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Title: An Expedition to Mount St. Elias, Alaska
Author: Russell, Israel C. (Cook)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Expedition to Mount St. Elias, Alaska" ***

VOL. III, PP. 53-204, PLS. 2-20, MAY 29, 1891






Price $1.50.


VOL. III, PP. 53-204, PLS. 2-20, MAY 29, 1891




(_Accepted for publication March 18, 1891._)


Introduction--The Southern Coast of Alaska  . . . . . . . . . . .   55

Part I--Previous Explorations in the St. Elias Region . . . . . .   58
      Bering, 1741  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   58
      Cook, 1778  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   58
      La Pérouse, 1786  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   58
      Dixon, 1787 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   60
      Douglas, 1788 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   62
      Malaspina, 1792 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   62
      Vancouver, 1794 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   66
      Belcher, 1837 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   68
      Tebenkof, 1852  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   69
      United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1874, 1880 . . . .   70
      New York _Times_ Expedition, 1886 . . . . . . . . . . . . .   72
      Topham Expedition, 1888 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   73

Part II--Narrative of the St. Elias Expedition of 1890  . . . . .   75
      From Seattle to Sitka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   78
      From Sitka to Yakutat Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   79
      Canoe Trip up Yakutat Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   81
      Base Camp on the Shore of Yakutat Bay . . . . . . . . . . .   86
      First Day's Tramp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   89
      Canoe Trip in Disenchantment Bay  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   96
      From Yakutat Bay to Blossom Island  . . . . . . . . . . . .  103
      Blossom Island  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  113
      Life above the Snow-Line  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  122
      First Camp in the Snow  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  124
{54}  Across Pinnacle Pass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  129
      First full View of St. Elias  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  135
      Summit of Pinnacle Pass Cliffs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  137
      Across Seward Glacier to Dome Pass  . . . . . . . . . . . .  142
      Up the Agassiz Glacier  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  147
      Camp on the Newton Glacier  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  150
      Highest Point reached . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  151
      Alone in the highest Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  154
      The Return  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
      Suggestions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  163

Part III--Sketch of the Geology of the St. Elias Region . . . . .  167
      General Features  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  167
      Yakutat System  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  167
      Pinnacle System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  170
      St. Elias Schist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  173
      Geological Structure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  174

Part IV--Glaciers of the St. Elias Region . . . . . . . . . . . .  176
      Natural Divisions of Glaciers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  176
      Alpine Glaciers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  176
      Characteristics of Alpine Glaciers above the Snow-Line  . .  180
      Characteristics of Alpine Glaciers below the Show-Line  . .  183
      Piedmont Glaciers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  185

Part V--Height and Position of Mount St. Elias  . . . . . . . . .  189

Appendix A--Official Instructions governing the Expedition  . . .  192

Appendix B--Report on topographic Work; by Mark B. Kerr . . . . .  195

Appendix C--Report on auriferous Sands from Yakutat Bay; by J.
          Stanley-Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  196

Appendix D--Report on fossil Plants; by Lester F. Ward  . . . . .  199

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  201


Plate  2--Sketch Map of Alaska  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   57
       3--Map of the St. Elias Region, after La Pérouse . . . . .   59
       4--Map of the Eastern Shore of Yakutat Bay, after Dixon  .   61
       5--Map of the St. Elias Region, after Malaspina  . . . . .   64
       6--Map of Bay de Monti, after Malaspina  . . . . . . . . .   64
       7--Map of Disenchantment Bay, after Malaspina  . . . . . .   67
       8--Sketch Map of St. Elias Region, by Mark B. Kerr . . . .   74
       9--The Hubbard Glacier; drawn from Photograph by A. L.
            Broadbent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   99
      10--Wall of Ice on Eastern Side of the Atrevida Glacier;
            from a Photograph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  105
      11--View on the Atrevida Glacier; from a Photograph . . . .  105
      12--Entrance of an Ice-Tunnel; from a Photograph  . . . . .  106
      13--Deltas in an Abandoned Lake-Bed; from a Photograph  . .  106
      14--A River on the Lucia Glacier; from a Photograph
            (reproduced from _The Century_, April, 1891)  . . . .  106
{55}  15--Entrance to a Glacial Tunnel; from a Photograph . . . .  107
      16--View of the Malaspina Glacier from Blossom Island;
            from a Photograph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  120
      17--Moraines on the Marvine Glacier; from a Photograph  . .  123
      18--View of the Hitchcock Range from near Dome Pass . . . .  144
      19--View of Mount St. Elias from Dome Pass; drawn from a
            Photograph  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  146
      20--View of Mount St. Elias from Seward Glacier; drawn
            from a Photograph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  175

Figure 1--Diagram illustrating the Formation of Icebergs  . . . .  101
       2--View of a glacial Lakelet; from a Photograph  . . . . .  120
       3--Section of a glacial Lakelet  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  120
       4--Diagram illustrating the Formation of marginal
            Crevasses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  128
       5--Crevasses near Pinnacle Pass; from a Photograph . . . .  130
       6--Snow Crests on Ridges and Peaks; from Field Sketches  .  143
       7--Faulted Pebble from Pinnacle Pass . . . . . . . . . . .  171
       8--Faulted Pebble from Pinnacle Pass . . . . . . . . . . .  171



The southern coast of Alaska is remarkable for the regularity of its
general outline. If a circle a thousand miles in diameter be inscribed
on a map of the northern Pacific with a point in about latitude 54°
and longitude 145° as a center, a large part of its northern periphery
will be found to coincide with the southern shore of Alaska between
Dixon entrance on the east and the Alaska peninsula on the west. On
the northern part of this great coast-circle lies the region explored
in the summer of 1890 and described in the following pages.

From Cross sound, at the northern end of the great system of islands
forming southeastern Alaska, westward along the base of the
Fairweather range, the mountains are exceedingly rugged, and present
some of the finest coast scenery in the world. There are but two
inlets east of Yakutat bay on this shore which afford shelter even for
small boats. These are Lituya bay and Dry bay. Ships may enter Lituya
bay, at certain stages of the tide, and find a safe harbor within; but
the approaches to Dry bay are not navigable. West of Yakutat bay the
coast is equally inhospitable all the way to Prince William sound.

{56} As if to compensate for the lack of refuge on either end, there
is in the center of this great stretch of rock-bound coast, over 300
miles in extent, a magnificent inlet known as Yakutat bay, in which a
thousand ships could find safe anchorage. On some old maps this bay is
designated as "Baie de Monti," "Admiralty bay" and "Bering bay," as
will be seen when its discovery and history are discussed on another

The southern shore of Alaska, for a distance of 200 miles along the
bases of the Fairweather and St. Elias ranges, is formed of a low
table-land intervening between the mountains and the sea. Yakutat bay
is the only bight in this plateau sufficiently deep to reach the
mountain to the northward. This bay has a broad opening to the sea;
the distance between its ocean capes is twenty miles, and its
extension inland is about the same. Its eastern shore is fringed with
low, wooded islands, among which are sheltered harbors, safe from
every wind that blows. The most accessible of these is Port Mulgrave,
near its entrance on the eastern side.

The shores of Yakutat bay, on both the east and the west, are low and
densely wooded for a distance of twenty-five miles from the ocean,
where the foot-hills of the mountains begin. At the head of the bay
the land rises in steep bluffs and forms picturesque mountains,
snow-capped the year round. These highlands, although truly
mountainous in their proportions, are but the foot-hills of still
nobler uplifts immediately northward. The bay extends through an
opening in the first range to the base of the white peaks beyond. This
opening was examined a century ago by explorers in search of the
delusive "Northwest passage," in the hope that it would lead to the
long-sought "Strait of Annan"--the dream of many voyagers. It was
surveyed by the expedition in command of Malaspina in 1792, and on
account of his frustrated hopes was named "Puerto del Desengaño," or
"Disenchantment bay," as it has been rendered by English writers.

The waters of Yakutat and Disenchantment bays are deep, and broken
only by islands and reefs along their eastern shores. A few soundings
made in Disenchantment bay within half a mile of the land showed a
depth of from 40 to 120 fathoms. The swell of the ocean is felt up to
the very head of the inlet, indicating, as was remarked to me by
Captain C. L. Hooper, that there are no bars or reefs to break the
force of the incoming swells.

{57} The lowlands bordering Yakutat bay on the southeast are composed
of assorted glacial débris. Much of the country is low and swampy, and
is reported to contain numerous lakelets. Northwest of the bay the
plateau is higher than toward the southeast, and has a general
elevation of about 500 feet at a distance of a mile from the shore;
but the height increases toward the interior, where a general
elevation of 1,500 feet is attained over large areas. All of this
plateau, excepting a narrow fringe along the shore, is formed by a
great glacier, belonging to what is termed in this paper the
_Piedmont_ type. There are many reasons for believing that the plateau
southeast of Yakutat bay was at one time covered by a glacier similar
to the one now existing on the northwest.[1]

[Footnote 1: This matter will be discussed in part IV of this paper,
where it is also shown that Yakutat bay itself was formerly occupied
by glacial ice.]

The mountains on the northern border of the seaward-stretching
table-lands, both southeast and northwest of Yakutat bay, are abrupt
and present steep southward-facing bluffs. This escarpment is formed
of stratified sandstones and shales, and owes its origin to the
upheaval of the rocks along a line of fracture. In other words, it is
a gigantic fault scarp. The gravel and bowlders forming the plateau
extending oceanward have been accumulating on a depressed orographic
block (or mass of strata moved as a unit by mountain-making forces),
which has undergone some movement in very recent times, as is recorded
by a terrace on the fault scarp bordering it. West of Yakutat the
geological structure is more complex, and long mountain spurs project
into the platform of ice skirting the ocean. Filling the valleys
between the mountain spurs, there are many large seaward-flowing
glaciers, tributary to the great Piedmont ice-sheet.

       *       *       *       *       *

This brief sketch of the geography of Yakutat bay, together with the
accompanying outline map of Alaska (plate 2), will, it is hoped, aid
in making intelligible the following historical sketch and the
narrative of the present expedition.

[Illustration: PLATE 2. SKETCH MAP OF ALASKA.]




[Footnote 2: For more complete bibliographic references than space
will allow in this paper, the reader is referred to Dall and Baker's
"Partial list of books, pamphlets, papers in serials, journals and
other publications on Alaska and adjacent regions;" in Pacific Coast
Pilot: Coasts and Inlets of Alaska; second series. U. S. Coast and
Geodetic Survey, Washington, 1879; 4°, pp. 225-375.]

BERING, 1741.

The first discovery of the southern coast of Alaska was made by Vitus
Bering and Alexei Cherikof, in the vessels _St. Peter_ and _St. Paul_,
in 1741. On July 20 of that year, Bering saw the mountains of the
mainland, but anchored his vessels at Kyak island, 180 miles west of
Yakutat bay, without touching the continental shore. A towering,
snow-clad summit northeast of Kyak island was named "Mount St. Elias,"
after the patron saint of the day.

COOK, 1778.

The next explorer to visit this portion of Alaska was Captain James
Cook, who sailed past the entrance of Yakutat bay on May 4, 1778.
Thinking that this was the bay in which Bering anchored, he named it
"Bering's bay." Mount St. Elias was seen in the northwest at a
distance of 40 leagues, but no attempt was made to measure its height.

LA PÉROUSE, 1786.[3]

[Footnote 3: Voyage de la Pérouse autour du monde. Four vols., 4°, and
atlas; Paris, 1797; vol. 2, pp. 130-150.]

Yakutat bay, in which we are specially interested, was next seen by
the celebrated French navigator, J. F. G. de la Pérouse, in command of
the frigates _La Boussole_ and _L'Astrolabe_, on June 23, 1786.

The chart showing the route followed by La Pérouse during this portion
of his voyage is reproduced in plate 3. In the splendid atlas
accompanying the narrative of his travels, the explorer pictures the
quaint, high-pooped vessels in which he {59} circumnavigated the
globe. These French frigates were the first to cruise off Yakutat bay.
The last vessel to navigate those waters was the United States revenue
steamer _Corwin_, which took our little exploring party on board in
September, 1890, and then steamed northward to the ice-cliffs at the
head of Disenchantment bay. So far as I am aware, the _Corwin_ is the
only vessel that has floated on the waters of that inlet north of
Haenke island. One hundred years has made a revolution in naval
architecture, but has left this portion of the Alaska coast still


La Pérouse sailed northward from the Sandwich islands, and first saw
land, which proved to be a portion of the St. Elias range, on June 23.
At first the shore was obscured by fog, which, as stated in the
narrative of the voyage, "suddenly disappearing, all at once disclosed
to us a long chain of mountains covered with snow, which, if the
weather had been clear, we would have been able to have seen thirty
leagues farther off. We discovered Bering's Mount Saint Elias, the
summit of which appeared above the clouds."

The first view of the land is described as not awakening the feelings
of joy which usually accompany the first view of an unknown shore
after a long voyage. To quote the navigator's own words:

"Those immense heaps of snow, which covered a barren land without
trees, were far from agreeable to our view. The mountains appeared a
little remote from the sea, which broke against a bold and level land,
elevated about a hundred and fifty or two hundred fathoms. This black
rock, which appeared as if calcined by fire, destitute of all verdure,
formed a striking contrast to the whiteness of the snow, which was
perceptible through the clouds; it served as the base to a long ridge
of mountains, which appeared to stretch fifteen leagues from east to
west. At first we thought ourselves very near it, the summit of the
mountains appeared to be just over our heads, and the snow cast forth
a brightness calculated to deceive eyes not accustomed to it; but in
proportion as we advanced we perceived in front of the high ground
hillocks covered with trees, which we took for islands."

After some delay, on account of foggy weather, an officer was
despatched to the newly discovered land; but on returning he reported
that there was no suitable anchorage to be found. It is difficult at
this time to understand the reason for this adverse report, unless a
landing was attempted on the western side of Yakutat bay, where there
are no harbors.

{60} The name "Baie de Monti" was given to the inlet in honor of De
Monti, the officer who first landed. The location of this bay, as
described in the narrative and indicated on the map accompanying the
report of the voyage, shows that it corresponds with the Yakutat bay
of modern maps.

Observations made at this time by M. Dagelet, the astronomer of the
expedition, determined the elevation of Mount St. Elias to be 1,980
toises. Considering the toise as equivalent to 6.39459 English feet,
this measurement places the elevation of the mountain at 12,660 feet.
What method was used in making this measurement is not recorded, and
we have therefore no means of deciding the degree of confidence to be
placed in it.

After failing to find an anchorage at Yakutat bay. La Pérouse sailed
eastward, and on June 29 discovered another bay, which he supposed to
be the inlet named "Bering's bay" by Captain Cook. It will be
remembered that Cook's "Bering's bay" is Yakutat bay as now known. It
is evident that the French navigator made an error in his
identification, as the inlet designated as Bering's bay on his chart
corresponds with that now known as Dry bay. On the maps referred to, a
stream is represented as emptying into the head of this bay and rising
a long distance northward; this is evidently Alsek river, the
existence of which was for a long time doubted, but has recently been
established beyond all question.

Finding it impossible to enter Dry bay, La Pérouse continued eastward
and discovered Lituya bay, as now known, but which he named "Port des
Francais." Here his ships anchored, after experiencing great
difficulty in entering the harbor, and remained for many days, during
which trade was carried on with the Indians, while surveys were made
of the adjacent shores.

DIXON, 1787.[4]

[Footnote 4: The Voyage around the World; but more particularly to the
Northwest Coast of America. Performed in 1788-1789, in the _King
George_ and _Queen Charlotte_; Captains Portlock and Dixon: 4°,
London, 1789.]

Although the actual discovery of Yakutat bay is to be credited to the
French, the first exploration of its shores was made by an English
captain. On May 23, 1787, Captain George Dixon anchored his vessel,
the _Queen Charlotte_, within the shelter of its southeastern cape,
and, in honor of Constance John Phipps, Lord Mulgrave, named the haven
there discovered "Port {61} Mulgrave." The harbor is described in the
narrative of Dixon's voyage as being "entirely surrounded by low, flat
islands, where scarcely any snow could be seen, and well sheltered
from any winds whatever."

The voyage of the _Queen Charlotte_ was not made for the purpose of
increasing geographic knowledge, but with a commercial object. Trade
was at once opened with the natives, but resulted less favorably than
was desired, as only sixteen sea-otter skins and a few less valuable
furs were secured.

On the chart accompanying the narrative of Dixon's voyage the inlet
now known as Yakutat bay is named "Admiralty bay."

A survey of the adjacent shores and inlets was made, and the
astronomical position of the anchorage was approximately determined.
The map resulting from these surveys, the first ever made of any
portion of Yakutat bay, is reproduced on a reduced scale as plate 4.


At the time of Dixon's voyage, the inhabitants numbered about seventy,
including men, women, and children, and were thus described:

"They are of about middle size, their limbs straight and well shaped,
but, like the rest of the inhabitants we have seen on the coast, are
particularly fond of painting their faces with a variety of colors, so
that it is not any easy matter to discover their real complexion."

An amusing instance is narrated of inducing a woman to wash her face,
when it was discovered that--

"Her countenance had all the cheerful glow of an English milk maid,
and the healthy red which flushed her cheeks was even _beautifully_
contrasted with the whiteness of her neck; her eyes were black and
sparkling; her eyebrows the same color, and most beautifully arched;
her forehead so remarkably clear that the transparent veins were seen
meandering even in their minutest branches--in short, she was what
would be reckoned as handsome even in England. The symmetry of her
features, however, was marred, at least in the eyes of her English
admirer, by the habit of wearing a labret in the slit of her lower

During our recent visit to Port Mulgrave we did not find the native
women answering to the glowing description of the voyager who
discovered the harbor; but this may be owing to the fact that we did
not prevail upon any of them to wash their faces.

One other discrepancy must be noted between the records of Dixon's
voyage and my own observations, made one hundred {62} years later. The
houses of the natives are described in the narrative just cited as--

"The most wretched hovels that can possibly be conceived: a few poles
stuck in the ground, without order or regularity, recrossed and
covered with loose boards, ... quite insufficient to keep out the snow
and rain."

While this description would apply to the temporary shelters now used
by the Yakutat Indians when on their summer hunting and fishing
expeditions, it by no means describes the houses in which they pass
the winter. These are large and substantially built of planks hewn
from spruce trees, and in some instances supported from the inside by
four huge posts, carved and painted to represent grotesque figures. In
the center of the roof there is a large opening through which the
smoke escapes from the fire kindled in an open space in the floor. But
few of the Indian villages of Alaska, excepting perhaps the homes of
the Thlinkets in the Alexandrian archipelago, are better built or more
comfortable than those at Port Mulgrave.

On the map of Port Mulgrave already referred to, "Point Turner" and
"Point Carrew" appear. The former was named for the second mate of the
_Queen Charlotte_, who was the first of her officers to land; the
second name was probably designed to honor another officer of the
expedition, but of this I am not positive.

DOUGLAS, 1788.[5]

[Footnote 5: Voyage of the _Iphigenia_; Captain Douglas: in Voyages
made in the years 1788-1789 from China to the Northwest Coast of
America. John Meares, 4°, London, 1790.]

In 1788, another trading vessel, the ship _Iphigenia_, in command of
Captain Douglas, visited the southern shore of Alaska and anchored in
Yakutat bay; but no special account of the country or the inhabitants
is recorded in the narrative of the voyage.

MALASPINA, 1792.[6]

[Footnote 6: Relacion del viage hecho por las goletas Sutil y Mexicana
en el año de 1792 para reconocer el estrecho de Fuca; con una
introduccion en que se da noticia de las expediciones executadas
anteriormente por los Españoles en busca del paso del noroeste de la
América [Por Don Dionisio Alcala Galiano]. Madrid, 1802 [accompanied
by an atlas]. Pp. CXII-CXXI.]

About a hundred years ago the interest felt by the maritime nations of
Europe in a "Northwest passage," connecting the {63} northern Atlantic
with the northern Pacific, was revived by the renewal of the
discussion as to the authenticity of Maldonado's reported discovery of
the "Strait of Annan." The western entrance to this strait was
supposed to be about in the position of Yakutat bay. Spain, in
particular, after three hundred years of exploration and discovery in
all parts of the world, was still anxious to extend her conquests,
and, if possible, to discover the long-sought "Northwest passage." Two
of her ships, the _Descubierta_ and _Atrevida_, were then at Acapulco,
in command of Don Alejandro Malaspina, who was engaged in a voyage of

Malaspina, like Columbus, was a native of Italy in the service of
Spain. Orders were sent to him to cruise northward and test the truth
of Maldonado's report. The narrative of this voyage is supposed to
have been written by Don Dionisio Alcala Galiano, but his name does
not appear on the title page. Still more curious is the fact that
Malaspina's name is omitted from the narrative of his own voyage. On
his return to Spain, he was thrown into prison, on account of court
intrigues, and his discoveries were suppressed for many years.

Malaspina left Acapulco on the first of May, 1791, and reached the
vicinity of the present site of Sitka on June 25. Two days later,
Mount Fairweather, or "Monte Buen-tiempo," as it is designated on
Spanish maps, was sighted. Continuing northwestward, the entrance to
Yakutat bay was reached. The opening through the first range of
mountains at its head seemed to correspond to Maldonado's description
of the entrance to the mythical "Strait of Annan."

The eastern shore of Yakutat bay, called "Almiralty bay" on the
Spanish chart, was explored, and an excursion was made in boats into
Disenchantment bay as far as Haenke island. "Disenchantment bay," as
the name appears on modern charts, was named "Desengaño bay" by
Malaspina, as previously stated, in allusion to the frustration of his
hopes on not finding a passage leading to the Atlantic. Explorations
in Disenchantment bay were checked by ice, which descended from the
north and filled all of the inlets north of Haenke island. This is
indicated on the map forming plate 7 (page 67), which is reproduced
from the atlas accompanying the narrative of Malaspina's voyage.
Special interest attaches to this map for the reason that by comparing
it with that forming plate 8 (page 75), made 100 years later, the
retreat {64} of the glaciers during that interval can be
determined.[7] At the time of Malaspina's expedition, the Hubbard and
Dalton glaciers were united, and were probably also joined by some of
the neighboring glaciers which do not now reach tide-water; the whole
forming a confluent ice stream which occupied all of Disenchantment
bay northeast of Haenke island.

[Footnote 7: It must be remembered, however, that the map, plate 8, is
not from detailed surveys; the portion referred to was sketched from a
few stations only and is much generalized.]

A portion of the general map of the coast of southern Alaska, showing
the route followed by the _Descubierta_ and the _Atrevida_, and
depicting the topography of the adjacent shores, has been reproduced
in plate 5. It will be noticed that on this map Lituya bay is called
"Pt. des Francais," while Dry bay is designated as "Bering's bay."
These and other names were adopted from the maps of La Pérouse. A map
of "Bahia de Monti," from Malaspina's report, is reproduced in plate



An extract from Galiano's account of Malaspina's discoveries in
Yakutat and Disenchantment bays,[8] translated by Robert Stein, of the
U. S. Geological Survey, is here inserted, in order that the reader
may be able to form an independent judgment of the value of the
evidence just referred to as bearing on the retreat of the glaciers:

"An observatory was established on shore, and some absolute altitudes
were taken in order to furnish a basis for the reckoning of the
watches; but the great concourse of Indians, their importunity and
thievishness, made it necessary to transfer all the instruments on
board. Still the latitude was determined, the watches were regulated,
the number of oscillations made by the simple pendulum was observed,
and the height of Mount St. Elias was measured, being 6,507.6 varas
[17,847 feet] above sea-level. The launches being ready, put to sea on
July 2 with the commander of the expedition, in order to reconnoitre
the channel promised by the opening, similar to that depicted by
Ferrer Maldonado in his voyage; but the small force of the tide
noticed at the entrance, and the indications of the natives, made it
plain not only that the desired passage did not exist there, but that
the extent of the channel was very short; which was also rendered
evident by the perpetual frost covering the inner west shore. The
launches anchored there, having penetrated into the channel with great
difficulty, the oars being clogged by the floating masses of snow;
they measured a base, made some marks, gathered various objects and
stones for the naturalists, and, having reached the line of perpetual
frost, {65} returned to the bay where they had anchored.[9] They there
observed the latitude to be 59° 59' 30", and six azimuths of the sun,
which gave the variation of the needle as 32° 49'. Before leaving that
anchorage the commander buried a bottle with record of the
reconnoissance and possession taken in the name of the king. They
called the harbor Desangaño, the opening Bahia de las Bancas, and the
island in the interior Haenke, in memory of D. Tadeo Haenke, botanist
and naturalist of the expedition. On the third day they set out on
their voyage to Mulgrave, where they arrived on the 6th, after
reconnoitering various channels and islands north of that port and
mapping them."

[Footnote 8: Ibid., pp. XCIV-CXVI.]

[Footnote 9: On the coast of the mainland east of Knight island.--I.
C. R.]

Following the portion of the narrative above quoted, there is an
account of the natives, containing much information of interest to
ethnologists, but which it is not necessary to follow in a geographic
report. On July 5 the corvettes sailed westward, and made a
reconnoissance as far as Montegue island. Returning eastward, they
again sighted Mount St. Elias on July 22.

"On the 28th they were three leagues west of the capes which terminate
in Bering bay [Dry bay]; the mountain of that name being about five
leagues distant from the coast and rising 5,368.3 varas [14,722 feet]
above the sea-level, and in latitude 59° 0' 42" and longitude 2° 4'
from Port Mulgrave."

Mount Bering does not appear on any map that I have seen. Which of the
numerous high peaks in the vicinity of Dry bay should be designated by
that name remains to be determined.

In a record of the astronomical work of Malaspina's expedition[10]
there are some interesting observations on the position and elevation
of Mount St. Elias, a translation of which, by Mr. Stein, is here

"True longitude of Mulgrave west of Cadiz, 133° 24' 12". On the same
day, the 30th of June [1792], at the observatory of Mulgrave, at 6h.
30' in the morning, the true altitude of the sun was observed to be
16° 14' 20", and its inclination being 23° 11' 30" and the latitude
59° 34' 20", the true azimuth of the sun from north to east was
concluded to be 71° 43' 0". But having measured on the same occasion
with the theodolite 110° 33' from the sun's vertical to the vertical
of Mount St. Elias, the difference between these two quantities is the
astronomic azimuth. Hence, from {66} the observatory of Mulgrave, said
mountain bears N. 38° 50' W., a distance of 55.1 miles, deduced by
means of good observations from the ends of a sufficient base. A
quadrant was used to measure the angle of apparent altitude of the
mountain, 2° 38' 6", and allowing for terrestrial refraction, which is
one-tenth of the distance of 55.1 miles, the true altitude was found
to be 2° 34' 39"; whence its elevation above sea-level was concluded
to be 2,793 toises [17,860 feet], and the length of the tangent to the
horizon, 152 miles, allowance being made for the increase due to
terrestrial refraction....

"Lastly, with the rhumb, or astronomic azimuth, and the distance from
the observatory of Mulgrave to Mount St. Elias, it was ascertained
that that mountain was 43' 15" to the north and 1° 9' to the west,
whence its latitude is found to be 60° 17' 35" and its longitude 134°
33' 10" west of Cadiz."

[Footnote 10: Memorias sobre las observaciones astronomicas hechas por
les navegantes Españoles en distintos lugares del globe; Por Don Josef
Espinosa y Tello. Madrid, en la Imprente real, Año de 1809, 2 vols.,
large 8°; vol. 1, pp. 57-60.]

Taking the longitude of Cadiz as 6° 19' 07" W. (San Sebastian
light-house), the longitude of St. Elias from this determination would
be 140° 52' 17" W.

VANCOUVER, 1794.[11]

[Footnote 11: A Voyage of Discovery to the Northern Pacific Ocean and
around the World, 1790-'95; new edition, 6 vols., London, 1801. The
citations which follow are from vol. 5, pp. 348-407.]

The next vessels to visit Yakutat bay after Malaspina's voyage, so far
as known, were the _Discovery_ and _Chatham_, under command of Captain
George Vancouver. This voyage increased knowledge of the geography of
southern Alaska more than any that preceded it, and was also of
greater importance than any single expedition of later date to that
region. The best maps of southern Alaska published at the present day
are based largely on the surveys of Vancouver.

The _Discovery_, under the immediate command of Vancouver, and the
_Chatham_, in charge of Peter Puget, cruised eastward along the
southern coast of Alaska in 1794. The _Discovery_ passed the entrance
to Yakutat bay without stopping, but the _Chatham_ anchored there, and
important surveys were carried on under Puget's directions.

On June 28, the _Discovery_ was in the vicinity of Icy bay, where the
shore of the ocean seemed to be composed of solid ice. Eastward from
Icy bay the coast is described as "bordered by lowlands rising with a
gradual and uniform ascent to the foot-hills of lofty mountains, whose
summits are but the base from which Mount St. Elias towers
magnificently into the regions of {67} perpetual frost." A low
projecting point on the western side of the entrance to Yakutat bay
was named "Point Manby." The coast beyond this toward the northeast
became less wooded, and seemed to produce only a brownish vegetation,
which farther eastward entirely disappeared. The country was then bare
and composed of loose stones. The narrative contains an interesting
account of the grand coast scenery from St. Elias to the eastern end
of the Fairweather range; but this does not at present claim

While the _Chatham_ continued her cruise eastward, Puget ascended
Yakutat bay nearly to its head, and also navigated some of the
channels between the islands along its eastern shore. A cape on the
eastern side, where the bay penetrates the first range of foot-hills,
was named "Point Latouche;" but the same landmark had previously been
designated "Pa. de la Esperanza" by Malaspina. The bay at the head of
the inlet, which Malaspina had named "Desangaño," was named "Digges
sound," after one of the officers of the _Chatham_. Boats were sent to
explore this inlet, but found it "closed from side to side by a firm,
compact body of ice, beyond which, to the back of the ice, a small
inlet appeared to extend N. 55° E. about a league."[12]

[Footnote 12: Vancouver's Voyage, vol. 5, p. 389.]

These observations confirm those made by Malaspina and indicated on
the chart reproduced on plate 7, where the ice front is represented as
reaching as far south as Haenke island.


The evidence furnished by Malaspina and Vancouver as to the former
extent of the glaciers at the head of Yakutat bay is in harmony with
observations made by Vancouver's party in Icy strait and Cross
sound.[13] Early in July, 1794, these straits were found to be heavily
encumbered with floating ice. At the present time but little ice is
met with in that region. On Vancouver's charts there is no indication
that he was aware of the existence of Glacier bay, although one of his
officers, in navigating Icy strait, passed its immediate entrance.
These records, although somewhat indefinite and of negative character,
indicate that the fields of floating ice at the mouth of Glacier bay
were much more extensive a hundred years ago than at present; but they
do not show where the glaciers of that region formerly terminated.

[Footnote 13: Ibid., pp. 417-421.]

After the return of the _Chatham's_ boats from the exploration of {68}
Disenchantment bay, an exploration of the eastern shore of Yakutat bay
was made. The following extract indicates the character of work done

"Digges' sound [Disenchantment bay] was the only place in the bay that
presented the least prospect of any interior navigation, and this was
necessarily very limited by the close connected range of lofty snowy
mountains that stretched along the coast at no great distance from the
seaside. Mr. Puget's attention was next directed to the opening in the
low land, but as the wind was variable and adverse to the progress of
the vessel, a boat was again despatched to continue the investigation
of these shores, which are compact from Point Latouche and were then
free from ice. This opening was found to be formed by an island about
two miles long, in a direction S. 50° E. and N. 50° W., and about a
mile broad, lying at the distance of about half a mile from the
mainland. Opposite to the south part of this, named by Mr. Puget
KNIGHT'S ISLAND, is Eleanor's cove, which is the eastern extremity of
Beering's [Yakutat] bay, in latitude 59° 44', longitude 220° 51'.
Knight's island admits of a navigable passage all round it, but there
is an islet situated between it and the mainland on its northeast
side. From Eleanor's cove the coast takes a direction S. 30° W. about
six miles to the east point of a channel leading to the southwest
between the continent and some islands that lie off it. This was
considered to lead along the shores of the mainland to Point Mulgrave,
and in the event of its proving navigable, the examination of the bay
would have been complete, and the vessel brought to our appointed
place of meeting, which was now supposed to be no very great

In endeavoring to reach Port Mulgrave by a channel leading between the
islands on the eastern side of the bay and the mainland, the _Chatham_
grounded, and was gotten off with considerable difficulty. Many
observations concerning the geography and the natives are recorded in
the narrative of this exploration.

BELCHER, 1837.[14]

[Footnote 14: Narrative of a Voyage round the World, performed in the
ship _Sulphur_ during the years 1836-1842; by Captain Sir Edward
Belcher: 2 vols., 8°, London, 1843.]

The next account[15] of explorations around Yakutat bay that {69} has
come to hand is by Sir Edward Belcher, who visited that coast in Her
Majesty's ship _Sulphur_ in 1837.

[Footnote 15: A fort was built by the Russians, in 1795, on the strip
of land separating Bay de Monti from the ocean, and was colonized by
convicts from Russia. In 1803, all of the settlers were killed and the
fort was destroyed by the Yakutat Indians. So complete was this
massacre that no detailed account of it has ever appeared. (Alaska and
its Resources, by W. H. Dall, 1870, pp. 316, 317, 323.)]

In the narrative of this voyage, a brief account is given of the ice
cliffs at Icy bay, which are stated to have a height of about thirty
feet and to present the appearance of veined marble. Where the ice was
exposed to the sea it was excavated into alcoves and archways,
recalling to the narrator's mind the Chalk cliffs of England. "Point
Riou," as named by Vancouver, was not recognized, and the inference
seems to be that it was formed of ice and was dissolved away between
the visits of Vancouver and Belcher.

Accompanying the narrative of Belcher's voyage is an illustration
showing Mount St. Elias as it appears from the sea near Icy bay, which
represents the mountain more accurately than some similar pictures
published more recently.

The _Sulphur_ anchored in Port Mulgrave; but no account is given of
the character of the surrounding country.

TEBENKOF, 1852.[16]

[Footnote 16: Atlas of the Northwest Coast of America from Bering
strait to Cape Corrientes and the Aleutian Islands [etc.]: 2°, St.
Petersburg, 1852. With index and hydrographic observations: 8°, St.
Petersburg, 1852.]

Tebenkof's notes, which are often referred to by writers on Alaska,
consist principally of compilations from reports of Russian traders,
which were intended to accompany and explain an atlas of the shores of
northwestern America, published in 1852 in St. Petersburg and in

Map number 7 of the atlas represents the southern coast of Alaska from
Lituya bay westward to Icy bay. On the same sheet there is a more
detailed chart of the islands along the eastern border of Yakutat bay.

The height of St. Elias is given as 17,000 feet; its position,
latitude 61° 2' 6" and longitude 140° 4', distant 30 miles from the
sea.[17] It is stated that in 1839 the mountain "began at times to
smoke through a crater on its southeastern slope." At the time of an
earthquake at Sitka (1847) it is said to have emitted flames and

[Footnote 17: In a foot-note on page 33 it is stated that Captain
Vasilef, in the ship _Otkrytie_ (_Discovery_), ascertained the height
of Mount Fairweather to be 13,946 feet.]

{70} It will be seen from the account of the exploration carried on
last summer that Mount St. Elias is composed of stratified rocks, with
no indication of volcanic origin; and these reports of eruption must
consequently be considered erroneous.

The low country between Mount St. Elias and the sea is described by
Tebenkof as a tundra covered with forests and grass; "through cracks
in the gravelly soil, ice could be seen beneath." More recent
knowledge shows that this statement also is erroneous. The adjacent
ocean is stated to be shallow, with shelving bottom; at a distance of
half a verst, five to twelve fathoms were obtained, and at two miles
from land, thirty to forty fathoms (of seven feet).

The Pimpluna rocks are said to have been discovered in 1779 by the
Spanish captain Arteiga. They were also seen in 1794 by the helmsman
Talin, in the ship _Orel_, and named after his vessel. These
observations are interesting, and indicate that possibly there may be
submerged moraines in the region where these rocks are reported to

Many other observations are recorded concerning the mountains and the
bays in the vicinity of Yakutat. While of interest to navigation and
to geographers, these have no immediate connection with the region
explored during the recent expedition.


[Footnote 18: Appendix No. 10, Report of the Superintendent of the
U. S. Coast Survey for the year 1875: Washington, 1878, pp. 157-188.]

[Footnote 19: Pacific Coast Pilot, Alaska, part 1: Washington, 1883,
p. 212.]

The surveys carried on in 1874 by the United States Coast Survey on
the shores of Alaska embraced the region about Yakutat bay. They were
conducted by W. H. Dall and Marcus Baker. Besides the survey of the
coast-line, determinations were made of the heights and positions of
several mountain peaks between Glacier bay and Cook inlet. Dall's
account of this survey contains a brief sketch of previous
explorations and a summary of the measurements of the higher peaks of
the region. This material has been used on another page in discussing
the height of Mount St. Elias.

