then pushed on along the beach
to camp, the packs being brought down the lagoon in the small canoe,
and arrived at 1.15, hoping to start at once for Yakutat; but the other
Indians had gone hunting, and we had to await their return, which was not
till five o’clock. After some supper we got off at 6.20; it was perfectly
calm, and we didn’t ship a drop of water, or get wet above our knees.
There was a five-gallon can of kerosene which we said could be left on
the beach; Mike, however, wished to take it in the small canoe, but Gums,
after a lively argument, settled the question by driving an ice-axe into
it. It was a fair squeeze for twelve in the big canoe; I curled up just
forward of the bow oar, the other three were in the stern, and hardly so
well off. We rowed and paddled to Cape Sitkagi (10 P.M.), when a fresh
breeze from the west sprang up, and, towing the small canoe, we sailed to
Point Manby, which we passed at 4 A.M.

_Wednesday, the 8th._—The breeze then began to die away, and vanished
at five, so we had to row again, and got to Yakutat at ten o’clock. De
Groff greeted us, and gave us four breakfast, which included the unwonted
luxuries of butter and honey; the men, who were a little sulky after
their night’s exertions, cooked theirs on his stove. Then H. paid off
Ed., Finn, and the Yakutats, and arranged to leave our Indians in the
village as before, after which we went over to the Swedish Mission on
the mainland opposite, and encamped in the yard. Ed. came too, and Finn
followed in the evening. We bathed in the sea, which was decidedly cold;
but the lake at the back was too muddy, and also too near George’s ranche
to be pleasant. De Groff expected the ‘Alpha’ to arrive about the 10th.



_Thursday and Friday, August the 9th and 10th._—We wandered about the two
villages hunting curios, but without much result, though I got a rather
neat model of the skin bidarky. We got some excellent clams from the
Indians, and a good lot of strawberries which W. and I hulled. We tried
to arrange with Ned to take us up in his canoe to Disenchantment Bay, but
there was a ‘potlatch’ in prospect, and he declined to make any agreement.

_Saturday, the 11th._—Very fine and hot. Our Indians came over by order,
and Matthew and Mike were set to cut wood, while the others took the
boat to fetch water, an operation which involved some little time as the
nearest good water was about a mile away. Having nothing better to do,
H. undertook to make a pudding of corn-meal and raisins for supper. While
we were all sitting round watching, the fire, as was its wont, began
to collapse, and the kettle of water for the coffee took a header into
the ashes. ‘Thank goodness,’ said H., ‘it’s not the pudding.’ Even as
he spoke another log gave way and the pudding joined the coffee-water.
However it was soon re-made, but proved better cold than hot. Just after
supper great excitement was caused by an aged crone, who was leaning on
the palings, pointing out to sea and saying ‘schooner,’ but, on bringing
the telescope to bear, it proved to be only a big iceberg drifting down
from Disenchantment Bay.

In the evening Sub-chief George came round to pay us a visit, and _said_
that he and nine other Indians had once seen the back of Mount St. Elias,
when after goats, and that it was a gentle snow-slope. They landed at
Cape Yaktagi, which he described as being a better beach than Icy Bay.
There used once to be a village there, the westernmost point to which the
Tlinkits ever reached, but now only three tumble-down houses are left.
They went up the _right_ bank of the river Kokhtasch for a day, and
then for two days along moraine at the back of Mount Snowshoe and the
range north of it, which was green and nearly clear of snow on that side;
they then turned east for half a day over ice and saw the mountain as

In the afternoon Murphy’s little eleven-ton schooner, the ‘Active,’ came
down from Disenchantment Bay, where he, Callsen, and Dalton had been
prospecting, and had found coal in a spot where it seemed so likely to
pay that some of them went back later from Sitka to winter there, so as
to begin working it directly spring began.

_Sunday, the 12th._—Very fine, with a light west wind. As we were short
of meat Lyons and I took the canoe along the shore towards Ankau Creek,
where we found several flocks of small plover, and I shot about thirty.
I had only No. 4 shot; with No. 8 or 10 the bag would probably have been
doubled. In the afternoon Murphy came over; W. wanted to go down with
him, but they were already very full. He managed it at last by exchanging
places with Finn, who was to stay and go down with us.

_Monday, the 13th._—The ‘Active’ sailed at six, and W. went over about
four o’clock. He must have left the shed door open, and some dogs have
made their entrance, for H.’s sealskin gloves were found outside, and my
model bidarky had vanished altogether; Ned subsequently discovered it
unhurt in the bushes outside. These Siwash dogs were a horrid nuisance,
and we several times rose in the night to pursue them, but without
result, as they always escaped by the holes in the palings before we
could stop them up. Once they got into the store-tent by digging under
the side, and went off with a bit of bacon and the only piece of cheese
in Yakutat.

