|Elevation||16,390 ft (4996 m) |
|Prominence||11,640 ft (3548 m)|
|Isolation||60.7 mi (97.6 km)|
|Location||Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska, U.S.|
|Parent range||Wrangell Mountains|
|Topo map||USGS McCarthy C-7|
|Age of rock||3.4 to 5 million years|
|Mountain type||Shield volcano|
|Last eruption||3.4 million years ago|
|First ascent||1958 (true summit) Gilbert, Wahlstrom, Gmoser, Bitterlich, and Blumer|
|Easiest route||North Ridge: snow/glacier climb|
Mount Blackburn is the highest peak in the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska in the United States. It is the fifth-highest peakin the United States and the twelfth-highest peak in North America. The mountain is an old, eroded shield volcano, the second-highest volcano in the U.S. behind Mount Bona and the fifth-highest in North America. It was named in 1885 by Lt. Henry T. Allen of the U.S. Army after Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn, a U.S. senator from Kentucky. It is located in the heart of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the country.
The mountain's massif is covered almost entirely by icefields and glaciers and is the principal source of ice for the Kennicott Glacier, which flows southeast over 20 miles (32 km) to just above the town of McCarthy. The mountain also contributes a large volume of ice to the north-flowing Nabesna Glacier and the Kuskulana Glacier system.
Mount Blackburn is a large, dramatic peak, with great local relief and independence from higher peaks. Its west face drops over 11,000 ft (3,350 m) to the Kuskulana Glacier in less than 4 horizontal miles (6.4 km). Its other faces drop 8,000–10,000 ft (2,440–3,050 m), all in less than 8 miles (13 km). The toe of the Kuskulana Glacier, less than 12 miles (19 km) from the summit, lies at an elevation of 2,400 ft (730 m), giving a rise of 14,000 ft (4,270 m). While these figures speak to the peak's relief, one measure of its independence is that it is the 50th-most topographically prominent peak in the world.
The western of Blackburn's two summits is the mountain's highest point, a fact that was not understood until the 1960s when new USGS maps were published. The first ascent of the west peak, and hence Mount Blackburn, was done on May 30, 1958, by Bruce Gilbert, Dick Wahlstrom, Hans Gmoser, Adolf Bitterlich, and Leon Blumer via the North (also called the Northwest) Ridge. This team made the first ascent of Blackburn but did not even know it at the time due to the incorrect identification of the highest point. Blumer's article in the 1959 American Alpine Journal is titled "Mount Blackburn – Second Ascent."
Kennedy Peak, or East Blackburn, 16,286 ft (4,964 m), is the eastern summit and was originally thought to be the highest point. The first ascent of this summit was made in 1912 by Dora Keen and George Handy via the Kennicott Glacier (on the south side of the mountain) and East Face. This heady exploit was ahead of its time. Dora Keen, driven by a deep desire for the climb, solicited miners from the nearby Kennecott Copper Mines, and forged a route up the heavily crevassed East Face to the East Peak, but did not traverse over to the West Peak. Keen went on to write a famous article for the Saturday Evening Post titled, "First up Mount Blackburn." In 1912, Keen and Handy thought they were on Blackburn's highest point.
Mount Blackburn represents the heavily eroded core of a shield volcano. Because it is shrouded in permanent ice, its internal structure cannot be determined. It is believed to have a summit caldera, greatly modified by glaciation. The oldest rocks in the area are granites, about 4.2 million years old, representing an intrusive mass. The majority of the mountain is 3.4 million year old granite, intruding between andesite flows. From this it is inferred that a caldera collapse took place between 4.2 and 3.4 million years ago, after which activity ceased.
Today's standard route on the peak is the 1958 ascent route, the North (or Northwest) Ridge, which is approached from the Nabesna Glacier, on the north side of the mountain, opposite from Keen and Hardy's route. The route starts from an airstrip on the glacier at an altitude of 7,200 feet (2,200 m). It is a moderate climb by Alaskan standards (Alaska Grade 2).
The Wrangell Mountains are a high mountain range of eastern Alaska in the United States. Much of the range is included in Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park and Preserve. The Wrangell Mountains are almost entirely volcanic in origin, and they include the second and third highest volcanoes in the United States, Mount Blackburn and Mount Sanford. The range takes its name from Mount Wrangell, which is one of the largest andesite shield volcanoes in the world, and also the only presently active volcano in the range. The Wrangell Mountains comprise most of the Wrangell Volcanic Field, which also extends into the neighboring Saint Elias Mountains and the Yukon Territory in Canada.
Wrangell—St. Elias National Park and Preserve is an American national park and preserve managed by the National Park Service in south central Alaska. The park and preserve were established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The protected areas are included in an International Biosphere Reserve and are part of the Kluane/Wrangell–St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park and preserve form the largest area managed by the National Park Service with a total of 13,175,799 acres, an expanse that could encapsulate six Yellowstone National Parks. The park includes a large portion of the Saint Elias Mountains, which include most of the highest peaks in the United States and Canada, yet are within 10 miles (16 km) of tidewater, one of the highest reliefs in the world. Wrangell–St. Elias borders on Canada's Kluane National Park and Reserve to the east and approaches another American national park to the south, Glacier Bay. The chief distinction between park and preserve lands is that sport hunting is prohibited in the park and permitted in the preserve. In addition, 9,078,675 acres (3,674,009 ha) of the park and preserve are designated as the largest single wilderness in the United States.