Besides the geographic data gathered by the United States Coast
Survey, many observations were made on geology and on the glaciers of
the region about Yakutat bay and Mount St. Elias. Exception must be
taken, in the light of more recent {71} explorations, to some of the
conclusions reached in this connection, as will appear in the chapter
devoted to geology and glaciers.

A description of the St. Elias region in the Pacific Coast Pilot
supplements the paper in the coast survey report for 1875. This is an
exhaustive compilation from all available sources of information
interesting to navigators. It contains, besides, a valuable summary of
what was known at the time of its publication concerning the history
and physical features of the country to which it relates. In this
publication the true character of the Malaspina glacier was first
recorded and its name proposed. The description is as follows:

"At Point Manby and eastward to the Kwik river the shore was bordered
by trees, apparently willows and alders, with a somewhat denser belt a
little farther back. Behind this rises a bluff or bank of high land,
as described by various navigators. About the vicinity of Tebienkoff's
Nearer Point the trees cease, but begin again near the river. The
bluff or table-land behind rises higher than the river valley and
completely hides it from the southward, and is in summer bare of
vegetation (except a few rare patches on its face) and apparently is
composed of glacial débris, much of which is of a reddish color. In
May, 1874, when observed by the U. S. Coast Survey party of that year,
the extensive flattened top of this table-land or plateau was covered
with a smooth and even sheet of pure white snow. In the latter part of
June, 1880, however, this snow had melted, and for the first time the
real and most extraordinary character of this plateau was revealed.
Within the beach and extending in a northwesterly direction to the
valley behind it, at the foot of the St. Elias Alps an undetermined
distance, this plateau, or a large part of it, is one great field of
buried ice. Almost everywhere nothing is visible but bowlders, dirt
and gravel; but at the time mentioned, back of the bight between Point
Manby and Nearer Point, for a space of several square miles the
coverlid of dirt had fallen in, owing to the melting of the ice
beneath, and revealed a surface of broken pinnacles of ice, each
crowned by a patch of dirt, standing close to one another like a
forest of prisms, these decreasing in height from the summit of the
plateau gradually in a sort of semicircular sweep toward the beach,
near which, however, the dirt and débris again predominate, forming a
sort of terminal moraine to this immense, buried, immovable glacier,
for it is nothing else. Trains of large bowlders were visible here and
there, and the general trend of the glacier seemed to be northwest and

"Between Disenchantment bay and the foot of Mount St. Elias, on the
flanks of the Alps, seventeen glaciers were counted, of which about
ten were behind this plateau, but none are of very large size, and the
sum total of them all seemed far too little to supply the waste of the
plateau if it were to possess motion. The lower ends of these small
glaciers come {72} down into the river valley before mentioned and at
right angles in general to the trend of the plateau. To the buried
glacier the U. S. Coast Survey has applied the name of Malaspina, in
honor of that distinguished and unfortunate explorer. No connection
could be seen between the small glaciers and the Malaspina plateau, as
the former dip below the level of the summit of the latter. The
Malaspina had no névé, nor was there any high land in the direction of
its axis as far as the eye could reach. Everywhere, except where the
pinnacles protruded and in a few spots on the face of the bluff, it
was covered with a thick stratum of soil, gravel and stones, here and
there showing small patches of bright green herbage. The bluff
westward from Point Manby may probably prove of the same character."

Mount Cook and Mount Vancouver are named in the Pacific Coast Pilot,
and their elevations and positions are definitely stated. Mount
Malaspina was also named, but its position is not given. During the
expedition of last summer it was found impracticable to decide
definitely to which peak the name of the great navigator was applied.
So existing nomenclature was followed as nearly as possible by
attaching Malaspina's name to a peak about eleven miles east of Mount
St. Elias. Its position is indicated on the accompanying map, plate 8
(page 75).

Several charts of the southern coast of Alaska accompany the reports
of the United States Coast Survey for 1875, referred to above. A part
of these have been independently published. These charts were used in
mapping the coast-line as it appears on plate 8, and were frequently
consulted while writing the following pages.


An expedition sent out by the New York _Times_, in charge of
Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka, for the purpose of making geographic
explorations and climbing Mount St. Elias, left Sitka on the U. S. S.
_Pinta_, on July 10, 1886, and reached Yakutat bay two days later. As
it was found impracticable to obtain the necessary assistance from the
Indians to continue the voyage to Icy bay, whence the start inland was
planned to be made, Captain N. E. Nichols, the commander of the
_Pinta_, concluded to take the expedition to its destination in his
vessel. On July 17 a landing was made through the surf at Icy bay, and
exploration at once began.

The party consisted of Lieutenant Schwatka, in charge; Professor
William Libbey, Jr.; and Lieutenant H. W. Seton-Karr. {73} The camp
hands were John Dalton, Joseph Woods, and several Indian packers.[20]

[Footnote 20: The accounts of this expedition are as follows: Report
from Lieutenant Schwatka in the New York _Times_, October 17, 1886;
Some of the Geographical Features of Southeastern Alaska, by William
Libbey, Jr., in Bull. Am. Geog. Soc., 1886, pp. 279-300; Shores and
Alps of Alaska, by H. W. Seton-Karr, London, 1887, 8°, pp. L-XCV,
142-148; The Alpine Regions of Alaska, by Lieutenant Seton-Karr, in
Proc. Roy. Geog. Soc., vol. IX, 1887, pp. 269-285; The Expedition of
"The New York Times" (1886), by Lieutenant Schwatka, in _The Century
Magazine_, April, 1891, pp. 865-872.]

From Icy bay the expedition proceeded inland, for about sixteen miles,
in a line leading nearly due north, toward the summit of Mount St.
Elias. The highest point reached, 7,200 feet, was on the foot-hills of
the main range now called the Karr hills. The time occupied by the
expedition, after leaving Icy bay, was nine or ten days. So far as
known, no systematic surveys were carried on.

An interesting account of this expedition appeared in Seton-Karr's
book, "The Shores and Alps of Alaska." Many observations on the
glaciers and moraines of the region explored are recorded in this
work. The map published with it has been used in compiling the western
portion of the map forming plate 8, where the route of the expedition
is indicated. Another account, especially valuable for its records of
scientific observations, by Professor Libbey, was published by the
American Geographic Society. The Guyot, Agassiz and Tyndall glaciers,
the Chaix hills, and Lake Castani received their names during this

Lieutenant Schwatka's graphic and entertaining account of this
expedition, published in _The Century Magazine_ for April, 1891, gives
many details of the exploration and illustrates many of the
characteristic features of southern Alaska.


An expedition conducted by Messrs. W. H. and Edwin Topham, of London,
George Broka, of Brussels, and William Williams, of New York, was made
in 1888. Like the _Times_ expedition, it had for its main object the
ascent of Mount St. Elias.

Icy bay was reached, by means of canoes from Yakutat bay, on July 13,
and an inland journey was made northward which {74} covered a large
part of the area traversed by the previous expedition. The highest
elevation reached, according to aneroid barometer and boiling-point
measurements, was 11,460 feet. This was on the southern side of St.

The only accounts of this expedition which have come to my notice are
an interesting article by William Williams in _Scribner's
Magazine_,[21] and a more detailed report by H. W. Topham, accompanied
by a map[22] and by a fine illustration of Mount St. Elias, in the
Alpine Journal.[23]

[Footnote 21: New York, April, 1889, pp. 387-403.]

[Footnote 22: Topham's map was used in compiling the western portion
of the map forming plate 8, and his route is there indicated.]

[Footnote 23: London, August, 1889, pp. 245-371.]

This brief review of explorations carried on in the St. Elias region
previous to the expedition sent out in 1890 by the National Geographic
Society is incomplete in many particulars,[24] but will indicate the
most promising sources of information concerning the country described
in the following pages.

[Footnote 24: Yakutat bay has been visited by vessels of the United
States Navy and United States Revenue Marine and by numerous trading
vessels; but reports of observations made during these voyages have
not been found during a somewhat exhaustive search of literature
relating to Alaska.]





By Mark B. Kerr.]

A long-cherished desire to study the geography, geology, and glaciers
of the region around Mount St. Elias was finally gratified when, in
the summer of 1890, the National Geographic Society made it possible
for me to undertake an expedition to that part of Alaska.

The expedition was organized under the joint auspices of the National
Geographic Society and the United States Geological Survey, but was
greatly assisted by individuals who felt an interest in the extension
of geographic knowledge. For the inception of exploration and for
securing the necessary funds, credit is due Mr. Willard D. Johnson.

The names of those who subscribed to the exploration fund of the
Society are as follows:

  Boynton Leach.       Henry Gannett.
  Everett Hayden.      Charles J. Bell.
  Richardson Clover.   J. S. Diller.
  C. M. McCarteney.    J. W. Powell.
  C. A. Williams.      J. G. Judd.
  Willard D. Johnson.  A. Graham Bell.
  Israel C. Russell.   Gardiner G. Hubbard.
  Gilbert Thompson.    A. W. Greely.
  Harry King.          J. W. Dobbins.
  Morris Bien.         J. W. Hays.
  Wm. B. Powell.       Edmund Alton.
  Z. T. Carpenter.     Bailey Willis.
  Charles Nordhoff.    E. S. Hosmer.
            Rogers Birnie, Jr.

I was chosen by the Board of Managers of the National Geographic
Society and by the Director of the United States Geological Survey to
take charge of the expedition and to carry on geological and glacial
studies. Mr. Mark B. Kerr, topographer on the Geological Survey, was
assigned as an assistant, with the duty of making a topographical map
of the region explored. {76} Mr. E. S. Hosmer, of Washington, D. C.,
volunteered his services as general assistant.[25]

[Footnote 25: Copies of all instructions governing the work of the
expedition are given in Appendix A.]

Mr. Kerr left Washington on May 24 for San Francisco, where he made
arrangements for his special work, and reported to me at Seattle on
June 15. I left Washington on May 25 and went directly to Seattle,
where the necessary preparations for exploring an unknown and isolated
region were made.

From the large number of frontiersmen and sailors who applied for
positions on the expedition, seven men were selected as camp hands.
The foreman of this force was J. H. Christie, of Seattle, who had
spent the previous winter in charge of an expedition in the Olympian
mountains, and was well versed in all that pertains to frontier life.
The other camp hands were J. H. Crumback, L. S. Doney, W. L. Lindsley,
William Partridge, Thomas Stamy, and Thomas White.

The individual members of the party will be mentioned frequently
during this narrative; but I wish to state at the beginning that very
much of the success of the enterprise was due to the hard and faithful
work of the camp hands, to each one of whom I feel personally

Two dogs, "Bud" and "Tweed," belonging to Mr. Christie, also became
members of the expedition.

All camp supplies, including tents, blankets, rations, etc., were
purchased at Seattle. Rations for ten men for one hundred days, on the
basis of the subsistence furnished by the United States Geological
Survey, were purchased and suitably packed for transportation in a
humid climate. Twenty-five tin cans were obtained, each measuring 6 x
12 x 14 inches, and in each a mixed ration sufficient for one man for
fifteen days was packed and hermetically sealed. These rations, thus
secured against moisture and in convenient shape for carrying on the
back (or "packing"), were for use above the timber line, where cooking
was possible only by means of oil stoves. The remainder of the
supplies, intended for use where fuel for camp-fires could be
obtained, were secured either in tin cans or in canvas sacks.

For cooking above timber line, two double-wick oil stoves were
provided, the usual cast-iron bases being replaced by smaller
reservoirs of tin, in order to avoid unnecessary weight. Coal oil was
carried in five-gallon cans, but a few rectangular cans {77} holding
one gallon each were provided for use while on the march. Subsequent
experience proved that this arrangement was satisfactory.

Four seven-by-seven tents, with ridge ropes, and two pyramidal
nine-by-nine center-pole tents, with flies, were provided, all made of
cotton drilling. The smaller tents were for use in the higher camps,
and the larger ones for the base camps. The tents were as light as
seemed practicable, and were found to answer well the purpose for
which they were intended.

Each man was supplied with one double Hudson Bay blanket, a
water-proof coat, a water-proof hat (the most serviceable being the
"sou'westers" used by seamen), and an alpenstock.[26] Each man also
carried a sheet made of light duck, seven feet square, to protect his
blankets and to be used as a shelter-tent if required. Each member of
the party was also required to have heavy boots or shoes, and suitable
woolen clothing. Each man was furnished with two pieces of hemp
"cod-line," 50 feet in length, to be used in packing blankets and
rations. The lines were doubled many times, so as to distribute the
weight on the shoulders, and were connected with two leather straps
for buckling about the package to be carried. The cod-lines were used
instead of ordinary pack-straps, for the reason that they distribute
the weight on the shoulder over a broader area, and also because they
can be made immediately available for climbing, crossing streams,
etc., when required. Several extra lines of the same material were
also taken as a reserve, or to be used in roping the party together
when necessary. Several of the party carried rifles, for each of which
a hundred rounds of fixed ammunition were issued. Two ice-axes for the
party were also provided.

[Footnote 26: Light rubber cloth was ordered from San Francisco for
the purpose of allowing each man a water-proof sheet to place under
his blankets, but was not received in time to be used.]

A canvas boat was made by the men while en route for the field, but
there was no occasion to use it, except as a cover for a cache left at
one of the earlier camps. Subsequent experience showed that snow-shoes
and one or two sleds would have been serviceable; but these were not

Our instruments were furnished by the United States Geological Survey.
The list included one transit, one gradienter, one sextant, two
prismatic compasses, one compass clinometer, {78} four pocket
thermometers, two psychrometers, one field-glass, two mercurial
barometers, three aneroids, steel tape-lines, and two photographic


Preparations having been completed, the expedition sailed from Seattle
June 16, on the steamer _Queen_, belonging to the Pacific Coast
Steamship Company, in command of Captain James Carroll, and reached
Sitka on the morning of June 24. This portion of our voyage was
through the justly celebrated "inland passage" of British Columbia and
southeastern Alaska, and was in every way delightful. We touched at
Victoria and Wrangell, and, after threading the Wrangell narrows,
entered Frederick sound, where the first floating ice was seen. The
bergs were from a neighboring glacier, which enters the sea at the
head of a deep inlet, too far away to be seen from the course followed
by the _Queen_. The route northward led through Stephens passage, and
afforded glimpses of glaciers both on the mainland and on Admiralty
island. In Taku inlet several hours were spent in examining the
glaciers, two of which come down to the sea. One on the western side
of the fjord, an ice-stream known as the Norris glacier, descends
through a deep valley and expands into a broad ice-foot on approaching
the water, though it is not washed by the waves, owing to an
accumulation of mud about its extremity. Another ice-stream is the
Taku glacier, situated at the head of the inlet. It comes boldly down
to the water, and ends in a splendid sea-cliff of azure blue, some 250
feet high. The adjacent waters are covered with icebergs shed by the
glacier. Some of the smaller fragments were hoisted on board the
_Queen_ for table use. The bold, rocky shores of the inlet are nearly
bare of vegetation, and indicate by their polished and striated
surfaces that glaciers of far greater magnitude than those now
existing formerly flowed through this channel.

After leaving Taku inlet, a day was spent at Juneau; and then the
_Queen_ steamed up Lynn canal to Pyramid harbor, near its head. For
picturesque beauty, this is probably the finest of the fjords of
Alaska. Several glaciers on each side of the inlet come down nearly to
the sea, and all the higher mountains are buried beneath perpetual
snow. On returning from Lynn canal, the _Queen_ visited Glacier bay,
and here passengers were allowed a few hours on shore at the Muir
glacier. The day of our visit {79} was unusually fine, and a splendid
view of the great ice-stream with its many tributaries was obtained
from a hill-top about a thousand feet high, on its eastern border. The
glacier discharges into the head of the bay and forms a magnificent
line of ice-cliffs over two hundred feet high and three miles in

This portion of the coast of Alaska has been described by several
writers; yet its bleak shores are still in large part unexplored. To
the west of the bay rise the magnificent peaks of the Fairweather
range, from which flow many great ice-streams. The largest of the
glaciers descending from these mountains into Glacier bay is called
the Pacific glacier. Like the Muir glacier, it discharges vast numbers
of icebergs into the sea.

The day after leaving Glacier bay we arrived at Sitka, and as soon as
practicable called on Lieutenant-Commander O. F. Farenholt, of the
U. S. S. _Pinta_, who had previously received instructions from the
Secretary of the Navy to take us to Yakutak bay. We also paid our
respects to the Governor and other Alaskan officials, and made a few
final preparations for the start westward.


All of our effects having been transferred to the _Pinta_, we put to
sea early on the morning of June 25.

Honorable Lyman E. Knapp, Governor of Alaska, taking advantage of the
sailing of the _Pinta_, accompanied us on the voyage. Mr. Henry
Boursin, census enumerator, also joined us for the purpose of
obtaining information concerning the Indians at Yakutak.

The morning we left Sitka was misty, with occasional showers; but even
these unfavorable conditions could not obscure the beauty of the wild,
densely wooded shore along which we steamed. The weather throughout
the voyage was thick and foggy and the sea rough. We anchored in De
Monti bay, the first indentation on the eastern shore of Yakutat bay,
late the following afternoon, without having obtained so much as a
glimpse of the magnificent scenery of the rugged Fairweather range.

At Yakutat we found two small Indian villages, one on Khantaak island
and the other on the mainland to the eastward (both shown on plate 8).
The village on Khantaak island is the older of the two, and consists
of six houses built along the water's edge. The houses are made of
planks, each hewn from a single {80} log, after the manner of the
Thlinkets generally. They are rectangular, and have openings in the
roofs, with wind guards, for the escape of smoke. The fires, around
which the families gather, are built in the centers of the spaces
below. The houses are entered by means of oval openings, elevated two
feet above the ground on platforms along their fronts. In the interior
of each there is a rectangular space about twenty feet square
surrounded by raised platforms, the outer portions of which are shut
off by partitions and divided into smaller chambers.

The canoes used at Yakutat are each hewn from a single spruce log, and
are good examples of the boats in use throughout southern Alaska. They
are of all sizes, from a small craft scarcely large enough to hold a
single Indian to graceful boats forty or fifty feet in length and
capable of carrying a ton of merchandise with a dozen or more men.
They have high, overreaching stems and sterns, which give them a
picturesque, gondola-like appearance.

The village on the mainland is less picturesque, if such a term may be
allowed, than the group of houses already described, but it is of the
same type. Near at hand, along the shore to the southward, there are
two log houses, one of which is used at present as a mission by
Reverend Carl J. Hendriksen and his assistant, the other being
occupied as a trading post by Sitka merchants.

The Yakutat Indians are the most westerly branch of the great Thlinket
family which inhabits all of southeastern Alaska and a portion of
British Columbia. In intelligence they are above the average of
Indians generally, and are of a much higher type than the native
inhabitants of the older portion of the United States. They are quick
to learn the ways of the white man, and are especially shrewd in
bargaining. They are canoe Indians _par excellence_, and pass a large
part of their lives on the water in quest of salmon, seals, and
sea-otter. During the summer of our visit, about thirty sea-otter were
taken. They are usually shot in the primitive manner with
copper-pointed arrows, although repeating rifles of the most improved
patterns are owned by the natives, in spite of existing laws against
selling breech-loading arms to Indians. The fur of the sea-otter is
acknowledged to be the most beautiful, and is the most highly prized
of all pelts. Those taken at Yakutat during our visit were sold at an
average price of about seventy-five dollars. This, {81} together with
the sale of less valuable skins and the money received for baskets,
etc., made by the women for the tourist trade in Sitka, brought a
considerable revenue to the village. Improvident, like nearly all
Indians, the Yakutat villagers soon spend at the trading post the
money earned in this way.

The Yakutats belong without question to the Thlinket stock; but visits
from tribes farther westward, who travel in skin boats, are known to
have been made, and it seems probable that some mixture of Thlinket
and Innuit blood may occur in the natives at Yakutat. But if such
admixture has occurred, the Innuit element is so small that it escapes
the notice of one not skilled in ethnology.

We found Mr. Hendriksen most kind and obliging, and are indebted to
him for many favors and great assistance. Arrangements were made with
him for reading a base-barometer three times a day during July and
August. He also assisted us by acting as an interpreter, and in hiring
Indians and canoes.

The weather continued thick and stormy after reaching Yakutat bay, and
Captain Farenholt did not think it advisable to take his vessel up the
main inlet, where many dangers were reported to exist. A canoe having
been purchased from the trader and others hired from the Indians, a
start was made from the head of Yakutat bay early on the morning of
June 28, in company with two of the _Pinta's_ boats loaded with
supplies, under the command of Ensign C. W. Jungen.


Bidding good-bye to our friends on the _Pinta_, to whom we were
indebted for many favors, we started for our trip up the bay in a
pouring rain-storm. Our way at first led through the narrow, placid
water-ways dividing the islands on the eastern side of the bay. The
islands and the shores of the mainland are densely wooded, and
appeared picturesque and inviting even through the veil of mist and
rain that shrouded them. The forests consist principally of spruce
trees, so dense and having such a tangle of underbrush that it is only
with the greatest difficulty that one can force a way through them;
while the ground beneath the forest, and even the trunks and branches
of the living trees, are covered and festooned with luxuriant growths
of mosses and lichens. Our trip along these wooded shores, but half
revealed {82} through the drifting mist, was novel and enjoyable in
spite of discomforts due to the rain. We rejoiced at the thought that
we were nearing the place where the actual labors of the expedition
would begin; we were approaching the unknown; visions of unexplored
regions filled with new wonders occupied our fancies, and made us
eager to press on.

About noon on the first day we pitched our tents on a strip of shingle
skirting the shore of the mainland to the east of Knight island. The
_Pinta's_ boats spread their white wings and sailed away to the
southward before a freshening wind, and our last connection with
civilization was broken. As one of the frontiersmen of our party
remarked, we were "at home once more." It may appear strange to some
that any one could apply such a term to a camp on the wild shore of an
unexplored country; but the Bohemian spirit is so strong in some
breasts, and the restraint of civilization so irksome, that the homing
instinct is reversed and leads irresistibly to the wilderness and to
the silent mountain tops.

The morning after arriving at our first camp, Kerr, Christie, and
Hendriksen, with all the camp hands except two, went on with the
canoes, and in a few hours reached the entrance of Disenchantment bay.
They found a camping place about twelve miles ahead, on a narrow strip
of shingle beneath the precipices of Point Esperanza, and there
established our second camp.

My necessary delay at Camp 1 was utilized, so far as possible, in
learning what I could concerning the adjacent country, and in making a
beginning in the study of its geology. Our camp was at the immediate
base of the mountains, and on the northeastern side of the wide
plateau bordering the continent. The plateau stretches southeastward
for twenty or thirty miles, and is low and heavily forested. The
eastern shore of the bay near our first camp is formed of bluffs about
150 feet high, which have been eaten back by the waves so as to expose
fine sections of the strata of sand, gravel and bowlders of which the
plateau is composed. All the lowlands bordering the mountains have,
apparently, a common history, and doubtless owe their origin
principally to the deposition of débris brought from the mountains by
former glaciers. When this material was deposited, or soon afterward,
the land was depressed about 150 feet lower than at present, as is
shown by a terrace cut along the base of the mountains at that
elevation. The steep mountain face {83} extending northwestward from
Camp 1 to the mouth of Disenchantment bay bears evidence of being the
upheaved side of a fault of quite recent origin. The steep inclination
and shattered condition of the rocks along this line are evidently due
to the crushing which accompanied the displacement.

In the wild gorge above our first camp, a small glacier was found
descending to within 500 feet of the sea-level, and giving rise to a
wild, roaring stream of milky water. Efforts to reach the glacier were
frustrated by the density of the dripping vegetation and by the clouds
that obscured the mountains.

A canoe trip was made to a rocky islet between Knight island and the
mainland toward the north. The islet, like the rocks in the adjacent
mountain range, is composed of sandstone, greatly shattered and
seamed, and nearly vertical in attitude. Its surface was densely
carpeted with grass and brilliant flowers. Many sea birds had their
homes there. From its summit a fine view was obtained of the
cloud-capped mountains toward the northeast, of the dark forest
covering Knight island, and of the broad plateau toward the southeast.
Some of the most charming effects in the scenery of the forest-clad
and mist-covered shores of Alaska are due to the wreaths of vapor
ascending from the deep forests during the interval in which the warm
sunlight shines through the clouds; and on the day of our visit to the
islet, the forests, when not concealed by mist, sent up smoke-like
vapor wreaths of many fantastic shapes to mingle with the clouds in
which the higher mountains disappeared.

At Camp 1 the personnel of the party was unexpectedly reduced. Mr.
Hosmer was ill, and remained with me at camp instead of pushing on
with Kerr and Christie; and the weather continuing stormy, he
concluded to abandon the expedition and return to the mission at Port
Mulgrave. Having secured the services of an Indian who chanced to pass
our camp in his canoe, Mr. Hosmer bade us good-bye, ensconced himself
in the frail craft, and started for sunnier lands. It was subsequently
learned that he reached Yakutak without mishap, and a few days later
sailed for Sitka in a small trading schooner. Our force during the
remainder of the season, not including Mr. Hendriksen and the Indians,
whose services were engaged for only a few days, numbered nine men all

On the evening of June 30 we had a bright camp-fire blazing on the
beach to welcome the returning party. Near sunset a {84} canoe
appeared in the distance, and a shot was fired as it came round a bend
in the shore. We felt sure that our companions were returning, and
piled drift-wood on the roaring camp-fire to cheer them after their
hard day's work on the water. As the canoe approached, each dip of the
paddle sent a flash of light to us, and we could distinguish the men
at their work; but we soon discovered that it was occupied not by our
own party but by Indians returning from a seal hunt in Disenchantment
bay. They brought their canoe high on the beach, and made themselves
at home about our camp-fire. There were seven or eight well-built
young men in the party, all armed with guns. In former times such an
arrival would have been regarded with suspicion; but thanks to the
somewhat frequent visits of war vessels to Yakutat, and also to the
labors of missionaries, the wild spirits of the Indians have been
greatly subdued and reduced to semi-civilized condition during the
past quarter of a century.

Just as the long twilight deepened into night, another craft came
around the distant headland, but less swiftly than the former one; and
soon our picturesque canoe, with Christie at the stern steering with a
paddle in true Indian fashion, grated on the shingle beach. Christie
has spent many years of his life with the Indians of the Northwest,
and has adopted some of their habits. On beginning frontier life once
more, he discarded the hat of the white man, and wore a blue cloth
tied tightly around his forehead and streaming off in loose ends
behind. The change was welcome, for it added to the picturesque
appearance of the party.

The men, weary with their long row against currents and head-winds,
greatly enjoyed the camp-fire. Our Indian visitors, after lunching
lightly on the leaf-stalks of a plant resembling celery
(_Archangelica_), which grows abundantly everywhere on the lowlands of
southern Alaska, departed toward Yakutat. Supper was served in one of
the large tents, and we all rolled ourselves in our blankets for the

The next day, July 1, we abandoned Camp 1, passed by Camp 2, and late
in the afternoon reached the northwestern side of Yakutat bay,
opposite Point Esperanza. Our trip along the wild shore, against which
a heavy surf was breaking, was full of novelty and interest. The
mountains rose sheer from the water to a height of two or three
thousand feet. About their bases, like {85} dark drapery, following
all the folds of the mountain side, ran a band of vegetation; but the
spruce forests had mostly disappeared, and only a few trees were seen
here and there in the deeper cañons. The position of the terrace along
the base of the mountain, first noticed at Camp 1, could be plainly
traced, although densely covered with bushes. The mountain peaks above
were all sharp and angular, indicating at a glance that they had never
been subjected to glacial action. The sandstone and shales forming the
naked cliffs are fractured and crushed, and are evidently yielding
rapidly to the weather; but the characteristic red color due to rock
decay could not be seen. The prevailing tone of the mountains, when
not buried beneath vegetation or covered with snow, is a cold gray.
Bright, warm, summer skies are needed to reveal the variety and beauty
of that forbidding region.

Our large canoe behaved well, although heavily loaded. Sometimes the
wind was favorable, when an extemporized sail lessened the fatigue of
the trip. The landing on the northwestern shore was effected, through
a light surf, on a sandy beach heavily encumbered with icebergs. As it
was hazardous to beach the large canoe with its load of boxes and
bags, the heavy freight was transferred, a few pieces at a time, to
smaller canoes, each manned by a single Indian, and all was safely
landed beyond the reach of the breakers. Camp 3 was established on the
sandy beach just above the reach of the tide and near the mouth of a
roaring brook. The drift-wood along the shore furnished abundant fuel
for a blazing camp-fire; our tents were pitched, and once more we felt
at home.

Two canoes were dispatched, in care of Doney, to the camp on the
opposite shore (Camp 2), with instructions to bring over the
equipments left there. Kerr went over also for the purpose of making a
topographic station on the bluff forming Point Esperanza should the
morrow's weather permit.

It was curious to note the care which our Indians took of their
canoes. Not only were they drawn high up on the beach, out of the
reach of all possible tides, but each canoe was swathed in wet cloths,
especially at the prow and stern, to prevent them from drying and
cracking. The canoes, being fashioned from a single spruce log, are
especially liable to split if allowed to dry thoroughly.

The day after our arrival, all of our party and all of our camp {86}
outfit were assembled at Camp 3. Mr. Hendriksen and our Indian friends
took their departure, and the work for which we had come so far was
actually begun.


About the tents at Camp 3 the rank grass grew waist-high, sheltering
the strawberries and dwarf raspberries that bloomed beneath. A little
way back from the shore, clumps of alders, interspersed with spruce
trees, marked the beginning of the forest which covered the hills
toward the west and southwest. Toward the north rose rugged mountains,
their summits shrouded in mist; in the steep gorges on their sides the
ends of glaciers gleamed white, like foaming cataracts descending from

The day following our arrival dawned bright and beautiful. Every cloud
vanished from the mountains as by magic, revealing their magnificent
summits in clear relief. We found ourselves at the base of a rugged
mountain range extending far southeastward and northwestward, its
first rampart so breached as to allow the waters of the ocean to
extend into the very midst of the great peaks beyond. Through this
opening we had a splendid view of the snow-clad mountains filling the
northern sky and stretching away in lessening perspective toward the
east until they blended with the distant clouds.

Topographic work was started, and the preparation of "packs" for the
journey inland was begun at once; and all hands were kept busy. A
base-line was measured by Mr. Kerr, and a beginning was made in the
development of a system of triangulation which was carried on
throughout the season.

Our stay at the camp on the shore extended over a week, and enabled us
to become familiar with many of the changes in the rugged scenery
surrounding Yakutat bay. The bay itself was covered with icebergs for
most of the time. Owing to the prevailing winds and the action of
shore currents, the ice accumulated on the coast adjacent to our camp.
For many days the beach toward both the north and the south, as far as
the eye could reach, was piled high with huge masses of blue and white
ice. When the bay was rough, the surf roared angrily among the
stranded bergs and, dashing over them, formed splendid sheets of foam;
while on bright, sunny days the bay gleamed and flashed in the
sunlight as the summer winds gently rippled {87} its surface, and the
thousands of icebergs crowding the azure plain seemed a numberless
fleet of fairy boats with crystal hulls and fantastic sails of blue
and white. When the long summer days drew to a close and gave place to
the soft northern twilight, which in summer lasts until the glow of
the returning sun is seen in the east, the sea and mountains assumed a
soft, mysterious beauty never realized by dwellers in more southern
climes. The hours of twilight were so enchanting, the varying shades
and changing tints on the mighty snow-fields robing the mountains were
so exquisite in their gradations that, even when weary with many hours
of toil, the explorer could not resist the charm, and paced the sandy
shore until the night was far spent. Sometimes in the twilight hours,
long after the sun disappeared, the summits of the majestic peaks
toward the east were transformed by the light of the after-glow into
mountains of flame. As the light faded, the cold shadow of the world
crept higher and higher up the crystal slopes until only the topmost
spires and pinnacles were gilded by the sunset glow. At such times,
when our eyes were weary with watching the gorgeous transformation of
the snow-covered mountains and were turned to the far-reaching seaward
view, we would be startled by the sight of a vast city, with
battlements, towers, minarets, and domes of fantastic architecture,
rising where we knew that only the berg-covered waters extended. The
appearance of these phantom cities was a common occurrence during the
twilight hours. Although we knew at once that the ghostly spires were
but a trick of the mirage, yet their ever-changing shapes and
remarkable mimicry of human habitations were so striking that they
never lost their novelty; and they were never the same on two
successive evenings. One of the most common deceptions of the mirage
is the transformation of icebergs into the semblance of fountains
gushing from the sea and expanding into graceful, sheaf-like shapes.
The strangest freaks due to the refraction of light on hot deserts,
which are usually supposed to be the home of the mirage, do not excite
the traveler's wonder so much as the phantom cities seen in the
uncertain twilight amid the ice-packs of the north.

When the slowly deepening twilight transformed mountains and seas into
a dreamland picture, the harvest moon, strangely out of place in far
northern skies, spread a sheet of silver behind the dark headlands
toward the southeast, and then slowly appeared, not rising boldly
toward the zenith, but tracing a low {88} arch in the southern
heavens, to soon disappear into the sea toward the southwest. Brief as
were her visits, they were always welcome and always brought the
feeling that distant homes were nearer when the same light was visible
to us and to loved ones far away. The soft moonlight dimmed the
twilight, the after-glow faded from the highest peaks, and the short
northern night came on.

After returning from the mountains, late in September, we were again
encamped on the northwestern shore of Yakutat bay. A heavy northeast
storm swept down from the mountains and awakened all the pent-up fury
of the waves. The beach was crowded with bergs, among which the surf
broke in great sheets of feathery foam; clouds of spray were dashed
far above the icy ramparts, carrying with them fragments of ice torn
from the bergs over which they swept; while the stranded bergs rocked
violently to and fro as the waves burst over them. Sometimes the
raging waters, angered by opposition, lifted the bergs in their mighty
arms and, turning them over and over, dashed them high on the beach.
It seemed as if spirits of the deep, unable to leave the water-world,
were hurling their weapons at unseen enemies on the land. The fearful
grandeur of the raging waters and of the dark storm-swept skies was,
perhaps, enhanced by the fact that the landward-blowing gale, combined
with a rising tide, threatened to sweep away our frail home. Each
succeeding wave, as it rolled shoreward, sent a sheet of foam roaring
and rushing up the beach and creeping nearer and nearer to our shelter
until only a few inches intervened between the highwater line and the
crest of the sand bank that protected us. The limit was reached at
last, however, and the water slowly retreated, leaving a fringe of ice
within arm's length of our tents.

The wild scene along the shore was especially grand at night. The
stranded bergs, seen through the gloom, formed strange moving shapes,
like vessels in distress. The white banners of spray seemed signals of
disaster. An Armada, more numerous than ever sailed from the ports of
Spain, was being crushed and ground to pieces by the hoarse wind and
raging surf. Sleep was impossible, even if one cared to rest when sea
and air and sky were joined in fierce conflict. Our tents, spared by
the waves, were dashed down by the fierce north winds, and a lake in
the forest toward the west overflowed its banks and discharged its
flooding waters through our encampment. At last, tired and {89}
discomforted, we abandoned our tents and retreated to the neighboring
forest and there took refuge in a cabin built near where a coal seam
outcrops, and remained until the storm had spent its force. But I have
anticipated, and must return to the thread of my narrative.


The impressions received during the first day spent on shore in a new
country are always long remembered. Of several "first days" in my own
calendar, there are none that exceed in interest my first excursions
through the forest and over the hills west of Yakutat bay.

Every one about camp having plenty of work to occupy him through the
day, I started out early on the morning of July 2, with only "Bud" and
"Tweed" for companions. My objects were to reconnoiter the country to
the westward, to learn what I could concerning its geology and
glaciers, and to choose a line of march toward Mount St. Elias.

To the north of our camp, and about a mile distant, rose a densely
wooded hill about 300 feet high, with a curving outline, convex
southward. This hill had excited my curiosity on first catching sight
of the shore, and I decided to make it my first study. Its position at
the mouth of a steep gorge in the hills beyond, down which a small
glacier flowed, suggested that it might be an ancient moraine,
deposited at a time when the ice-stream advanced farther than at
present. My surprise therefore was great when, after forcing my way
through the dense thickets, I reached the top of the hill, and found a
large kettle-shaped depression, the sides of which were solid walls of
ice fifty feet high. This showed at once that the supposed hill was
really the extremity of a glacier, long dead and deeply buried beneath
forest-covered débris. In the bottom of the kettle-like depression lay
a pond of muddy water, and, as the ice-cliffs about the lakelet melted
in the warm sunlight, miniature avalanches of ice and stones, mingled
with sticks and bushes that had been undermined, frequently rattled
down its sides and splashed into the waters below. Further examination
revealed the fact that scores of such kettles are scattered over the
surface of the buried glacier. This ice-stream is that designated the
_Galiano glacier_ on the accompanying map.