_Tuesday, the 14th._—This afternoon the potlatch began in the second
house. These potlatches generally follow a funeral or some great
misfortune; thus an Indian at Dry Bay, who possessed three large trading
canoes, had one of them wrecked and some men drowned, on which he
promptly held a potlatch and gave away the other two canoes and all the
rest of his property, with the view of appeasing the anger of the Great
Spirit. A potlatch is sometimes, but very rarely, held for the purpose
of gaining influence in the tribe in order that the donor may some day
succeed to the position of chief. This one we attended was consequent on
the exhumation and reburial of the ashes of members of the two families.

Just before proceedings commenced Matthew summoned us, and ushered us in
in great pew-opener style. We were rather surprised at finding blankets
spread for us in the place of honour facing the door, as we had been
told they might perhaps object to our presence, so we were pleased and
said they really did know how to do things in Yakutat. About two hundred
spectators crowded in, and there was consequently a fairish ‘froust.’
A blanket was then held up over the small oval hole which served as a
doorway, and the play began. The ‘Ravens,’ seventeen men, four women,
and three boys, wondrously painted and arrayed, came and thundered on
the wall outside, after which the old doctor, who wore a curious wooden
mask representing a raven’s head, crept under the blanket, and singing
and yelling postured slowly down the three or four steps from the door,
followed gradually by the rest, howling at the top of their voices. When
they were all in they danced, but only for a short time. Some of the
head-dresses, made of ermine-skins and abelone shells, were very quaint.

They then retired, and, after a pause during which we all went out
for some fresh air, the ‘Eagles’ entered in the same way. This time
we saw the old chief and doctor both skip into the house at the first
warning with somewhat undignified haste, and when we followed, we found
them ensconced in the place of honour, and realised that we had been
intruders before, though they had been too polite to turn us out. We
huddled into a corner, and watched the performance, which was much the
same. Gums and Jimmy were in great form, skipping about as if they were
birds, and waving their arms wrapped in cloaks. Our George was also most
resplendent, having on his head De Groff’s big tin funnel decorated with
skins and red feathers. One blanket was then torn up and distributed,
and then came a long wait, so H., Finn, and Shorty went back with the

E., Lyons, and I stayed, but this time took up a position near the door
so as to occasionally get a little fresh air. The women, drawn up in two
rows on the dais on either side, swayed and bobbed, chanting at the pitch
of their lungs. They all wore the same dark-blue and scarlet cloak, and
had red feathers and worsted in their hair, making a decidedly striking
picture. Most of them wore sharks’-teeth earrings, to which they attach
an enormous importance, the lowest price we heard of being twelve dollars
for a pair. After this a lot of blankets and calico were cut up and given
away, and we left them hard at it about five o’clock. As the tide had
risen in the meantime, Lyons had to wade in a good way after the canoe,
which had been secured to the stump of a tree.

_Wednesday, the 15th._—After breakfast I went off with Finn and Lyons
in the canoe to Ankau Creek, but the tide was running out so strongly
that we did not attempt to go up it, but landed, and Lyons and I went up
along the shore, while Finn searched for strawberries, of which there
were still a few to be found. We followed up the creek for nearly a mile,
but, saw nothing in the way of game, and as the rocks were decidedly
unpleasant to our moccasined feet we returned to the canoe and crossed
to Yakutat, where most of the Indians were still in bed, having kept
up the potlatch till five in the morning, and distributed some three
thousand yards of calico, according to De Groff. We lunched there, and
sailed home about four o’clock. The chief’s garden was being stripped
of its produce, turnip, beet, and a few onions, with a view to the
approaching feast.

_Thursday, the 16th._—Grey and cloudy, with a south-east wind which
ought to bring the ‘Alpha’ now. De Groff came over to lunch and took a
photograph of us ‘in camp,’ and also of the Swedish Mission. The Indians
were potlatching again to-day; one woman gave away twenty-one blankets
and a lot of calico. Occasionally great swells, like the chief or the
doctor, got a whole blanket. These doctors or medicine-men used to have
tremendous power in the tribe, but this has much diminished before the
advance of civilisation. Their initiation into their full M.D. degree
used to consist in a prolonged solitary fast in the forests, till,
overtaken by a sort of frenzy, they rushed back to the village, where
such people as desired to show a fine religious fervour would offer
their arms for the doctor to take bites out of. Other Indians when dead
are cremated, but the doctors are buried in a little wooden hut in some
isolated spot, or on a point of rock overlooking the sea; and of late
years these huts have been ruthlessly ravaged for curios, since the
doctor’s charms and other implements are always buried with him; but if
the sacrilegious prowler was caught it would be very awkward for him in a
wild place like Yakutat. The common American term for these medicine-men
is _shaman_, apparently a corruption of the Russian _shawaan_, but the
Tlinkits themselves use the word _icht_. The doctor at Yakutat was
a filthy old scoundrel, with hair about six feet long; he had been
half-blind for years, having at one time headed an attack against a
French storekeeper (named, I believe, Belœil, but the men always spoke of
him as Bellew), who had checked the onslaught with a well-aimed dose of
sulphuric acid.

