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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 23-NAT. GEOG. MAG., VOL. III, 1891.
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.
SKETCH OF THE GEOLOGY OF THE ST. ELIAS
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
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 inhar
monious 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, north west 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 sliekensided, 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 charac