Continuing on my way toward the mouth of the gorge in the {90}
mountains above, I forced my way for nearly a mile through dense
thickets, frequently making wide detours to avoid the kettle holes. At
length the vegetation became less dense, and gave place to broad open
fields of rocks and dirt, covering the glacier from side to side. This
débris was clearly of the nature of a moraine, as the ice could be
seen beneath it in numerous crevasses; but no division into marginal
or medial moraines could be distinguished. It is really a thin,
irregular sheet of comminuted rock, together with angular masses of
sandstone and shale, the largest of which are ten or fifteen feet in
diameter. When seen from a little distance the débris completely
conceals the ice and forms a barren, rugged surface, the picture of

After traversing this naked area the clear ice in the center of the
gorge was reached. All about were wild cliffs, stretching up toward
the snow-covered peaks above; several cataracts of ice, formed by
tributary glaciers descending through rugged, highly inclined
channels, were in sight; while the snow-fields far above gleamed
brilliantly in the sunlight, and now and then sent down small
avalanches to awaken the echoes of the cliffs and fill the still air
with a Babel of tongues.

Pushing on toward the western border of the glacier, across the barren
field of stones, I came at length to the brink of a precipice of dirty
ice more than a hundred feet high, at the foot of which flowed a swift
stream of turbid water. A few hundred yards below, this stream
suddenly disappeared beneath an archway formed by the end of a glacial
tunnel, and its further course was lost to view. It was a strange
sight to see a swift, foaming river burst from beneath overhanging
ice-cliffs, roar along over a bowlder-covered bed, and then plunge
into the mouth of a cavern, leaving no trace of its lower course
except a dull, heavy rumbling far down below the icy surface. A still
grander example of these glacial streams, observed a few days later,
is described on another page.

The bank of the gulf opposite the point at which I first reached it is
formed by a steep mountain-side supporting a dense growth of
vegetation. Here and there, however, streams of water plunge down the
slope, making a chain of foaming cascades, and opening the way through
the vegetation. It seemed practicable to traverse one of these stream
beds without great difficulty, and thus to reach the plateau which I
knew, from a more distant view, to exist above.

{91} Crossing the glacial river above the upper archway, I reached the
mountain side and began to ascend. The task was far more difficult
than anticipated. The bushes, principally of alder and currant, grew
dense and extended their branches down the steep slope in such a
manner that at times it was utterly impossible to force a way through
them. Much of the way I crawled on hands and knees up the steep
watercourse beneath the dense tangle of vegetation overhanging from
either bank and interlacing in the center. On nearing the top I was so
fortunate as to strike a bear trail, along which the animal had forced
his way through the bushes, making an opening like a tunnel. Through
this I ascended to the top of the slope, coming out in a wild
amphitheatre in the side of the mountain. The bottom of the
amphitheatre was exceedingly rough, owing to confused moraine-heaps,
and held a number of small lakes. On account of its elevation, it was
not densely covered with bushes, and no trees were in sight except
along its southern margin. About its northern border ran a broad
terrace, marking the height of the great glacier which formerly
occupied the site of Yakutat bay. The terrace formed a convenient
pathway leading westward to a sharp ridge running out from the
mountains and connecting with an outstanding butte, which promised to
afford an unobstructed view to the westward.

Pressing on, I found that the terrace on which I was traveling at
length became a free ridge, some three hundred feet high, with steep
slopes on either side, like a huge railroad embankment. This ridge
swept across the valley in a graceful curve, and shut off a portion of
the western part of the amphitheatre from the general drainage. In the
portion thus isolated there was a lake without an outlet, still
frozen. The snow banks bordering the frozen lake were traced in every
direction by the trails of bears. Continuing my tramp, I crossed broad
snow-fields, climbed the ridge to the westward, and obtained a
far-reaching, unobstructed view of the surrounding country. The
elevation reached was only about 1,500 feet above sea-level, but was
above the timber line. The mountain slopes toward the north were bare
of vegetation and generally covered with snow.

The first object to claim attention was the huge pyramid forming the
summit of Mount St. Elias, which stood out clear and sharp against the
northwestern sky. Although thirty-six miles distant, it dominated all
other peaks in view and rose far above {92} the rugged crests of
nearer ranges, many of which would have been counted magnificent
mountains in a less rugged land. This was the first view of the great
peak obtained by any of our party. Not a cloud obscured the defination
of the mountain; and the wonderful transparency of the atmosphere,
after so many days of mist and rain, was something seldom if ever
equalled in less humid lands.

Much nearer than St. Elias, and a little west of north of my station,
rose Mount Cook, one of the most beautiful peaks in the region. Its
summit, unlike the isolated pyramid in which St. Elias terminates, is
formed of three white domes, with here and there subordinate pinnacles
of pure white, shooting up from the snow-fields like great crystals.
On the southern side of Mount Cook there are several rugged and
angular ridges, which sweep away for many miles and project like
headlands into the sea of ice, known as the Malaspina glacier,
bordering the ocean toward the southwest. Between the main ridges
there are huge trunk glaciers, each contributing its flood of ice to
the great glacier below; and each secondary valley and each
amphitheatre among the peaks, no matter how small, has its individual
glacier, and the majority of these are tributary to the larger
ice-streams. All the mountains in sight exceeding 2,000 feet in
elevation were white with snow, except the sharpest ridges and boldest
precipices. The attention of the geologist is attracted by the fact
that all the foot-hills of Mount Cook are composed of gray sandstone
and black shale; and he also observes that the angular mountain crest
so sharply drawn against the sky furnishes abundant evidence that the
mountains were never subjected to the abrasion of a continuous

As I stood on the steep-sloped ridge, the Atrevida and Lucia glaciers,
their surfaces covered from side to side with angular masses of
sandstone and shale, lay at my feet; while farther up the valley the
débris on the surface of the ice disappeared, and all above was a
winter landscape. The brown, desolate débris-fields on the glacier at
my feet extended far southward, and covered the expanded ice-foot in
which the glacier terminates. Most curious of all was the fact that
the moraines on the lower border of the glacier were concealed from
view by a dense covering of vegetation, and in places were clothed
with forests of spruce trees.

To the southward, beyond the end of the Lucia glacier, and separated
from it by a torrent-swept bowlder-bed, lay a vast {93} plateau of ice
which stretched toward the south and west farther than the eye could
reach. This is the Malaspina glacier, shown on plate 8. Its borders,
like the expanded extremity of the Lucia glacier, are covered with
débris, on the outer margins of which dense vegetation has taken root.
All the central portion of the ice-sheet is clear of moraines, and
shone in the sunlight like a vast snow-field. The heights formerly
reached by the nearer glaciers were plainly marked along the mountain
sides by well-defined terraces, sloping with the present drainage.
When the Lucia glacier was at its flood the ridge on which I stood was
only 200 or 300 feet above its surface; now it approaches 1,000 feet.

Turning toward the southeast, I could look down upon the waters of
Yakutat bay, with its thousands of floating icebergs, and could
distinguish the white breakers as they rolled in on Ocean cape. Beyond
Yakutat stretches a forest-covered plateau between the mountains and
the sea, and the eye could range far over the mountains bordering this
plateau on the northeast. In the distance, fully a hundred miles away,
stood Mount Fairweather, its position rendered conspicuous by a bank
of shining clouds floating serenely above its cold summit.

The mountains directly east of Yakutat bay rise to a general height of
about 8,000 feet, but are without especially prominent peaks. In a
general way they form a rugged plateau, which has been dissected in
various channels to depth of 2,000 or 3,000 feet. Nearly all of the
plateau, including mountains and valleys, is covered with snow-fields
and glaciers; but none of the ice-streams, so far as can be seen from
a distance, descend below an elevation of about 4,000 or 5,000 feet.
This region is as yet untraversed; and when the explorer enters it, it
is quite possible that deep drainage lines will be found through which
glaciers may descend nearly or quite to sea-level.

After drinking in the effect of the magnificent landscape and
endeavoring to impress every detail in the rugged topography upon my
memory, and having finished writing my notes, it was time to return;
for the sun was already declining toward the west. Wishing to see more
of the wonderful land about me, I concluded to descend the western
slope of the ridge upon which I stood, and to return to camp by
following a stream which issues from the Atrevida glacier directly
below my station and empties into Yakutat bay a mile or two south of
our third camp.

{94} The quickest and easiest way down was to slide on the snow. Using
my alpenstock as a brake, I descended swiftly several hundred feet
without difficulty, the dogs bounding along beside me, when on looking
up I was startled to see two huge brown bears on the same snow
surface, a little to the left and not more than a hundred and fifty
yards away. Had my slide been continued a few seconds more I should
have been in exceedingly unwelcome company. I was unarmed, and
entirely unprepared for a fight with two of the most savage animals
found in this country. The bears had long yellowish-brown hair, and
were of the size and character of the "grizzly," with which they are
thought by hunters, if not by naturalists, to be specifically
identical. They were not at all disturbed by my presence, and in spite
of my shouts, which I thought would make them travel off, one of them
came leisurely toward me. His strides over the snow revealed a
strength and activity commanding admiration despite the decidedly
uncomfortable feeling awakened by his proximity and evident curiosity.
Later in the season I measured the tracks of an animal of the same
species, made while walking over a soft, level surface, and found each
impression to measure 9 by 17 inches, and the stride to reach 64
inches. So far as I have been able to learn, this is the largest bear
track that has been reported. Realizing my danger, I continued my snow
slide, but in a different direction and with accelerated speed. The
upper limit of the dense thicket clothing the slope of the mountain
was soon reached, and my unwelcome companions were lost to sight.

Following the bed of a torrent fed by the snow-fields above, I soon
came to the creek chosen for my route back to camp; the waters, brown
and turbid with sediment, welled out of a cavern at the foot of an ice
precipice 200 feet high, and formed a roaring stream too deep and too
swift for fording. The roaring of the brown waters and the startling
noises made by stones rattling down the ice-cliff, together with the
dark shadows of the deep gorge, walled in by a steep mountain slope on
one side and a glacier on the other, made the route seem uncanny. On
the sands filling the spaces between the bowlders there were many
fresh bear tracks, which at least suggested that the belated traveler
should be careful in his movements.

This locality was afterward occupied as a camping place, and is shown
in the picture forming plate 10. The dark-colored ice, {95} mixed with
stones and earth, might easily be mistaken for stratified rock; but
the dirt discoloring the ice is almost entirely superficial. The crest
of the cliff is formed of débris, and is the edge of the sheet of
stones and earth covering the general surface of the glacier. Owing to
the constant melting, stones and bowlders are continually loosened to
rattle down the steep slope and plunge into the water beneath.

I followed down the bank of the stream, by springing from bowlder to
bowlder, for about a mile, and then came to a steep bluff, the western
side of which was swept by the roaring flood. The banks above were
clothed with spruce trees and dense underbrush; but, there being no
alternative, I entered the forest and slowly worked my way in the
direction of camp. To traverse the unbroken forests of southern Alaska
is always difficult, even when one is fresh; and, weary as I was with
many hours of laborious climbing, my progress was slow indeed. One of
the principal obstacles encountered in threading these Arctic jungles
is the plant known as the "Devil's club" (_Panax horridum_), which
grows to a height of ten or fifteen feet, and has broad, palmate
leaves that are especially conspicuous in autumn, owing to their
bright yellow color. The stems of this plant run on the earth for
several feet and then curve upward. Every portion of its surface, even
to the ribs of the leaves, is thickly set with spines, which inflict
painful wounds, and, breaking off in the flesh, cause festering sores.
In forcing a way through the brush one frequently treads on the
prostrate portion of these thorny plants, and not infrequently is made
aware of the fact by a blow on the head or in the face from the
over-arching stems.

I struggled on through the tangled vegetation until the sun went down
and the woods became dark and somber. Thick moss, into which the foot
sank as in a bed of sponge, covered the ground everywhere to the depth
of two or three feet; each fallen trunk was a rounded mound of green
and brown, decked with graceful equiseta and ferns, or brilliant with
flowers, but most treacherous and annoying to the belated traveler. In
the gloom of the dim-lit woods, the trees, bearded with moss, assumed
strange, fantastic shapes, which every unfamiliar sound seemed to
start into life; while the numerous trails made by the bears in
forcing their way through the thick tangle were positive evidence that
not all the inhabitants of the forest were creatures of the
imagination. My faithful companions, "Bud" and {96} "Tweed" showed
signs of weariness, and offered no objection when I started a fire and
expressed my intention of spending the night beneath the
wide-spreading branches of a moss-covered evergreen. Having a few
pieces of bread in my pocket, I shared them with the dogs, and
stretching myself on a luxuriant bank of lichens tried to sleep, only
to find the mosquitoes so energetic that there was no hope of passing
the night in comfort.

After resting I felt refreshed, and concluded to press on through the
gathering darkness, and after another hour of hard work I came out of
the forest and upon a field of torrent-swept bowlders, deposited by
the stream which I had left farther up. I was surprised to find that
the twilight was not so far spent as I had fancied. The way ahead
being free of vegetation, I hastened on, and after traveling about two
miles was rejoiced by the sight of a camp-fire blazing in the
distance. The warm fire and a hearty supper soon made me forget the
fatigues of the day.

This, my first day's exploration, must stand as an example of many
similar days spent on the hills and in the forests northwest of
Yakutat bay, of which it is not necessary to give detailed


On July 3, I continued my examination of the region about the head of
Yakutat bay by making a canoe trip up Disenchantment bay to Haenke
island. With the assistance of Christie and Crumback, our canoe was
launched through the surf without difficulty, and we slowly worked our
way through the fields of floating ice which covered all the upper
portion of the inlet. The men plied the oars with which the canoe was
fortunately provided, while I directed its course with a paddle. A
heavy swell rolling in from the ocean rendered the task of choosing a
route through the grinding ice-pack somewhat difficult. After four or
five hours of hard work, during which time several vain attempts were
made to traverse leads in the ice which had only one opening, we
succeeded in reaching the southern end of the island.

The shores of Haenke island are steep and rocky, and, so far as I am
aware, afford only one cove in which a boat can take refuge. This is
at the extreme southern point, and is not visible until its entrance
is reached. A break or fissure in the rocks there admits of the
accumulation of stone and sand, and this {97} has been extended by the
action of the waves and tides until a beach a hundred feet in length
has been deposited. The dashing of the bowlders and sand against the
cliffs at the head of the cove by the incoming waves has increased its
extension in that direction so as to form a well-sheltered refuge. The
absence of beaches on other portions of the island is due to the fact
that its bordering precipices descend abruptly into deep water, and do
not admit of the accumulation of débris about their bases. Without
stones and sand with which the waves can work, the excavation of
terraces is an exceedingly slow operation. The precipitous nature of
the borders of the island is due, to some extent at least, to the
abrasion of the rocks by the glacial ice which once encircled it.

Pulling our canoe far up on the beach, we began the ascent of the
cliffs. Hundreds of sea birds, startled from their nests by our
intrusion, circled fearlessly about our heads and filled the air with
their wild cries. The more exposed portions of the slopes were bare of
vegetation, but in the shelter of every depression dense thickets
obstructed the way. Many of the little basins between the rounded
knolls hold tarns of fresh water, and were occupied at the time of our
visit by flocks of gray geese. It is evident that the island was
intensely glaciated at no distant day. The surfaces of its rounded
domes are so smoothly polished that they glitter like mirrors in the
sunlight. On the polished surfaces there are deep grooves and fine,
hair-like lines, made by the stones set in the bottom of the glacier
which once flowed over the island and removed all of the rocks that
were not firm and hard. On many of the domes of sandstone there rest
bowlders of a different character, which have evidently been brought
from the mountains toward the northeast.

The summit of the island is about 800 feet above the level of the sea,
and, like its sides, is polished and striated. The terraces on the
mountains of the mainland show that the glacier which formerly flowed
out from Disenchantment bay must have been fully 2,000 feet deep. The
bed it occupied toward the south is now flooded by the waters of
Yakutat bay.

At the time of Malaspina's visit, 100 years ago, the glaciers from the
north reached Haenke island, and surrounded it on three sides.[27] At
the rate of retreat indicated by comparing {98} Malaspina's records
with the present condition, the glaciers must have reached Point
Esperanza, at the mouth of Disenchantment bay, about 200 years ago;
and an allowance of between 500 and 1,000 years would seem ample for
the retreat of the glaciers since they were at their flood.

[Footnote 27: The map accompanying Malaspina's report and indicating
these conditions has already been mentioned, and is reproduced on
plate 7, page 67.]

Reaching the topmost dome of Haenke island, a wonderful panorama of
snow-covered mountains, glaciers, and icebergs lay before us. The
island occupies the position of the stage in a vast amphitheatre; the
spectators are hoary mountain peaks, each a monarch robed in ermine
and bidding defiance to the ceaseless war of the elements. How
insignificant the wanderer who confronts such an audience, and how
weak his efforts to describe such a scene!

From a wild cliff-enclosed valley toward the north, guarded by
towering pinnacles and massive cliffs, flows a great glacier, the
fountains of which are far back in the heart of the mountains beyond
the reach of vision. Having vainly sought an Indian name for this
ice-stream, I concluded to christen it the _Dalton glacier_, in honor
of John Dalton, a miner and frontiersman now living at Yakutat, who is
justly considered the pioneer explorer of the region. The glacier is
greatly shattered and pinnacled in descending its steep channel, and
on reaching the sea it expands into a broad ice-foot. The last steep
descent is made just before gaining the water, and is marked by
crevasses and pinnacles of magnificent proportion and beautiful color.
This is one of the few glaciers in the St. Elias region that has
well-defined medial and lateral moraines. At the bases of the cliffs
on the western side there is a broad, lateral moraine, and in the
center, looking like a winding road leading up the glacier, runs a
triple-banded ribbon of débris, forming a typical medial moraine. The
morainal material carried by the glacier is at last deposited at its
foot, or floated away by icebergs, and scattered far and wide over the
bottom of Yakutat bay.

The glacier expands on entering the water, as is the habit of all
glaciers when unconfined, and ends in magnificent ice-cliffs some two
miles in length. The water dashing against the bases of the cliffs
dissolves them away, and the tides tend to raise and lower the
expanded ice-foot. The result is that huge masses, sometimes reaching
from summit to base of the cliffs, are undermined, and topple over
into the sea with a tremendous crash. Owing to the distance of the
glacier from Haenke island, we could {99} see the fall long before the
roar reached our ears; the cliffs separated, and huge masses seemed to
sink without a sound; the spray thrown up as the blue pinnacles
disappeared ascended like gleaming rockets, sometimes as high as the
tops of the cliffs, and then fell back in silent cataracts of foam.
Then a noise as of a cannonade came rolling across the waters and
echoing from cliff to cliff. The roar of the glacier continues all day
when the air is warm and the sun bright, and is most active when the
summer days are finest. Sometimes, roar succeeded roar, like artillery
fire, and the salutes were answered, gun for gun, by the great Hubbard
glacier, which pours its flood of ice into the fjord a few miles
further northeastward. This ice-stream, most magnificent of the
tide-water glaciers of Alaska yet discovered, and a towering mountain
peak from which the glacier receives a large part of its drainage,
were named in honor of Gardiner G. Hubbard, president of the National
Geographic Society.

[Illustration: PLATE 9. HUBBARD GLACIER.]

Looking across the waters of the bay, whitened by thousands of
floating bergs, we could see three miles of the ice-cliffs formed
where the Hubbard glacier enters the sea. A dark headland on the shore
of the mainland to the right shut off the full view of the glacier but
formed a strongly drawn foreground, which enhanced the picturesque
effect of the scenery. The Hubbard glacier flows majestically through
a deep valley leading back into the mountains, and has two main
branches, with a smaller and steeper tributary between. These branches
unite to form a single ice-foot extending into the bay. The western
branch has a dark medial moraine down its center, which makes a bold,
sweeping curve before joining the main stream. There is also a broad
lateral débris-belt along the bases of the cliffs forming its right
bank. The whole surface of the united glacier, and all of the white
tongues running back into the mountains beyond the reach of vision,
are broken and shattered, owing to the steepness and roughness of the
bed over which they flow. The surface, where not concealed by morainal
material, is snow-white; but in the multitude of crevasses the blue
ice is exposed, and gives a greenish-blue tint to the entire stream.
Where the subglacial slopes are steep, the ice is broken into
pinnacles and towers of the grandest description.

On the steep mountain sides sloping toward the Hubbard glacier there
are more than a dozen secondary ice-streams which are tributary to it.
The amphitheatres in which the glacier has {100} its beginnings have
never been seen; but our general knowledge of the fountains from which
glaciers flow assures us that not only scores but hundreds of other
secondary and tertiary glaciers far back into the mountains contribute
their floods to the same great stream.

After being received on board the _Corwin_, late in September, we had
an opportunity to view the great sea-cliffs of the Hubbard glacier
near at hand. Captain Hooper, attracted by the magnificent scenery,
took his vessel up Disenchantment bay to a point beyond Haenke island,
whence a view could be had of the eastern extension of the inlet. So
far as is known, the _Corwin_ was the first vessel to navigate those
waters. Soundings made between the island and the ice-foot gave forty
to sixty fathoms. At the elbow, where the southeastern shore of the
bay turns abruptly eastward, there is a low islet not represented on
any map previous to the one made by the recent expedition, which
commands even a wider prospect than can be obtained from Haenke
island. Future visitors to this remote coast should endeavor to reach
this islet, after having beheld the grand panorama obtainable from the
summit of Haenke island. The portion of Disenchantment bay stretching
eastward from the foot of Hubbard glacier is enclosed on all sides by
bold mountains, the lower slopes of which have the subdued and flowing
outlines characteristic of glaciated regions. Several glaciers occur
in the high-grade lateral valleys opening from the bay; but these have
recently retreated, and none of them have sufficient volume at present
to reach the water. The general recession, in which all the glaciers
of Alaska are participating, is manifested here by the broad débris
fields, which cover all the lower ice-streams not ending in the sea.
The absence of vegetation on the smooth rocks recently abandoned by
the ice also tells of recent climatic changes.

A débris-covered glacier, so completely concealed by continuous sheets
of stones and earth that its true character can scarcely be
recognized, descends from the mountains just east of Hubbard glacier.
It is formed by the union of two principal tributaries, and, on
reaching comparatively level ground, expands into a broad ice-foot,
but does not have sufficient volume to reach the sea. Another glacier,
of smaller size but of the same general character, lies between the
Hubbard and Dalton glaciers.

In a rugged defile in the mountains just west of Haenke island there
is another small dirt-covered glacier, which creeps down from the
precipices above and reaches within a mile of the water. {101} At its
end there is a cliff of black, dirty ice, scarcely to be distinguished
from rock at a little distance, from the base of which flows a turbid
stream. This glacier is covered so completely with earth and stones
that not a vestige of the ice can be seen unless we actually traverse
its surface. Its appearance suggests the name of _Black glacier_, by
which it is designated on the accompanying map.

The visitor to Haenke island has examples of at least two well-marked
types of glaciers in view: The small débris-covered ice-streams, too
small to reach the water, are typical of a large class of glaciers in
southern Alaska, which are slowly wasting away and have become buried
beneath débris concentrated at the surface by reason of their own
melting. The Galiano glacier is a good example of this class. The
Hubbard and Dalton glaciers are fine examples of another class of
ice-streams which flow into the sea and end in ice-cliffs, and which
for convenience we call _tide-water glaciers_. Nowhere can finer or
more beautiful examples of this type be found than those in view from
Haenke island.

The formation of icebergs from the undermining and breaking down of
the ice-cliffs of the tide-water glaciers has already been mentioned.
But there is another method by which bergs are formed--a process even
more remarkable than the avalanches that occur when portions of the
ice-cliffs topple over into the sea. The ice-cliffs at the foot of the
tide-water glaciers are really sea-cliffs formed by the waves cutting
back a terrace in the ice. The submerged terrace is composed of ice,
and may extend out a thousand feet or more in front of the visible
part of the ice-cliffs. These conditions are represented in the
accompanying diagram (figure 1), which exhibits a longitudinal section
of the lower end of a tide-water glacier where it pushes out into the

[Illustration: FIGURE 1--_Diagram illustrating the Formation of

As the sea-cliff of ice recedes and the submerged terrace increases in
breadth there comes a time when the buoyancy of the {102} ice at the
bottom exceeds its strength, and pieces break off and rise to the
surface. The water about the ends of the glaciers is so intensely
muddy that the submerged ice-foot is hidden from view, and its
presence would not be suspected were it not for the fragments
occasionally rising from it. The sudden appearance of these masses of
bottom ice at the surface is always startling. While watching the
ice-cliffs and admiring the play of colors in the deep crevasses which
penetrate them in every direction, or tracing in fancy the strange
history of the silent river and wondering in what age the snows fell
on the mountains, which are now returning to their parent, the sea,
one is frequently awakened by a commotion in the waters below, perhaps
several hundred feet in front of the ice-cliffs. At first it seems as
if some huge sea-monster had risen from the deep and was lashing the
waters into foam; but soon the waters part, and a blue island rises to
the surface, carrying hundreds of tons of water, which flows down its
sides in cataracts of foam. Some of the bergs turn completely over on
emerging, and thus add to the tumult and confusion that attends their
birth. The waves roll away in widening circles, to break in surf on
the adjacent shores, and an island of ice of the most lovely blue
floats serenely away to join the thousands of similar islands that
have preceded it. The fragments of the glacier rising from the bottom
in this manner are usually larger than those broken from the faces of
the ice-cliffs, sometimes measuring 200 or 300 feet in diameter. Their
size and the suddenness with which they rise would insure certain
destruction of a vessel venturing too near the treacherous ice-walls.

At the time of our visit to Haenke island, the entire surface of
Disenchantment bay and all of Yakutat bay as far southward as we could
see formed one vast field of floating ice. Most of the bergs were
small, but here and there rose masses which measured 150 by 200 feet
on their sides and stood 40 or 50 feet out of the water. The bergs are
divided, in reference to color, into three classes--the white, the
blue, and the black. The white ones are those that have fallen from
the face of the ice-walls or those that have been sufficiently exposed
to the atmosphere to become melted at the surface and filled with air
cavities. The blue bergs are of many shades and tints, finding their
nearest match in color in Antwerp blue. These are the ones that have
recently risen from the submerged ice-foot, or have turned over owing
to a change of position in the center of gravity. Rapid as is the
{103} melting of the ice when exposed to the air, it seems to liquefy
even more quickly when submerged. The changes thus produced finally
cause the bergs to reverse their positions in the water. This is done
without the slightest warning, and is one of the greatest dangers to
be guarded against while canoeing among them. The white color
presented by the majority of the bergs is changed to blue when they
become stranded, and the surf breaks over them and dissolves away
their porous surfaces. A few of the bergs are black in color, owing to
the dirt and stones that they carry on their surfaces or frozen in
their mass. Quantities of débris are thus floated away from the
tide-water glaciers and strewn over the bottoms of the adjacent

This digression may be wearisome, but one cannot stand on Haenke
island without wishing to know all the secrets of the great
ice-streams that flow silently before him.

Returning from our commanding station at the summit of the island to
where we left our canoe, we were surprised and not a little startled
to find that the tide had run out and left the strand between our
canoe and the water completely blocked with huge fragments of ice.
There was no way left for us to launch our canoe except by cutting
away and leveling off the ice with our axe, so as to form a trail over
which we could drag it to the water. This we did, and then, poising
the canoe on a low flat berg, half of which extended beneath the
water, I took my place in it with paddle in hand, while Christie and
Crumback, waiting for the moment when a large wave rolled in, launched
the canoe far out in the surf. By the vigorous use of my paddle I
succeeded in reaching smooth water and brought the canoe close under
the cliff forming the southern side of the cove, where the men were
able to drop in as a wave rolled under us.

We slowly worked our way down the bay through blue lanes in the
ice-pack, against an incoming tide, and reached our tents near sunset.
Thus ended one of the most enjoyable and most instructive days at
Yakutat bay.


Our camp on the shore of Yakutat bay was held for several days after
returning from Haenke island, but in the meantime an advance-camp was
established on the side of the Lucia glacier, from which Mr. Kerr and
myself made explorations ahead.

{104} Before leaving the base-camp I visited Black glacier for the
purpose of taking photographs and studying the appearance of an old
glacier far spent and fast passing away. This, like the Galiano
glacier, is a good example of a great number of ice-streams in the
same region which are covered from side to side with débris. The cañon
walls on either side rise precipitously, and their lower slopes, for
the height of 200 or 300 feet, are bare of vegetation. The surface of
the glacier has evidently sunken to this extent within a period too
short to allow of the accumulation of soil and the rooting of plants
on the slopes. The banks referred to are in part below the upper limit
of timber growth, and the adjacent surfaces are covered with bushes,
grasses, and flowers. Under the climatic conditions there prevailing,
it is evident that the formation of soil and the spreading of plants
over areas abandoned by ice is a matter of comparatively few years. It
is for this reason that a very recent retreat of Black glacier is
inferred. Many of the glaciers in southern Alaska give similar
evidence of recent contraction, and it is evident that a climatic
change is in progress which is either decreasing the winter's snow or
increasing the summer's heat. The most sensitive indicators of these
changes, responding even more quickly than does the vegetation, are
the glaciers.

The fourth of July was spent by us in cutting a trail up the steep
mountain slope to the amphitheatre visited during my first tramp. No
one can appreciate the density and luxuriance of the vegetation on the
lower mountain in that region until he has cut a passage through it.
Seven men, working continuously for six or seven hours with axes and
knives, were able to open a comparatively good trail about a mile in
length. The remainder of the way was along stream courses and up
bowlder-washes, which were free from vegetation. In the afternoon,
having finished our task, a half-holiday was spent in an exciting
search for two huge brown bears discovered by one of the party, but
they vanished before the guns could be brought out.

The next day an advance-camp was made in the amphitheatre above timber
line, and there Mr. Kerr and myself passed the night, molested only by
swarms of mosquitoes, and the day following occupied an outstanding
butte as a topographical station. In the afternoon of the same day the
advance-camp was moved to the border of the Atrevida glacier at a
point already described, where a muddy stream gushes out from under
the ice.

{105} Our next advance-camp, established a few days later, was at
Terrace point, as we called the extreme end of the mountain spur
separating the Lucia and Atrevida glaciers. These ice-streams were
formerly much higher than now, and when at their flood formed terraces
along the mountain side, which remain distinctly visible to the
present day. The space between the two glaciers at the southern end of
the mountain spur became filled with bowlders and stones carried down
on the side of the ice-streams, and, as the glaciers contracted, added
a tapering point to the mountain. Between the present surface of the
ice and the highest terrace left at some former time there are many
ridges, sloping down stream, which record minor changes in the
fluctuation of the ice. A portion of one of these terraces is seen to
the left in plate 10.


Terrace point, like all the lower portions of the mountain spurs
extending southward from the main range, is densely clothed with
vegetation, and during the short summers is a paradise of flowers. Our
tent was pitched on a low terrace just beyond the border of the ice.
The steep bluff rising to an elevation of some 200 feet on the east of
our camp was formed by glacial ice buried beneath an absolutely barren
covering of stones and dirt. On the west the ascent was still more
precipitous, but the slope from base to summit was one mass of
gorgeous flowers.


Kerr and myself made several excursions from the camp at Terrace
point, and explored the country ahead to the next mountain spur for
the purpose of selecting a site for another advance-camp. In the
meantime the men were busy in bringing up supplies.

Our reconnoissance westward took us across the Lucia glacier to the
mouth of a deep, transverse gorge in the next mountain spur. The
congeries of low peaks and knobs south of this pass we named the
_Floral hills_, on account of the luxuriance of the vegetation
covering them; and the saddle separating them from the mountains to
the north was called _Floral pass_.

In crossing the Lucia glacier we experienced the usual difficulties
met with on the débris-covered ice-field of Alaska. The way was
exceedingly rough, on account of the ridges and valleys on the ice,
and on account of the angular condition of the débris resting upon it.
Many of the ridges could not conveniently be climbed, owing to the
uncertain footing afforded by the angular {106} stones resting on the
slippery slope beneath. Fortunately, the crevasses were mostly filled
with stones fallen from the sides, so that the danger from open
fissures, which has usually to be guarded against in glacial
excursions, was obviated; yet, as is usually the case when crevasses
become filled with débris, the melting of the adjacent surfaces had
caused them to stand in relief and form ridges of loose stones, which
were exceedingly troublesome to the traveler.


Near the western side of the Lucia glacier, between Terrace point and
Floral pass, there is a huge rounded dome of sandstone rising boldly
out of the ice. This corresponds to the "nunataks" of the Greenland
ice-fields, and was covered by ice when the glaciation was more
intense than at present. On the northern side of the island the ice is
forced high up on its flanks, and is deeply covered with moraines; but
on the southwestern side its base is low and skirted by a sand plain
deposited in a valley formerly occupied by a lake. The melting of the
glacier has, in fact, progressed so far that the dome of rock is free
from ice on its southern side, and is connected with the border of the
valley toward the west by the sand plain. This plain is composed of
gravel and sand deposited by streams which at times became dammed
lower down and expanded into a lake. Sunken areas and holes over
portions of the lake bottom show that it rests, in part at least, upon
a bed of ice.


The most novel and interesting feature in the Lucia glacier is a
glacial river which bursts from beneath a high archway of ice just at
the eastern base of the nunatak mentioned above, and flows for about a
mile and a half through a channel excavated in the ice, to then enter
the mouth of another tunnel and become lost to view. An illustration
of this strange river and of the mouth of the tunnel in the
débris-covered ice into which it rolls, reproduced from a photograph
by a mechanical process, is given on plate 14, and another view of the
mouth of the same tunnel is presented in the succeeding plate. This is
the finest example of a glacial river that it has ever been my good
fortune to examine.


The stream is swift, and its waters are brown and heavy with sediment.
Its breadth is about 150 feet. For the greater part of its way, where
open to sunlight, it flows between banks of ice and over an icy floor.
Fragments of its banks, and portions of {107} the sides and roof of
the tunnel from which it emerges, are swept along by the swift
current, or stranded here and there in midstream. The sand plain
already mentioned borders the river for a portion of its course, and
is flooded when the lower tunnel is obstructed.


The archway under which the stream disappears is about fifty feet
high, and the tunnel retains its dimensions as far as one can see by
looking in at its mouth. Where the stream emerges is unknown; but the
emergence could no doubt be discovered by examining the border of the
glacier some miles southward. No explorer has yet been bold enough to
enter the tunnel and drift through with the stream, although this
could possibly be done without great danger. The greatest risk in such
an undertaking would be from falling blocks of ice. While I stood near
the mouth of the tunnel there came a roar from the dark cavern within,
reverberating like the explosion of a heavy blast in the chambers of a
mine, that undoubtedly marked the fall of an ice mass from the arched
roof. The course of the stream below the mouth of the tunnel may be
traced for some distance by scarps in the ice above, formed by the
settling of the roof. Some of these may be traced in the
illustrations. When the roof of the tunnel collapses so completely as
to obstruct the passage, a lake is formed above the tunnel, and when
the obstruction is removed the streams draining the glacier are

At the mouth of the tunnel there are always confused noises and
rhythmic vibrations to be heard in the dark recesses within. The air
is filled with pulsations like deep organ notes. It takes but little
imagination to transform these strange sounds into the voices and
songs of the mythical inhabitants of the nether regions.

Toward the right of the tunnel, as shown on plate 14, there appears a
portion of the former river bed, now abandoned, owing to the cutting
across of a bend in the stream. The floor of this old channel is
mostly of clear, white ice, and has a peculiar, hummocky appearance,
which indicates the direction of the current that once flowed over it.
A portion of the bed is covered with sand and gravel, and along its
border are gravel terraces resting on ice. These occurrences
illustrate the fact that rivers flowing through channels of ice are
governed by the same general laws as the more familiar surface

After examining this glacial river, during our first excursion on the
Lucia glacier, we reached its western banks by crossing {108} above
the upper archway. Traversing the sand plain to the westward, we came
to another stream of nearly equal interest, flowing along the western
margin of the glacier, past the end of the deep gorge called Floral
pass. A small creek, flowing down the pass, joins the stream and
skirts the glacier just below the mouth of a wild gorge on the side of
the main valley. This stream once flowed along the border of the Lucia
glacier when it was much higher than now, and began the excavation of
a channel in the rock, which was retained after the surface of the
glacier was lowered by melting. It still flows in a rock-cut channel
for about a mile before descending to the border of the glacier as it
exists at present. The geologist will see at once that this is a
peculiar example of superimposed drainage. The gorge cut by the stream
is a deep narrow trench with rough angular cliffs on either side, and
is a good example of a water-cut cañon. When the Lucia glacier melts
away and leaves the broad-bottomed valley clear of ice, the deep
narrow gorge on its western side, running parallel with its longer
axes, but a thousand feet or more above its bottom, will remain as one
of the evidences of a former ice invasion.