During the potlatch sundry relics of the deceased made their appearance,
and were wept over with much emotion, genuine tears being produced in
abundance. Some of the old men, who had nothing else, gave tobacco,
a small pinch being put in the fire each time for the spirits of the

_Friday, the 17th._—Dull and grey, and threatening rain. Yesterday and
to-day the flies were something fearful, and we had even to walk up and
down when feeding, while any liquid, such as soup or tea, was thick with
them. As the baking-powder was all but finished, Finn, who was supposed
to be rather good at the art, was deputed to make sour-dough bread, but
it was not much of a success, resembling plain heavy buns. The leaven was
presumably too new, for afterwards it worked admirably.

The Indians began their feast about four o’clock. Each man had his own
bowl, while by the fire were large dishes full of rice, berries cooked in
seal-oil, and what looked like some preparation of fish. After a brief
invocation a little of each was put in the fire, and then the bowls were
filled and they began. I was over on the island by myself, and H. came
across in the smallest canoe to fetch me. Half-way over we met E. in
another, who, unaware that his brother had started, was coming over with
the same intention, and, instead of being pleased at not having to go
any further, seemed to consider himself aggrieved. We often saw Siwash
dogs swimming across, the distance being quite a mile. In the morning we
purchased through Mike two salmon for ten cents, which sounds cheap, but
after all the money was wasted, as a few minutes later Billy and Matthew
turned up in a canoe with two dozen they had speared, so we took six of
the best.

_Saturday, the 18th._—Raining all day, with some very heavy showers, so
we stayed in the Mission most of the time. The house consisted of one
furnished room, which Hendrickson and Lydell inhabited, one unfurnished
one, which they politely put at our disposal, and another large one, at
that time unfloored, which was to be the school-room. We said we would
sleep in the house as the weather was so bad, but at supper-time it
cleared a bit, and H. elected to stay in the green tent. E. and I went in
and rolled up in our blankets on the floor, which was distinctly hard. In
the other room Hendrickson was reading to Lydell the story of Elisha and
the Shunammite woman, rendered apparently into easy English for children.
His accent was certainly most peculiar, and E., after listening a bit,
remarked, ‘A great many sibilants in that language, aren’t there?’ being
under the impression that Hendrickson was sticking to his native Swedish.
I roared so that I feared they would come and ask what was the matter,
but luckily they didn’t.

_Sunday, the 19th._—Rain nearly all night and most of the day. E. and I
got up about six o’clock, roused by the men coming back with clams, for
which the tide suited. Last evening my watch began to go in a feeble
manner and made three hours during the night. In the afternoon E. and I
played a curious form of cricket on the beach with a wooden net-float for
a ball, an axe-handle for a bat, and two ice-axes for wickets. Having
smashed two balls, we had to desist, though not before E. had defeated me
with great slaughter.

_Monday, the 20th._—Wind still south-east, but no ‘Alpha.’ We were
getting thoroughly sick of our enforced imprisonment in this place,
where there was literally nothing to do, the village being hopelessly
surrounded by bush, and so far from the mountains that no hunting or
exploring was possible, for fear the ‘Alpha’ should arrive while we were
away. Tremendous rain all the afternoon, which cleared as usual about six
o’clock. The wind, however, seemed rather more south-west.

_Tuesday, the 21st._—Lovely morning at last, but hardly any wind. My
watch still kept going, but only very slowly between the hours of seven
and eleven, something evidently clogging the works. Ned’s canoe, the one
we had at Icy Bay, was going back to Juneau next day, which offered a
means of escape, but he was taking a cargo of seal-oil! Shorty, however,
wanted to go, but we preferred to keep him. De Groff came to supper, and
we had some whist afterwards, keeping it up till the extraordinarily
late hour of half-past ten, when he took his departure by the light of a
lovely full moon.

