Mount Saint Elias

Last updated
Mount Saint Elias
Yasʼéitʼaa Shaa
Mt Saint Elias.jpg
Mount St. Elias from Icy Bay, Alaska
Highest point
Elevation 18,008 ft (5,489 m) [1]
NAVD88
Prominence 11,250 ft (3,430 m) [1]
Parent peak Mount Logan
Isolation 25.6 mi (41.3 km) [1]
Listing
Coordinates 60°17′32″N140°55′53″W / 60.29222°N 140.93139°W / 60.29222; -140.93139 Coordinates: 60°17′32″N140°55′53″W / 60.29222°N 140.93139°W / 60.29222; -140.93139 [2]
Geography
Relief map of USA Alaska.png
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Mount Saint Elias
Location on Alaska/Yukon border
Location map Yukon 2.png
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Mount Saint Elias
Mount Saint Elias (Yukon)
Location Yakutat City and Borough, Alaska, U.S./Yukon, Canada
Parent range Saint Elias Mountains
Topo map USGS Mt. Saint Elias
Climbing
First ascent 1897 by Duke of the Abruzzi
Easiest route glacier/snow/ice climb
Tlingit ceremonial tunic given to Maynard Miller and members of the Harvard Mountaineering Club Mt. St. Elias expedition, 1946 Yas'eit'aa Shaa Tunic.jpg
Tlingit ceremonial tunic given to Maynard Miller and members of the Harvard Mountaineering Club Mt. St. Elias expedition, 1946
Mt. Saint Elias from Icy Bay Mt Saint Elias NOAA 2102.jpg
Mt. Saint Elias from Icy Bay

Mount Saint Elias (also designated Boundary Peak 186), [2] the second-highest mountain in both Canada and the United States, stands on the Yukon and Alaska border about 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Mount Logan, [3] the highest mountain in Canada. The Canadian side of Mount Saint Elias forms part of Kluane National Park and Reserve, while the U.S. side of the mountain is located within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Contents

Its name in Tlingit, Yasʼéitʼaa Shaa, means "mountain behind Icy Bay"; the Yakutat Tlingit occasionally call it Shaa Tlein "Big Mountain". It is one of the most important crests of the Kwaashkʼiḵwáan clan, who used it as a guide during their journey down the Copper River. [3] Mount Fairweather at the apex of the British Columbia and Alaska borders at the head of the Alaska Panhandle is known as Tsalx̱aan; legend states that this mountain and Yasʼéitʼaa Shaa (Mt. St. Elias) originally stood next to each other, but had an argument and separated. Their children, the mountains in between the two peaks, are called Tsalx̱aan Yátxʼi ("Children of Tsalxaan").

European explorers first sighted the mountain on July 16, 1741, with the arrival of the expedition commanded by Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer in service of Russia. While some historians contend that Bering named the mountain, others believe that eighteenth-century mapmakers named it after Cape Saint Elias when Bering left the peak unnamed. [2]

Mount Saint Elias is notable for its immense vertical relief. Its summit rises 18,008 feet (5,489 m) vertically in just 10 miles (16 km) horizontal distance from the head of Taan Fjord, off of Icy Bay.

In 2007 Gerald Salmina directed an Austrian documentary film, Mount St. Elias, about a team of skier/mountaineers determined to make "the planet's longest skiing descent" by ascending the mountain and then skiing nearly all 18,000 feet down to the Gulf of Alaska; the movie finished editing and underwent limited release in 2009. The climbers ended up summiting on the second attempt and skiing down to 13,000 ft (3,960 m). [4]

Climbing history

Mt. St. Elias was first climbed on July 31, 1897 by an Italian expedition led by famed explorer Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi, [5] [6] (who also reconnoitered the current standard route on K2 in 1909 [7] ) and included noted mountain photographer Vittorio Sella.