During our reconnoissance we turned back at the margin of the second
river, but a day or two later reached the same point with the camp
hands and camping outfit, and, placing a rope from bank to bank,
effected a crossing. Our next camp was in Floral pass. From there we
occupied a topographical station on the summit of the Floral hills,
and made another reconnoissance ahead, across the _Hayden
glacier_,[28] to the next mountain spur.

[Footnote 28: Named in honor of the late Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden,
founder of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories.]

Floral pass, like so many of the topographical features examined
during the recent expedition, has a peculiar history. It is a
comparatively low-grade gorge leading directly across the end of an
angular mountain range forming one of the spurs of Mount Cook. The
position of the pass was determined by an east-and-west fault and by
the erosion of soft shales turned up on edge along the line of
displacement. At its head it is shut in by the Hayden glacier, which
flows past it and forms a wall of ice about two hundred feet high. The
water flowing out from beneath the side of the glacier forms a muddy
creek, which finds its way over a bowlder-covered bed in the bottom of
the gorge to the border of Lucia glacier. Along the sides of the gorge
there are {109} many terraces, which record a complicated history.
Evenly stratified clays near its lower end, adjacent to the Lucia
glacier, show that it was at one time occupied in part by a lake.
Above the lacustral beds there are water-worn deposits, indicating
that at a later date the gorge was filled from side to side by
moraines and coarse stream deposits several hundred feet thick. These
were excavated, and portions were left clinging to the hill-sides,
forming the terraces of to-day. Diverse slopes in the terraces suggest
that the drainage may at times have been reversed, according as the
Lucia or the Hayden glacier was the higher.

The routes between our various camps, scattered along between Yakutat
bay and Blossom island, were traversed several times by every member
of the party. To traverse the same trail several times with heavy
loads, and perhaps in rain and mist, is disheartening work which I
will spare the reader the effort of following even in fancy.

From our camp in Floral pass another reconnoissance ahead was made by
Mr. Kerr and myself, as already mentioned. These advances, each one of
which told us something new, were the most interesting portions of our
journey. The little adventures and experiences of each advance were
reported and talked over when we rejoined our companions around the
camp-fire at night, and were received with gratifying interest by the

A view of the Hayden glacier from the Floral hills showed us that it
differed from any of the glaciers previously traversed. Its surface,
where we planned to cross it, was free of débris except along the
margins and also near the center, where we could distinguish a light
medial moraine. Farther southward, near the terminus of the glacier,
its surface from side to side was buried beneath a sheet of stones and
dirt. As in many other instances, the débris on the lower portion of
the glacier has been concentrated at the surface, owing to the melting
of the ice, so as to form a continuous sheet.

Early one morning, while traveling over the torrent-swept bowlders in
the stream-bed on our way up Floral pass, we were a little startled at
seeing the head of a bear just visible through the flowers fringing
the bank. Before a shot could be fired, he vanished, and remained
perfectly quiet among the bushes for several minutes. But a trembling
of the branches at length betrayed his presence, and a few minutes
later he came out in full view, his yellow-brown coat giving him the
appearance of a huge {110} dog. Standing on a rounded mound he looked
inquiringly down the valley, with his shaggy side in full view. I
fired--but missed my aim. The unsuccessful hunter always has an excuse
for his failure; I had never before used the rifle I carried, and the
hair-trigger with which it was provided deceived me. Fortunately for
the bear, and probably still more fortunately for me, the bullet went
far above the mark. The huge beast vanished again, although the
vegetation was not dense, and left us wondering how such a large
animal could disappear so quickly and so completely in such an open
region. On searching for his tracks, we found that he had traversed
for a few rods the plant-covered terrace on which he was first
discovered, and then escaped up a lateral gorge to a broader terrace

Reaching the head of the Floral pass and climbing the hill of débris
bordering the Hayden glacier, we came out upon the clear, white ice of
the central portion of the ice-stream. The ice was greatly crevassed,
but nearly all the gaps in its surface could be crossed by jumping or
else by ice-bridges. The most interesting feature presented by the
glacier was the way in which it yields itself to the inequality of the
rocks over which it flows. Starting on the eastern side, below the
entrance to Floral pass, and extending northwestward diagonally across
the stream, there is a line of steep descent in the rocks beneath,
which causes the ice to be greatly broken. This is not properly an
ice-fall, except near the confining walls of the cañon; but it might
be called an ice-rapid. The ice bends down over the subglacial scarp
with many long breaks, but does not form pinnacles, as in many similar
instances where the descent is greater, and true ice cascades occur.
The most practicable way for crossing the glacier was to ascend the
stream above the line of rapids for some distance, and then follow
diagonally down its center, finally veering westward to the opposite
bank. By following this course, and making a double curve like the
letter S, we could cross the steep descent in the center, where it was
least crevassed.

The marginal moraines on the Hayden glacier are formed of fragments of
brown and gray sandstone and black shale of all sizes and shapes. It
is clear that this débris was gathered by the cliffs bordering the
glacier on either side. The medial moraine which first appears at the
surface just above the rapids is of a different character, and tells
that the higher peaks of Mount Cook are composed, in part at least, of
a different material from {111} the spurs projecting from it. The
medial moraine looks black from a distance, but, on traversing it, it
was found to be composed mainly of dark-green gabbro and serpentine.
The débris is scattered over the surface in a belt several rods wide;
but it is not deep, as the ice can almost everywhere be seen between
the stones. Where the fragments of rock are most widely separated,
there are fine illustrations of the manner in which small, dark stones
absorb the heat of the sun and melt the ice beneath more rapidly than
the surrounding surface, sinking into the ice so as to form little
wells, several inches deep, filled with clear water. Larger stones,
which are not warmed through during a day's sunshine, protect the ice
beneath while the adjacent surface is melted, and consequently become
elevated on pillars or pedestals of ice. The stones thus elevated are
frequently large, and form tables which are nearly always inclined
southward. In other instances the ice over large areas, especially
along the center of the medial moraine, was covered with cones of
fine, angular fragments from a few inches to three or four feet in
height. These were not really piles of gravel, as they seemed, but
consisted of cones of ice, sheeted over with thin layers of small
stones. The secret of their formation, long since discovered on the
glaciers of Switzerland, is that the gravel is first concentrated in a
hole in the ice and, as the general surface melts away, acts like a
large stone and protects the ice beneath. It is raised on a pedestal,
but the gravel at the borders continually rolls down the sides and a
conical form is the result.

Where we crossed the Hayden glacier it is only about a mile broad in a
direct line; but to traverse it by the circuitous route rendered
necessary by the character of its surface required about three hours
of hard tramping, even when unincumbered with packs. From the center
of the glacier a magnificent view may be obtained of the snow-covered
domes of Mount Cook, from which rugged mountain ridges stretch
southward like great arms and enclose the white snow-field from which
the glacier flows. At an elevation of 2,500 feet the icy portion
disappears beneath the névé on which not a trace of débris is visible.
All the higher portions of the mountains are white as snow can make
them, except where the pinnacles and precipices are too steep to
retain a covering.

On reaching the western side of the glacier we found a bare space on
the bordering cliffs, about a hundred feet high, which {112} has been
abandoned by the ice so recently that it is not yet grassed over.
Above this came the luxuriant and beautiful vegetation covering all
the lower mountain slopes.

The mountain spur just west of the glacier, like several of the ridges
stretching southward from the higher mountains, ends in a group of
hills somewhat separate from the main ridge. The hills are covered
with a rank vegetation, and in places support a dense growth of spruce
trees. Reaching the grassy summit, we had a fine, far-reaching view of
the unexplored region toward the west, and of the vast plateau of ice
stretching southward beyond the reach of the vision. West of our
station, another great ice-stream, named the _Marvine glacier_, in
honor of the late A. R. Marvine, flows southward with a breadth
exceeding that of any of the icy streams yet crossed. Beyond the
Marvine glacier, and forming its western border, there is an
exceedingly rugged mountain range trending northeast and southwest.
Although this is, topographically, a portion of the mountain mass
forming Mount Cook, its prominence and its peculiar geological
structure render it important that it should have an independent name.
In acknowledgment of the services to science rendered by the first
state geologist of Massachusetts, it is designated the _Hitchcock
range_ on our maps. Rising above the angular crest line of this
mountain mass towers the pyramidal summit of Mount St. Elias,
seemingly as distant as when we first beheld it from near Yakutat bay.

About a mile west of the hill on which we stood, and beyond the bed of
a lake now drained of its waters by a tunnel leading southward through
the ice, rose a steep, rocky island out of the glaciers, its summit
overgrown with vegetation and dark with spruce trees. This oasis in a
sea of ice, subsequently named Blossom island, we chose as the most
favorable site for our next advance-camp.

We then returned to our camp in Floral pass, and a day or two later
Kerr and Christie started on a side trip up the Hayden glacier, to be
absent five days. During this trip the weather was stormy, and only
allowed half an hour for topographical work when a somewhat favorable
station was reached. This was of great service, however, in mapping
the country, as it gave a station of considerable elevation on the
side of Mount Cook. The trip was nearly all above the snow-line, and
was relieved by many novel experiences.

{113} While Kerr and Christie were away, I assisted the camp hands in
advancing to Blossom island. Our first day's work consisted in packing
loads across the Hayden glacier to the wooded hills on its western
border, reached during the reconnoissance described above. The weather
was stormy, and a dense fog rolled in from the ocean, obscuring the
mountains, and compelling us to find our way across the glacier as
best we could without landmarks. Patiently threading our way among
crevasses, we at length came in sight of the forests on the extremity
of the mountain spur toward the west, and concluded to camp there
until the weather was more favorable. We climbed the bare slope
bordering the glacier, and forced our way through the dripping
vegetation to an open space beside a little stream and near some aged
spruce trees that would furnish good fuel for a camp-fire. We were
glad of a refuge, but did not fully appreciate the fact that our tents
were in a paradise of flowers until the next morning, when the sun
shone clear and bright for a few hours. We hailed with delight the
world of summer beauty with which we were surrounded. Our camp was in
a little valley amid irregular hills of débris left by the former ice
invasion, each of which was a rounded dome of flowers. The desolate
ice-fields were completely shut out from view by the rank vegetation.
On the slope above us, dark spruce trees loaded with streamers of
moss, and seemingly many centuries old, formed a background for the
floral decoration with which the ground was everywhere covered.
Flowering plants and ferns were massed in such dense luxuriance that
the streams were lost in gorgeous banks of bloom.

Reluctantly we returned to Floral pass for another load of camp
supplies, and late in the afternoon pressed on to Blossom island,
where we again pitched our tents in rain and mist, and again, when the
storm cleared away, found ourselves in an untrodden paradise. Kerr and
Christie rejoined us at Blossom island on July 31, and we were once
more ready for an advance.


Our camp on Blossom island was near a small pond of water and close
beside a thick grove of spruce trees on the western side of the
land-mass. The tents were so placed as to secure an unobstructed view
to the westward; and they were visible, in turn, to parties descending
from the mountains toward the northwest, whither our work soon led us.

{114} The sides of Blossom island are rough and precipitous. The
glaciers flowing past it cut away the rocks and, as the surface of the
ice-fields was lowered, left them in many places in rugged cliffs bare
of vegetation. The top of the island was also formerly glaciated and
in part covered with débris; but the ice retreated so long ago that
the once desolate surface has become clothed in verdure. Everywhere
there are dense growths of flowers, ferns and berry bushes. On the
rocky spurs, thrifty spruce trees, festooned with drooping streamers,
shelter luxuriant banks of mosses, lichens and ferns. There was no
evidence that human hand had ever plucked a flower in that luxuriant
garden; not a trace could be found of man's previous invasion. The
only trails were those left by the bears in forcing their way through
the dense vegetation in quest of succulent roots. Later in the season,
when the berries ripened, there was a feast spread invitingly for all
who chose to partake. On the warm summer days the air was filled with
the perfume of the flowers, birds flitted in and out of the shady
grove, and insects hummed in the glad sunlight; the freshness and
beauty on every hand made this island seem a little Eden, preserved
with all its freshness and fragrance from the destroying hand of man.

This oasis in a desert of ice is so beautiful and displays so many
instructive and attractive features that I wish the reader to come
with me up the flowery slopes and study the interesting pictures to be
seen from its summit.

The narrow ravine back of our camp is festooned and overhung with tall
ferns, shooting out from the thickets on either hand like bending
plumes. You will notice at a glance, if perchance your youthful
excursions happened to be in the northeastern states, as were mine,
that many of the plants about us are old friends, or at least former
acquaintances. The tall fern nodding so gracefully as we pass is an
_Asplenium_, but of ranker growth than in most southern regions. These
tall white flowers with aspiring, flat-topped umbels, looking like
rank caraway plants, but larger and more showy, belong to the genus
_Archangelica_, and are at home in the Cascade range and the Rocky
Mountains as well as here. The lily-like plant growing so profusely,
especially in the moist dells, with tall, slim spikes of greenish
flowers and long parallel veined leaves, is _Veratrum viride_. These
brilliant yellow monkey-flowers, bending so gracefully over the banks
of the pond, are closely related to the little {115} _Mimulus_ which
nods to its own golden reflection in many of the brooks of New
England. That purple _Epilobrum_, with now and then a pure white
variety, so common everywhere on these hills, is the same wanderer
that we have seen over many square miles beneath the burnt woods of
Maine. These bushes with obscure white flowers, looking like little
waxen bells, we recognize at once as huckleberries; in a short time
they will be loaded with luscious fruit. Inviting couches of moss
beneath the spruce trees are festooned and decorated with fairy shapes
of brown and green, that recall many a long ramble among the
Adirondack hills and in the Canadian woods. The licapods, equiseta and
ferns are many of them identical with the tracery on mossy mounds
covering fallen hemlocks in the Otsego woods in New York, but display
greater luxuriance and fresher and more brilliant colors. That
graceful little beach-fern, here and there faded to a rich brown,
foretelling of future changes, is identical with the little fairy form
we used to gather long ago along the borders of the Great Lakes.
Asters and gentians, delicate orchids and purple lupines, besides many
less familiar plants, crowd the hillsides and deck the unkept meadows
with a brilliant mass of varied light. In the full sunshine, the
hill-slopes appear as if the fields of petals clothing them had the
prism's power, and were spreading a web of rainbow tints over the lush
leaves and grasses below.

       *       *       *       *       *

On our return to Blossom island, late in September, we found many of
the flowers faded, but in their places there was a profusion of
berries nearly as brilliant in color as the petals that heralded their
coming. Many of the thickets, inconspicuous before, had then a deep,
rich yellow tint, due to an abundance of luscious salmon berries,
larger than our largest blackberries. The huckleberries were also
ripe, and in wonderful profusion. These additions to our table were
especially appreciated after living for more than a month in the snow.
The ash trees were holding aloft great bunches of scarlet berries,
even deeper and richer in color than the ripe leaves on the same
brilliant branches. The deep woods were brilliant with the broad
yellow leaves of the Devil's club, above which rose spikes of crimson
berries. The dense thickets of currant bushes, so luxuriant that it
was difficult to force one's way through them, had received a dusky,
smoke-like tint, due to abundant blue-black strings of fruit suspended
all along the under sides of the branches.

       *       *       *       *       *

{116} Let us not look too far ahead, however. Wandering on over the
sunny slopes, where the gardener has forgotten to separate the colors
or to divide the flower banks, we gain the top of the island; but so
dense are the plants about us, and so eager is each painted cup to
expand freely in the sunlight at the expense of its neighbors, that we
have to beat them down with our alpenstocks--much as we dislike to mar
the beauty of the place--before we can recline on the thick turf
beneath and study the strange landscape before us.

The foreground of every view is a bank of flowers nodding and swaying
in the wind, but all beyond is a frozen desert. The ice-fields before
us, with their dark bands of débris, are a picture of desolation. The
creative breath has touched only the garden which we, the first of
wanderers, have invaded. The land before us is entirely without human
associations. No battles have there been fought, no kings have ruled,
no poets have sung of its ruggedness, and no philosopher has explained
its secrets. Yet it has its history, its poetry, and its philosophy!

The mountains toward the north are too near at hand to reveal their
grandeur; only the borders of the vast snow-fields covering all of
these upper slopes are in view. In the deep cañon with perpendicular
walls, just north of our station, but curving westward so that its
upper course is concealed from view, there flows a secondary glacier
which forces its terminal moraine high up on the northern slope of
Blossom island, but does not now join the ice-field on the south.
Streams of turbid water flow from this glacier on each side of the
oasis on which we stand and unite at the mouth of a dark tunnel in the
ice toward the south.

The barren gravel plain just east of our station, and at the foot of
the glacier from the north, is the bed of a glacial lake which has
been drained through the tunnel in the ice. On our way to Blossom
island we crossed this area and found that it had but recently lost
its waters. Miniature terraces on the gravel banks forming the sides
of the basin marked the height to which the waters last rose, and all
the slopes formerly submerged were covered with a thin layer of
sediment. On the sides of the basin where this fresh lining rests on
steep slopes there are beautiful frettings made by rills in the soft
sediment. The stream from the glacier now meanders across this sand
plain, dividing as it goes into many branches, which unite on {117}
approaching the dark archway below. The lake is extremely irregular in
its behavior, and may be filled and emptied several times in a season.
The waters are either restrained or flow freely, according as the
tunnel through which they discharge is obstructed or open. The lake is
typical of a class. Similar basins may be found about many of the
spurs projecting into the Malaspina glacier.

A little west of the glacier to which I have directed your attention
there is a narrow mountain gorge occupied by another glacier, of small
size but having all the principal characteristics of even the largest
Alpine glaciers of the region. It is less than half a mile in length,
has a high grade, and is fed by several lateral branches. Its surface
is divided into an ice region below and a névé region above. It has
lateral and medial moraines, ice pinnacles, crevasses, and many other
details peculiar to glaciers. From its extremity, which is dark with
dirt and stones, there flows a stream of turbid water. It is, in fact,
a miniature similitude of the ice-streams on the neighboring mountain,
some of which are forty or fifty miles in length and many times wider
in their narrowest part than the little glacier before us is long. The
more thoroughly we become acquainted with the mountains of southern
Alaska the more interesting and more numerous do the Alpine glaciers
of the third order become. Already, thousands could be enumerated.

I will not detain my imaginary companion longer with local details,
but turn at once to the objects which will ever be the center of
attraction to visitors who may chance to reach this remote island in
the ice. Looking far up the Marvine glacier, beyond the tapering
pinnacles and rugged peaks about its head, you will see spires and
cathedral-like forms of the purest white projected against the
northern sky. They recall at once the ecclesiastic architecture of the
Old World; but instead of being dim and faded by time they seem built
of immaculate marble. They have a grandeur and repose seen only in
mountains of the first magnitude. The cathedral to the right, with the
long roof-like crest and a tapering spire at its eastern terminus, is
Mount Augusta; its elevation is over 13,000 feet. A little to the
west, and equally beautiful but slightly less in elevation, is Mount
Malaspina--a worthy monument to the unfortunate navigator whose name
it bears. These peaks are on the main St. Elias range, but from our
present point of view they form only the {118} background of a
magnificent picture. Later in the season our tents were pitched at
their very bases, and they then revealed their full grandeur and
fulfilled every promise given by distant views.

The rugged Hitchcock range bordering the distant margin of the Marvine
glacier, like the mountains near at hand and the rocky island on which
we stand, is composed of sandstone and shale, but presents one
interesting feature, to which I shall direct your attention. The trend
of the range is northeast and southwest, but the strata of which it is
composed run east and west and are inclined northward. As the range is
some eight miles long, these conditions would seem to indicate a
thickness of many thousands of feet for the rocks of which it is
composed; yet the beds were deposited in horizontal sheets of sand and
mud of very late date, as will be shown farther on. But the great
apparent thickness of the strata is deceptive: a nearer examination
would reveal the fact that the rocks have been so greatly crushed that
even a hand specimen can scarcely be broken off with fresh surfaces.
More than this, the black shale, exhibiting the greatest amount of
crushing, is usually in wedge-shaped masses, which, in some cases at
least, are bordered by what are known as thrust planes, nearly
coinciding with the bedding planes of the strata. The rocks have been
fractured and crushed together in such a way as to pile fragments of
the same layer on top of each other, and thus to increase greatly
their apparent thickness. In the elevations before us the thrust
planes are tipped northeastwardly, and it would seem that the force
that produced them acted from that direction. The apparent thickness
of the beds has thus been increased many times. What their original
thickness was, it is not now possible to say. Similar indications of a
lateral crushing in the rocks may be found in several of the mountain
spurs between the Hitchcock range and Yakutat bay; but space will not
permit me to follow this subject further.

Turning from the mountains, we direct our eyes seaward; but it is a
sea of ice that meets our view and not the blue Pacific. Far as the
eye can reach toward the west, toward the south, and toward the
southeast there is nothing in view but a vast plateau of ice or barren
débris fields resting on ice and concealing it from view. This is the
Malaspina glacier.

On the border of the ice, just below the cliffs on which we {119}
stand, there is a belt of débris perhaps five miles in breadth, which
almost completely conceals the ice beneath. Portions of this moraine
are covered by vegetation, and in places it is brilliant with flowers.
The vegetation is most abundant on the nearer border and fades away
toward the center of the glacier. Its distant border, adjacent to the
white ice-field beyond, is {120} absolutely bare and desolate. An
attempt has been made to reproduce this scene in the picture forming
plate 16. The drawing is from a photograph and shows the barren débris
field stretching away towards the southwest. The extreme southern end
of the Hitchcock range appears at the right. In the distance is the
white ice of the central part of the Malaspina glacier. Far beyond,
faintly outlined against the sky, are the snow-covered hills west of
Icy bay. The flowers in the foreground are growing on the crest of the
steep bluff bordering Blossom island on the south.


On the moraine-covered portion, especially where plants have taken
root, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lakelets occupying
kettle-shaped depressions. A view of one of these interesting
reservoirs in the ice is given in figure 2. If we should go down to
the glacier and examine such a lakelet near at hand, we should find
that the cliffs of ice surrounding them are usually unsymmetrical,
being especially steep and rugged on one side and low or perhaps
wanting entirely on the other. But there is no regularity in this
respect; the steep slopes may face in any direction. On bright days
the encircling walls are always dripping with water produced by the
melting of the ice; little rills are constantly flowing down their
sides and plunging in miniature cataracts into the lake below; the
stones at the top of the ice-cliffs, belonging to the general sheet of
débris covering the glacier, are continually being undermined and
precipitated into the water. A curious fact in reference to the walls
of the lakelets is that the melting of the ice below the surface is
more rapid than above, where it is exposed to the direct rays of the
sun. As a result the depressions have the form of an hour-glass, as
indicated in the accompanying section.

[Illustration: FIGURE 2--_View of a glacial Lakelet_ (_drawn from a

[Illustration: FIGURE 3--_Section of a glacial lakelet_.]

Beyond the bordering moraines at our feet, we can look far out over
the ice-plateau and view hundreds of square miles of its {121} frozen
surface. At the same time we obtain glimpses of other vast ice-fields
toward the west, beyond Icy bay; but their limits in that direction
are unknown.

       *       *       *       *       *

Later in the season I made an excursion far out on the Malaspina
glacier from the extreme southern end of the Hitchcock range, and
became acquainted with many of its peculiarities. Its surface, instead
of being a smooth snow-field, as it appears from a distance, is
roughened by thousands of crevasses, many of which are filled with
clear, blue water. Over hundreds of square miles the surface appears
as if a giant plow had passed over it, leaving the ice furrowed with
crevasses. The crevasses are not broad; usually one can cross them at
a bound. They appear to be the scars left by rents in the tributary

The stillness far out on the great ice-field is immediately noticed by
one who has recently traversed the sloping surfaces of the tributary
glaciers. It is always silent on that vast frozen plateau. There are
no surface streams and no lakes; not a rill murmurs along its channel
of ice; no cascades are formed by streams plunging into moulins and
crevasses. The water produced by the melting of the ice finds its way
down into the glacier and perhaps to its bottom, and must there form
rivers of large size; but no indications of their existence can be
obtained at the surface. The icy surface is undulating, and resembles
in some respects the great rolling prairies of the west; it is a
prairie of ice. In the central portion not a shoot of vegetation casts
its shadow, and scarcely a fragment of rock can be found. The
boundaries of the vast plateau have never been surveyed, but its area
cannot be less than five hundred square miles. The clear ice of the
center greatly exceeds the extent of the moraine-covered borders. It
has a general elevation of fifteen or sixteen hundred feet, being
highest near the end of the Hitchcock range, where the Seward glacier
comes in, and decreasing from there in all directions. From the summit
of Blossom island and other commanding stations it is evident that the
dark moraine belts about its borders are compound and record a varied
history. Far away toward the southeast the individual elements may be
distinguished. The dark bands of débris sweep around in great curves
and concentric, swirl-like figures, which indicate that there are
complicated currents in the seemingly motionless plateau.

The Malaspina glacier belongs to a class of ice bodies not {122}
previously recognized, which are formed at the bases of mountains by
the union of several glaciers from above. Their position suggests the
name of _Piedmont glaciers_ for the type. They differ from continental
glaciers in the fact that they are formed by the union of ice-streams
and are not the sources from which ice-streams flow. The supply from
the tributary glacier is counterbalanced by melting and evaporation.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the reader has become interested in the vast ice-fields about
Blossom island, he may wish to continue our acquaintance and go with
me into the great snow-fields on the higher mountains, where the
ice-rivers feeding the Malaspina glacier have their sources.


Early on the morning of August 2, all necessary preparations having
been made the day previous, we started in the direction of the great
snow peak to be seen at the head of the Marvine glacier, where we
hoped to find a pass leading through the mountains which would enable
us to reach the foot of Mount St. Elias or to discover a practicable
way across the main range into the unknown country toward the north.

All of the camp hands were with us at the start, except Stamy and
White, who had been despatched to Port Mulgrave to purchase shoes. All
but Crumback and Lindsley were to return to Blossom island, however,
after leaving their loads at a rendezvous as far from Blossom island
as could be reached in a day and allow sufficient time to return to
the base-camp. Kerr and myself, with the two camp hands mentioned,
were to press on to the snow-fields above. We took with us a tent,
blankets, rations, an oil-stove, and a supply of coal oil, and felt
equal to any emergency that might arise.

The morning of our departure was thick and foggy, with occasional
showers, and the weather grew worse instead of better as we advanced.
All the mountains were soon shut out from view by the vast vapor banks
that settled down from above, and we had little except the general
character of the glacier to guide us.

Our way at first led up the eastern border of the Marvine glacier,
over seemingly interminable fields of angular débris. Traveling on the
rugged moraine, some idea of which may be obtained from plate 17, was
not only tiresome in the extreme, but ruinous to boots and shoes. On
passing the mouth of the {123} first lateral gorge (about a mile from
Blossom island), from which flows a secondary glacier, we could look
up the bed of the steep ravine to the white precipices beyond, which
seemed to descend out of the clouds, and were scarred by avalanches;
but all of the higher peaks were shrouded from view. At noon we passed
the mouth of a second and larger gorge, which discharges an important
tributary. We then left the border of the glacier and traveled up its
center, the crevasses at the embouchures of the tributary stream being
too numerous and too wide to be crossed without great difficulty.


In the center of the Marvine glacier there is a dark medial moraine,
composed mainly of débris of gabbro and serpentine, of the same
character as the medial moraine on the Hayden glacier, already briefly
mentioned. Here, too, we found broad areas covered with sand cones and
glacial tables. There are also rushing streams, flowing in channels of
ice, which finally plunge into crevasses or in well-like moulins and
send back a deep roar from the caverns beneath. The murmurs of running
waters, heard on every hand, seem to indicate that the whole glacier
is doomed to melt away in a single season.

Early in the afternoon we reached the junction of the two main
branches of the Marvine glacier, and chose the most westerly. We were
still traveling over hard blue ice in which the blue and white
vein-structure characteristic of glaciers could be plainly
distinguished. The borders of the ice-streams were dark with lateral
moraines; but after passing the last great tributary coming in from
the northeast we reached the upper limit of the glacier proper and
came to the lower border of the névé fields, above which there is
little surface débris. The glacier there flows over a rugged descent,
and is greatly broken by its fall. At first we endeavored to find a
passage up the center of the crevassed and pinnacled ice, but soon
came to an impassable gulf. Turning toward the right, we traversed a
ridge of ice between profound gorges and reached the base of the
mountain slope bordering the glacier on the east. Our party was now
divided; Christie and his companion were left searching for a
convenient place to leave the cans of rations they carried, while we,
who were to explore the regions above, were endeavoring to find a way
up the ice-fall. A shout from our companions below called our
attention to the fact that they were unable to reach the border of the
glacier, where they had been directed to leave their packs, and that
they {124} had left them on the open ice. They waved us "good-bye" and
started back toward Blossom island, leaving our little band of four to
make the advance.

Descending into a deep black gorge at the border of the ice, formed by
its melting back from the bordering cliffs, we clambered upward
beneath overhanging ice-walls, from which stones and fragments of ice
were occasionally dropping, and finally reached a great snow-bank on
the border of the glacier. As the storm still continued, and was even
increasing in force, we concluded to find a camping ground soon as
possible and make ourselves comfortable as the circumstances would


We had now reached the lower limit of perpetual snow. There were no
more moraines on the surface of the glacier, and no bare rock surfaces
large enough to hold a tent. The entire region was snow-mantled as far
as the eye could see, except where pinnacles and cliffs too steep and
rugged for the snow to accumulate rose above the general surface. A
little to one side of the mouth of a steep lateral gorge we found a
spot in which a mass of partly disintegrated shale had fallen down
from the cliff. We scraped the fragments aside, smoothed the snow
beneath, and built a wall of rock along the lower margin. The space
above was filled in with fragments of shale, so as to form a shelf on
which to pitch our tent. Soon our blankets were spread, with our
water-proof coats for a substratum, and supper was prepared over the

Darkness settled down over the mountains, and the storm increased as
the night came on. What is unusual in Alaska, the rain fell in
torrents, as in the tropics. Our little tent of light cotton cloth
afforded great protection, but the rain-drops beat on it with such
force that the spray was driven through and made a fine rain within.
Weary with many hours of hard traveling over moraines and across
crevassed ice, and in an atmosphere saturated with moisture, we rolled
ourselves in our blankets, determined to rest in spite of the storm
that raged about.

As the rain became heavier, the avalanches, already alarmingly
numerous, became more and more frequent: A crash like thunder,
followed by the clatter of falling stones, told that many tons of ice
and rocks on the mountains to the westward had slid {125} down upon
the borders of the glacier; another roar near at hand, caused by an
avalanche on our own side of the glacier, was followed by another,
another, and still another out in the darkness, no one could tell
where. The wilder the storm, the louder and more frequent became the
thunder of the avalanches. It seemed as if pandemonium reigned on the
mountains. One might fancy that the evil spirits of the hills had
prepared for us a reception of their own liking--but decidedly not to
the taste of their visitors. Soon there was a clatter and whiz of
stones at our door. Looking out I saw rocks as large as one's head
bounding past within a few feet of our tent. The stones on the
mountain side above had been loosened by the rain, and it was evident
that our perch was no longer tenable. Before we could remove our frail
shelter to a place of greater safety, a falling rock struck the
alpenstock to which the ridge-rope of our tent was fastened and
carried it away. Our tent "went by the board," as a sailor would say,
and we were left exposed to the pouring rain. Before we could gather
up our blankets they were not only soaked, but a bushel or more of mud
and stones from the bank above, previously held back by the tent,
flowed in upon them. Rolling up our blankets and "caching" the
rations, instruments, etc., under a rubber cloth held down by rocks,
we hastily dragged our tent-cloth down to the border of the glacier,
at the extremity of a tapering ridge, along which it seemed impossible
for stones from above to travel. We there pitched our tent on the hard
snow, without the luxury of even a few handfuls of shale beneath our
blankets. Wet and cold, we sought to wear the night away as best we
could, sleep being impossible. Crumback, who had been especially
energetic in removing the tent, regardless of his own exposure, was
wet and became cold and silent. The oil-stove and a few rations were
brought from the cache at the abandoned camp, and soon a dish of
coffee was steaming and filling the tent with its delicious odor. Our
shelter became comfortably warm and the hot coffee, acting as a
stimulant, restored our sluggish circulation. We passed an
uncomfortable night and watched anxiously for the dawn. Toward morning
a cold wind swept down the glacier and the rain ceased. With the dawn
there came indications that the storm had passed, although we were
still enveloped in dense clouds and could not decide whether or not a
favorable change in the weather had occurred. We were still cold and
wet and the desire to return to Blossom {126} island, where all was
sunshine and summer, was great. Uncertain as to what would be the
wisest course, we packed our blankets and started slowly down the
mountain, looking anxiously for signs that the storm had really

An hour after sunrise a rift in the mist above us revealed the
wonderful blue of the heavens, and allowed a flood of sunlight to pour
down upon the white fields beneath. Never was the August sun more
welcome. The mists vanished before its magic touch, leaving here and
there fleecy vapor-wreaths festooned along the mountain side; as the
clouds disappeared, peak after peak came into view, and snow-domes and
glaciers, never seen before, one by one revealed themselves to our
astonished eyes. When the curtain was lifted we found ourselves in a
new world, more wild and rugged than any we had yet beheld. There was
not a tree in sight, and nothing to suggest green fields or flowery
hill-sides, except on a few of the lower mountain spurs, where
brilliant Alpine blossoms added a touch of color to the pale
landscape. All else was stern, silent, motionless winter.

The glacier, clear and white, without a rock on its broken surface,
looked from a little distance like a vast snow-covered meadow. We were
about a mile above the lower limit of the snow-fields, where the blue
ice of the glacier comes out from beneath the névé. The blue ice was
deeply buried, and could only be seen in the deepest crevasses. Across
the glacier rose the angular cliffs and tapering spires of the
Hitchcock range. Every ravine and gulch in its rugged sides was
occupied by glaciers, many of which were so broken and crevassed that
they looked like frozen cataracts.

Cheered by the bright skies and sun-warmed air, we pushed on up the
glacier, taking the center of the stream in order to avoid the
crevasses, which were most numerous along its borders. Two or three
miles above our first camp we found a place where a thin layer of
broken shale covered the snow, at a sufficient distance from the steep
slopes above to be out of the reach of avalanches. We there
established our second camp after leaving Blossom island, dried our
blankets, and spent the remainder of the day basking in the sunlight
and gathering energy for coming emergencies.

We found the névé of the Marvine glacier differing greatly from the
lower or icy portion previously traversed. Instead of ice with blue
and white bands, as is common lower down, the {127} entire surface,
and as far down in the crevasses as the eye could distinguish, was
composed of compact snow, or snow changed to icy particles resembling
hail and having in reality but few of the properties of ordinary snow:
it might properly be called névé ice. Usually the thickness of the
layers varied from ten to fifteen feet. Separating them were dark
lines formed by dust blown over the surface of the glacier and buried
by subsequent snow-storms, or by thin blue lines formed by the edges
of sheets of ice and showing that the snow surface had been melted
during bright sunny days and frozen again at night. The horizontal
stratification so plainly marked in all the crevasses in the névé was
almost entirely wanting, or at least was not conspicuous, in the lower
portion of the glacier, where, instead, we found those narrow blue and
white bands already mentioned, the origin of which has been so well
described and explained by Tyndall.

The center of the Marvine glacier, as in most similar ice-streams, is
higher and less broken by crevasses than its borders. The crevasses at
the side trend up stream, as is the case with marginal crevasses
generally. In the present instance the courses of these rents could be
plainly distinguished on each border of the glacier, when looking down
upon it from neighboring slopes. The crevasses occur at quite regular
intervals of approximately fifty feet, and diverge from the bank at
angles of about 40°. In the banks of snow bordering the glacier
similar crevasses diverge from the margin of the flowing glacier and
trend down along its banks. The marginal crevasses and the crevasses
in the bordering snow-fields, to which no special name has been given,
fall nearly in line; but between the two there is a series of
irregular cracks and broken snow, sharply defining the border of the
moving névé.

The origin of the marginal crevasses trending up stream was explained
during the study of the glaciers of Switzerland. The following diagram
and explanation illustrating their development are copied from

"Let _A C_ be one side of the glacier and _B D_ the other; and let the
direction of motion be that indicated by the arrow. Let _S T_ be a
transverse slice of the glacier, taken straight across it, say to-day.
A few days or weeks hence the slice will have been carried down, and
because the center moves more quickly than the sides it will not
remain straight, but will bend into the form _S' T'_. Supposing _T i_
to be a small square of the original slice near the side of the
glacier; in the new position the square will be distorted to the
lozenge-shaped figure _T' i'_. Fix your attention upon the {128}
diagonal _T i_ of the square; in the lower position this diagonal, _if
the ice could stretch_, would be lengthened to _T' i'_. But the ice
does not stretch; it breaks, and we have a crevasse formed at right
angles to _T' i'_. The mere inspection of the diagram will assure you
that the crevasse will point obliquely _upward_."[29]

[Illustration: FIGURE 4--_Diagram illustrating the Formation of
marginal Crevasses_.]