_Wednesday, the 22nd._—Perfect weather again. Shorty had sold the rifle
he bought from W. to Sub-chief George, and Finn E.’s to Frank, a friend
of Ned’s. This breach of the law rather annoyed us, as we naturally
thought the men had purchased the rifles to keep, but we saw no good in
interfering, now that the deed was done. Our four Indians came over about
breakfast-time to take E. salmon-spearing, and reported that Ned had not
taken his departure last night, so I said I would go with him and take
Finn to look after me. H. then proposed that I should take our Indians,
who were eating their heads off to no purpose, and Shorty suggested that
we might buy a canoe and all go down together, so we went over to Yakutat
to make inquiries. De Groff admitted that all agreement with him was over
on the 20th, and seemed to have but little hope of the ‘Alpha’s’ turning
up now, but believed that the ‘Leo,’ or even the ‘Pinta,’ would come for
us. Canoes were to be bought for a hundred and twenty or a hundred and
fifty dollars, but H. was rather unwilling to go in one, so we came back
at two o’clock for E.’s opinion, but he had not returned.

We began boiling bacon, and started Finn on a big batch of bread. E. came
back at four with a fair lot of fish; unable to quite settle, though
against the canoe idea on the whole, he and H. went over to Yakutat
to decide and to fetch Shorty, while Finn and I went on cooking. They
returned at 7.30, having concluded not to go, and the Siwashes refused to
come in the canoe unless H. did, saying they had not made an agreement
with me but with him. As they were all accustomed to canoes, and Matthew
had done the trip twice before, I do not think they were afraid (except
perhaps of hard work), but merely that they found themselves in very
comfortable quarters at Yakutat, drawing full pay and doing very little
for it, and wished to prolong that happy state of things as long as
possible. Ned was willing to take any number of passengers to Juneau for
ten dollars each, but after much discussion it was at last settled that I
should take Lyons, Shorty, and Finn, and try to get Ned to go to Sitka;
so I went over about ten o’clock with the two former and routed out Ned,
who agreed to take us to Sitka for eighty dollars, half down. As most
of the people in the Chief’s house were asleep, we curled up _sub Jove
frigido_ on the stoop, and were soon asleep.



_Thursday, the 23rd._—Up at sunrise, the blankets dripping with dew.
As the morning was perfectly lovely, and the mountains quite clear, I
roused De Groff to photograph, and then we went over in the big canoe to
fetch Finn and our things, and said good-bye to the other two and to the
missionaries. We then returned to the island and cooked our breakfast on
De Groff’s stove, who was rather sad at our departure, but brightened up
before we went. We managed to purchase a little hard tack and rice in
the village, but could not get away till after nine o’clock, as Ned, in
his delight at the prospect of such a lucrative voyage, was boozing with
a few select friends on ‘hoochinoo,’ a vile decoction they distil from
sugar, and was only got away when about half-seas over. At 8.30 H. came
across with a letter for his brother Alfred, and went back just before
our departure.

We pulled to Ocean Cape, which we reached at eleven o’clock, and then set
both sails ‘wing and wing’ as the wind was dead aft though very light.
The result of Ned’s potations was that we gybed with some frequency, and,
apparently becoming aware of this, he transferred the steering-lines
to his young brother Jack, who, with Ned’s wife and another Indian
named Frank, made up the crew, and composed himself to sleep. We sailed
steadily on all day, keeping five or six miles from the shore, which is
here a low sandy beach on which the Pacific surf continually breaks, so
that it is always difficult to land, and in bad weather becomes quite
impossible, and therefore this was the most dangerous part of our canoe
journey. At sunset we were nearly opposite the western end of Dry Bay,
and as the wind died we pulled for a bit, but a land breeze from the
north then came, and though, as it was on the beam, we were sure to make
a lot of leeway, we kept the sails up, and proceeded to arrange ourselves
as best we could for sleep. This is not very easy in a canoe even when
forty feet long, as the seats and cross-pieces prevent any extension
movements of the body, but Ned’s bedding was allotted to me, and nicely
filled the space aft of the stroke thwart. This canoe was fitted with
four oars and, _mirabile dictu_, a rudder with yoke-lines, the only one I
ever saw on a canoe, all the others being steered by paddles. Wash-boards
had also been put on her for this ocean cruise, and we had had to cut
holes in these for the oars.

_Friday, the 24th._—Splendid weather, almost too hot. At sunrise we had
hardly cleared Dry Bay, but were some ten or twelve miles from land.
About nine o’clock the west wind came again, but it was very light,
and our progress was slow in the extreme. Swarms of little divers kept
appearing all round us, and in the afternoon, when all were asleep but
Ned and me, two small plover came on board and stayed for some time. At
three o’clock the breeze died, and then a puff from the south-east rather
alarmed us, and made us pull in for land, then about eight miles off,
but it vanished again, and we pulled steadily on till just at sundown we
reached the Indians’ regular camping-place, about four miles north of
Cape Fairweather.

