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theatre lying between Mount St. Elias and Mount Newton. 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.
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 southwardflowing 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 longpointed 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.
UP THE AGASSIZ GLACIER.
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.
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
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 snow-blindness.
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.
21-NAT. GEOG. MAG., VOL. III, 1891.