[Footnote 29: The Forms of Water: International Scientific Series, New
York, 1875, pp. 107-108.]

The explanation given above applies especially to the lower or icy
portion of a glacier; above the snow-line other facts appear. When a
glacier flows through fields of snow on a level with its surface,
crevasses are formed in the adjacent banks. These trend down stream
for the same reason that the crevasses in the glacier proper trend up
stream--that is, the friction of the moving stream against its banks
tends to carry them along, while the portions at a distance are
stationary. Fissures are thus opened which trend in the direction in
which the glacier moves. The angle made by these crevasses with the
axis of the glacier is about the same as those of the marginal
crevasses, but in an opposite direction. They are widest near the
margin of the glacier and taper to a sharp end towards the stationary
snow-banks above. The crevasses in the two series thus fall nearly in
line, but are separated by a narrow band of irregularly broken snow,
marking the actual border of the glacier.[30]

[Footnote 30: Crevasses in snow-fields through which ice-streams flow
will be mentioned again in describing the Seward glacier.]

After leaving Blossom island the party was divided, and we began a new
series of numbers for our camp above the snow-line, although in this
narrative and on the accompanying map a single series of numbers for
all the camps will be used. While in the field the camps in the snow
were usually termed, facetiously, "sardine camps," in allusion to the
uncomfortable manner in which we were packed in our tent at night.


The morning after reaching Camp 12 dawned gloriously bright. The night
had been cold, and a heavy frost had silenced every rill from the
snow-slopes above. The clear, bracing air gave us renewed energy and a
firmer desire to press on. Mr. Kerr and myself made an excursion
ahead, while Lindsley and Crumback brought up a load of supplies from
the cache left on the glacier below Camp 11.

On gaining the center of the Marvine glacier we had a magnificent view
down the broad ice-stream, bordered on either hand by towering,
snow-laden precipices, and changing, as the eye followed the downward
slope, from pure white to brown and black in the distance. Far below
we could barely discern the wooded summit of Blossom island, beyond
which stretched the seemingly limitless ice-fields of the Malaspina
glacier. All about us the white slope reflected the sunlight with
painful brilliancy, while the black moraines and forests below and the
mists over the distant ocean, made it seem as if one was looking down
into a lower and darker world.

As we advanced toward the head of the glacier we found, as on several
subsequent occasions, that the nearer we approached the sources of an
ice-stream the easier our progress became. Following up the center of
the glacier, we learned that it curved toward the east; and after an
hour or two of weary tramping we reached the great amphitheatre in
which it has its source. All about us were rugged mountain slopes,
heavily loaded with snow, and forming clear white cliffs from which
avalanches had descended. To the westward the wall of the amphitheatre
was broken, and it was apparent that we could cross its rim in that
direction. Pressing onward up the gently ascending slope, we came at
length to a gap in the mountains bordered on the north by a towering
cliff fully a thousand feet high, and were rejoiced to find that the
snow surface on the opposite side of the divide inclined westward with
a grade as gentle as the one we had ascended. Looking far down the
western snow-slope, we could see where it joined a large glacier
flowing southward past the end of the great cliffs which extended
westward from the divide. The glacier we saw in the valley below is
designated on our map as the _Seward glacier_, in honor of William H.
Seward, the former Secretary of State, who negotiated the purchase of
Alaska for the United States.

{130} The pass we named _Pinnacle pass_, on account of the many
towering pinnacles overshadowing it. Its elevation is about four
thousand feet, and at the summit it has a breadth of only two or three
hundred feet. The snow on the divide is greatly crevassed, but a
convenient snow-bridge enabled us to cross without difficulty. The
crevasses increased in breadth with the advance of the season, and on
returning from our mountain trip in September we had to climb up on
the bordering cliff in order to pass the main crevasse at the summit.
Some idea of the crevasses of this region may be obtained from the
following figure, drawn from a photograph taken on the western side of
Pinnacle pass, not far from the summit.

[Illustration: Figure 5--_Crevasses on Pinnacle Pass; from a

The cliff on the north of Pinnacle pass is really a huge fault-scarp
of recent date, intersecting stratified shale, limestone, and
conglomerate, with a few thin coal-seams. The strata dip toward the
north at a high angle, and present their broken edges in the great
cliff rising above the pass. The cliffs extend westward from the pass,
and retain a nearly horizontal crest line, but increase in height and
grandeur, owing to the downward grade of the glacier along their base.
A mile to the westward their elevation is fully two thousand feet. The
cliffs throughout are {131} almost everywhere bare of snow and too
steep and rugged to be scaled. They form a strongly drawn boundary
line in the geology of the region, and furnish the key to the
structure and geological character of an extended area. All the rocks
to the southward are sandstone and shale belonging to a well-defined
series, and differ materially from the rocks in the fault-scarp. I
have called the rocks toward the south, the _Yakutat system_, and
those exposed in the faces of the fault-scarp the _Pinnacle system_.
Directly north of Pinnacle pass, and at the base of Mount Owen, the
rocks of the Yakutat system are exposed, and from their position and
association it is evident that they are younger than the Pinnacle
system and belong above it. If these conclusions are sustained by
future investigation, they will carry with them certain deductions
which are among the most remarkable in geological history. On the
crest of the Pinnacle pass cliffs I afterwards found strata containing
fossil shells and leaves belonging to species still living. These
records of animal and plant life show that not only were the rocks of
the Pinnacle system deposited since living species of mollusks and
plants came into existence, but that the Yakutat system is still more
recent. More than this, the upheaval of the mountains, the formation
of numerous fault-scarps, and the origin of the glaciers, have all
occurred since Pliocene times.

The discovery of Pinnacle pass left no question as to the route to be
traversed in order to reach the mountains to the westward. We returned
to Camp 12, and the following day, with Crumback and Lindsley to
assist us, advanced our camp across Pinnacle pass and far down the
western snow-slope.

The day we crossed the pass was bright and clear in the morning, but
clouds gathered around all the higher peaks about midday, vanishing
again at nightfall. As it was desirable to occupy, for topographic and
other purposes, a station on the top of the cliffs overlooking
Pinnacle pass, we made an effort to reach the crest of the ridge by
climbing up the steep scarp just at the divide, where the cliffs are
lowest. While Crumback returned to Camp 12 for an additional load and
Lindsley went ahead to discover a new camping place, Kerr and myself,
taking the necessary instruments, began the ascent; but we found it
exceedingly difficult. The outcrops of shale in the lower portion of
the cliff furnished but poor foothold, and crumbled and broke away at
every step. Once my companion, losing his support, slid slowly {132}
down the slope in spite of vigorous efforts to hold on, and a rapid
descent in the yawning chasm below seemed inevitable, when, coming to
a slightly rougher surface, he was able to control his movements and
to regain what had been lost. Climbing on, we came to the base of a
vertical wall of shale several hundred feet high, and made a detour to
the left where a cascade plunged down a narrow channel. We ascended
the bed of the stream, which was sometimes so steep that the spray
dashed over us, and reached the base of an overhanging cliff of
conglomerate composed of well-worn pebbles. Above this rose a cliff of
snow fifty feet or more in height, which threatened to crash down in
avalanches at any moment. One small avalanche did occur during the
ascent, and scattered its spray in our faces. Had a heavy avalanche
formed, our position would have been exceedingly dangerous; but by
taking advantage of every overhanging ledge, and watching for the
least sign of movement in the snow above, we reached without accident
a sheltered perch underneath an overhanging cliff near the base of the
snow. We then discovered that clouds were forming on all the high
mountains, and shreds of vapor blown over the crest of the cliff above
told us that further efforts would be useless. Seeking a perch
protected from avalanches by an overhanging cliff, we had a splendid
view far out over the sloping snow-plain toward the west and of the
mountains bordering Pinnacle pass on the south. My notes written in
this commanding station read as follows:

"Looking down from my perch I can plainly distinguish the undulations
and crevasses in the broad snow-fields stretching westward from
Pinnacle pass. Each inequality in the rock beneath the glacier is
reproduced in flowing and subdued outlines in the white surface above.
The positions of bosses and cliffs in the rock beneath are indicated
by rounded domes and steep descents in the snow surface. About the
lower sides of these inequalities there are in some cases concentric
blue lines and in others radiating fissures, marking where the snow
has broken in making the descent. The side light shining from the
eastward down the long westerly slope reveals by its delicate shading
the presence of broad, terrace-like, transverse steps into which the
stream is divided. Were the snow removed and the rock beneath exposed,
we should find broad terraces separated by scarps sweeping across the
bed of the glacier from side to side. Similar terraces occur in
glaciated cañons in the Rocky Mountains and {133} the Sierra Nevada,
but their origin has never been explained. The glacier is here at work
sculpturing similar forms; but still it is impossible to understand
how the process is initiated.

"Right in front of us, and only a mile or two away, rise the cliffs,
spires, and pinnacles of the Hitchcock range. Every ravine and
amphitheatre in the great mountain mass is deeply filled with snow,
and the sharp angular crests look as if they had been thrust up
through the general covering of white. The northern end of the range
is clearly defined by the east-and-west fault to which Pinnacle pass
owes its origin. The trend of the mighty cliffs on the southern face,
on which we have found a perch, is at right angles to the longer axis
of the Hitchcock range, and marks its northern terminus both
topographically and geologically.

"There is not even a suggestion of vegetation in sight. The eye fails
to detect a single dash of green or the glow of a single Alpine flower
anywhere on the rugged slopes. A small avalanche from the snow-cliffs
above, cascading over the cliff which shelters me and only a few yards
away, tells why the precipices are so bare and desolate: they have
been swept clean by avalanches.

"Far down the western snow-slope I can distinguish crevasses and dirt
bands in the Seward glacier, which flows southward past the range on
which we sit. The marginal crevasses along the border of the glacier
can clearly be distinguished. As usual, they trend up-stream and,
meeting medial crevasses, break the surface of the glacier into
thousands of pinnacles and tables. Along the center of the stream
there are V-shaped dirt bands, separated by crevasses, which point
down-stream and give the appearance of a rapid flow to the central
portion of the glacier. From this distance its center has the
appearance of 'watered' ribbon.

"A little toward the south of where the medial crevasses are most
numerous, and at a locality where two opposite mountain spurs force
the ice-stream through the comparatively narrow gorge, there is
evidently an ice-fall, as the whole glacier from side to side
disappears from view. The appearance of Niagara when seen from the
banks of the river above the Horseshoe falls is suggested. Beyond this
silent cataract, the eye ranges far out over the broad, level surface
of the Malaspina glacier, and traces the dark morainal ribbons
streaming away for miles from the mountain spurs among which they
originate. From the extreme {134} southern cape of the Samovar hills
there is a highly compound moraine-belt stretching away toward the
south, and then dividing and curving both east and west. The central
band of débris must be a mile broad. Along its eastern margin I can
count five lesser bands separated by narrow intervals of ice, and on
the farther side similar secondary bands are suggested, but the height
of the central range almost completely conceals them from view. In the
distant tattered ends, however, their various divisions can be clearly
traced. Great swirls in the ice are there indicated by concentric
curves of débris on its surface.

"Still farther westward there are hills rising to the height of
impressive mountains, in which northward dipping rocks, apparently of
sandstone and shale, similar to those forming the Hitchcock range, are
plainly distinguishable. All the northern slopes of these hills are
deeply buried beneath a universal covering of snow evidently hundreds
of feet thick, which is molded upon them so as to reveal every
swelling dome and ravine in their rugged sides. Farther westward
still, beyond a dark headland apparently washed by the sea, there are
other broad ice-fields of the same general character as the Malaspina
glacier, which stretch away for miles and miles and blend in the dim
distance with the haze of the horizon.

"Just west of the Seward glacier, and in part forming its western
shore, there are dark, rocky crests projecting through the universal
ice mantle, suggesting the lost mountains of Utah and Nevada which
have become deeply buried by the dusts of the desert. The character of
the sharp crests beyond the Seward glacier indicate that they are the
upturned edges of fault-blocks similar to the one on which we are
seated. Interesting geological records are there waiting an
interpreter. The vastness of the mountains and the snow-fields to be
seen at a single glance from this point of view can scarcely be
realized. There are no familiar objects in sight with which to make
eye-measurements; the picture is on so grand a scale that it defies
imagination's grasp."

Searching the snow-sheet below with a field-glass, I discover a minute
spot on the white surface. Its movement, slow but unmistakable,
assures me that it is Lindsley returning from the site chosen for our
camp to-night. Although apparently near at hand, he forms but an
inconspicuous speck on the vast snow-field.

{135} Having learned all that I could of the geology of the cliff, and
the gathering clouds rendering it unnecessary to climb the summits
above, we descended with even more difficulty than we had encountered
on our way up, and met Lindsley as he reached the pass. Resuming our
packs, we started on, knowing that Crumback would follow our trail;
and after two hours' hard tramping over a snow surface rendered
somewhat soft by the heat of the day, but fortunately little
crevassed, we reached the place chosen for our camp. Crumback soon
joined us, and we pitched our tent for the night. The place chosen was
on a little island of débris, the farthest out we could discover from
the base of the great cliff on the north. We judged that we should
there be safe from avalanches, although the screech and hiss of stones
falling from the cliff were heard many times during the night.

Lindsley and Crumback, on revisiting the site of our camp two days
later, found that a tremendous avalanche of snow and rocks had in the
mean time fallen from the cliffs and ploughed its way out upon the
glacier to within fifteen or twenty feet of where we had passed the
night. They remarked that if the avalanche had occurred while we were
in camp, our tent would not have been reached, but that we should
probably have been scared to death by the roar.


Leaving Crumback and Lindsley to make our camp as comfortable as
possible, Kerr and I pressed on with the object of seeing all we could
of the country ahead before the afternoon sunlight faded into
twilight. Mount St. Elias had been shut out from view, either by
clouds or by intervening mountains, for several days; but it was
evident that on approaching the end of the Pinnacle pass fault-scarp
we should behold it again, and comparatively near at hand.

Continuing down the even snow-slope, in which there were but few
crevasses, the view became broader and broader as we advanced, and at
length the great pyramid forming the culminating summit of all the
region burst into full view. What a glorious sight! The great mountain
seemed higher and grander and more regularly proportioned than any
peak I had ever beheld before. The white plain formed by the Seward
glacier gave an even foreground, broken by crevasses which, lessening
in perspective, gave distance to the foot-hills forming the western
{136} margin of the glacier. Far above the angular crest of the
Samovar hills in the middle distance towered St. Elias, sharp and
clear against the evening sky. Midway up the final slope a thin,
horizontal bar of gray clouds was delicately penciled. Through the
meshes of the fairy scarf shone the yellow sunset sky. The strong
outlines of the rugged mountain, which had withstood centuries of
storms and earthquakes, were softened and glorified by the breath of
the summer winds, chilled as they kissed its crystal slopes.

Could I give to the reader a tithe of the impressions that such a view
suggests, they would declare that painters had never shown them
mountains, but only hills. So majestic was St. Elias, with the halo of
the sunset about his brow, that other magnificent peaks now seen for
the first time or more fully revealed than ever before, although
worthy the respect and homage of the most experienced
mountain-climber, scarcely received a second glance.

Returning to camp, we passed the night, and the following day, August
6, advanced our camp to the eastern border of the Seward glacier at
the extreme western end of the upturned crest forming the northern
wall of Pinnacle pass.

The western end of the Pinnacle pass cliff is turned abruptly
northward, and the rocks dip eastward at a high angle, showing,
together with other conditions, that the end of the ridge is
determined by a cross-fault running northeast and southwest. West of
the Seward glacier there is a continuation of the Pinnacle-pass cliff,
but it is greatly out of line. The position of the Seward glacier, in
this portion of its course, was determined by the fault which broke
the alignment of the main displacement.

Many facts of similar nature show that the glaciers of the St. Elias
region have had their courses determined, to a large extent, by the
faults which have given the region its characteristic structure: the
ice drainage is consequent to the structure of the underlying rocks;
the glaciers not only did not originate the channels in which they
flow, but have failed to greatly modify them.

Camp 14 was on a sharp crest of limestone, conglomerate, and shale
belonging to the Pinnacle system, which was not over ten feet broad
where our tent was pitched. East of our tent there was a broad, upward
sloping snow-plain banked against the precipitous base of a hill about
a thousand feet high. At the edge of the snow, within three feet of
our tent, there was a pond {137} of clear water, seemingly placed
there for our special use. The western edge of our tent was at the
margin of a cliff about a hundred feet high, overlooking the Seward
glacier. We held this camp for several days and reöccupied it on our
return from St. Elias.


From Camp 14 Crumback returned to Blossom island, and Stamy took his
place. Word from Christie assured me that supplies would be advanced
to Blossom island, and that our cache on the Marvine glacier would be
renewed. Stamy's arrival was especially welcome for the reason that he
brought letters from dear ones far away, which had been forwarded from
Sitka by a trading schooner that chanced to visit Yakutat bay.

While the camp hands were busy in bringing up fresh supplies, Kerr and
I occupied two stations on the summit of the Pinnacle pass cliffs. One
of these was on a butte at the western end of the ridge and just above
our camp; the other was on the crest of the main line of cliffs almost
directly above Pinnacle pass, at an elevation of 5,000 feet. Each of
the stations embraced magnificent views, extending from the outer
margin of the Malaspina glacier to the crest of the St. Elias range.
The station on the butte near camp was occupied several times, and
proved to be a most convenient and commanding point for study of the
geography, geology, and distribution of glacier over a wide area. On
account of the splendid view obtained from the top we named it _Point
Glorious_. Its elevation is 3,500 feet.

One of the days on which we occupied Point Glorious was especially
remarkable on account of the clearness and freshness of the air and
the sharpness with which each peak and snow-crest stood out against
the deep-blue heavens. We left our camp early in the morning, and
spent several hours on the summit. On our way up we found several
large patches of Alpine flowers and, under a tussock of moss, a soft,
warm nest just abandoned by a mother ptarmigan with her brood of
little ones. One hundred feet higher we came to the borders of the
snow-field which covered all of the upper slopes except a narrow crest
of sandstone at the top.

The Seward glacier, sweeping down from the northeast, curves about the
base of Point Glorious and flows on southward. Its surface has the
appearance of a wide frozen river. Toward the {138} east of our
station there was a broad, level-floored amphitheatre, bounded on the
south by the cliffs of Pinnacle pass and on the east by long
snow-slopes which stretch up the gorges in the side of Mount Cook. The
amphitheatre opens toward the northwest, and discharges its
accumulated snows into the Seward glacier. Beyond this, on the north,
stood the great curtain-wall named the Corwin cliffs, west of which
rose Mount Eaton, Mount Augusta, Mount Malaspina, and other giant
summits of the main St. Elias range. Toward the west the view
culminated in St. Elias itself, ruggedly outlined against the sky. As
the reader will become more and more familiar with the magnificent
scenery of the St. Elias region as we advance, it need not be
described in detail at this time.

All day the skies were clear and bright, giving abundant opportunity
for making a detailed survey of the principal features in view, and
for reading the history written in cliffs and glaciers. When the long
summer day drew to a close, we returned to our tent and watched the
great peaks become dim and generalized in outline as the twilight
deepened. The fading light caused the mountains to recede farther and
farther, until at last they seemed ghostly giants, too far away to be
definitely recognized. With the twilight came soft, gray, uncertain
clouds drawn slowly and silently about the rugged precipices by the
summer winds from the sea. St. Elias became enveloped in luminous
clouds, with the exception of a few hundred feet of the shining
summit; and a glory in the sky, to the left of the veiled Saint,
marked the place where the sun went down. The shadows crept across the
snow-fields and changed them from dazzling white to a soft gray-blue.
Night came on silently, and with but little change. There was no
folding of wings; no twittering of birds in leafy branches; no sighing
of winds among rustling leaves. All was stern and wild and still;
there was not a touch of life to relieve the desolation. A midwinter
night in inhabited lands was never more solemn. Man had never rested
there before.

The air grew chill when the shadows crossed our tent, and delicate ice
crystals began to shoot on the still surface of our little pond. We
bade good night to the stern peaks, about which there were signs of a
coming storm, and sought the shelter of our tent. Small and
comfortless as was that shelter, it shut out the wintry scene and
afforded a welcome retreat. Sound, refreshing sleep, with dreams of
loved ones far away, renewed our strength for another advance.

{139} The next day, August 8, a topographic station was occupied on
the summit of the Pinnacle pass cliffs. We were astir before sunrise,
and had breakfast over before four o'clock. The morning was cold, and
a cutting wind swept down the Seward glacier from the northeast. All
of the mountains were lost to view in dense clouds. A few rays of
sunshine breaking through the vapor banks above Point Glorious gave
promise of better weather during the day. Lindsley and Stamy had not
yet returned from the lower camp, where they were to obtain additional
rations; and Kerr and I concluded to try to reach the crest of the
Pinnacle pass cliffs and take the chances of the weather being
favorable for our work.

Leaving camp in the early morning light, we chose to climb over the
summit of Point Glorious rather than thread the crevasses at its
northern base. Reaching the top of the point, we were still beneath
the low canopy of clouds, and could see far up the great amphitheatre
to the base of _Mount Owen_.[31] Descending the eastern slope, we soon
reached the floor of the amphitheatre, and found the snow smooth and
hard and not greatly crevassed. Cheered by faint promise of blue
skies, we pressed on rapidly, the snow creaking beneath our tread as
on a winter morning. Two or three hours of rapid walking brought us to
the southern wall of the amphitheatre, nearly beneath the point we
wished to occupy. As we ascended the slope the way became more
difficult, owing not only to its steepness but also to the fact that
the snow was softening, and also because great crevasses crossed our
path. Looking back over the snow we had crossed, two
well-characterized features on its surface could be distinguished:
these were large areas with a gray tint, caused by a covering of dust.
This dust comes from the southern faces of the Pinnacle pass cliffs,
and is blown over the crest of the ridge and scattered far and wide
over the snow-fields toward the north. Should the dust-covered areas
become buried beneath fresh snow, it is evident that the strata of
snow would be separated by thin layers of darker color. This is what
has happened many times, as we could see by looking down into the
crevasses. In one deep gulf I counted five distinct strata of clear
white snow, separated by narrow dust-bands. In other instances there
are twenty or more such strata visible. Each layer is evidently the
record of a snow-storm, while the dust-bands indicate intervals of
fine weather. {140} The strata of snow exposed to view in the
crevasses, after being greatly compressed, are usually from ten to
fifteen feet thick, but in one instance exceeded fifty feet. If we
assume that each layer represents a winter's snow, and that
compression has reduced each stratum to a third of its original
thickness (and probably the compression has been greater than this),
it is evident that the fresh snows must sometimes reach the depth of
from 50 to 150 feet.

[Footnote 31: Named for David Dale Owen, United States geologist.]

Toiling on up the snow-slope, we had to wind in and out among deep
crevasses, sometimes crossing them by narrow snow-bridges, and again
jumping them and plunging our alpenstocks deep in the snow when we
reached the farther side. After many windings we reached the summit of
the Pinnacle-pass cliffs. The crest-line is formed of an outcrop of
conglomerate composed of sand and pebbles, in one layer of which I
found large quantities of mussel shells standing in the position in
which the creatures lived. The present elevation of this ancient
sea-bottom is 5,000 feet. The strata incline northward at angles of
30° to 40°. All of the northern slope of the ridge is deeply covered
with snow, and the rock only appears along the immediate crest. There
are, in fact, two crests, as is common with many mountain ridges in
this region, one of rock and the second of snow; the snow crest, which
is usually the higher, is parallel to the rock crest and a few rods
north of it. In the valley between the two ridges we found secure
footing, and ascended with ease to the highest point on the cliffs.
Looking over the southern or rocky crest, we found a sheer descent of
about 1,500 feet to the snow-fields below.

The clouds diminished in density and gradually broke away, so that the
entire extent of the St. Elias range was in view, with the exception
of the crowning peak of all, which was still veiled from base to
summit. A spur of St. Elias, extending southward from the main peak,
and named _The Chariot_, gleamed brightly in the sunlight. It was the
first point on which we made observations. Stretching eastward from
St. Elias is the sharp crest of the main range, on which stand Mounts
Newton, Jeannette, Malaspina, Augusta, Logan, and several other
splendid peaks not yet named. Just to the right of Mount Augusta, on
the immediate border of the Seward glacier, rise the Corwin cliffs,
marking an immense fault-scarp of the same general character as the
one on which we stood.

{141} Mr. Kerr endeavored at first to occupy a station on the crest of
the rocky ridge, but as the steepness of the slope and the shattered
condition of the rock rendered the station hazardous, the snow-ridge,
which was covered with dust and sand and nearly as firm as rock, was
occupied instead. The clouds parting toward the northeast revealed
several giant peaks not before seen, some of which seem to rival in
height St. Elias itself. One stranger, rising in three white domes far
above the clouds, was especially magnificent. As this was probably the
first time its summit was ever seen, we took the liberty of giving it
a name. It will appear on our maps as _Mount Logan_, in honor of Sir
William E. Logan, founder and long director of the Geological Survey
of Canada.

The clouds grew denser in the east, and shut off all hope of extending
the map-work in that direction. While Kerr was making topographic
sketches I tried to decipher some of the geological history of the
region around me and make myself more familiar with its glaciers and

Even more remarkable than the mighty peaks toward the north, beheld
that day for the first time, was the vast plateau of ice stretching
seaward from the foot of the mountains. From my station what seemed to
be the ocean's shore near Icy bay could just be distinguished. Beyond
the bay there is a group of hills which come boldly down to the sea,
and apparently form a sea-cliff at the water's edge. Beyond this
headland there is another vast glacier extending westward to the
limits of vision. The view from this point is essentially the same as
that obtained from the cliffs at Pinnacle pass a few days earlier,
except that it is far more extended. It need not be described in

The clouds becoming thicker and settling in dark masses about the
mountains, we gave up all hope of further work and started for our
camp. On the way down the ridge between the crest of snow and the
crest of rock we found a stratum of sandstone filled with fossil
leaves, and near at hand another layer charged with very recent
sea-shells. Collecting all of these that we could carry, we trudged
on, finding the snow soft and some of the bridges which we had easily
crossed in the morning now weak, trembling, and insecure. We crossed
them safely, however, and, reaching the level floor of the
amphitheatre, marched wearily on toward Point Glorious. This time we
passed along the northern base of the butte at an elevation of two or
three hundred feet {142} above the glacier, and, taking a convenient
slide down the snow-slope, reached our tent.

Soon a delicious cup of coffee was prepared, bacon was fried, and
these were put in a warm place while some griddle cakes were being
baked. A warm supper, followed by a restful pipe, ended the day. Kerr
and I were our own cooks and our own housekeepers during much of the
time we lived above the snow-line. We cleared away the remains of the
supper, and prepared our blankets for the night. One of the huge ice
pinnacles on the glacier fell with a great crash just as we were
turning in. Rain began to fall, and the night was cold and
disagreeable; how it passed I do not know, as I slept soundly.
Scarcely anything less serious than the blowing away of our tent could
have awakened me.


Stormy weather and the necessity of bringing additional supplies from
Blossom island detained us at Camp 14 until August 13. We rose at
three o'clock on the morning of that day, and, after a hasty
breakfast, prepared to cross the Seward glacier. The morning was cold
but clear, and the air was bracing. Each peak and mountain crest in
the rugged landscape stood out boldly in the early light, although the
sun had not risen. Soon the summit of St. Elias became tipped with
gold, and then peak after peak, in order of their rank, caught the
radiance, and in a short time the vast snow-fields were of dazzling

The frost of the night before had hardened the snow, which made
walking a pleasure. We crossed a rocky spur projecting northward from
Point Glorious into the Seward glacier, and had to lower our packs
down the side of the precipice with the aid of ropes. Our course led
at first up the border of the great glacier to a point above the head
of the rapids already referred to, then curved to the westward, and
for a mile or two coincided with the general trend of the crevasses.
We made good progress, but at length we came to where the Augusta
glacier pours its flood of ice into the main stream and, owing to its
high grade, is greatly broken. Skirting this difficult area, we passed
a number of small blue lakelets and reached the western border of the
Seward glacier. We found a gently rising snow-slope leading westward
through a gap that could be seen in hills a few miles in advance. But
little difficulty was now experienced, except that the snow {143} had
become soft under the summer's sun, and walking over it with heavy
loads was wearisome in the extreme. We could see, however, that the
way ahead was clear, and that encouraged us to push on. Toward night
we found a camping place on a steep ridge of shale and sandstone
projecting eastward from a spur of Mount Malaspina. This ridge rises
about five hundred feet above the surrounding glacier, and has steep
roof-like slopes. The summer sun had melted nearly all the snow from
its southern face, but the northern slope was still heavily loaded.
The snow on the northern side stood some thirty or forty feet higher
than the rocky crest of the ridge itself, and between the rock crest
and the snow crest there was a little valley which afforded ample
shelter for our tent and was quite safe from avalanches. The melting
of the snow-bank during the warm days supplied us with water.

The formation of crests of snow standing high above the rocky ridges
on which they rest is a peculiar and interesting feature of the
mountains of the St. Elias region. A north-and-south section through
the ridge on which Camp 15 was situated, exhibiting the double crests,
one of rock and the other of snow, is shown at _a_ in figure 6. _b_ is
a section through a similar ridge with a still higher snow crest. The
remaining figures in the illustration are sketches of mountain peaks,
as seen from the south, which have been increased in height by a heavy
accumulation of snow on their northern slopes. These sketches are of
peaks among the foothills of Mount Malaspina, and show snow pinnacles
from fifty to more than a hundred feet high. In some instances, domes
and crests of snow were seen along the western sides of the ridges and
peaks, but as a rule these snow-tips on the mountains are confined to
their northern slopes. The edges and summits of the snow-ridges are
sharply defined and clearly cut. The southern slope exposed above the
crest of rock is often concave, while the northern slopes are usually

[Illustration: FIGURE 6--_Snow Crests on Ridges and Peaks; from Field

In climbing steep ridges the double crests are frequently of great
assistance. Safe footing may frequently be found in the channels
between the crests of rock and snow, by the aid of which {144} very
precipitous peaks may be climbed with ease. In case the ascent between
the two crests is not practicable, the even snow-slope itself affords
a sure footing for one used to mountain climbing.

After establishing Camp 15, Lindsley and Stamy returned to one of the
lower camps for additional supplies, while Kerr and I explored a way
for farther advance.


Our camp occupied a commanding situation. From the end of the ridge on
which it was located there was a splendid view of glaciers and
mountains to the eastward. The illustration forming plate 18 is from a
photograph taken from that station. Toward the north, and only a few
miles away, rose the bare, rugged slope of Mount Malaspina. In a wild,
high-grade gorge on its western side, a glacier, all pinnacles and
crevasses, tumbles down into the broad white plain below. On account
of its splendid ice-fall this was named the _Cascade glacier_. Beyond
the white plain, stretching eastward for fifteen or twenty miles,
there rise the foothills of Mount Cook. Farther south, the rugged,
angular summits of the Hitchcock range are in full view, and toward
the north stands _Mount Irving_,[32] which rivals even Mount Cook in
the symmetrical proportions of its snow-covered slopes.

[Footnote 32: Named in honor of Professor Roland Duer Irving, U. S.

The surface of the vast snow-plain near at hand is gashed by many
gaping fissures, but the distance is so great that these minor details
disappear in a general view. Looking down over the snow, one may see
the crevasses as in a diagram. They look as if the white surface had
been gashed with a sharp knife, and then stretched in such a way as to
open the cuts. That the snow of the névés may be stretched, at least
to a limited extent, is shown by the character of these fissures. The
crevasses are widest in the center and come to a point at their
curving extremities. Two crevasses frequently overlap at their ends
and leave a sliver of ice stretching across diagonally between them.
It is by means of these diagonal bridges that one is enabled to thread
his way through the crevasses.

On returning to camp in the evening, weary with a hard day's climb, a
never-failing source of delight was found in the matchless winter
landscape to the eastward. The evenings following days of
uninterrupted sunshine were especially delightful. The blue shadows of
the western peaks creeping across the shining surface were nearly as
sharp in outline as the peaks that cast {145} them. When the chill of
evening made itself felt, and the dropping water and the indefinite
murmurs from the glacier below were stilled, the silence became
oppressive. The stillness was so profound that it seemed as though the
footsteps of the advancing shadows should be audible.

On warm sunny days, however, there are noises enough amid the
mountains. The snow, partially melted and softened by the heat, falls
from the cliffs in avalanches that make the mountains tremble and,
with a roar like thunder, awaken the echoes far and near. During our
stay at Camp 15 the avalanches were sometimes so frequent on the steep
mountain faces toward the north that the roar of one falling mass of
snow and rocks was scarcely hushed before it was succeeded by another.

On the southward-facing cliffs of Mount Augusta, composed of schist
which disintegrates rapidly, there are frequent rock avalanches. A
rock or a mass of comminuted schist sometimes breaks away even in
midday, although these avalanches occur most frequently when the
moisture in the rocks freezes. The midday avalanches, I fancy, may be
started by the expansion of the rocks owing to the sun's heat. A few
stones dislodged high up on the cliffs fall, and, loosening others in
their descent, soon set in motion a train of dirt and stones, which
flows down the steep ravines with a long rumbling roar, at the same
time sending clouds of dust into the air. If the wind is blowing up
the cliffs, as frequently happens on warm days, the dust is carried
far above the mountains, and hangs in the air like clouds of smoke.

It has been frequently stated that St. Elias is a volcano, and sea
captains sailing on the Pacific have seen what they supposed to be
smoke issuing from its summit. As its southern face is composed of the
same kind of rocks and is of the same precipitous nature as the
southern slope of Mount Augusta, it appears probable that what was
supposed to be volcanic smoke was in reality avalanche dust blown
upward by ascending air currents.

The disintegration of the mountain summits all through the St. Elias
region is so great that one constantly wonders that anything is left;
yet, except late in the fall, the snow surfaces at the bases of even
the steepest cliffs are mostly bare of débris. The absence of earth
and stones on the surfaces of the névé fields is mainly due, of
course, to the fact that these are regions of accumulation where the
winter's snow exceeds the summer's melting. {146} Thus each year the
surface is renewed and made fresh and clean, and any débris that may
have previously accumulated is concealed.

There is another reason, however, why but little débris is found at
the bases of the steep precipices. The snows of winter are banked high
against these walls, but when the rocks are warmed by the return of
the summer's sun the snow near their dark surfaces is melted, and
leaves a deep gulf between the upward-sloping banks of snow and the
sides of the cliffs. These black chasms are frequently 150 or 200 feet
deep, and receive all the débris that falls from above. In this way
very large quantities of earth and stones are injected, as it were,
into the glacier, and only come to light again far down toward the
ends of the ice-streams, where the summer's melting exceeds the
winter's supply.

[Illustration: PLATE 19. MT. ST. ELIAS, FROM DOME PASS.]

On August 14, Kerr and I made an excursion ahead to the border of the
Agassiz glacier. The snow-slope south of our camp led westward up a
gentle grade to a gap in the hills between two bold, snow-covered
domes. The gap through which the snow extended, uniting with a broad
snow-field sloping westward, was only a few hundred feet wide, and
formed a typical mountain pass, designated on our map as _Dome pass_.
Its elevation is 4,300 feet. When near the summit of the pass a few
steps carried us past the divide of snow, and revealed to our eager
eyes the wonderland beyond. St. Elias rose majestically before us,
unobstructed by intervening hills, and bare of clouds from base to
summit. We were greatly encouraged by the prospect ahead, as there
were evidently no obstacles between us and the actual base of the
mountain. A photograph of the magnificent peak was taken, from which
the illustration forming plate 19 has been drawn. To the right of the
main mountain mass, as shown in the illustration, rises _Mount
Newton_,[33] one of the many separate mountain peaks crowning the
crest of the St. Elias range. Our way led down the snow-slope in the
foreground to the border of the Agassiz glacier, which comes in view
between the foot-hills in the middle distance and the sculptured base
on which the crowning pyramid of St. Elias stands. After reaching the
Agassiz glacier we turned to the right, and made our way to the {147}
amphitheatre lying between Mount St. Elias and Mount Newton. On the
day we discovered Dome pass, we pressed on down the western snow-slope
and reached the side of the Agassiz glacier, which we found greatly
crevassed; selecting a camping place on a rocky spur, we returned to
Camp 15, and two days later established camp at the place chosen.