Though somewhat protected, the landing is through surf, and we had
accordingly to unload the cargo, consisting of a few sea-otter skins and
rather over a ton of seal-oil in square boxes, and then to pull up the
canoe. We soon had a fire going, and cooked some soup and salmon, the
former being much appreciated by Finn, who had been more or less sea-sick
all day and got terribly chaffed by the Indians. The night was so fine
that we did not pitch the tent, but just rolled it round us as we lay on
the sand, with the roar of the surf lulling us to sleep.

_Saturday, the 25th._—Ned called us at five o’clock, and, after a hearty
breakfast of fried salmon and corn-meal mush, of which latter we cooked
a good quantity so as to be able to eat it cold in the canoe during the
day, we got off at 7.30 with some difficulty, as the tide was ebbing,
and the canoe kept sticking as we piled the stuff into her, and having
to be moved down a little further. I did not envy Frank, who had to hold
on to the stern of the canoe, which was bow on to the shore, for about
half-an-hour, sometimes up to his shoulders in the icy surf, in order
to keep her straight, and we were all more or less wet by the time we
got off. Our frying-pan, which had long lost its handle, still had the
remains of the salmon in it, and, while Shorty was trying to wash it in
the sea, it slipped from his fingers and vanished for ever. This was a
terrible blow, as all our bread was baked in it.

As we pulled to Cape Fairweather, clearing the point at half-past eight,
I was able to do a little more to a sketch of Mount Fairweather, begun
the night before. It bears a curious resemblance to Mount St. Elias, not
only in its own shape, but also in that of the mountains immediately
adjacent, having the same black ridge on the left, rising first into a
Hump and then into a Huxley, but without the teeth on the left of the
top of the latter, while on the right is a mountain wonderfully like
Cook. A possible route from our last night’s camp for the ascent of Mount
Fairweather would be through the bush to the glacier behind, along the
course of the stream running into the sea close to the camping-place;
then up the glacier for two easy days, or even one fair one, according
to the state of the ice, and then right up the west arête; but the snow
looked bad, and the rocks, though nowhere very steep, seemed ominously

A fine wind, increasing every moment, now sent us along at a grand pace,
the water every now and then surging through the oar-holes, which we
stopped as best we could by covering them with paddles. About seven to
ten miles north of our camp is a very large glacier (the Grand Plateau?),
of which the centre, covered with moraine, comes almost, if not quite, to
the sea, while on either side is a stream of pure white ice. St. Elias
was visible just over the point to the north of it, but we afterwards
kept too close to the land to ever see it again, though it has been
observed as far south as the entrance to Salisbury Sound, a distance of
_two hundred and eighty miles_. As we got more to the south we could see
that Fairweather’s ‘Hump’ was double-headed, while ‘Huxley’ looked very
like the Rothhorn as seen from the Riffel. The west arête of Fairweather
now seemed worse, there being a level jagged piece like the ‘Crête du
Coq’ on the Matterhorn just before joining the main mass of the mountain.
The upper part of the easternmost of the three southern arêtes looked
feasible enough, but the bottom was of precipitous dark-brown rock, to
all appearance very little broken. This arête would be reached by the
glacier which runs into the northern arm of Lituya Bay.

The Indians now shouted out, ‘Schooner, schooner!’ and we were much
excited, intending, if it should prove to be the ‘Alpha,’ to get some
tinned luxuries and our mails from her, but we soon decided that it was
only a canoe. We then lost sight of it for a bit, but came suddenly on
it again, when it turned out to be only a floating spruce, to the huge
amusement of my crew.

With a real good wind we went flying along finely, and passed the mouth
of Lituya Bay at eleven o’clock. The narrow entrance was quite smooth,
and we could easily have gone in. We reached the Great Pacific Glacier
at 2.30; this has a sea-front of white ice a mile and a half long, but,
though great pieces are constantly breaking off, there are no bergs,
as the surf pounds them up directly. The wind now began to slacken,
and we did not reach Astrolabe Point, near which are some hot springs
frequented by the Indians, till half-past six, while at sunset the
breeze disappeared altogether. Ned, with whom we, as passengers, never
interfered in the management of his vessel, seemed undecided whether
to go on all night or not, but the sunset had rather foreboded stormy
weather, and he eventually headed for land. We pulled and paddled till
ten o’clock, by which time it was quite dark, but the Indians found a
little harbour known as Murphy’s Cove in a mysterious manner, and we
tumbled out over sharp rocks to a tiny sandbeach, where we made a fire
and had some coffee. Ned pitched his tent, Frank and Jack sleeping in the
canoe, which was moored, while the rest of us lay about anywhere in the
long rough grass. By the fire we found some porcupine quills, and there
were other signs of Indians having been there recently.