The Wrangell Volcanic Field is a volcanic field stretching from eastern Alaska in the United States to the southwestern Yukon Territory in Canada. The field includes the four highest volcanoes in the United States, Mount Bona, Mount Blackburn, Mount Sanford, and Mount Churchill, all of which exceed 15,000 ft in elevation. It formed as a result of subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate at the easternmost end of the Aleutian Trench.
Mount Sanford is a shield volcano in the Wrangell Volcanic Field, in eastern Alaska near the Copper River. It is the sixth highest mountain in the United States and the third highest volcano behind Mount Bona and Mount Blackburn. The south face of the volcano, at the head of the Sanford Glacier, rises 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in 1 mile (1,600 m) resulting in one of the steepest gradients in North America.
Nabesna Glacier is a glacier in the U.S. state of Alaska. Fed by deep snowfall in the Wrangell Mountains, the 53 mile (85 km) long Nabesna is the longest valley glacier in North America and the world's longest interior valley glacier.
Mount Wrangell, in Ahtna K’ełt’aeni or K’ełedi when erupting, is a massive shield volcano located in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in southeastern Alaska, United States. The shield rises over 12,000 feet (3,700 m) above the Copper River to its southwest. Its volume is over 220 cubic miles (920 km3), making it more than twice as massive as Mount Shasta in California, the largest stratovolcano by volume in the Cascades. It is part of the Wrangell Volcanic Field, which extends for more than 250 kilometers (160 mi) across Southcentral Alaska into the Yukon Territory, and has an eruptive history spanning the time from Pleistocene to Holocene.
University Peak is a high peak in the Saint Elias Mountains of Alaska. It is one of the twenty highest peaks in Alaska, and one of the fifty highest peaks in the United States. It can be considered a southern outlier of the large massif of Mount Bona. However, it is a much steeper peak than Bona, and presents significant climbing challenges of its own.
Mount Bona is one of the major mountains of the Saint Elias Mountains in eastern Alaska, and is the fifth-highest independent peak in the United States. Mount Bona and its adjacent neighbor Mount Churchill are both large ice-covered stratovolcanoes. Bona has the distinction of being the highest volcano in the United States and the fourth-highest in North America, outranked only by the three highest Mexican volcanoes, Pico de Orizaba, Popocatépetl, and Iztaccíhuatl. Its summit is a small stratovolcano on top of a high platform of sedimentary rocks.
Mount Churchill is a volcano in the Saint Elias Mountains and the Wrangell Volcanic Field of eastern Alaska. Churchill and its higher neighbor Mount Bona about 2 mi (3 km) to the southwest are both large ice-covered stratovolcanoes, with Churchill being the fourth highest volcano in the United States and the seventh highest in North America.
Mount Drum is a stratovolcano in the Wrangell Mountains of east-central Alaska in the United States. It is located at the extreme western end of the Wrangells, 18 miles (29 km) west-southwest of Mount Sanford and the same distance west-northwest of Mount Wrangell. It lies just inside the western boundary of Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park and Preserve and is 25 miles (40 km) east of the Copper River.
Atna Peaks is an eroded stratovolcano or shield volcano in the Wrangell Mountains of eastern Alaska. It is located in Wrangell–Saint Elias National Park about 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Mount Blackburn, the second-highest volcano in the United States, and just south of the massive Nabesna Glacier. Because the mountain is almost entirely covered in glaciers, no geological studies have been done, but published references state and the geological map shows that the mountain is an old eroded volcanic edifice.
Regal Mountain is an eroded stratovolcano or shield volcano in the Wrangell Mountains of eastern Alaska. It is located in Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park about 19 mi (31 km) east of Mount Blackburn, the second highest volcano in the United States, and southeast of the massive Nabesna Glacier. Regal Mountain is the third highest thirteener in Alaska, ranking just behind its neighbor, Atna Peaks. Because the mountain is almost entirely covered in glaciers, no geological studies have been done, but published references state and the geological map shows that the mountain is an old eroded volcanic edifice.
Mount Jarvis is an eroded shield volcano in the Wrangell Mountains of eastern Alaska. It is located in Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park about 10 miles (16 km) east of the summit of Mount Wrangell. The mountain sits at the northeastern edge of the massive ice-covered shield of Wrangell, rising nearly 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above it in a spectacular series of cliffs and icefalls.
Lakina River is a tributary of the Chitina River in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is located in the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Castle Peak is a 10,190-foot mountain summit located in the Wrangell Mountains, in the U.S. state of Alaska. The peak is situated in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, 21 mi (34 km) northwest of McCarthy, and 9.3 mi (15 km) south of Mount Blackburn on the south margin of the Kuskulana Glacier valley. Precipitation runoff from the mountain drains into Kuskulana River and Lakina River which are both tributaries of the Chitina River. The peak's descriptive name was used by early prospectors as reported in 1901 by the US Geological Survey.
Donoho Peak is a 6,696-foot-elevation mountain summit located in the Wrangell Mountains, in the U.S. state of Alaska. The peak is situated in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, 6 mi (10 km) north-northwest of Kennecott, and 9 mi (14 km) north of McCarthy, at the confluence of the Kennicott Glacier and Root Glacier. The peak's name was reported in 1931 by the United States Geological Survey. The mountain lies within the Copper River drainage basin. Bears frequent the Donoho Peak and Donoho Lakes area. An ascent of the mountain involves 14 miles round-trip from Kennecott to the summit, including crossing the Root Glacier and gully scramble via the south aspect of the mountain. Ruins of the Regal Mine remain at an elevation of 5,440 feet on the south slope of the mountain. Only small amounts of copper ore were ever produced, however. On a clear day the summit of Donoho Peak offers views of Mount Blackburn to the northwest and the Stairway Icefall on Regal Mountain to the north-northeast.