[Footnote 33: Named for Henry Newton, formerly of the School of Mines
of Columbia college and author of a report on the geology of the Black
hills of Dakota.]

Camp 16 was similar in many ways to Camp 14. It had about the same
altitude; it was at the western end of a rugged mountain spur, and on
the immediate border of a large southward-flowing glacier. On the
lower portions of the cliffs, near at hand, there were velvety patches
of brilliant Alpine flowers mingled with thick bunches of wiry grass
and clumps of delicate ferns. Most conspicuous of all the showy
plants, so bright and lovely in the vast wilderness of snow, were the
purple lupines. Already the flowers on the lower portions of their
spikes had matured, and pods covered with a thick coating of wooly
hairs were beginning to be conspicuous. There are no bees and
butterflies in these isolated gardens, but brown flies with
long-pointed wings were abundant. A gray bird, a little larger than a
sparrow, was seen flitting in and out of crevasses near the border of
the ice, apparently in quest of insects. Once, while stretched at full
length on the flowery carpet enjoying the warm sunlight, a humming
bird flashed past me. Occasionally the hoarse cries of ravens were
heard among the cliffs, but they seldom ventured near enough to be
seen. These few suggestions were all there was to remind us of the
summer fields and shady forests in far-away lands.


From Camp 16 Kerr and I made an excursion across the Agassiz glacier,
while Stamy and Lindsley returned to a lower camp for additional
supplies. We found the glacier greatly crevassed and the way across
more difficult than on any of the ice-fields we had previously
traversed; but by dint of perseverance, and after many changes in our
course, we succeeded at last in reaching the western bank, and saw
that by climbing a precipice bordering an ice-cascade we could gain a
plateau above, which we knew from previous observations to be
comparatively little broken. We returned to camp, and on August 18
began the ascent of the glacier in earnest. We were favored in the
task by brilliant weather.

{148} After reaching the western bank of the glacier, we made our way
to the base of the precipice up which we had previously wished to
climb. In order to reach it, however, we had to throw our packs across
a crevasse over which there was no bridge, and followed them by
jumping. The side of the crevasse from which we sprang was higher than
its opposite lip, and left us very uncertain as to how we were to
return; but that was a matter for the future; our aim at the time was
to ascend the glacier, and the return was of no immediate concern.

Reaching the base of the cliff at the side of the glacier, we ascended
it without great difficulty, and came out upon the broad plateau of
snow above. Thinking that the way onward would be easier along the
steep snow-slope bordering the glacier, we made an effort to ascend in
that direction, and spent two or three precious hours in trying to
find a practicable route. Although the crevasses were fewer than on
the glacier proper, yet they were of larger size and had but few
bridges. At last we came to a wide gulf on the opposite side of which
there was a perpendicular wall of snow a hundred feet high, and all
further advance in that direction was stopped. Although obliged to
turn back, our elevated position commanded a good view of the glacier
below and enabled us to choose a way through the maze of crevasses
crossing it. Descending, we plodded wearily on in an irregular zigzag
course; but the crevasses became broader and deeper as we advanced,
and at length we found ourselves traversing flat table-like blocks of
snow, bounded on all sides by crevasses so deep that their bottoms
were lost to view. We made our way from one snow-table to another by
jumping the crevasses where they were narrowest, or by frail
snow-bridges spanning the profound gulfs. Night came on while we were
yet in this wild, broken region, and no choice was left us but to
pitch our tent in the snow and wait until morning. The night was clear
and cold, and a firm crust formed on the snow before morning. Although
the temperature was uncomfortable, we were cheered by the prospects of
a firm snow surface on the morrow.

We continued our march at sunrise and found the walking easy; but the
sun soon came out with unusual brilliancy and softened the snow so
much that even the slowest movements were fatiguing. We endeavored to
force our way up the center of the glacier through the crevasses and
pinnacles of a second ice-fall; but after several hours of exhausting
experience we were {149} obliged to change our plan, and endeavored to
reach a mountain spur projecting from the western border of the
glacier. The sunlight reflected from the snow was extremely brilliant,
and the glare from every surface about us was painful to our eyes,
already weakened by many days' travel over the white snow. Each member
of the party was provided with colored glasses, but in traversing
snow-bridges and jumping crevasses these had to be dispensed with. The
result was that all of us were suffering more or less from

About noon we reached the base of the mountain spur toward which our
course was bent. It projects into the western border of Agassiz
glacier. It is the extension of this cliff underneath the glacier that
caused the ice-fall which blocked our way. To go round the end of the
cliff with our packs was impracticable, but there seemed a way up the
face of the cliff itself, which one could scale by taking advantage of
the joints in the rocks. I ascended the snow-slope to the base of the
precipice, but found the way upward more difficult than anticipated;
and, as the light was very painful to my eyes when not protected by
colored glasses, I decided to postpone making the climb until I was in
better condition, and in the meantime to see if some other route could
not be found. We decided to camp on a small patch of débris near the
base of the cliff, and there left our loads. Kerr and Lindsley, taking
a rope and alpenstocks, went around the end of the rocky spur and
worked their way upward with great difficulty to the top of the cliff
immediately above where I had essayed to climb it. A rope was made
fast at the top, and our way onward was secured. This place was
afterward called _Rope cliff_. The remainder of the afternoon I rested
in the tent, with my eyes bound up with tea-leaves, and when evening
came found the pain in my head much relieved.

Our tent that night was so near the brink of a crevasse that in order
to stay the tent one end of the ridge-rope was made fast to a large
stone, which was lowered into the gulf to serve as a stake. Above us
rose a precipice nearly a thousand feet high, from which stones were
constantly falling; but a deep black gulf intervened between the
position we had chosen and the base of the cliffs, and into this the
stones were precipitated. Not one of the falling fragments reached the
edge of the snow slope on which we were camped, but many times during
the night we heard the whiz and hum of the rocks as they shot down
from the cliffs. {150} The noise made by each fragment in its passage
through the air increased rapidly in pitch, thus indicating that they
were approaching us; but they always fell short of our camp. The
bombardment from above was most active just after the shadows fell on
the cliffs, showing that the stones were loosened by the freezing of
the water in the interstices of the rock.

The next day, August 20, Stamy and Lindsley went back to Camp 16 for
more rations, while Kerr and I remained at Camp 18 nursing our eyes
and resting. The day passed without anything worthy of note, except
the almost constant thunder of avalanches on the mountains. About
sunset a dense fog spread over the wintry landscape and threatened to
delay the return of the men. When the sun went down, however, the
temperature fell several degrees, the mist vanished, and a few stars
came out clear and bright. Just as we were about to despair of seeing
the men that night we heard a distant shout announcing their return.
We had a cup of hot coffee for them when they reached the tent, which
they drank with eagerness; but they were too tired to partake of food.
Rolling themselves in their blankets, they were asleep in a few


On August 21 we climbed the cliff above Camp 18 by means of the rope
already placed there, and found the snow above greatly crevassed. We
traveled upward along the steep slope bordering the glacier, but soon
came to a deep crevasse which forbade further progress in that
direction. Returning to a lower level, we undertook to smooth off an
extremely narrow snow-bridge so as to make it wide enough to cross,
but found the undertaking so hazardous that we abandoned it. By this
time it was midday, and we prepared a cup of hot coffee before
renewing our attack on the cliffs. After luncheon and a short rest,
feeling very much refreshed, we began to cut a series of steps in a
bluff of snow about fifty feet high, and made rapid progress in the
undertaking. After an hour's hard work one of us reached the top and,
planting an alpenstock deep in the snow, lowered a rope to those
below. The packs were drawn up one at a time and we were soon ready to
advance again.

We found ourselves in a vast amphitheatre bounded on all sides
excepting that from which we had come with rugged, {151} snow-covered
precipices. The plain was crossed by huge crevasses, some of which
were fully a mile in length; but by traveling around their ends or
crossing snow-bridges we slowly worked our way onward toward St.
Elias. Threading our way through the labyrinth of yawning gulfs, we at
last, after the sun had gone down behind the great pyramid toward the
west, found a convenient place on the snow, near a blue pond of water,
on which to pass the night. Everything was snow-covered in the vast
landscape except the most precipitous cliffs, and these were dangerous
to approach, owing to the avalanches that frequently fell from them.
The weather continued fine. The night was clear and the stars were
unusually brilliant. Everything seemed favorable for pushing on. The
way ahead presented such even snow-slopes and seemed so free from
crevasses that we decided to leave our tent and blankets in the
morning and, taking with us as little as possible of impedimenta,
endeavor to reach the summit of St. Elias.


Rising at three o'clock on the morning of August 22, we started for
the summit of St. Elias, taking with us only our water-proof coats,
some food, and the necessary instruments. The higher mountain summits
were no longer clearly defined, but in the early light it was
impossible to tell whether or not the day was to be fair. From the
highest and sharpest peaks, cloud banners were streaming off towards
the southeast, showing that the higher air currents were in rapid
movement. Vapor banks in the east were flushed with long streamers of
light as the sun rose, but soon faded to a dull ashen gray, while the
cloud banners between us and the sun became brilliant like the halo
seen around the moon when the sky is covered with fleecy clouds. This
was the first time in my experience that I had seen colored banners
waving from the mountain tops.

We found the snow-surface hard, and made rapid headway up the glacier.
Our only difficulty was the uncertainty of the early light, which
rendered it impossible to tell the slope of the uneven snow-surfaces.
The light was so evenly diffused that there were no shadows. The rare
beauty of that silent, wintry landscape, so delicate in its pearly
half tones and so softly lighted, was unreal and fairy-like. The winds
were still; but {152} strange forebodings of coming changes filled the
air. Long, waving threads of vapor were woven in lace-work across the
sky; the white-robed mountains were partially concealed by
cloud-masses drifting like spirits along their mighty battlements; and
far, far above, from the topmost pinnacles, irised banners were
signaling the coming of a storm.

We made rapid progress, but early in the day came to the base of a
heavy cloud bank which enshrouded all the upper part of St. Elias.
Then snow began to fall, and it was evident that to proceed farther
would be rash and without promise of success. After twenty days of
fatigue and hardship since leaving Blossom island, with our goal
almost reached, we were obliged to turn back. Hoping to be able to
renew the attempt after the storm had passed, Mr. Kerr left his
instruments on the snow between two huge crevasses and we returned to
our tent, where we passed the remainder of the day and the night
following. The snow continued to fall throughout the day, and the
storm increased in force as night came on. When we awoke in the
morning the tempest was still raging. We were in the midst of the
storm-cloud; the dense vapor and the fine drifting snow-crystals swept
along by the wind obscured everything from view; the white snow
surface could not be distinguished from the vapor-filled air; there
was no earth and no sky; we seemed to be suspended in a white,
translucent medium which surrounded us like a shroud. The snow was
already more than three feet deep about our tent, and to remain longer
with the short supply of provisions on hand was exceedingly hazardous,
as there seemed no limit to the duration of the storm. A can of
rations had been left at Rope cliff, and we decided to return to that
place if possible. Resuming our packs, we roped ourselves together and
began to descend through the blinding mist and snow which rendered the
atmosphere so dense that a man could not be distinguished at a
distance of a hundred feet. With only an occasional glimpse of the
white cliff around to guide us, we worked our way downward over
snow-bridges and between the crevasses. Our ascent through this
dangerous region had been slow and difficult, but our descent was
still more tedious. All day long we continued to creep slowly along
through the blinding storm, and as night approached believed ourselves
near the steps cut in a snow-cliff during the ascent, but darkness
came before we reached them. Shoveling the snow away as best we could
with our hands and {153} basins, we cleared a place down to the old
snow large enough for our tent and went into camp.

In the morning, August 24, the storm had spent its force and left the
mountains with an immaculate covering, but still partially veiled by
shreds of storm-clouds. We found ourselves on one of the many tables
of snow, bounded on all sides by crevasses of great depth, but not far
from the snow-cliff where we had cut steps. The steps were obliterated
by the new snow, but by means of a rope and alpenstocks we made the
descent without much difficulty. The last man to go down, not having
the help of the rope, used two alpenstocks, and descended by first
planting one firmly in the snow and lowering himself as far as he
could, still retaining a firm hold, and then planting the other in the
snow at a lower level and removing the higher one. By slowly and
carefully repeating this operation he descended the cliff safely and
rejoined his companions. Passing on beneath the cliffs, dangerous on
account of avalanches, we reached in safety the precipice where we had
left our rope. A heavy avalanche had swept down from the heights above
during our absence and sent its spray over the precipice we had to
descend. The cliff of ice towering above the place where our rope was
fastened had become greatly melted and honey-combed, and threatened
every moment to crash down and destroy any one who chanced to be
beneath. To stand above the precipice in the shadow of the treacherous
snow-cliffs while the men were descending the rope was exceedingly
trying to one's nerves; but the avalanches did not come, and the
previous camping place below Rope cliff was reached with safety.

The following day, August 25, after some consultation, it was decided
to once more attempt to reach the top of Mount St. Elias. Lindsley and
Stamy, who had shared without complaint our privations in the snow,
volunteered to descend to a lower camp for additional rations, while
Kerr and myself returned to the higher camp in the hope that we might
be able to ascend the peak before the men returned, and, if not, to
have sufficient rations when they did rejoin us to continue the
attack. The men departed on their difficult errand, while Kerr and I,
with blankets, tents, oil-stoves, and what rations remained, once more
scaled the cliff where we had placed a rope, and returned on the trail
made the day previously. About noon we reached the excavation in the
snow where we had bivouacked in the storm, {154} and there prepared a
lunch. It was then discovered that we had been mistaken as to the
quantity of oil in our cans; we found scarcely enough to cook a single
meal. To attempt to remain several days in the snow with this small
supply of fuel seemed hazardous, and Mr. Kerr volunteered to descend
and overtake the men at the lower camp, procure some oil, and return
the following day. We then separated, Mr. Kerr starting down the
mountain, leaving me with a double load, weighing between sixty and
seventy pounds, to carry through the deep snow to the high camp
previously occupied.


Trudging wearily on, I reached the high camp at sunset, and pitched my
tent in the excavation previously occupied. An alpenstock was used for
one tent-pole, and snow saturated with water, piled up in a column,
for the other; the snow froze in a few minutes, and held the tent
securely. The ends of the ridge-rope were then stamped into the snow,
and water was poured over them; the edges of the tent were treated in
a similar manner, and my shelter was ready for occupation. After
cooking some supper over the oil-stove, I rolled myself in a blanket
and slept the sleep of the weary. I was awakened in the morning by
snow drifting into my tent, and on looking out discovered that I was
again caught in a blinding storm or mist of snow. The storm raged all
day and all night, and continued without interruption until the
evening of the second day. The coal oil becoming exhausted, a can was
filled with bacon grease, in which a cotton rag was placed for a wick;
and over this "witch lamp" I did my cooking during the remainder of my
stay. The snow, falling steadily, soon buried my tent, already
surrounded on three sides by an icy wall higher than my head, and it
was only by almost constant exertion that it was kept from being
crushed in. With a pint basin for a shovel I cleared the tent as best
I could, and several times during the day re-excavated the hole
leading down to the pond, which had long since disappeared beneath the
level plain of white. The excavation of a tunnel in the snow was also
begun in the expectation that the tent would become uninhabitable. The
following night it became impossible to keep the tent clear in spite
of energetic efforts, and early in the morning it was crushed in by a
great weight of snow, {155} leaving me no alternative but to finish my
snow-house and move in. A tunnel some four or five feet in length was
excavated in the snow, and a chamber about six feet long by four feet
wide and three feet high was made at right angles to the tunnel. In
this chamber I placed my blankets and other belongings, and, hanging a
rubber coat on an alpenstock at the entrance, found myself well
sheltered from the tempest. There I passed the day and the night
following. At night the darkness and silence in my narrow tomb-like
cell was oppressive; not a sound broke the stillness except the
distant, muffled roar of an occasional avalanche. I slept soundly,
however, and in the morning was awakened by the croaking of a raven on
the snow immediately above my head. The grotto was filled with a soft
blue light, but a pink radiance at the entrance told that the day had
dawned bright and clear.

What a glorious sight awaited me! The heavens were without a cloud,
and the sun shone with dazzling splendor on the white peaks around.
The broad unbroken snow-plain seemed to burn with light reflected from
millions of shining crystals. The great mountain peaks were draped
from base to summit in the purest white, as yet unscarred by
avalanches. On the steep cliffs the snow hung in folds like drapery,
tier above tier, while the angular peaks above stood out like crystals
against the sky. St. Elias was one vast pyramid of alabaster. The
winds were still; not a sound broke the solitude; not an object moved.
Even the raven had gone, leaving me alone with the mountains.

As the sun rose higher and higher and made its warmth felt, the snow
was loosened on the steep slopes and here and there broke away.
Gathering force as it fell, it rushed down in avalanches that made the
mountains tremble and awakened thunderous echoes. From a small
beginning high up on the steep slopes, the new snow would slip
downward, silently at first, and cascade over precipices hundreds of
feet high, looking like a fall of foaming water; then came the roar,
increasing in volume as the flowing snow involved new fields in its
path of destruction, until the great mass became irresistible and
ploughed its way downward through clouds of snow-spray, which hung in
the air long after the snow had ceased to move and the roar of the
avalanche had ceased. All day long, until the shadow of evening fell
on the steep slopes, this mountain thunder continued. The echoes of
one avalanche scarcely died away before they were {156} awakened by
another roar. To witness such a scene under the most favorable
conditions was worth all the privations and anxiety it cost.

Besides the streams of new snow, there were occasional avalanches of a
different character, caused by the breaking away of portions of the
cliffs of old snow, accumulated, perhaps, during several winters.
These start from the summits of precipices, and are caused by the slow
downward creep of the snow-fields above. The snow-cliffs are always
crevassed and broken in much the same manner as are the ends of
glaciers which enter the sea, and occasionally large masses,
containing thousands of cubic yards, break away and are precipitated
down the slopes with a suddenness that is always startling. Usually
the first announcement of these avalanches is a report like that of a
cannon, followed by a rumbling roar as the descending mass ploughs its
way along. The avalanches formed by old snow are quite different from
those caused by the descent of the new surface snow, but are
frequently accompanied by surface streams in case there has been a
recent storm. The paths ploughed out by the avalanches are frequently
sheathed with glassy ice, formed by the freezing of water produced by
the melting of snow on account of the heat produced by the friction of
the moving mass. A third variety of avalanches, due to falling stones,
has already been noticed.

The floor of my snow-chamber was the surface of the old snow on which
we had pitched our tents at the time we first reached that camping
place. On this hard surface, and forming the walls of the cell, there
were thirty inches of clear white snow, the upper limit of which was
marked by a blue layer of ice about a quarter of an inch thick. This
indicated the thickness of snow that fell during the first storm. Its
surface had been melted and softened during the days of sunshine that
followed its fall, and had frozen into clear ice. Above the blue band
which encircled the upper portion of my chamber was the soft, pure
white snow of the second storm. The stratification of snow which I had
seen fall rendered it evident that my interpretation of the
stratification observed in the sides of crevasses was correct. The
snow when it fell was soft and white, and composed of very fine
crystals; but under the influence of the air and sunshine it changed
its texture and became icy and granular, and then resembled the névé
snow so common in high mountains.

{157} The day following the storm was bright and beautiful; the
sunlight was warm and pleasant, but the temperature in the shadows was
always below freezing. The surface of the snow did not melt
sufficiently during the day to freeze and form a crust during the
night. It thus became more and more apparent that the season was too
far advanced to allow the snow to harden sufficiently for us to be
able to climb the mountain. The snow settled somewhat and changed its
character, but even at midday the crystals on the surface glittered as
brilliantly in the sunlight as they did in the early morning. Although
the snow did not melt, its surface was lowered slightly by
evaporation. The tracks of the raven, at first sunken a quarter of an
inch in the soft surface, after the first day of sunshine stood
slightly in relief, but were still clearly defined.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the sixth day after separating from my companions, judging that
they must have returned at least to the camping place where we had
separated, I packed my blankets and what food remained, abandoned the
tent and oil-stove, and started to descend the mountain. The snow had
settled somewhat, but was still soft and yielding and over six feet
deep. Tramping wearily on through the chaff-like substance, I slowly
worked my way downward, and again threaded the maze of crevasses, now
partially concealed by the layer of new snow, with which we had
struggled several times before. Midway to the next camping place I met
my companions coming up to search for me. Instead of meeting three
men, as I expected, I saw five tramping along in single file through
the deep snow. The sight of human beings in that vast solitude was so
strange that I watched them for some time before shouting. Glad as I
was to meet my companions once more, I could not help noticing their
rough and picturesque appearance. Each man wore colored glasses and
carried a long alpenstock, and two or three had packs strapped on
their backs. Several weeks of hard tramping over moraines and
snow-fields had made many rents in their clothes, which had been
mended with cloth of any color that chanced to be available. Not a few
rags were visible fluttering in the wind. To a stranger they would
have appeared like a dangerous band of brigands.

The reason for the presence of five men instead of three was this:
Lindsley and Stamy, when they left us at Rope cliff to {158} return
for additional rations, were obliged to go back to Camp 12 in order to
get a tent and an oil-stove. On reaching that place the temptation to
return to Blossom island was so great that Lindsley could not resist
it and went back to the base-camp, where he reported that Kerr and I
were storm-bound in the mountains and in need of assistance. Three
men, Partridge, Doney, and White, started at once, and found Stamy,
who had waited for their arrival at Camp 12. A day was thus lost,
which increased Mr. Kerr's hardship and might have proved disastrous.
The party then returned to Rope cliff and joined Kerr on the evening
of August 29. On this occasion, as on several others, I found myself
indebted to Stamy for willing assistance when others hesitated.

During my imprisonment at the highest camp, Mr. Kerr was detained
under similar circumstances at the camp below Rope cliff. On
endeavoring to rejoin me with the supply of coal oil, so very valuable
under the circumstances, he was caught in the storm and was unable to
reach the rendezvous appointed. He reached Rope cliff late in the
afternoon of the first day of the storm, climbed the precipice, and
found his way through the gathering darkness, along the nearly
obliterated trail beneath the avalanche cliffs, and up the steps cut
in the snow-cliff, to the site of our bivouac camp. Finding nothing
there, and being unable to proceed farther through the blinding storm,
he abandoned the attempt and returned to the camp below Rope cliff. In
descending the rope, he found that its lower end had become fast in
the snow. The taut line, sheathed with ice, was an uncertain help in
the darkness. Midway in the descent his hands slipped and he slid to
the bottom; but the cushion of new snow broke the fall and prevented
serious injury. Alone, without fire, without blankets, having only a
canvas cover and a rubber cloth for shelter, and with but little food,
he passed three anxious days and nights before the arrival of the camp


Deciding that the ascent of Mount St. Elias could not be accomplished
through the new snow, which refused to harden, it was decided to
abandon the attempt and return to Blossom island. Our retreat was none
too soon. Storm succeeded storm throughout September. Each time the
clouds lifted, the mantle {159} of new snow was seen to have descended
lower and lower. Our last view showed the wintry covering nearly down
to timber-line.

On the night of August 31 we slept at the camp beneath Rope cliff, but
had a most uncomfortable night. Six men sleeping in a tent measuring
seven by seven feet, with but little protection from the ice beneath,
certainly does not seem inviting to one surrounded by the comforts of
civilization. A large part of the night was occupied by Doney in
preparing breakfast over our oil-stove. An early start was welcome to
all; we were disappointed at not being able to reach the top of St.
Elias, and were anxious to return to more comfortable quarters. Kerr
concluded to return at once to Blossom island to recuperate, while I
made an excursion up the Seward glacier, with the hope of gaining the
upper ice-fall and seeing the amphitheatre beyond.

We left Rope cliff about six in the morning, and found the snow hard
and traveling easy for several hours. After descending the lower
ice-fall, however, the snow became soft, and a change in the
atmosphere indicated the approach of another storm. Kerr and Doney
pressed on and were soon lost to sight, while the rest of the party
were delayed, owing to Partridge having become snow-blind and almost
helpless. As the crevasses were exceedingly numerous and the
snow-bridges soft and uncertain, the task of conducting a blind man to
a place of safety was by no means light. Partridge bore up bravely
under his affliction, however, and did not hesitate in crawling across
the treacherous snow-bridges with a rope fastened about his body and a
man before and behind to assist his movements. Late in the day we
reached our camping place at the eastern border of the Agassiz
glacier, while Kerr and Doney crossed Dome pass and spent the night in
a tent that had been left standing at the first camping east of the
pass. We pitched a tent on our old camping place at Camp 16, and had
the luxury of a rocky bed to sleep on that night. As Partridge's
blindness still continued, White was sent ahead to tell Kerr and Doney
to wait for us in the morning, so that Partridge could accompany them
to Blossom island. Rain continued all that night and all the next day.
As Partridge's eyes were still unserviceable in the morning, I
concluded to wait a day before allowing him to start for Blossom

Toward evening on September 2 we moved our camp across {160} Dome
pass, and pitched our tent on the high ridge beside the one occupied
by Kerr and Doney. In the morning, although the storm still continued,
our party divided, Kerr, Doney, and Partridge starting early for
Blossom island, while Stamy, White, and myself, after following their
tracks for a few miles, turned to the left and worked our way
northeastward among the crevasses of the Seward glacier. Toward
evening we reached the northwestern spur of Mount Owen, but found the
cliffs rising abruptly from the glacier and too favorable for
avalanches to admit of our camping near them. Again we were forced to
go into camp on the open glacier, and were less comfortable than
previously on similar occasions, owing to the fact that we had been
exposed to the rains for three successive days and our blankets and
clothes were wet. Rain continued all night and all the next day, and
on the following night changed to snow.

On the morning of September 4 we awoke to find the skies clear, but
the mountains all about us were white with snow. Before the sun rose,
White and I started for the top of the high ridge above us, determined
to have at least a distant view of the amphitheatre which we wished to
explore. The snow about our camp was only six or eight inches deep,
but as we ascended the mountain it grew more and more troublesome, and
at a height of a thousand feet above camp was thirty inches deep. On
gaining the summit of the ridge a magnificent view was obtained of the
upper portion of the Seward glacier and of Mount Irving and Mount
Logan, and many bold, tapering mountains farther northeastward. The
whole landscape was snow-covered, and as the sun rose clear in the
east became of the most dazzling brilliancy. An icy wind swept down
from the northeast and rendered it exceedingly difficult to take
photographs or to make measurements. On endeavoring to use my
prismatic compass, I found that, having been soaked with moisture
during the previous days of storm, it froze solid and refused to move,
on being exposed to the air. Making what observations I could, we
started back to camp with the intention of abandoning all further
attempts to work in the high mountains.

On the steep slope now exposed to the full sunshine several avalanches
had gone down, and there was great danger of others. Selecting a point
where an avalanche had already swept away the new snow, we worked our
way downward in a zigzag course and reached the bottom safely,
although an avalanche starting {161} near at hand swept by within a
few yards. When nearly at the bottom my attention was attracted by a
noise above, and on looking up I saw two rocks bounding down the slope
and coming straight for me. To dodge them on the steep slippery slope
was difficult and dangerous. Allowing one to pass over my right
shoulder, I instantly moved in that direction and allowed the other to
pass over my left shoulder. They shot by me like fragments of shells,
but did no injury. Reaching camp, we found that Stamy had dried our
blankets and clothes.

Resuming our packs, we slowly threaded our way downward to Camp 14, at
the western end of the Pinnacle pass cliffs. We there found cans of
rations left several days before and, pitching our tent, passed the
night. We knew by the signs found there that Kerr and his companions,
after taking lunch, had renewed their journey toward Blossom island.
Our camp was just at the lower limit of the new snow. To the northward
all was of the purest white, but southward, down the glacier, the
snow-fields were yellow and much discolored. Many changes had taken
place in the Seward glacier since we first saw it; the pinnacles,
snow-tables, and crevasses in the rapids were less striking than
formerly, and had evidently suffered greatly from the summer's heat.
About the bases of the cliffs there were dark, irregular patches of
débris, where a month previously all was white. As nearly as could be
judged, the surface of the glacier had been lowered by melting and
settling during our absence about fifty feet.

The following morning, September 5, we started for Blossom island, the
weather still continuing thick and stormy. On crossing Pinnacle pass
we found over a foot of new snow which had fallen since our companions
passed that way. Toward nightfall the lower limit of snow on the
Marvine glacier was reached, and at night we camped on the first
moraines which appeared below the névé. The day following, September
6, we reached Blossom island about noon, and found that Kerr and his
party had arrived there safely, and that Partridge had recovered from
his snow-blindness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our stay above the snow-line had lasted thirty-five days, and we were
extremely glad to see the light of a camp-fire and have the trees and
flowers about us once more. The vegetation indicated that the season
was already far advanced. Most of the flowers had faded, and autumn
tints gave brilliancy to the {162} lower mountain slopes; salmon
berries and huckleberries were in profusion, and furnished an
exceedingly agreeable change in our diet. After a bath in one of the
small lakelets on the island and a good night's rest on a luxuriant
bed of spruce boughs, we felt fully restored and ready for another

As Kerr was anxious to get back to Port Mulgrave, it was arranged that
Lindsley and Partridge should go with him, and that the rest of the
men should remain. Kerr took his departure on the morning of September
7, and on the following day Christie, Doney, and myself crossed the
Marvine glacier to the southern end of the Hitchcock range, and the
following day made an excursion out upon the Malaspina glacier. The
day of our excursion was bright and beautiful, and the mountains to
the northward revealed their full magnificence. The level plateau of
ice formed a horizontal plain, from which the mountain rose
precipitously and appeared grander and more majestic than from any
other point of view. St. Elias rose clear and sharp, without a cloud
to obscure its dizzy height, and appeared to be one sheer precipice.
It is doubtful if a more impressive mountain face exists anywhere else
in the world. After learning all we could concerning the Malaspina
glacier we returned to our camp at the end of the Hitchcock range, and
the following day tramped across the extremely rough moraine-covered
surface back to Blossom island.

The following morning, September 12, we started on our return trip to
Yakutat bay. Two small tents and many articles for which we had no
further use were abandoned, so as to make our packs light as possible.
We crossed the Hayden glacier, and at night camped at the foot of
Floral pass. After making two intermediate camps, traveling each day
in the rain, we reached the shore of Yakutat bay on September 15.

Doney and I halted at Dalton's cabin for the purpose of seeing what we
could of the openings there made for coal, while the rest of the party
pressed on to our old camping place on the shore. There they found
Kerr and his party still encamped, but ready to leave for Port
Mulgrave early the next morning.

September 18 was occupied by us in catching salmon and trout. We were
abundantly successful, as every man returned to camp with all that he
could carry. These were spread out on a rack over our camp-fire and
smoked for further use, as we did not know how long our stay would be
extended. On the next day Stamy and Lindsley returned from Port
Mulgrave, where they {163} had left Kerr, quite recovered from his
exposure on the mountain. Stormy weather continued, and a gale from
the northeast piled the ice high on the beach and threatened to sweep
away our tents, as has already been briefly described in earlier

On September 20, our tents having been beaten in by a violent storm
and our camping place overflowed by the waters from a lake above us,
we removed our goods to a place of safety and went to Dalton's cabin,
where we awaited better weather. The morning of September 23 dawned
clear and bright, and after drying our clothes around a blazing
camp-fire, we started back to our camping place on the shore. Before
reaching there, however, we were rejoiced to see the _Corwin_ coming
up the bay. It took us but a short time to get on board, where Captain
C. L. Hooper, her commander, did everything in his power to make us
welcome and comfortable. To him we are indebted for a delightful
voyage back to civilization.

After steaming up Disenchantment bay nearly to the ice-cliffs of the
Hubbard glacier, and obtaining a fine view of the glaciers about
Disenchantment bay, the _Corwin_ returned to Port Mulgrave and, on
September 25, put to sea. After a splendid ocean passage, we arrived
at Port Townsend on October 2.

       *       *       *       *       *

During our stay in Alaska not a man was seriously sick and not an
accident happened. The work planned at the start was carried out
almost to the letter, with the exception that snow-storms and the
lateness of the season did not permit us to reach the summit of Mount
St. Elias.


Should another attempt be made to climb Mount St. Elias, the shortest
and most practicable route from the coast would be to land at Icy bay
and ascend the Agassiz glacier. The course taken by us in 1890 could
be intersected just north of where the tributary glacier from Dome
pass joins the main ice-stream; and from there the route followed last
summer would be the most practicable. A camp should be established on
the divide between Mount St. Elias and Mount Newton, from which
excursions to either of these peaks could be made in a single day.

In the preceding narrative many details have been omitted. One of
these is that tents, together with blankets, rations, etc., were left
at two convenient points between Blossom island and {164} the Agassiz
glacier, and were used by the men in bringing up supplies. In
attempting to ascend Mount St. Elias from Icy bay by the route
suggested, at least three such relay stations should be established
between the Chaix hills, where wood for camp-fires can be obtained (as
is known from the reports of the New York _Times_ and Topham
expeditions), and the high camp on the divide. The relay camps
suggested should be one day's march apart, and would serve not only
for stopping places while carrying rations during the advance, but
would furnish a line of retreat. A party making this journey should be
provided with snow-shoes, which unfortunately we did not take with us.

All rations intended for use above the snow-line should be packed in
tin cans, each of sufficient size to hold between fifty and sixty
pounds, and each should be securely soldered. All articles packed in
this way should be thoroughly dry and should be packed in a dry, warm
room. When secured in this manner they are about as easy to carry as
if packed in bags, and can be "cached" anywhere out of the reach of
floods and avalanches, with the certainty of being serviceable when
wanted. The more perishable articles to be used where camp-fires are
possible should also be secured in tin cans. Sacks of flour,
corn-meal, etc., should be protected by an outer covering of strong
canvas. The experience of last summer showed that the cans of rations
intended for use above the snow-line should each contain about the
following ration, which may be varied to suit individual taste:

  Bacon, smoked . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10 lbs.
  Corned beef, in can . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6  "
  Flour and corn-meal, with necessary quantity of baking
    powder  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15  "
  Coffee  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2  "
  Rolled oats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5  "
  Sugar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5  "
  Chocolate, sweet  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2  "
  Salt  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   ¼  "
  Extract of beef . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   ¼  "
  Tobacco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   ½  "
  Condensed milk (small cans) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
  Matches (wax) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1 box.

Our experience with oil-stoves showed that they are serviceable. While
on the march they can be carried as hand packs in {165} gunny-sacks.
Rectangular cans holding about a gallon each, with small screw-tops,
were found convenient for carrying coal oil. The experience of Arctic
explorers indicates that alcohol would perhaps be better than coal oil
to use in snow-camps.

Among the most important articles to be provided are strong shoes or
boots; of these each man should have at least two pairs. Strong
hip-boots, with lacings over the instep, are exceedingly serviceable.
When sleeping on the ice the boot-legs may be spread beneath one's
blankets and the feet used as a pillow. The long legs are serviceable
alike in the thick brush on the shore and in the deep snow on the high
mountains. With their protection, many streams can be waded without
getting wet. Leather, waxed ends, awls, etc., for repairing boots, and
tallow mixed with bees-wax for greasing them, should be taken and
distributed in part through the cans of rations. Heavy woolen socks
are indispensable, and an effort should be made to have a dry pair
always at hand. This may be arranged, even under the most unfavorable
conditions, by drying a pair as thoroughly as is convenient and
carrying them in the bosom of one's shirt.

Long alpenstocks are always necessary. My own choice is a stiff one of
hickory, about six feet long and an inch and a quarter in diameter,
provided with a spike and hook at one end and a chisel about two
inches broad at the other. Ice axes are desirable while climbing in
the high mountains, but even more serviceable are light axes of the
usual pattern, but with handles about fourteen inches long; these
supplement the alpenstock, and when not actually in use are carried in
the packs.

Each man should be provided with a water-tight match-box, and should
have, besides, a bundle of wax matches wrapped in oil-cloth and sewed
in the collar of his shirt, to be held as a last reserve. Each man
should also have a small water-tight bag in which to carry salt enough
to last a week or ten days, in case he has to live by hunting or
fishing. A heavy hunting knife is very convenient, and can be used not
only in cutting trails through thick brush, but in cases of necessity
is serviceable in making steps in ice. Heavy woolen clothing is
preferable to furs. Sleeping bags were not used during our expedition,
but are highly recommended by others. For protection at night, a thick
woolen blanket with a light canvas cover and a sheet of light rubber
cloth to protect it are all that is necessary. Our tents were of
cotton drilling, seven feet square and about six feet high, and {166}
provided with ridge-ropes. Alpenstocks were used for tent poles.
"Sou'westers" and strong water-proof coats are indispensable in a
climate like that of Alaska, and at night may be used as a substratum
on which to sleep. While traveling over the snow-line we used colored
glasses to protect the eyes, and also found that a strip of dark
mosquito netting tied across the face below the eyes afforded great
protection. Some of the party found relief from the glare of the snow
by blacking their faces with grease and burnt cork, but one experiment
with that method is usually enough. While camping below timber-line
during the months of June to September fine mosquito netting is
indispensable. In carrying packs, hemp "cod-line" of the largest size
was found to answer every requirement, and is preferred by expert
packers to pack-straps.