_Sunday, the 26th._—I woke the others at five; the sky was grey and
threatening, and the wind seemed to be from the east. All our stores were
in a big rubber sack, the mouth of which had not been tied up, and Jack,
in getting it from the canoe, managed to drop into the sea the bags which
contained the rice and oatmeal. We promptly made porridge with the wet
portion of the latter, and put the rice near the fire to dry; it swelled
rather, but there was not much of it, and it all got eaten before
it went wrong. Ned’s big water-breaker had apparently once contained
seal-oil, and the taste consequently imparted to the water was most
loathsome, so that we were always careful to empty it out and fill it
afresh before starting. For this purpose I went to a little stream only a
yard or two wide, which ran into the corner of the harbour, and found it
perfectly choked with salmon; in the first pool, which was about as big
as a large hip-bath, were between twenty and thirty, varying from ten to
twenty-five pounds in weight. In the stream and on the edges were so many
dead and dying ones, that the water did not look tempting, but it was the
best that could be had.

We got off at 7.30, passing out by the canoe entrance, where we had
tried to come in the night before, but had found the tide too low. We
only just cleared the bar now by those of the men who had gum-boots on
getting into the water and shoving. We pulled out through small islets
of rock, but as we got to sea a strong squally east wind came on, and we
had to take shelter at the Indians’ usual landing-place at Cape Spencer
itself, after going about five miles. The cape is rather like a four-or
five-pronged fork, long promontories of rock running out, with very
narrow bays between. We tried the most sheltered of these, but found too
little water at the entrance, and had to go on to the next, which was a
good deal more exposed.

We got ashore at half-past nine, and as it was beginning to rain, we
pitched our tent on the shingle, after which I went with Ned to the
river, which was about a quarter of a mile off and ran into the bay that
we had first tried to enter. It was a nice clear stream from ten to
twenty yards wide, and full of salmon which fled before us, raising a
great wave in the water. He speared ten in about twenty minutes, but they
were all dogs but two. A great argument is at present raging in America
as to whether these dogs, which have white flesh, are spent salmon or
not; personally, I do not think they are, as at the mouth of this river
there was a considerable fall at low water, and I saw there the doggiest
of dogs waiting for the tide to come up so that they might ascend the
river. When I returned Shorty and Lyons were asleep, but Finn cooked me
some lunch. He told me that the Tlinkits make hoolachan oil by stacking
the fish in a canoe till they are rotten, they then add a little water to
keep the canoe from burning, and pile heated rocks on the mass, drawing
off the oil through a plug-hole at the bottom.

In the afternoon it rained off and on, and the wind rather went down,
but it would have been very bad in Cross Sound, and, though I think we
might have got over, it would have been very risky to try, as we might
so easily have been blown out to sea. We now made the discovery that our
bacon had gone rancid and was quite uneatable, though the grease could be
used for cooking. Though nothing would induce the white men to touch it,
I had found that boiled salmon-roe, if well cleaned, was most excellent,
so I prepared a piece and laid it on a stone, but, when I turned round
a few minutes later, I saw a great raven flying off with it. I got some
more later, as Finn and the Indians went to the river and speared and
shot a lot of fish, only bringing back the good ones. They speared a
salmon-trout of five or six pounds, but they threw each fish on the bank
as they got it, to be picked up on the way down, and somehow missed this
one, so I never saw it. About four o’clock the sun came out; we seemed to
be on the edge of the bad weather, as to the north and west it was fine
and clear, but thick and grey to the south, towards which quarter our
cove faced. In the evening it turned grey again and began to rain, so,
after a supper of rice soup and boiled fish, we turned in early.

