American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Freshfield and Lyell Glaciers

  • Notes
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1945

The Fresh field, and Lyell Glaciers were remeasured on July 27 and 31, 1944, by Mr. and Mrs. D. Measuroll, J. M. Thorington and E. Feuz, Jr., earlier reports on which will be found in A. A. J. i, 410; iii, 220 and C. A. J. xxv, 116; xx, 138.

The Freshfield Glacier has retreated 2100 ft. since 1922. In that time the great boulder on the ice has advanced 1723 ft., being now 1478 ft. from the terminus. The line of numbered stones set out in 1922 is entirely off the ice. The stream from Coronation Mtn. now cuts across the snout of the glacier and forms a large lake, the main river emerging from the extreme eastern angle.

The Lyell Glacier has retreated 2500 ft. from Lake Moraine Station, with the rocks of which it was connected by an ice bridge in 1926. The terminal ice is now directly below the grassy gully leading to the bivouac from which the ascents of Mt. Forbes were made in 1939. The tongue now ends in a lake 300 ft. long, containing large stranded icebergs. It is believed that this lake will be a permanent feature. A cairn was built close to the stream on the N. lateral moraine in the line of the terminal ice.

From the S.E. angle of this lake, Glacier River emerges and shortly enters a second lake, shallow and 1050 ft. in length, the middle of its S. side receiving the stream from Mons Glacier. The latter tongue has retreated far up into its canyon.

The tongues of both Freshfield and Lyell Glaciers, in addition to their retreat, show correspondingly great lateral contraction and subsidence. This disappearance of ice is making the approaches to peaks of the region more difficult and less attractive than was the case a quarter of a century earlier.

J. M. T.

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