It has been suggested that experienced Swiss guides are necessary to
ensure success in climbing Mount St. Elias. Having never followed a
guide in the mountains, I am not able to judge of their efficiency,
but it must be remembered that no one can _guide_ in a region that has
never been traversed. The "guide" as understood in Europe is unknown
in America. In the exploration of this country by engineers,
geologists, etc., the camp hands have followed their leaders and have
not shown them the way. In every frontier town there are hunters,
trappers, miners, prospectors, cow-boys, voyageurs, etc.--men who have
passed their lives on the plains or among "the hills" and are enured
to hardship and danger. This is the best material in the world from
which to recruit an exploring party. A foreigner engaging the services
of such men must take into account the independent spirit that
animates them and is the secret of their usefulness. They are not
servants, but retainers; that too in regions far beyond the reach of
civil law. They will follow their leader anywhere, support him in all
dangers, and do their work faithfully so long as their rights as men
are respected.

By taking proper precautions while traveling across crevassed snow and
ice, and guarding against avalanches and snow-blindness, an excursion
can be made above the snow-line with as little danger as in better
known and more frequented regions.





In the preceding narrative, many references have been made to the
character of the rocks and to the geological structure of the region
explored. It was not practicable during the journey to carry on
detailed geological studies, but such facts as were noted are of
interest, for this reason, if for no other: they relate to a country
previously unknown.

My reconnoissance enabled me to determine that there are three
well-defined formations in the St. Elias region. These are--

1. The sandstones and shales about Yakutat bay and westward along the
foot of the mountain to Icy bay, named the _Yakutat system_.

2. A system of probably later date, composed of shale, conglomerate,
limestone, sandstone, etc., best exposed in the cliffs of Pinnacle
pass and along the northern and western borders of the Samovar hills,
and named the _Pinnacle system_.

3. The metamorphic rocks of the main St. Elias range, called the _St.
Elias schist_.


The rocks of this system are of gray and brown sandstones and nearly
black shales. They are uniform in lithological character over a large
area, and are usually greatly crushed and seamed. So great has been
the crushing to which they have been subjected that it is difficult to
work out a hand specimen with fresh surfaces. Fragments broken out
with a hammer are almost invariably bounded by plains of previous
crushing, and are usually somewhat weathered.

These rocks form the bold shores of Yakutat and Disenchantment bays,
and were the only rocks seen along our route from Yakutat bay to
Pinnacle pass. The whole of the Hitchcock range is composed of rocks
of this series, as are also the Chaix {168} hills and the hills west
of Icy bay and the southern portion of the Samovar hills. North of
Pinnacle pass there are rocks undistinguishable lithogically from
those about Yakutat bay. These are exposed in Mount Owen and on each
side of Dome pass; they also form the bold spurs about the immediate
bases of Mount Augusta, Mount Malaspina, and Mount St. Elias. In the
three instances last named these rocks dip beneath the schist forming
the crest of the St. Elias range, and it is probable that a great
overthrust there took place before the formation of the faults to
which the present relief of the mountains is due.

All the mountain spurs of Mount Cook, so far as is known, are composed
of sandstones and shales of the Yakutat series, with the exception of
the Pinnacle pass cliffs. Nearly all the débris on the glaciers from
Disenchantment bay to the Seward glacier, and probably beyond, is
derived from the rocks of this system. The distribution of the rocks
from which the débris was derived may be ascertained in a general way
by tracing out the sources of the glaciers. Medial moraines on the
Hayden and Marvine glaciers, however, have their sources on the
northern slope of Mount Cook, and are composed of gabbro and
serpentine. These rocks were not seen in place, and their relation to
the Yakutat series can only be conjectured.

Although the rocks of this system are stratified, it is impossible to
determine their thickness, for the reason that they have been greatly
crushed and overthrust. This is well illustrated in the Hitchcock
range, which, as already explained, trends about northeast and
southwest, and is composed of strata of shale and sandstone, having a
nearly east-and-west strike and a uniform dip toward the northeast.
Were the rocks in normal position their thickness would be incredible.
In addition to this negative evidence, there is the crushed condition
of the strata to show that movement has taken place all through their
mass; and in a few instances thrust faults were distinguished, dipping
northeastward at about the same angle as the lines of bedding. In the
crushing to which the rocks have been subjected the shales have
suffered more than the sandstones, and have been drawn out into
wedge-shaped masses, the sharp edges of which usually point toward the
northeast, which is presumably the direction from which the crushing
force acted.

The hypothesis that the rocks in the St. Elias region have been
crushed and overthrust explains many otherwise {169} inharmonious
facts, and accounts for the superposition of the St. Elias schist upon
rocks of the Yakutat system.

Coal has been discovered in the rocks of the Yakutat system about two
miles west of the southern end of Disenchantment bay, and is reported
to be of workable thickness. I saw thin lignite seams at the surface
at this locality, but as the shafts were filled with water I was
unable to examine the coal in the openings, and cannot vouch for its
thickness. Samples obtained from the mine show it to be a black
lignite which would apparently be of value for fuel. Fossil leaves are
reported to occur in connection with the lignite, but these have never
been seen by any one who could identify them.

The rocks of the Yakutat system, wherever seen, dip northeastward,
except when greatly disturbed near fault-lines. East of Disenchantment
bay the inclination of the beds is from 15° to 20°; farther westward
the dip increases gradually all the way to the Hitchcock range, where
the prevailing inclination is from 30° to 40°, and frequently still
greater. Beneath Mount Malaspina and Mount St. Elias the Yakutat
sandstones dip northeastward at an angle of about 15°, and in the
hills west of Icy bay the dip is about the same. Exceptions to the
prevailing dips occur along the immediate shore of Yakutat bay,
northwest of Knight island, and at the southern extremity of each of
the mountain spurs between Yakutat bay and Blossom island. At these
localities the rocks are frequently vertical or nearly so, owing their
high dip to the proximity of lines of displacement. The faults
indicated by these unusual dips also mark the boundary between the
mountains and the seaward-stretching plateau of alluvium and ice.

The crushing, overthrusting and faulting that has affected the rocks
of this system render it doubtful whether the coal seams which occur
in it, even if of requisite thickness, can be worked to advantage.
Some of the samples of coal obtained at the openings made near Yakutat
bay were slickensided, showing that movements in the coal seam had
there taken place.

As already stated, the rocks of the Yakutat series are remarkably
uniform in character throughout the extent now known, and offer but
little variety. The sandstones are intersected in every direction by
thin quartz seams, which stand in relief on the weathered surfaces,
giving the rocks a peculiar and {170} characteristic appearance. The
first important change in the geology along the route traversed by us
was met on reaching Pinnacle pass.


The rocks of this system, as already stated, are best exposed in the
great fault-scarp forming the northern wall of Pinnacle pass. They are
more varied in composition and have preserved a better record of the
conditions under which they were deposited than the sandstones and
shales of the Yakutat system.

Only an approximate section of the rocks exposed in the Pinnacle-pass
cliff was obtained.

  Sandstone and conglomerate weathering into spires . . .    500 feet.
  Evenly bedded, sandy shale in thin layers . . . . . . .    600  "
  Coarse conglomerate; bowlders of crystalline rock . . .     50  "
  Thinly bedded, dark-colored sandstone and shale . . . .    500  "
  Reddish conglomerate  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     10  "
  Light-gray sandstone, with thin, irregular coal seams .     40  "
    Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1,800  "

There is also a compact, crystalline, gray limestone near the upper
portion of the series, which escaped notice in the cliffs. At the end
of the Pinnacle-pass cliffs, however, where the rocks are turned
northward by the great fault which decides the course of the Seward
glacier, and dip eastward at a high angle, the limestone is well
exposed, and has a thickness of about 50 feet. In many places the
surfaces of the layers are covered with fragments of large _Pecten_
shells. Associated with the limestone there are reddish shales, much
crushed and broken, and a peculiar conglomerate. The pebbles in the
conglomerate are of many varieties, and were observed at places along
the Pinnacle pass cliffs. Their most marked peculiarity lies in the
fact that they have been sheared by a movement in the rocks and
sometimes broken into several fragments which have been reunited,
probably by pressure. These faulted pebbles are characteristic of the
strata from which they were derived. Similar pebbles were afterward
obtained in the Marvine glacier near its junction with the Malaspina
glacier, thus indicating that there are other outcrops of the
conglomerate about Mount Cook, near where the Marvine glacier {171}
has its source. Two quartz pebbles from the conglomerate of Pinnacle
pass are shown in the accompanying illustrations. The larger pebble
(shown in figure 7) is of bluish-gray quartz, and the smaller one
(depicted in figure 8) is of white quartz. The fragments into which
they have been broken are now firmly united. The engravings are
photo-mechanical (Moss process) reproductions from the objects.

[Illustration: FIGURE 7--_Faulted Pebble from Pinnacle Pass_.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 8--_Faulted Pebble from Pinnacle Pass_.]

In the northern and western part of the Samovar hills the rocks of the
Pinnacle system again appear, forming a bold angular ridge, curving
southward and reaching the border of the Agassiz glacier. The southern
face of this range is precipitous and, like the Pinnacle pass cliffs,
exhibits the edges of northward-dipping strata. Its northern and
western slopes are heavily snow-bound. It is in reality a continuation
of the Pinnacle pass fault, but thrown out of line by the cross-fault
which marked out the course of the Seward glacier.

The Yakutat and Pinnacle systems are so easily recognized that their
distribution can be distinguished at a glance, when the outcrops are
not concealed beneath the nearly universal covering of snow. The rocks
of the Yakutat series are heavily bedded sandstones and shales, and
have in general a light-brown tint; while the rocks of the Pinnacle
series are thinly bedded and dark in color, appearing black at a

The presence of a _Pecten_ (_P. caurinus_ (?) Gld.) in the limestone
of the Pinnacle series has already been mentioned. Other fossils were
obtained from sandstones and shales at the crest of the cliffs above
Pinnacle pass at an elevation of 5,000 feet. These {172} were
submitted to Dr. W. H. Dall, who kindly identified them as follows:

  _Mya arenaria_, L.;
  _Mytilus edulis_, L.;
  _Leda fossa_, Baird, or _L. minuta_, Fabr.;
  _Macoma inconspicua_, B. and S.;
  _Cardium islandicum_, L.;
  _Litorina atkana_, Dall.

All of these species are stated by Dall to be still living in the
oceanic waters of Alaska. The very recent age of the rocks in which
they occur is thus established.

In strata closely connected with the layers in which these shells were
found there occur many fine leaf impressions, a few of which were
brought away. These have been examined by Professor L. F. Ward, who
has identified them with four species of _Salix_, closely resembling
living species. The report on these interesting fossils forms Appendix

The age indicated by both invertebrates and plants is late Tertiary
(Pliocene) or early Pleistocene. This determination is of great
significance when taken in connection with the structure of the
region, and shows that the mountains in the St. Elias region are

Not only was a part, at least, of the Pinnacle system deposited during
the life of living species of mollusks, but also the whole of the
Yakutat series, the stratigraphic position of which is, if my
determination is correct, above the Pinnacle system. After the
sediments composing the rocks of these two series were {173} deposited
in the sea as strata of sand, mud, etc., they were consolidated,
overthrust, faulted, and upheaved into one of the grandest mountain
ridges on the continent. Then, after the mountains had reached a
considerable height, if not their full growth, the snows of winter
fell upon them, and glaciers were born; the glaciers increased to a
maximum, and their surfaces reached from a thousand to two thousand
feet higher than now on the more southern mountain spurs, and
afterward slowly wasted away to their present dimensions. All of this
interesting and varied history has been enacted during the life of
existing species of plants and animals.

The relative age of the Yakutat and Pinnacle series is the weakest
point in the history sketched above. The facts on which it rests are
as follows: At Pinnacle pass the sandstones and shales forming the
southern wall belong to the Yakutat system and are much disturbed,
while the northern wall, or the heaved side of the fault, is composed
of the rocks of the Pinnacle system, inclined northward at an angle of
30° or 40°. North of this fault-scarp, in the foothills of Mount Owen,
sandstones and shales, seemingly identical with those of the Yakutat
system, again occur, although their direct connection with the rocks
south of Pinnacle pass was not observed, owing to the snow that
obscured the outcrops. Again at Dome pass a similar relation seems
evident, but cannot be directly established. The immediate foothills
of Mounts Augusta, Malaspina, and St. Elias are also of sandstone,
lithologically the same as the Yakutat series. The conclusion that the
Yakutat system is younger than the Pinnacle-pass rocks was reached in
the field after many other hypotheses had been tried and found
wanting, and to my mind it explains all the observations made. Even
should the supposed relations of the two series under discussion be
reversed, it would still be true that a very large part of the rocks
of the St. Elias region were deposited since the appearance of living
species of mollusks and plants, and that the prevailing structure of
the region was imposed at a still later date. This will appear more
clearly after examining the structure of the region.


The rock forming several thousand feet of the upper portion of the St.
Elias range is a schist in which the planes of bedding {174} are
preserved. The dip of the strata is northeastward, and has exerted a
decided influence on the weathering of the mountain crests. As the
opportunities for examining this formation were unsatisfactory, a
detailed account of it will not now be attempted.


The abnormal thickness of the Yakutat series, due to crushing and
overthrust, has been referred to, as has also the superposition of the
St. Elias schist upon rock supposed to belong to the Yakutat system.

The plane of contact between the sandstone and the overlying schist of
the St. Elias range dips northeastward at an angle of about 15°,
corresponding, as nearly as can be determined, with the dip of the
strata in the sandstone itself. All of the observations made in this
connection indicate that the schist has been overthrust upon the
sandstones. After this took place the great faults to which the range
owes its present relief were formed.

About Mount Cook, however, and in the elevated plateau east of Yakutat
bay, the conditions are different from those observed along the base
of the St. Elias range. The only displacements known in the Yakutat
system south and east of Pinnacle pass is the great fault which
presumably exists where the rocks of the foothills disappear beneath
the gravel and glaciers of the Piedmont region, the faults referred to
belonging to the same series as those which determine the southern and
southwestern borders of the St. Elias range and many of the foothills
south of the main escarpment. Besides the great faults which trend
from St. Elias toward the northeast and northwest, there are several
cross-faults, one of which determines the position of the Seward
glacier through a portion of its course, while another marks out the
path of the Agassiz glacier; and two others may be recognized just
east of the summit of St. Elias, which have dropped portions of the
eastern end of the orographic block forming the crowning peak of the

The southern face of Mount St. Elias is a fault-scarp. The mountain
itself is formed by the upturned edge of a faulted block in which the
stratification is inclined northeastward. As has just been mentioned,
the mountain stands at the intersection of two lines of displacement,
one trending in a northeasterly and the other in a northwesterly
direction. The one trending {175} northwestward extends beyond the end
of the northeast fault. The point of union is at the pass between
Mount St. Elias and Mount Newton. The upturned block, bounded on the
southwest by a great fault, projects beyond the junction with the
northeasterly fault. It is this projecting end of a roof-like block
that forms Mount St. Elias. That this is the case may be clearly seen
when viewing the mountain from the glacier near the base of Mount
Owen. Such a view is shown on plate 20. The crest-line of St. Elias
extends with a decreasing grade northwestward from the culminating
peak, and the northern slope of the ridge is the surface of the tilted


From what has been stated already, it will be seen that the St. Elias
range is young. Its upheaval, as indicated by our present knowledge,
was since the close of the Tertiary. The breaking of the rocks and
their upheaval is an event of such recent date that erosion has
scarcely modified the forms which the mountains had at their birth.
The formation of glaciers followed the elevation of the region so
quickly, that there was no opportunity for streams to act. The ice
drainage is consequent upon the geological structure, and has made but
slight changes in the topography due to that structure.

About Mount Cook, and in the elevated plateau east of Yakutat bay,
there has been deeper erosion than about Mount St. Elias. The glaciers
in this region occupy deep valleys radiating from the higher peaks;
but whether these are really valleys of erosion is not definitely
known. In some instances, changes of dip on opposite sides of the
valleys indicate that they may in part be due to faulting; but, owing
principally to the fact that every basin has its glacier, it has not
been practicable, up to the present time, to determine how they were

The crests of the mountains are always sharp and angular, by reason of
the rapid weathering of their exposed summits, but while
disintegration is rapid, no evidences of pronounced decay are
noticeable. The peaks on the summits of the St. Elias range are either
pyramids or roof-like crests with triangular gables. These forms have
resulted from the weathering of schist in which the planes of bedding
are crossed by lines of jointing.





The glaciers of the St. Elias region form two groups. The ice-streams
from the mountain are of the type found in Switzerland, and hence
termed _Alpine glaciers_. The great plateau of ice along the ocean
formed by the union and expansion of Alpine glaciers from the
mountains belongs to a class not previously described, but which in
this paper have been called _Piedmont glaciers_. The representative of
the latter type between Yakutat bay and Icy bay is the Malaspina
glacier. Both types are to be distinguished from _Continental


The glaciers in the mountains are all of one type, but present great
diversity in their secondary features, and might be separated into
three or four subordinate divisions. The great trunk glaciers have
many tributaries, and drain the snows from the mountains through broad
channels, which are of low grade throughout all the lower portions of
their courses. Besides the trunk glaciers and the secondary glaciers
which flow into them, there are many smaller glaciers which do not
join the main streams, but terminate in the gorges or on the exposed
mountain sides in which they originate. These have nearly all the
features of the larger streams, but are not of sufficient volume to
become rivers of ice.

A minor division of Alpine glaciers for which it is convenient to have
a special name includes those that end in the sea and, breaking off,
form icebergs. These may be designated as "tide-water glaciers."
Typical examples of this class are furnished by the Dalton and Hubbard
glaciers, but other ice-streams having the same characteristics occur
in Glacier bay, in Taku inlet, and at the heads of several of the deep
fjords along the coast of southeastern Alaska.

{177} A noticeable feature of the Alpine glaciers of Alaska is that
they expand on passing beyond the valleys through which they flow and
form delta-like accumulations of ice on the plains below. This
expansion takes place irrespective of the direction in which the
glaciers flow, and, so far as may be judged from the many examples
examined, is independent of the débris that covers them. It should be
remembered, however, that none of the Alaskan glaciers thus far
studied show marked inequalities in the distribution of the moraines
upon their surfaces. Should one side of a glacier, on leaving a cañon,
be heavily loaded with marginal moraines, while the opposite border
was unprotected, it is to be presumed that a deflection of the ice
would take place similar to the change in direction recorded by the
moraines about Mono lake, California.[34] The normal tendency of ice,
when not confined, to expand in all directions and form a plateau is
illustrated on a grand scale by the Malaspina glacier.

[Footnote 34: Eighth Ann. Rept. U. S. Geol. Surv., 1889, part I, pp.

The most important ice-streams about Mount St. Elias and Mount Cook
are indicated on the map forming plate 8. The Tindall, Guyot, and
Libbey glaciers and the lower part of the Agassiz glacier there
represented are taken from a map published by H. W. Topham.[35] All of
the other glaciers indicated on the map were hastily surveyed during
the present expedition and are described to some extent in the
accompanying narrative. By far the most important of these is the one
named the Seward Glacier.

[Footnote 35: Alpine Journal, London, vol. XIV, 1887, pl. op. p. 359.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Seward Glacier is of the Alpine type, and is the largest tributary
of the Malaspina glacier. Its length is approximately 40 miles, and
its width in the narrowest part, opposite Camp fourteen, is about 3
miles. The main amphitheatre from which its drainage is derived is
north of Mount Owen and between Mount Irving and Mount Logan. The
general surface of the broad level floor of this névé field has an
elevation of approximately 5,000 feet. The snow from the northern and
western sides of Mount Irving, from the northern slope of Mount Owen,
and from numerous valleys and cañons in the vast semicircle of
towering peaks joining these two mountains, unite to form the great
glacier. There is another amphitheatre between Mount Owen and the
Pinnacle pass cliffs supplied principally by snows {178} from the
northwestern slope of Mount Cook, which sends a vast flood of ice and
snow into the main drainage channel. Other tributary glaciers descend
the steep slopes of Mount Augusta and Mount Malaspina, and a lesser
tributary flows eastward from Dome pass. All of these ice-drainage
lines converge toward the narrow outlet of Camp 14 (plate 8) and
discharge southward down a moderately steep descent several miles in
length. Below Camp 14 there are other névé fields bordering the
glacier, which contribute no insignificant amount of ice and snow to
its mass. Between the extremity of the Hitchcock range and the Samovar
hills the path of the glacier is again contracted and greatly broken
as it descends to the plateau below.

The Seward glacier, like all ice rivers of its class, has its névé
region above, and its ice region below. The limit between the two is
the lower margin of the summer snow, and occurs just above the
ice-fall between the southern extremity of the Hitchcock range and the
Samovar hills. All the névé region is pure white and without moraines,
except at the immediate bases of the most precipitous cliffs. At the
bases of the Corwin cliffs, which rise fully 2,000 feet above its
border, no débris can be distinguished even in midsummer. An absence
of moraines along the base of Pinnacle pass cliffs was also noticed
during our first visit, but when we returned over the same route in
September the melting of the snow had revealed many large patches of
dirt and disintegrated rock. In several places near the bases of steep
cliffs, strata of dirty ice, containing many stones, were observed in
deep crevasses. It was evident that vast quantities of débris were
sealed up in the ice along the borders of the glacier, only to appear
at the surface far down the stream where summer melting exceeds the
winter accumulation.

The surface of the glacier below the lower fall is composed of solid
ice with blue and white bands, and has broad moraines along its
borders. The course of the glacier, after entering the great plateau
of ice to which it is tributary, may be traced for many miles by the
bands of débris along its sides. These moraines belong to the
Malaspina glacier, and have already been referred to.

At the outlet of the upper amphitheatre, about 6 miles above Mount
Owen, there is an ice-fall which extends completely across the
glacier. Below the pinnacles and crevasses formed by this fall the ice
is recemented and flows on with a broad, gently {179} descending
surface, gashed, however, by thousands of crevasses, as shown in plate
20, to the end of the Pinnacle pass cliffs. It there finds a more
rapid descent, and becomes crevassed in an interesting way. The slope
is not sufficient to be termed a fall, but causes a rapid in the

The change of grade in the bed of the glacier is first felt about a
mile above Camp 14. A series of crevasses there begins, which extends
four or five miles down-stream. At first the cracks are narrow, and
trend upstream in the manner usual with marginal crevasses. Soon the
cracks from the opposite sides meet in the center and form a single
crevasse, bending upstream in the middle. A little lower down, the
crevasse becomes straight, showing that the ice in the center of the
current flows more rapidly than at the sides. The more rapid movement
of the center is indicated by the form of the crevasses all the way
down the rapid. After becoming straight they bow in the center and
form semi-lunar gashes, widest in the center and curving up-stream at
each extremity. Still farther down they become more and more bent in
the center and at the same time greatly increased in breadth. Still
lower the curve becomes an angle and the crevasses are V-shaped, the
arrow-like point directed down-stream. These parallel V-shaped gashes
set in order, one in front of the other, are what gives the glacier
the appearance of "watered" ribbon when seen from a distance.

With the change in direction and curvature of the crevasses, there is
an accompanying change in color. The cracks in the upper part of the
rapid are in a white surface and run down into ice that looks dark and
blue by contrast. Lower down, as the cracks increase in width, broad
white tables are left between them. Cross-fractures are formed, and
the sides of the table begin to crumble in and fill up the gaps
between. As the surface melts the tables lose their pure whiteness and
become dust-covered and yellow; but the blocks falling into the
crevasses expose fresh surfaces, and fill the gulfs with pure white
ice. In this way the color of the sides of the crevasses changes from
deep blue to white, while the general surface loses its purity and
becomes dust-covered. Far down the rapid where the V-shaped crevasses
are most pointed, the tables have crumbled away and filled up the
gulfs between, so that the watered-ribbon pattern is distinguished by
color alone. The scars of the crevasses formed above are shown by
white bands on a dark dust-covered {180} surface. Before the lower
fall is reached nearly all traces of the thousands of fissures formed
in the rapids above have disappeared.

On looking down on the rapids from any commanding point, the definite
arrangement of the crevasses along the center of the ice-stream at
once attracts attention, and their order suggests a rapid central
current in the stream.

Below Camp 14, for at least two or three miles, as well as at many
places above that point, the Seward glacier flows between banks of
snow. Along its border there are marginal crevasses trending
up-stream, and in the adjacent banks there are similar breaks trending
down-stream. Where the two systems meet there is a line of irregular
crevasses, exceedingly difficult to cross, which mark the actual
border of the flowing ice. A similar arrangement of marginal crevasses
and of shore crevasses has been referred to in connection with the
Marvine glacier, and was observed in many other instances.

While occupying Camp 14 we could hear the murmur of waters far down in
the glacier below our tent, but there were no surface streams visible.
Crashing and rumbling noises made by the slowly moving ice frequently
attracted our attention, and sometimes at night we would be awakened
by a dull thud, accompanied by a trembling of the rocks beneath us, as
if a slight earthquake had occurred. Occasionally a pinnacle of ice
would fall and be engulfed in the crevasses at its base. These
evidences of change indicated that movements in the Seward glacier
were constantly in progress. A short base-line was measured and sights
taken to well-marked points in the Seward glacier for the purpose of
measuring its motion. The angles between the base-line and lines of
sight to the chosen points were read on several successive days, but
when these observations were compared they gave discrepant results.
The measurements which seemed most reliable indicate that the central
part of the ice-stream has a movement of about twenty feet a day. This
is to be taken only as an approximation, which needs to be verified
before much weight can be attached to it.


The surface of the névé is white, except near its lower limit in late
summer, where it frequently becomes covered with dust {181} blown from
neighboring cliffs. It is almost entirely free from moraines, but at
the bases of steep slopes small areas of débris sometimes appear at
the surface when the yearly melting has reached its maximum. The
absence of moraines is accompanied by an absence of glacial tables,
sand-cones and other details of glacial surfaces due to differential
melting. Streams seldom appear at the surface, for the reason that
usually the water produced by surface melting is quickly absorbed by
the porous strata beneath; yet the crevasses are frequently filled
with water, and sometimes shallow lakes of deep blue occur at the
bottoms of the amphitheatres and form a marked contrast to the even
white of the general surface. Crevasses are present or absent
according to the slope of the surface on which the névé rests. In the
crevasses the edges of horizontal layers of granular ice are
exhibited, showing that the névé down to a depth of at least one or
two hundred feet is horizontally stratified. In the St. Elias region
the strata are most frequently from ten to fifteen feet thick, but in
a few instances layers without partings over fifty feet thick were
seen. The surface is always of white, granular ice, but in the
crevasses the layers near the bottom appear more compact and bluer in
color than those near the surface.

Some of the most striking features of the névé are due to the
crevasses that break their surfaces. The orderly arrangement of
marginal crevasses and of the interior crevasses at the rapids in the
Seward glacier have already been referred to; but there are still
other crevasses, especially in the broad, gently sloping portions of
the snow-fields where the motion is slight, which, although less
regular in their arrangement, are fully as interesting. The crevasses
on such slopes generally run at right angles to the direction in which
the snow is moving. On looking down on such a surface, the breaks look
like long clear-cut gashes which have stretched open in the center,
but taper to a sharp point at each end. The ability of the névé ice to
stretch to a limited extent is thus clearly shown. The initiation of
the crevasses seems to be due to the movement of the névé ice over a
surface in which there are inequalities of such magnitude that the ice
cannot stretch sufficiently to allow it to accommodate itself to them,
so that strains are produced which result in fractures at right angles
to the line of general movement. Crevasses found where the grade is
gentle vary from a fraction of an inch to 10 or 15 feet in width, and
are sometimes two or three {182} thousand feet long. Broader gulfs are
seldom formed unless the slope has an inclination of 15° or 20°.

The grandest crevasses are in the higher portions of the névé, and
occur especially on the borders of the great amphitheatres. In such
situations the crevasses are usually fewer in number but are of
greater size than in equal areas lower down. A length of three or four
thousand feet and a breadth of fifty feet or more is not uncommon. The
finest and most characteristic glacial scenery is found among these
great cañon-like breaks. Standing on the border of one of the gulfs,
as near the brink as one cares to venture, their full depth cannot
usually be seen. In some instances they are partially filled with
water of the deepest blue, in which the ice-walls are reflected with
such wonderful distinctness that it is impossible to tell where the
ice ends and its counterfeit begins. The walls of the crevasses are
most frequently sheer cliffs of stratified ice, with occasional
ornamentations, formed of ice-crystals or a pendent icicle. After a
storm they are frequently decorated in the most beautiful manner with
fretwork and cornice of snow. The bridges spanning the crevasses are
usually diagonal slivers of ice left where the clefts overlap; but at
times, especially in the case of the larger crevasses, there are true
arches resembling the Natural Bridge of Virginia, but on a larger
scale, spanning the blue cañons and adding greatly to their strange,
fairy-like beauty. The most striking feature of these cracks is their
wonderful color. All tints, from the pure white of their crystal lips
down to the deepest blue of their innermost recesses, are revealed in
each gash and rent in the hardened snow.

Above the snow-line all of the mountain tops that are not precipitous
are heavily loaded with snow. Where the snow breaks off at the verge
of a precipice and descends in avalanches a depth of more than a
hundred feet is frequently revealed, but in the valleys and
amphitheatres the snow has far greater thickness. Pinnacles and crests
of rock, rising through the icy covering, indicate that the thickness
of the névé must be many hundreds of feet.

There are no evidences of former glaciation on the mountain crests
which project above the névé fields. There are no polished and
striated rock surfaces or glaciated domes to indicate that the
mountains were ever covered by a general capping of ice, as has been
postulated for similar mountains elsewhere. When the {183} glaciers
had their greatest expansion the higher mountains were in about their
present condition. The increase in the volume of the glaciers was felt
almost entirely in their lower courses.


The first feature that attracts attention on descending from the névé
region to the more icy portion of the glaciers is the rapid melting
everywhere taking place. Every day during the summer the murmur and
roar of rills, brooks and rivers are to be heard in all of the
ice-fields. The surface streams are usually short, on account of the
crevasses which intercept them. They plunge into the gulfs, which are
many times widened out by the flowing waters so as to form wells, or
_moulins_, and join the general drainage beneath. The streams then
flow either through caverns in the glaciers or in tunnels at the
bottoms. While traversing the glacier one may frequently hear the
subdued roar of rivers coursing along in the dark chambers beneath
when no other indication of their existence appears at the surface.
When these subglacial streams emerge, usually near the margin of the
ice, they issue from archways forming the ends of tunnels, and perhaps
flow for a mile or two in the sunlight before plunging into another
tunnel to continue their way as before.

The best example of a glacial river seen during our exploration was
near the western border of the Lucia glacier. It is shown in the
illustration forming plate 12, which is reproduced mechanically from a
photograph. This Styx of the ice-world has been described on an
earlier page. The lakes formed at the southern end of nearly every
mountain spur projecting into the Malaspina glacier discharge through
tunnels in the ice, which are similar in every way to those formed by
the stream already mentioned.

In the beds of the glacial streams there are deposits of sand and
gravel, and when the streams expand into lakes these deposits are
spread over their bottoms in more or less regular sheets. When streams
from the mountains empty into the lakes, deltas are formed. While
these deltas have the same characteristics as those built in more
stable water bodies, many changes in detail occur, owing to the
fluctuation of the water level.

{184} One of the tunnels leading to a dry lake-bed at the end of the
Hitchcock range was explored for several rods and found to be a high,
arching cavern following a tortuous course, and large enough to allow
one to drive a coach and four through it without danger of collision.
Its floor was formed of gravel and bowlders, and its arching roof was
clear ice. Here and there the courses of crevasses could be traced by
the stones and finer débris that had fallen in from above, giving the
appearance of veins in a mine. The deposit on the floor of the tunnel
rested upon ice, and would certainly be greatly disturbed and broken
up before reaching a final resting place in case the glacier should
melt. In the lake basins, also, the sand and gravel forming their
bottoms frequently rested upon substrata of ice, and are greatly
disturbed when the ice melts.

At the ends of the glaciers the subglacial and intraglacial drainage
issues from tunnels and forms muddy streams. These usually flow out
from the foot of a precipice of ice, down which rills are continually
trickling. The streams flowing away from the glaciers are usually
rapid, owing to the high grade of their built-up channels, and sweep
away large quantities of débris which is deposited along their
courses. The streams widen and bifurcate as they flow seaward, and
spread vast quantities of bowlders, sand, and gravel over the country
to the right and left, not infrequently invading the forests and
burying the still upright trees. The deposits formed by the streams
are of the nature of alluvial fans, over which the waters meander in a
thousand channels. Where this action has taken place long enough the
alluvial fans end in deltas; but should there be a current in the sea,
the débris is carried away and formed into beaches and bars along
adjacent shores. Should these glaciers disappear, it is evident that
these great bowlder washes would form peculiar topographic features,
unsupported at the apexes, and it might be perplexing to determine
from whence came the waters that deposited them. I am not aware that
similar washes have been recognized along the southern border of the
Laurentide glaciers, but they should certainly be expected to occur

Another very striking difference in the appearance of the glaciers
above and below the snow-line is due to the prevalence of débris on
the lower portion. The melting that takes place {185} below the
snow-line removes the ice and leaves the rocks. In this manner the
stones previously concealed in the névé are concentrated at the
surface, and finally form sheets of débris many miles in extent. So
far as my observations go, there is nothing to indicate that stones
are brought to the surface by any other means than the one here
suggested. Upward currents in the ice that would bring stones to the
surface have been postulated by certain writers, but nothing
sustaining such an hypothesis has been found in Alaska.

The moraines on the lower extremities of the Alpine glaciers may
frequently be separated into individual ridges, which in many
instances would furnish instructive studies; but in no case has the
history of these accumulations been worked out in detail.

With the appearance of moraines at the surface come a great variety of
phenomena due to unequal melting. Ridges of ice sheathed with débris,
glacial tables, sand cones, etc., everywhere attract the attention;
but these features are very similar on all glaciers where the summer's
waste exceeds the winter's increase, and have been many times

The general distribution of the moraines of the lower portion of the
Alpine glaciers of the St. Elias region merits attention. The moraines
themselves exhibit features not yet observed in other regions. From
Disenchantment bay westward to the Seward glacier the lower portions
of the ice-streams are covered and concealed by sheets of débris.
About their margins the débris fields support luxuriant vegetation,
and not infrequently are so densely clothed with flowers that a tint
is given to their rugged surfaces. On the extreme outer margins of the
moraines there are sometimes thickets and forests so dense as to be
almost impenetrable. The best example of forest-covered moraines
resting on living glaciers, however, is found along the borders of the
Malaspina ice-field.


This type is represented in the region explored by the Malaspina
glacier. This is a plateau of ice having an area of between 500 and
600 square miles, and a surface elevation in the central part of
between 1,500 and 1,600 feet. It is fed by the Agassiz, Seward,
Marvine, and Hayden glaciers, and is of such volume that {186} it has
apparently displaced the sea and holds it back by a wall of débris
deposited about its margin. All of its central portion is of clear
white ice, and around all its margins, excepting where the Agassiz and
Seward glaciers come in, it is bounded by a fringe of débris and by
moraines resting on the ice. Along the seaward border the belt of
fringing moraines is about five miles broad. The inner margin of the
moraine belt is composed of rocks and dirt, without vegetation, and
separated more or less completely into belts by strips of clear ice.
On going from the clear ice toward the margin of the glacier one finds
shrubs and flowers scattered here and there over the surface. Farther
seaward the vegetation becomes more dense and the flowers cover the
whole surface, giving it the appearance of a luxuriant meadow. Still
farther toward the margin dense clumps of alder, with scattered spruce
trees, become conspicuous, while on the outer margin spruce trees of
larger size form a veritable forest. That this vegetation actually
grows on the moraines above a living glacier is proved beyond all
question by holes and crevasses which reveal the ice beneath. The
curious lakes scattered abundantly over the moraine-covered areas, and
occupying hour-glass-shaped depressions in the ice, have already been

From the southern end of the Samovar hills, where the Seward and
Agassiz glaciers unite, there is a compound moraine stretching
southward, which divides at its distal extremity and forms great
curves and swirl-like figures indicating currents in the glacier.

All the central part of the plateau is, as already stated, of clear
white ice, free from moraines; at a distance it has the appearance of
a broad snow surface. This is due to the fact that the ice is melted
and honey-combed during the warm summer and the surface becomes
vesicular and loses its banded structure. A rough, coral-like crust,
due to the freezing of the portions melted during the day, frequently
covers large areas and resembles a thick hoar-frost. Crevasses are
numerous, but seldom more than a few feet deep. They appear to be the
lower portions of deep crevasses in the tributary streams which have
partially closed, or else not completely removed by the melting and
evaporation of the surface.