_Monday, the 27th._—There was a lot of rain in the night, and more wind,
so that the Indians had to unload and pull up the canoe, in which Ned
was sleeping. In the morning there was plenty of blue sky to the north,
but the same strong east wind kept us prisoners. At breakfast our scanty
store of sugar came to an end. This didn’t affect me much, but the men
were grieved at having to eat their porridge plain. The Siwashes now
discovered frogs in the vegetation where they had pitched their tent.
They are very superstitious about these reptiles, whose image often
appears on their totem-poles, and accordingly moved their tent down to
ours, though at the same time they seemed to consider it rather a good
joke. I borrowed Finn’s gum-boots and went up the river with the spear,
which had no barb, so that it was not very easy to secure the fish when
struck. The Indians used to flip them out on to the bank, but my wrists
were not strong enough for that with a thick twelve-foot pole, and I
had to hold my captive down till I could shorten the spear, so sundry
escaped, but I got eight or ten, following the river up for about a mile
to where it got wider and shallower, and some Indians had at one time
constructed a barrier and trap, now very dilapidated, with twigs and

When I returned I found that Ned’s wife had washed the blacking off
her face with surprising results. I had sat at her feet for three days
in the canoe under the impression that she was a hideous creature of
about thirty, but now she appeared to be about seventeen, and really
quite good-looking, being as fair as most Italians. Ned was himself a
smart-looking fellow, and they made a handsome pair, though, like nearly
all these coast Indians, their legs were deformed from the continual
canoe life. All the women of these parts, and a good many of the men,
black their faces in summer, partly to preserve the complexion, and
partly to keep off mosquitoes. They used to employ a mixture of soot and
seal-oil, but now that the advance of civilisation has introduced them
to blacking, they much prefer that. My watch now took to going all right
again, the fine glacier mud apparently dropping out as it dried.

At noon it began to rain steadily and kept on till five, when it kindly
left off for a little, so we turned out and had supper. In spite of the
rain, Finn had managed to bake some sour-dough bread in our tin plates,
and he persuaded it to rise by covering it with our warm blankets. Though
a good deal burnt in baking, it was quite excellent, and I particularly
appreciated it as being the only crusty bread we ever had, but the
men didn’t care for it. A crusty loaf is always an abomination to an
American, and our preference for the outside always surprised our men.
It soon began to rain again, so we turned in at seven, and lay in bed
talking. Lyons had been in France and Germany as a child, but did not
remember much about his journey.

_Tuesday, the 28th._—In the middle of the night we heard the Indians
making a great noise and roaring with laughter, and, on one of the men
going out to inquire, we found that the little lake behind had been
so swollen by the continued rain, that a stream had burst up through
the shingle in the middle of their tent and swamped them out. Like the
episode of the frogs, they seemed to consider it an excellent joke,
though I should have been exceedingly annoyed had I had to move tent
and blankets under pouring rain in the dark. But the coast Indian is a
cheerful personage, and quite unlike his statelier cousin of the plains.
The question of his relationship to Japan I leave to wiser heads than

It rained nearly all night, and the wind was much stronger. We lay in bed
till 8.30, when Shorty made us some corn-meal cakes, as the oatmeal was
finished. It went on raining hard, and we lay in the tent, the wet coming
through freely on to our blankets, till half-past three, when it began to
clear and the sun came partly out. It soon went in again, but the wind
had gone round to the south-west, so we had hope for the morrow.

_Wednesday, the 29th._—None of us except Finn were able to sleep much,
owing partly to so much lying in the tent, and partly to the influx
of insect life which had appeared on the cessation of the rain. Small
black spiders which bit like anything, swarms of mosquitoes, and the
biggest sand-fleas I ever saw,—they kept up such a pop-popping all night
by jumping against the tent, that we thought it was raining when it was
really quite fine.

We were up at five and off by 6.30, when we pulled east for an hour
round the point into Cross Sound. Here we found a dense fog and an
icy-cold north-east wind coming off the glacier in Taylor’s Bay, so
we set sail and ran across the Sound in an hour and twenty minutes to
Lisianski Channel, between Tchitchagoff and Jacobi Islands. This channel
is extremely narrow, and we sailed down it with a light breeze for three
hours, seeing quantities of white-headed eagles on the trees. We then
reached the corner where the strait turns sharp to the west, and landed
for about an hour. We found here a skull on the beach, about which Shorty
and Finn had an argument which culminated in the former betting twenty
dollars to Finn’s watch on its being a deer’s head; but he lost, for
Ned, whom they appointed umpire, pronounced it to be that of a seal.

We went on again at one o’clock, pulling and paddling steadily against
the tide, and had almost reached the open sea at 4.30, when the tide
turned and a good north-west wind sprang up. We found a heavyish sea
outside still running up from the south-east, but the wind drove us
through it at a great pace, and we passed Cape Edwardes at about sunset.
We then got in among the fringe of small islands, and landed at nine
o’clock some six miles further on in a little harbour which took some
finding in the dark. We landed over some rather broken rocks, and Lyons
was much taken aback at finding himself at the edge of what seemed in the
blackness of the night to be a bottomless chasm, though in the morning it
proved to be only about four feet deep. We lit a fire and prepared some
pea-soup, after consuming which we curled up on the moss under the trees,
the men rolling up in the tent, while I had blankets enough to take a
nook apart. The night was lovely and the starlight most brilliant.