The second ascent was not until 1946, when a group from the Harvard Mountaineering Club including noted mountain historian Dee Molenaar climbed the Southwest Ridge route. The summit party comprised Molenaar, his brother Cornelius, Andrew and Betty Kauffman, Maynard Miller, William Latady, and Benjamin Ferris. William Putnam was a member of the expedition but did not make the summit. They used eleven camps, eight of which were on the approach from Icy Bay, and three of which were on the mountain. They were supported by multiple air drops of food. [8]

The first winter ascent was made on February 13, 1996 by David Briggs, Gardner Heaton and Joe Reichert. After being flown by pilots Steve Ranney and Gary Graham, in to 2,300 feet (700 m) on the Tyndal Glacier, they climbed the southwest ridge and followed the "Milk Bowl" variation in order to avoid 2,000 feet of loose rock on the normal route. The team had originally planned to begin their ascent from the ocean and cross the Tyndal Glacier but the terrain was in very poor condition. [9]

Mount Saint Elias is infrequently climbed today, despite its height, because it has no easy route to the summit and because of its prolonged periods of bad weather (mainly snow and low visibility).[ citation needed ]

Routes

See also

Related Research Articles

K2 2nd-highest mountain on Earth located in parts of the disputed Kashmir region administered by Pakistan and China

K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level, is the second-highest mountain on Earth, after Mount Everest. It lies in the Karakoram range, in part in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and in part in a China-administered territory of the Kashmir region included in the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang.

Mount Logan Highest mountain in Canada

Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest peak in North America after Denali. The mountain was named after Sir William Edmond Logan, a Canadian geologist and founder of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC). Mount Logan is located within Kluane National Park Reserve in southwestern Yukon, less than 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of the Yukon–Alaska border. Mount Logan is the source of the Hubbard and Logan glaciers. Logan is believed to have the largest base circumference of any non-volcanic mountain on Earth, including a massif with eleven peaks over 5,000 metres (16,400 ft).

Fred Beckey American rock climber and mountaineer

Friedrich Wolfgang Beckey, known as Fred Beckey, was an American rock climber, mountaineer and author, who made hundreds of first ascents, more than any other North American climber.

Denali Highest mountain in North America

Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 m) above sea level. With a topographic prominence of 20,194 feet (6,155 m) and a topographic isolation of 4,621.1 miles (7,436.9 km), Denali is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak on Earth, after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of the U.S. state of Alaska, Denali is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Mount Lucania

Mount Lucania is the third-highest mountain in Canada, and the second-highest mountain located entirely within the country. A long ridge connects Mount Lucania with Mount Steele, the fifth-highest in Canada. Lucania was named by the Duke of Abruzzi, as he stood on the summit of Mount Saint Elias on July 31, 1897, having just completed the first ascent. Seeing Lucania in the far distance, beyond Mount Logan, he immediately named it "after the ship on which the expedition had sailed from Liverpool to New York," the RMS Lucania.

Mount Fairweather

Mount Fairweather, is the highest mountain in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with an elevation of 4,671 metres (15,325 ft). It is located 20 km (12 mi) east of the Pacific Ocean on the border of Alaska, United States and western British Columbia, Canada. Most of the mountain lies within Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in the City and Borough of Yakutat, Alaska (USA), though the summit borders Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, British Columbia (Canada). It is also designated as Boundary Peak 164 or as US/Canada Boundary Point #164.

Mount Hubbard

Mount Hubbard is one of the major mountains of the Saint Elias Range. It is located on the Alaska/Yukon border; the Canadian side is within Kluane National Park and Reserve, and the American side is part of Wrangell–St. Elias National Park. The mountain was named in 1890 by U.S. Geological Survey geologist Israel Russell after Gardiner Greene Hubbard, first president of the National Geographic Society, which had co-sponsored Russell's expedition.

Mount Kennedy

Mount Kennedy is a peak in the Saint Elias Mountains within Kluane National Park, in Yukon, Canada. Its 4250-m to 4300-m (14000-foot) summit lies within 10 km of the Alaska Panhandle. Dusty Glacier lies against it to the north.

Mount Augusta

Mount Augusta, also designated Boundary Peak 183, is a high peak in the state of Alaska.

Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. was an American explorer, mountaineer, photographer, and cartographer. He established the Boston Museum of Science, served as its director from 1939–1980, and from 1985 until his death served as its Honorary Director. Bradford married Barbara Polk in 1940, they honeymooned in Alaska making the first ascent of Mount Bertha together.