Many of the crevasses are filled with water, but there are no surface
streams and no lakes. Melting is rapid during the warm {187} summer
days, but the water finds its way down into the glacier and joins the
general subglacial drainage. It is evident that the streams beneath
the surface must be of large size, as they furnish the only means of
escape for the waters flowing beneath the Agassiz, Seward and Marvine
glaciers, as well as for the waters formed by the melting of the great
Malaspina glacier.

The outer borders of the Malaspina glacier are practically stationary,
but there are currents in its central part. Like the expanded ends of
some of the Alpine glaciers, as the Galiano and Lucia glaciers, for
example, this glacier is of the nature of a delta of ice, analogous in
many of its features to river deltas. As a stream in meandering over
its delta builds up one portion after another, so the currents in an
expanded ice-foot may now follow one direction and deposit loads of
débris, and then slowly change so as to occupy other positions. This
action tends to destroy the individuality of morainal belts and to
form general sheets of débris. The presence of such currents as here
suggested has not been proved by measurements, but the great swirls in
the Malaspina glacier and the tongues of clear ice in the upper
portions of the débris fields on the smaller glaciers strongly suggest
their existence.

The Malaspina glacier is evidently not eroding its bed; any records
that it is making must be by deposition. Should the glacier melt away
completely, it is evident that a surface formed of glacial débris, and
very similar to that now existing in the forested plateau east of
Yakutat bay, would be revealed.

The former extent of the Malaspina glacier cannot be determined, but
it is probable that during its greatest expansion it extended seaward
until deep water was reached, and broke off in bergs in the same
manner as do the Greenland glaciers at the present day. Soundings in
the adjacent waters might possibly determine approximately the former
position of the ice-front, and it is possible that submarine moraines
might be discovered in this way. The Pimpluna reefs, reported by
Russian navigators and indicated on many maps, may possibly be a
remnant of the moraine left by the Piedmont glacier from the adjacent

The glaciers west of Icy bay were seen from the top of Pinnacle pass
cliffs, and are evidently of the same character as the Malaspina
glacier and fully as extensive. A study of these {188} Piedmont
glaciers will certainly throw much light on the interpretations of the
glacial records over northeastern North America. Their value in this
connection is enhanced by the fact that they are now retreating and
making deposits rather than removing previous geological records.

       *       *       *       *       *

The expedition of last summer was a hasty reconnoissance, during which
but little detail work could be undertaken. The actual study of the
ice-fields of the St. Elias region remains for those who come later.




The height and position of Mount St. Elias have been measured several
times during the past century with varying results. The measurements
made prior to the expedition of 1890 have been summarized and
discussed by W. H. Dall, of the United States Coast and Geodetic
Survey, and little more can be done at present than give an abstract
of his report.

The various determinations are shown in the table below. The data from
which these results were obtained have not been published, with the
exception of the surveys made by the United States Coast Survey in
1874, printed in report of the superintendent for 1875.

  _Height and Position of Mount St. Elias_.

  Date.|     Authority.     |   Height.   |  Latitude.  | Longitude W.
  1786 | La Pérouse         | 12,672 feet | 60° 15' 00" | 140° 10' 00"
  1791 | Malaspina          | 17,851  "   | 60  17  35  | 140  52  17
  1794 | Vancouver          | ----------- | 60  22  30  | 140  39  00
  1847 | Russian Hydrogra-  |             |             |
       |   phic Chart 1378  | 17,854  "   | 60  21  00  | 141  00  00
  1847 | Tebenkof (Notes)   | 16,938  "   | 60  22  36  | 140  54  00
  1849 | Tebenkof           |             |             |
       |   (Chart VII)      | 16,938  "   | 60  21  30  | 140  54  00
       | Buch. Can. Inseln  | 16,758  "   | 60  17  30  | 140  51  00
  1872 | English Admiralty  |
       |   Chart 2172       | 14,970  "   | 60  21  00  | 141  00  00
  1874 | U. S. Coast Survey | 19,500 ±400 | 60  20  45  | 141  00  12

All of the figures given in the table have been copied from Dall's
report, with the exception of the position determined by Malaspina;
this is from a report of astronomical observations made during
Malaspina's voyage, which places the mountain in latitude 60° 17' 35"
and longitude 134° 33' 10" west of Cadiz.[36] Taking the longitude of
Cadiz as 6° 19' 07" west of Greenwich, the figures tabulated above are

[Footnote 36: Ante, p. 65.]

{190} It was intended that Mr. Kerr's report, forming Appendix B,
should contain a detailed record of the triangulation executed last
summer, but a careful revision of his work by a committee of the
National Geographic Society led to the conclusion that the results
were not of sufficient accuracy to set at rest the questions raised by
the discrepancies in earlier measurements of the height of Mount St.
Elias; and as the work will probably be revised and extended during
the summer of 1891, only the map forming plate 8 will be published at
this time. Some preliminary publications of elevations have been made,
but these must be taken as approximations merely.[37]

[Footnote 37: The shore-line of the map, plate 8, and the positions of
the initial points or base-line of the triangulation are from the work
of the United States Coast Survey. The extreme western portion is from
maps published by the New York _Times_ and Topham expeditions. All the
topographic data are by Mr. Kerr, and all credit for the work and all
responsibility for its accuracy rest with him. The nomenclature is
principally my own, and has been approved by a committee of the
National Geographic Society.]

By consulting the map forming plate 8 it will be seen that Mounts
Cook, Vancouver, Irving, Owen, etc., are not in the St. Elias range.
Neither do they form a distinct range either topographically or
geologically. Each of these mountains is an independent uplift,
although they may have some structural connection, and are of about
the same geological age. Mount Cook and the peaks most intimately
associated with it are composed mainly of sandstone and shale
belonging to the Yakutat system. Mounts Vancouver and Irving are
probably of the same character, but definite proof that this is the
case has not been obtained.

The St. Elias uplift is distinct and well marked, both geologically
and topographically, and deserves to be considered as a mountain
range. The limits of the range have not been determined, but, so far
as known, its maximum elevation is at Mount St. Elias. The range
stretches away from this culminating point both northeastward and
northwestward, and has a well-marked V-shape. The angle formed by the
two branches of the range where they unite at Mount St. Elias is, by
estimate, about 140°. Each arm of the V is determined by a fault, or
perhaps more accurately by a series of faults having the same general
course, along which the orographic blocks forming the range have been
upheaved. The structure of the range is monoclinal, and {191}
resembles the type of mountain structure characteristic of the great
basin. The dip of the tilted blocks is northward.

The crest of the St. Elias range, as already stated, is composed of
schists which rest on sandstone, supposed to belong to the Yakutat
system. The geological age of the uplift is, therefore, very recent.
The secondary topographic forms on the crest of the range have
resulted from the weathering of the upturned edges of orographic
blocks in which the bedding planes are crossed by joints. The
resulting forms are mainly pyramids and roof-like ridges with
triangular gables. Extreme ruggedness and angularity characterize the
range throughout. There are no rounded domes or smoothed and polished
surfaces to suggest that the higher summits have ever been subjected
to general glacial action; neither is there any evidence of marked
rock decay. Disintegration of all the higher peaks and crests is
rapid, owing principally to great changes of temperature and the
freezing of water in the interstices of the rock; but the débris
resulting from this action is rapidly carried away by avalanches and
glaciers, so that the crests as well as the subordinate features in
the sculpture of the cliffs and pyramids are all angular. The subdued
and rounded contour, due to the accumulation of the products of
disintegration and decay, the indications of the advancing age of
mountains, are nowhere to be seen. The St. Elias range is young;
probably the very youngest of the important mountain ranges on this
continent. No evidences of erosion previous to the formation of the
ice-sheets that now clothe it have been observed. Glaciers apparently
took immediate possession of the lines of depression as the mountain
range grew in height, and furnish a living example from which to
determine the part that ice streams play in mountain sculpture.




In order to make the records of the St. Elias expedition complete,
copies of the instructions under which the work was carried out are

  _Washington, D. C., May 28, 1890_.

Mr. I. C. RUSSELL, _Geologist_.

SIR: You are hereby detailed to visit the St. Elias range of Alaska
for work of exploration, under the joint auspices of the National
Geographic Society and the United States Geological Survey. The
Geological Survey furnishes instruments and contributes the sum of
$1,000 towards the expenses of the expedition. The money devoted to
this purpose is taken from the appropriation for the fiscal year
ending June 30, 1890, and the manner of its expenditure must conform
to that fact.

The Survey expects that you will give special attention to glaciers,
to their distribution, to the associated topographic types, to
indications of the former extent of glaciation, and to types of
subaërial sculpture under special conditions of erosion, and that you
will also bring back information with reference to the age of the
formations seen and the type of structure of the range.

With the aid of Mr. Kerr, it is expected that you will secure definite
geographic information as to the belt of country traversed by you.

  Very respectfully,
    G. K. GILBERT,
    _Chief Geologist_.

    J. W. POWELL, _Director_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Washington, D. C., May 28, 1890_.

Mr. I. C. RUSSELL, _Geologist_.

SIR: You will proceed at the earliest practicable date to Tacoma,
Washington Territory, and thence by water to Sitka, Alaska, at which
point you will make special arrangements to visit the St. Elias range
of mountains and make geological examinations as per instructions
otherwise communicated. Mr. Mark B. Kerr, Disbursing Agent, will
report to you at Victoria, B. C., and accompany you on the expedition,
assisting you in the capacities of Disbursing Agent and Topographer.
On the completion of {193} your work you will return to Washington,
the route being left to your discretion, to be determined by
considerations which cannot now be foreseen.

  Very respectfully,
    G. K. GILBERT,
    _Chief Geologist_.

    J. W. POWELL, _Director_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Washington, D. C., May 28, 1890_.

Mr. MARK B. KERR, _Disbursing Agent_.

SIR: You are hereby detailed to assist Mr. I. C. Russell, Geologist,
who starts at once on an expedition to Alaska, under the joint
auspices of the National Geographic Society and the United States
Geological Survey. It is expected that you will immediately aid him in
disbursement, and that you will act during the exploratory part of the
expedition as topographer. Your duties will, however, not be limited
to these special functions, but you will be expected to perform any
other duties he may assign to you, and to labor in every way for the
success of the expedition.

It is expected that you will be reappointed to the grade of
topographer on the United States Geological Survey on the 1st of July,
1890, and you will please take the required oath of office before your

The money remaining in your possession as Disbursing Agent includes
that needed to meet Mr. Russell's salary and your own, and also the
sum of $1,000, allotted from the funds of the Geographic Branch for
expenses of the expedition prior to June 30. This amount you will
expend as directed by Mr. Russell, and his authority and certificate
will need to accompany your vouchers in rendering account of the same.

  Very respectfully,
    G. K. GILBERT,
    _Chief Geologist_.

    J. W. POWELL, _Director_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Washington, D. C., May 28, 1890_.

Mr. MARK B. KERR, _Disbursing Agent_.

SIR: You will proceed at once to San Francisco, California, and thence
by steamer or by rail and steamer to Sitka, Alaska. It is expected
that you will join Mr. I. C. Russell, Geologist, at Victoria, B. C.,
or at Sitka; and you will report to him for further orders.

  Very respectfully,
    G. K. GILBERT,
    _Chief Geologist_.

    J. W. POWELL, _Director_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Washington, D. C., May 29, 1890_.

Mr. MARK B. KERR, _Topographer_.

SIR: You are hereby assigned to field-work in the vicinity of Mount
St. Elias, Alaska, in the party under charge of Mr. I. C. Russell.
Upon the receipt of these instructions you will please proceed without
delay to the field, and map upon a scale of four miles to an inch such
territory in the vicinity of Mount St. Elias, including that mountain,
as the field season will permit. The work should, if practicable, be
controlled by triangulation. Special attention in the course of your
work should be given to measuring the altitude of Mount St. Elias, and
it should be determined by triangulation and also, if practicable, by
barometer in such manner as to be conclusive.

The topographic work should be controlled by triangulation. As many
positions on this coast are approximately known, including a number of
the prominent peaks, astronomical determinations of position will not
be necessary unless needed to supplement the triangulation.

The details of your outfitting and the management of the work will be
left to your own judgment.

  Very respectfully,
    _Chief Topographer_.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Memorandum of Instructions to the Party sent out under the Direction
of Mr. I. C. Russell, assisted by Mr. Mark B. Kerr, to explore the
Mount St. Elias Region, Alaska, 1890_.

The general object of the expedition is to make a geographic
reconnoissance of as large an area as practicable in the St. Elias
range, Alaska, including a study of its glacial phenomena, the
preparation of a map of the region explored, and the measurement of
the height of Mount St. Elias and other neighboring mountains.
Observations should also be made and information collected on other
subjects of general scientific interest as far as practicable.

The purpose of these instructions is mainly to suggest the lines of
investigation that give promise of valuable results, but it is not
intended that they shall limit the director of the expedition in the
exercise of his own discretion.

  GARDINER G. HUBBARD, _Chairman_,

  _Washington, D. C., May 29, 1890_.





In addition to the ascent of Mount St. Elias, it was part of the
original plan of the expedition to make an accurate topographic map of
the region explored. It was not, however, for this purpose proposed to
divide the party or to deviate much from the most direct route to
Mount St. Elias from Yakutat bay. Triangulation of fair precision was
provided for. Details were to be filled in by approximate methods.

Field-work began June 20 by the careful measurement of a base-line,
3,850 feet in length, near the point of landing, on the northern shore
of Yakutat bay. Expansion was readily carried to the foot-hills, and
several horizontal angles were taken to an astronomical station of the
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey at Port Mulgrave. In the
region of these initial triangles, work was done from a central camp;
and topographic details were fixed with considerable precision by
intersection and vertical angles.

After the departure of the expedition from the Base Line camp, an
accident to the transit made resort to an inferior instrument
necessary, and, furthermore, as the region traversed proved to be
ill-adapted to, and the line of travel too direct for, the proper
development of a narrow belt of triangles, the anticipation of a
degree of precision in the triangulation which would give high value
to the determinations of position and altitude of the several peaks
was not realized; but topographic map work, showing the general
features, altitudes and location of the mountain ranges, valleys and
glaciers, was extended over about 600 square miles.

Within the approximate geometric control, stations were interpolated
by the three-point method, and minor locations were multiplied by
intersection and connected by sketch. The best meander possible under
the circumstances was carried forward on the line of travel by compass
directions and estimates of distance from time intervals. The work
ceased August 22 with the abandonment of the instruments in a
snow-storm of four days' duration on the eastern slope of Mount St.

The accompanying map (a reduction of which forms plate 8, page 75)
shows the ice-streams and peculiar mountain topography of a region
heretofore unvisited, and constitutes a considerable addition to the
geography of Alaska.





Among the specimens obtained by Mr. I. C. Russell during the course of
his explorations on and about Mount St. Elias is a bottle of sand
procured from the beach on the extreme southern end of Khantaak
island, Yakutat bay, and characteristic of the shore material over a
large area. This sand was turned over to me for examination, and
additional interest was given to its study by the fact that it is from
a comparatively uninvestigated region and possesses, perhaps, economic
value; for the sample is gold-bearing, and it is said that a "color"
can readily be obtained by "panning" at many points on the bay shore.

Macroscopically, the sand has the appearance of ordinary finely
comminuted beach material; but it differs in the uniformity of the
size of its particles from beach sand from Fort Monroe and Sullivan
island, South Carolina, with which it was compared. Its mineralogic
constituents greatly surpass in variety those of the sands referred
to, but are markedly similar to those of gold-bearing sand from New
Zealand. At least twelve minerals are present, with an unusual
predominance of one, as will be noted later. Through the mixture of
white, green, and black grains, a dull greenish-black color is given
to the mass. The roundness of fragments is such as usually results
from water action, but it is less than that which results from
transportation by wind.

When put into a heavy liquid (Thoulet solution of a density of 3.1) in
order to determine the specific gravity of the constituents, it was
found that the sand is made up largely of the heavier materials, for
the amount that floated was trifling compared with that which quickly
sank. Even the abundant quartz was largely carried down by the
weightier ingredients bound up within it, and only a few water-clear
fragments were left behind. This would seem to suggest that the
lighter minerals are lacking in the neighboring rocks, or else have
been carried to greater distances by the sorting power of the water.

Among the minerals recognized, gold is the most important, though
relatively not abundant. It occurs in flakes or flattened grains from
a quarter to a half of a millimeter in size. The particles are
sufficiently numerous to be readily selected from their associates by
the aid of "panning" and a hand lens of good magnifying power, and if
distributed throughout the beach as plentifully as in the sample
would, under favorable conditions, pay for working. The flakes in
their rounded character show the effect of the agency which separated
them from their matrix; a separation so complete that no rock is found
adhering to the grains.

{197} Magnetite is present in great abundance and in a finely divided
state, the largest grains not exceeding a millimeter in length. It
forms by weight alone 15 or 20 per cent. of the entire mass, and when
the latter is sifted through a sieve of a hundred meshes to the inch
it constitutes 44 per cent. of this fine material. Crystallographic
faces are rare, and though often marred, still octahedrons (111, 1) of
considerable perfection are found.

Garnet occurs in such profusion that a pink tint is given to a mass of
selected grains of uniform size, and its predominance may be
considered the chief physical characteristic of the sand.

Two species were noted: one is a brilliant wine-red variety, which,
though not nearly so numerous as its duller relative, occurs more
frequently in crystals--the trapezohedral faces (211, 2-2)
predominating. The other garnet is readily distinguished by its
lighter amethystine tint and its greater abundance. Crystallographic
faces are somewhat rare and invariably dodecahedral (110, i). In the
absence of chemical analyses, any statements as to the exact species
to which these garnets should be referred would be largely
conjectural. Attention is quickly drawn to the perfection of these
minute garnets in their crystallographic faces and outlines, and to
their association with rounded fragments of their own kind as well as
of other minerals. Have these crystals survived by reason of their
hardness or by favoring conditions, or does their preservation suggest
the impotency of wave-action in the destruction of minute bodies?

Among the black, heavy grains occur individuals which, except in shape
and non-magnetic character, resemble magnetite. On crushing between
glass slides, thin slivers are obtained which in transmitted light are
green, and which, from their cleavage, pleochroism, high index of
refraction, small extinction angle, and insolubility in acid, are
readily recognized as hornblende.

Two groups of grains were noted which are distinguishable by slight
variation in color. Both are clear-yellowish green, but one is
somewhat darker than the other. The optical properties of both
indicate pyroxene and possibly olivine. Fortunately a fragment was
obtained in the orthodiagonal zone nearly normal to an optic axis
which gave an axial figure of sufficient definiteness to indicate its
optically positive character. A number of grains were selected from
minerals of both colors and subjected to prolonged heating in
hydrochloric acid without decomposition, indicating that both minerals
are pyroxene.

A few zircons, a fraction of a millimeter in size but perfect in form,
were found associated with others rounded on their solid angles and
edges. The crystals are of the common short form and bear the usual
faces in a greater or less degree of development. Pyramids of the
first and second order alternate in magnitude; pinacoid encroaches
upon prism, and _vice versa_.

Quartz constitutes by far the largest proportion of the minerals, both
in bulk and in weight. It is always fragmental; sometimes water-clear,
but chiefly occurs in opaque grains of different colors. It is seldom
free from material of a higher specific gravity, and is often so
tinted as to be almost indistinguishable from magnetite, but readily
bleaches in acid.

{198} Feldspar is sparingly present, and includes both monoclinic and
triclinic forms, whose crystallographic boundaries are invariably

Treatment of the sand with dilute acid produces effervescence, which
is not due to incrustations of sodium carbonate. By persistent search
among particles separated in a heavy solution, a few grains were
discovered which, from their complete solubility with effervescence in
very dilute acid, as well as their optical properties, left no doubt
as to their being calcite.

The mica group has only one representative, biotite, and this occurs
most sparingly. Though much of the sand was examined, but few
fragments were found. Its foliated character renders it easily
transported by water and explains its absence from among the heavy

Shaly, slaty and schistose material forms the major part of the
coarser grains. Thin sections from the largest pieces plainly
indicated hornblende schist.

A region of glaciers would seem to be favorable not only to the
collection of meteoric material, but also to the destruction of the
country rocks, the setting free of their mineralogic constituents in a
comparatively fresh state, and their transportation to the sea. It was
hoped that this sand would yield some of the rarer varieties of
minerals, but tests for native iron, platinum, chromite, gneiss, and
the titaniferous minerals proved ineffectual. Titanium is present, but
in such small quantities that it could only be detected by means of
hydrogen peroxide. The use of acid supersulphate and the borotungstate
of calcium test of Lasaulx failed to reveal the presence of native

It will be seen from the foregoing enumeration that the sand is made
up of grains of gold, magnetite, garnet, hornblende, pyroxene, zircon,
quartz, feldspar, calcite and mica, associated with fragments of a
shaly, slaty and schistose character. While the information at hand is
hardly sufficient to warrant much speculation concerning the rock
masses of the interior, still there is no doubt that the sand is
derived from the destruction of metamorphic rocks.





  _Washington, D. C., March 12, 1891_.

Mr. I. C. RUSSELL, _United States Geological Survey_.

MY DEAR SIR: The following report upon the small collection of fossil
plants made by you at Pinnacle pass, near Mount St. Elias, Alaska, and
sent to this division for identification has been prepared by
Professor F. H. Knowlton, who gave the collection a careful study
during my absence in Florida. Previous to going away I had somewhat
hastily examined the specimens and seen that they consisted chiefly of
the genus _Salix_, some of them reminding me strongly of living
species. I have no doubt that Professor Knowlton's more thorough
comparisons can be relied upon with as much confidence as the nature
of the collection will permit, and I also agree with his conclusions.

"The collection consists of seven small hand specimens, upon which are
impressed no less than seventeen more or less completely preserved
dicotyledonous leaves.

"These specimens at first sight seem to represent six or eight
species, but after a careful study I think I am safe in reducing the
number to four, as several of the impressions have been nearly
obliterated by prolonged exposure and cannot be studied with much

"The four determinable species belong, without much doubt, to the
genus _Salix_. Number 1, of which there is but a single specimen, I
have identified with _Salix californica_, Lesquereux, from the
auriferous gravel deposits of the Sierra Nevada in California.[38] The
finer nervation of the specimens from the auriferous gravels is not
clearly shown in Lesquereux's figures, nor is it well preserved in the
Mount St. Elias specimens; but the size, outline, and primary
nervation are identical.

"Number 2, of which there are six or eight specimens, may be compared
with _Salix raeana_, Heer,[39] a species that was first described from
Greenland and was later detected by Lesquereux in a collection from
Cooks inlet, Alaska.[40] The Mount St. Elias specimens are not very
much like the original figures of Heer, but are very similar, in
outline at least, to this species as figured by Lesquereux.[41] They
are also very similar to {200} some forms of the living _S. rostrata_,
Richardson, with entire leaves. It is clearly a willow, but closer
identification must remain for more complete material.

"Number 3, represented by four or five specimens, is broadly
elliptical in outline, and is also clearly a _Salix_. It is unlike any
fossil form with which I am familiar, but is very similar to the
living _S. nigricans_, For., var. _rotundifolia_, and to certain forms
of _S. silesiaca_, Willd. The nervation is very distinctly preserved,
and has all the characters of a willow leaf.

"Number 4, represented by three or four very fine specimens, is a very
large leaf, measuring 13 cm. in length and 3½ cm. in width at the
broadest point. It may be compared with _Salix macrophylla_, Heer,[42]
but it cannot be this species. It is also like some of the living
forms of _S. nigra_, Marsh., from which it differs in having perfectly
entire margins.

"While it is manifestly impossible, on the basis of the above
identifications, to speak with confidence as to the age or formation
containing these leaves, it can hardly be older than the Miocene, and
from its strong resemblance to the present existing flora of Alaska it
is likely to be much younger." [F. H. Knowlton.]

  Very sincerely yours,

[Footnote 38: Mem. Mus. Comp. Zool., vol. VI, no. 2, 1878, p. 10, pl.
i, figs. 18-21.]

[Footnote 39: Flor. foss. Arct., vol. I, 1868, p. 102, pl. iv, figs.
11-13; pl. xlvii, fig. 11.]

[Footnote 40: Proc. Nat. Mus., vol. V, 1882, p. 447.]

[Footnote 41: loc. cit., pl. viii, fig. 6.]

[Footnote 42: Tert. Fl. Helv., vol. II, 1856, p. 29, pl. lxvii, fig.



Admiralty bay, 56

Agassiz glacier, Ascent of, 147
-- -- named, 73

Age of St. Elias range, 175

Alpenstocks, Necessity for, 165

Alpine glaciers, 176, 180

Alton, Edmund, Contributions to exploration fund by, 75

_Archangelica_, Mention of, 89, 114

_Atrevida_ (The), Mention of, 63

Arevida glacier, 92, 105

Auriferous sands, 196, 197, 198

Avalanches, 145, 155

Baie de Monti, 56
-- named by La Pérouse, 60

Baker, Marcus, Explorations by, 70, 72
-- reference to bibliography by, 58

Base Line, Measurement of, 86

Bear, Meeting with, 94, 109

Belcher, Sir Edward, Explorations by, 68, 69

Bell, A. Graham, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Bell, Charles J., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Bering bay, Mention of, 56

Bering, Vitus, Explorations by, 58

Bien, Morris, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Birnie, Jr., Rogers, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Black glacier, Brief account of, 101, 104

Blossom island, Description of, 113, 122

Boursin, Henry, Mention of, 79

Broka, George, Explorations by, 73, 74

Camp hands, 166

Carpenter, Z. T., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Carroll, Captain James, 78

Cascade glacier named, 144

Chaix hills named, 73

Chariot, The, Mention of, 140

Chatham, Mention of, 66

Cherikof, Alexei, Explorations of, 58

Christie, J. H., Member of expedition, 76
-- Work of, 82, 83, 84, 96, 103, 112, 113, 123, 162

Clover, Richardson, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Cook, Captain James, Explorations of, 58

_Corwin_ (The) in Disenchantment bay, 100
-- Return of, 163

Crevasses, 181, 182
-- at Pinnacle pass, 130

Cross sound, visited by Vancouver's expedition, 67

Crumback, J. H., Member of expedition, 76
-- Work of, 96, 103, 122, 125, 129, 131, 135, 137

Dagelet, M., Mention of, 60

Dall, W. H., Explorations by, 70, 72
-- reference to bibliography by, 58

Dalton, John, glacier named for, 98
-- mention of, 73

Definition of formations in St. Elias region, 167

Desengaño bay, named by Malaspina, 63

Digges' sound, named by Vancouver, 68

Diller, J. S., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Dip at Pinnacle pass, 140

_Discovery_ (The), Mention of, 66

Disenchantment bay, Canoe trip in, 96, 103
-- -- last view of, 163
-- -- mention of, 56
-- -- visited by Malaspina, 63, 64

Dixon, Captain George, Explorations of, 60, 62

De Monti bay, Arrival at, 79

_Descubierta_ (The), Mention of, 63

Devil's club (_Panax horridum_), Mention of, 95, 115

Dobbins, J. W., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Dome pass, named, 146

Doney, L. S., Member of expedition, 76
-- Work of, 85, 158, 159, 160, 162

Douglass, Captain, Explorations of, 62

Dry bay, Mention of, 55

Farenholt, Lieutenant Commander O. F., Commander of U. S. S. _Pinta_,

Faulted pebble from Pinnacle pass, 171

Faults, 83, 136
-- Thrust, in Hitchcock range, 118

Floral hills, brief account of, 105, 108
-- pass, brief account of, 105, 108, 110

Formations of the St. Elias region, 167

Fossils at Pinnacle pass, 140
-- description of Yakutat system, 172

Fossil plants, Report on, by Lester F. Ward, 199, 200

Gabbro on the Marvine glacier, 123

Galiano, Don Dionisio Alcala, Mention of, 63

Galiano glacier, Visit to, 89, 90

Gannett, Henry, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75
-- Instructions from, 194

Geology of the St. Elias region, 167, 190, 191, 174

Geological Survey, Instructions from, 192, 193, 194

Gilbert, G. K., Instructions from, 192, 193

Glacial currents, 187
-- river, best example of, 183
-- streams, 183, 184

Glacier bay, mention of, 67

Glaciers in Disenchantment bay in 1792, 64, 65, 97
-- -- -- -- observed by Malaspina, 64, 65
-- -- -- -- -- -- Puget, 67, 68
-- of the St. Elias region, 176
-- west of Icy bay, 187

Greely, A. W., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Guides, use of in ascending St. Elias, 166

Guyot glacier named, 73

Haenke, D. Tadeo, Haenke island named for, 65
-- island, Condition of, when seen by Malaspina, 63, 64, 65, 97
-- -- visit to, 96, 103

Hayden, Dr. F. V., glacier named for, 108

Hayden, Everett, Contributions to exploration fund by, 75

Hayden glacier, Brief account of, 108, 110, 111

Hays, J. W., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Height and position of St. Elias, 189, 190

Hendriksen, Reverend Carl J., mention of, 80, 83

Hitchcock, Professor Edward, range named for, 112
-- range, brief account of, 112
-- -- from Pinnacle pass, 133
-- -- structure of, 118

Hooper, Captain C. L., Navigation of Disenchantment bay, 56, 100

Hosmer, E. S., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75
-- return of, 83
--, volunteer assistant, 76

Hubbard, Gardiner G., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75
--, glacier named for, 99

Hubbard glacier, brief description of, 99

Icebergs, Formation of, 98, 99, 101, 102
-- in Yakutat bay, description of, 87

Ice tunnels, 184

Instructions from Geological Survey, 192, 193, 194
-- -- National Geographic Society, 194

Irving, Professor R. D., Mountain named for, 144

Johnson, Willard D., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75
-- exploration planned by, 75

Judd, J. G., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Jungen, Ensign C. W., Mention of, 81

Kerr, Mark B., assigned as an assistant, 75
-- report on topographic work, 193

Khantaak island, village on, 79, 80

King, Harry, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Knapp, Hon. Lyman E., Mention of, 79

Knight island, scenery near, 83
 -- -- named by Puget, 68

Knowlton, F. H., Report on fossil plants, 199, 200

_L'Astrolabe_, Mention of, 58

_La Boussole_, Mention of, 58

Lake Castani, Named, 73

Lakelets on the glaciers, 119, 120

Lakes, Abandoned beds of, near Blossom island, 116

La Pérouse, J. F. S., Explorations of, 58, 60

Leach, Boynton, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Libbey, Professor William, explorations by, 72, 73

Lindsley, W. L., Member of expedition, 76
-- Work of, 122, 131, 134, 135, 139, 144, 149, 150, 153, 157, 158, 164

Lituya bay, mention of, 55

Logan, Sir W. E., Mountain named for, 141

Lucia glacier, brief account of, 192
-- -- crossing of, 105, 106, 108, 109

Lynn canal, mention of, 78

Malaspina, Alejandro, Explorations of, 62, 66

Malaspina glacier, character of, 187
-- --, described and named, 71, 72
-- --, excursion on, 120, 121, 162
-- --, from Blossom island, 118, 119
-- --, mention of, 56

Maldonado, reference to, 62, 63

Marvine, A. R., Glacier named for, 112

Marvine glacier, Account of, 112, 122, 124

McCarteney, C. M., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Mirage in Yakutat bay, 87

Moraines, 195
-- medial, on the Marvine glacier, 123
-- on the Malaspina glacier, 134
-- near Yakutat bay, 191

Mount Augusta, avalanches on the sides of, 145
-- elevation of, 117

Mount Bering, Height and condition of, 65

Mount Cook, Appearance of, 92
-- named, 72
-- rocks composing, 92

Mount Fairweather, height of, 69

Mount Logan, named, 141

Mount Malaspina, Elevation of, 117
-- named, 72

Mount Newton, named, 146

Mount St. Elias (see St. Elias, Mount)

Mount Vancouver, named, 72

Muir glacier, Visit to, 78, 79

Mulgrave, Lord, Port Mulgrave named for, 60

National Geographic Society, Instructions from, 194

Névé fields, 180, 181, 182

Newton glacier, Ascent of, 150

Newton, Henry, Mountain named for, 146

New York _Times_, Expedition of, 72, 73

Nordhoff, Charles, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Norris glacier, Mention of, 78

Nunatak in the Lucia glacier, 106

Oil stoves, Use of, 164

_Orel_, Mention of the, 70

_Otkrytie_, Mention of the, 69

Outfit necessary for Alaskan expeditions, 165

_Panax horridum_, 95, 115

Partridge, William, Member of expedition, 76
-- Work of, 158, 159, 162

Piedmont glaciers, characteristics of, 122, 176, 185, 186
-- -- example of, 120, 121
-- type of glaciers, mention of, 57

Pimpluna rocks, mention of, 70, 187

Pinnacle pass cliffs, account of, 132, 137
-- -- --, height of, 137
-- -- --, view from, 132
-- --, description of, 130, 132
-- -- named, 130
-- system, description of rocks of, 167, 170
-- -- named, 131

_Pinta_, mention of the, 79, 81

Phipps, C. J., Port Mulgrave named for, 60

Plants on Blossom island, 114

Point Esperanza, Camp at, 82, 84, 85
-- Glorious, named, 137
-- Riou, Mention of, 69

Port Mulgrave, 56
-- -- named by Dixon, 60

Powell, J. W., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Powell, William B., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Puerto del Desengaño, Mention of, 56

Puget, Peter, Explorations of, 66, 68

Pyramid harbor, Mention of, 78

_Queen Charlotte_, Mention of the, 60
--, voyage on the, 78, 79

Rations, 164

Report on sands from Yakutat bay by J. Stanley-Brown, 196, 197, 198

Rivers, Glacial, 183

Rope cliff, named, 149

Route (new), suggested, 163, 164

Russell, Israel C., Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Salmon (and trout) fishing, 162

Sands, Auriferous from Yakutat bay, 196, 197, 198

Schwatka, Lieutenant Frederick, explorations by, 72, 73

Serpentine on the Marvine glacier, 123

Seton-Karr, H. W., explorations of, 72, 73

Seward glacier, crevasses on, 133, 179, 180
-- -- crossing of, 142
-- -- description of, 177, 178, 179

Seward, Hon. W. H., Glacier named for, 129

Sitka, arrival at, 79

Snow crests, figures of, 143
-- line, description of Alpine glaciers above, 180
-- -- -- -- -- -- below, 183

Snow line, elevation of, 92, 111
-- on mountain crests, 182

Soundings in Disenchantment bay, 56

Stamy, Thomas, Member of expedition, 76
-- Work of, 137, 139, 144, 150, 153, 157, 158, 160

Stanley-Brown, J., Report on sands from Yakutat bay, 196, 197, 198

St. Elias described by La Pérouse, 59, 60
--, discovery of, by Bering, 58
--, first full view of, 135
--, view of, 91, 92
--, height and position of, 189, 190
-- -- -- -- --, by Tebenkof, 69
-- -- -- of, determined by La Pérouse, 60
-- -- -- -- -- Malaspina, 64, 65, 66
-- range, age of, 175
-- --, character of peaks of, 175
-- region, glaciers of, 176
-- schist, description of rocks of, 167, 173
--, suggested new route to, 163, 164
-- uplift, 190

Stein, Robert, translations by, 59, 64, 65, 66

Strait of Annan, 56

Structure, 174

Swiss guides in Alaskan exploration, 166

_Sulphur_, Mention of the, 69

Taku glacier, Mention of, 78
-- inlet, Visit to, 78

Tebenkof, Captain, Notes on Alaska by, 69, 70

Terrace on northern shore of Yakutat bay, 82, 85
-- point, Brief account of, 106

Thompson, Gilbert, Contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Tide-water glaciers defined, 101

Topographic work, Report on, 195

Topham, Edwin, Explorations by, 73, 74

Topham, W. H., explorations by, 73, 74
-- reference to map by, 177

Triangulation, Commencement of, 86

Tunnels in the ice, 184

Tyndall glacier, Named, 73

Tyndall, J., cited on marginal crevasses, 127

United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, explorations of, 70, 72

Vancouver, Captain George, Explorations by, 66, 68

_Veratrum viride_, Mention of, 114

Ward, Lester F., Report on fossil plants, 199, 200

White, Thomas, Member of expedition, 76
--, Work of, 158, 160

Willis, Baily, contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Williams, C. A., contribution to exploration fund by, 75

Williams, William, explorations by, 73, 74

Yakutat bay, Arrival at, 79
-- --, Base camp on Western shore of, 86, 89
-- --, Shores of described, 57
-- --, Synonomy of, 56
-- Indians, described by Dixon, 61
-- system, Description of rocks of, 167
-- -- named, 131

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