_Thursday, the 30th._—A beautiful morning. I woke the rest at five, and
after some coffee and corn-meal mush we got off at 6.30 and rowed to the
end of the islands, by which time it was half-past nine, and the west
wind came again according to custom. About this period I recognised the
conical top of Mount Edgcumbe, and pointed it out to Finn, who had not
been in these parts before. We reached the entrance of Salisbury Sound
at noon, and ate our one precious tin of corned beef, which we had saved
so carefully. We flew down the Sound at a great pace through crowds of
porpoises, at which the men tried several futile shots. At one o’clock
we rounded the corner opposite Peril Straits, and saw a vessel coming
towards us, which we at first expected would be the ‘Idaho,’ which, on
account of the crowd of tourists, had been doing some supplementary trips
to those of the ‘Ancon’ and ‘Elder,’ but as she got nearer we recognised
the ‘Pinta.’ Since we were going about nine knots we did not want to
waste any of our wind, and merely ran past, exchanging salutes.

About three o’clock the wind began to die away, and at four, just after
we had passed St. John the Baptist’s Bay, we had to take to the oars,
and, pulling on steadily at a good pace, came in sight of Sitka at about
seven, when I sent my previously untouched whisky-flask round, and half
an hour later we were ordering a sumptuous supper of clam-soup, halibut,
and venison, while half the population were crowding round to hear our
tale. I was just in time to secure the ‘Leo,’ a steam schooner of about
fifty tons, which would otherwise have sailed at midnight for Port
Townsend, and for four hundred dollars her owner consented to go up to
Yakutat and fetch the others.

H. said they were wild with delight when they saw her round the point
three days later, but after all, I had the best of it, for they
encountered a fearful south-east gale, and, after springing a bad leak,
had to run back to Yakutat, where they beached and repaired her, and did
not reach Sitka till the 17th of September.

Our expedition was a failure, chiefly from the want of trained men to
convey camping material to a great height, and the next party would do
well to take a couple of Swiss porters. We were wonderfully favoured
by the weather, and were most fortunate in that, out of the party of
fourteen who went inland, the only casualty was Shorty’s strain, and
that did not occur till we had commenced the return journey.

But, should any one think of organising an expedition for climbing in
the St. Elias Alps, I would strongly advise him to turn his attention to
Mounts Fairweather and Crillon. For these Lituya Bay offers a first-rate
starting point, since there is in its recesses ample anchorage even for
men-of-war, while the peaks are probably not more than fifteen miles
away, and sundry expeditions of great merit might be made.

The height of Mount St. Elias suffered a rude onslaught at the hands of a
party of American surveyors in 1890, but I feel tolerably sure in my own
mind that the old height of nineteen thousand feet is the more correct
one, for the following reasons. Firstly, the figures establishing the
highest point reached as 11,375 feet were carefully worked out; previous
observations had given the height of the crater’s rim as 7,500 feet;
and the times taken by the other three, a very fast party, correspond
very fairly, so that we may assume this height to be fairly exact. At
this point they were above the col, but not as high as Haydon Peak,
and therefore probably about a thousand feet above the col. Now, from
Yakutat it is clear at once that this col is barely half-way up the
mountain. Secondly, as I went down the coast in the canoe the weather
was absolutely perfect, and Mount St. Elias clearly in view till the
third morning, when we lost it by getting behind Cape Fairweather. I can
clearly recollect how, as we were pulling in to the landing-place north
of Cape Fairweather on the second evening, the peak stood up clear and
sharp against the sunset sky, with at least a third of its bulk above
the horizon. The mountain had never been out of sight, and the sun was
not shining on the snows, so I do not think any assistance was gained
from refraction. As Cape Fairweather is distant 150 miles from Mount St.
Elias, this would again make the peak about 20,000 feet high. Milmore,
the steward of the ‘Pinta,’ who knew the appearance of the mountain well,
assured me that, on their voyage down from Yakutat in 1886, it was in
sight as far south as Salisbury Sound; but I cannot help thinking some
mistake was made between it and perhaps Crillon. However, other people
assured me they had seen it when off Cross Sound.

With reference to the supposed volcanic origin of the mountain, I think
the main mass is certainly not volcanic; but I brought home from the
moraine of the Tyndall Glacier two or three pieces of red amygdaloid
lava, which I believe came from the Red Hills just south of the ‘crater,’
so that, possibly, this crater may be due, after all, to volcanic forces.


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