Mount Bona

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 Alverstone

Mount Alverstone or Boundary Peak 180, is a high peak in the Saint Elias Mountains, on the border between Alaska and Yukon. It shares a large massif with the higher Mount Hubbard to the south and the slightly lower Mount Kennedy to the east. The summit of Mount Alverstone marks a sharp turn in the Alaska/Canada border; the border goes south from this point toward the Alaska panhandle and west toward Mount Saint Elias.

Mount Cook (Saint Elias Mountains)

Mount Cook is a high peak on the Yukon Territory-Alaska border, in the Saint Elias Mountains of North America. It is approximately 15 miles southwest of Mount Vancouver and 35 miles east-southeast of Mount Saint Elias. It forms one of the corners of the jagged border, which is defined to run in straight lines between the major peaks. The same border also separates Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

Mount Natazhat

Mount Natazhat is a high peak of the Saint Elias Mountains, of Alaska, United States, just west of the border with the Yukon Territory of Canada. It lies on the northern edge of the range, south of the White River and north of the Klutlan Glacier. Mount Natazhat is a little-noticed peak; however it is a very large peak in terms of rise above local terrain. It rises 9,000 feet (2,743 m) in less than 7 miles (11.3 km) above the lowlands to the north, and 7,500 feet (2,286 m) in about 4 miles (6.4 km) above the Klutlan Glacier to the south.

Devils Thumb

Devils Thumb, or Taalkhunaxhkʼu Shaa in Tlingit, is a mountain in the Stikine Icecap region of the Alaska–British Columbia border, near Petersburg. It is named for its projected thumb-like appearance. Its name in the Tlingit language means "the mountain that never flooded" and is said to have been a refuge for people during Aangalakhu. It is one of the peaks that marks the border, and is also listed on maps as Boundary Peak 71.

Louis Reichardt

Louis French Reichardt is a noted American mountaineer, the first American to summit both Everest and K2. He is also director of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, the largest non-federal supporter of scientific research into autism spectrum disorders and an emeritus professor of physiology and biochemistry/biophysics at UCSF, where he studies neuroscience. The character of Harold Jameson, U.C.S.F. biophysicist and mountaineer in the film K2 is based on Reichardt, though the events of his actual 1978 K2 attempt with Jim Wickwire bear little resemblance to the plot of the film.

Dee Molenaar was an American mountaineer, author and artist. He is best known as the author of The Challenge of Rainier, first published in 1971 and considered the definitive work on the climbing history of Mount Rainier.

The Abruzzi Ridge is a mountaineering route on Mount Saint Elias, ascending the north (Yukon) side of the mountain. It was first climbed by Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi in 1897, and named in his honor. Although listed in the influential guidebook Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, the route is rarely climbed today due to glacial changes and the danger of icefall avalanches from the northeast face.

Allen Steck is an American mountaineer and rock climber. He is a native of Oakland, California.

Mount Seattle

Mount Seattle is a 10,350-foot (3,150 m) peak in the Saint Elias Mountains of Alaska in the United States. It was named for the city of Seattle, home of the "camp hands" of a 19th-century National Geographic Society–United States Geological Survey scientific expedition to the Hubbard Glacier and Mount Saint Elias. It is called the "most prominent Alaskan coastal peak" and blocks sight of larger inland peaks, even Mount Logan nearly twice its height.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Mount Saint Elias, Alaska-Yukon". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "Mount Saint Elias". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 2007-10-31.
  3. 1 2 "Mount Saint Elias". Bivouac.com. Retrieved 2004-10-01.
  4. "Mount St. Elias – Official Movie Site". Archived from the original on 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  5. "Naming Alaska's Mountains". Feature Article. American Alpine Journal. American Alpine Club. 1959. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  6. "1897 Mount St. Elias". Virtual Museum Canada. Archived from the original on 2011-11-19.
  7. House, William P. (1939). "K2-1938". Feature Article. American Alpine Journal. American Alpine Club. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  8. Miller, Maynard Malcolm (1947). "Yahtsétesha". Feature Article. American Alpine Journal. American Alpine Club: 257–268. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  9. "Mount Saint Elias, First Winter Ascent". Climbs And Expeditions. American Alpine Journal. American Alpine Club. 1997. Retrieved 2016-12-09.

Works cited