Naming Alaska's Mountains
Naming Alaska’s Mountains
With Some Accounts of Their First Ascents
Francis P. Farquhar
The names of places, if properly investigated, provide a very good guide to the history of a region. This is particularly true in the case of Alaska where so many of the names are those of the explorers who first made the places known. The rivers, it is true, for the most part have names derived from the Indians and Eskimos, but the mountain names are predominantly personal. Of the thirty names chosen for this article, twenty are English or American personal names, including two first-names of women; four are European personal names; two are native (Alaska and Doonerak) ; and four are what might be called commemorative (Bona, Lucania, Fairweather, and St. Elias). Fourteen of the personal names (including the duplication of Brooks) are those of explorers connected with the region; eight are complimentary names. A quick study of the map seems to indicate that these proportions are likely to hold fairly well for all the mountains of Alaska. More than half the names in this list were given by three men—William H. Dall, U. S. Coast Survey, Lieut. Henry T. Allen, U. S. Army, and Alfred H. Brooks, U. S. Geological Survey—which is an indication of the source of a substantial portion of Alaskan place names. As Alaska is treated here as a geographical rather than a political area, mountains in Yukon Territory are included.
Many compendiums of place names turn out to be mere skeletons. Moreover, they are likely to contain some defective bones. To say that "Mount Crillon was named for the French Minister of Marine" is not only dull, but in this instance incorrect; the same is true of "Bering named Mount St. Elias because he saw it on the day of the saint." Turn to these names in the following pages and you will see what I mean. In tracing the names to their origins I have tried to give character and personality to the peaks. To attain this end one must go back as closely as possible to the very words of the donors. This not only adds many interesting details, but also serves to correct any errors that may have crept into the record, as shown in the instances just cited. No compiler of place-name lists is entitled to consider himself an authority ; the authority is the man who gave the name, and it is up to the compiler to find him, and when he has found him tie him down with a precise reference, date, page, and all. Even then errors will lurk undetected, but one can at least reduce the risk.
For the mountaineer, something more is desired than the name of a mountain only partly clad in the circumstances of its origin. He will ask, "What happened there? Has the peak been climbed? Who made the first ascent?" Fortunately, climbing in Alaska is of such recent origin that these questions are easily answered, especially now that the one big dispute on the biggest mountain of all has been settled beyond the possibility of revival. Through the climbing references we see the events come to life, and we have each mountain standing forth as an individual with all its appurtenances. Such is the object of these brief essays. Circumstances permit only a selection here. There are many more mountains in Alaska whose portraits might be drawn. Perhaps another instalment some time. For the present—30.
ALASKA RANGE (ALASKAN RANGE)
"The Coast or St. Elias Range contains the highest peaks and most of the volcanoes. It extends along the whole northwest coast from California to the peninsula of Aliáska. … [It] merges with the ranges which join it from the north and east, forming the Alaskan Range." (William H. Dall: Alaska and its Resources, 1870, p. 286.) "The loftiest and most rugged mountains are those constituting the Sushitna-Tanana divide; they include the highest peak on the North American Continent—Mount McKinley … and may be called the Alaskan Mountains." (Eldridge and Muldrow: Report of the Sushitna Expedition, U.S.G.S., 1899, p. 15.) "The Alaska Range is a rugged mountain mass which sweeps as a great crescent around the Susitna and Copper basins, constituting for the most part the watershed between the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. … This name was first applied by W. H. Dall to that part of the range which lies between the Susitna and Kuskokwim basins." (Alfred H. Brooks: The Mount McKinley Region, Alaska, 1911.)
"Four great mountain masses dominate the range: these are the Mount Spurr-Mount Gerdine group in the extreme southwest, culminating in Mount Gerdine (12,600 feet) ; the Mount McKinley group at the great bend in the range, culminating in Mount McKinley and Mount Foraker (17,280 feet) ; the Mount Hayes group near longitude 147° West, culminating in Mount Hayes (13,470 feet) and Mount Deborah (12,540 feet) ; and the mountains around Mount Kimball (9680 feet) at longitude 145° West." (Landscapes of Alaska, edited by Howel Williams, University of California Press, 1958, p. 49, map.)
AUGUSTA, MOUNT (14,070)* St. Elias Range
"Named for Mrs. I. C. Russell.” (Footnote in "Table of Elevations within the Pacific Slope,” compiled for the Sierra Club by Mark B. Kerr, Publications of the Sierra Club, No. 8, Jan. 1895, p. 19.) Kerr was with Russell on Mount St. Elias, and should know. Russell married J. Augusta Olmstead, Nov. 27, 1886. (Thorington: "American Alpine Club Annals, Part I,” A.A.J., 1946, 6:1, p. 119.)
First ascent: July 4, 1952, by Peter K. Schoening, Victor Josendal, Richard E. McGowan, Bill Niendorff, Bob Yeasting, Gibson Reynolds, Tom Morris, Yerl Rogers. (Schoening: "King Peak—Yukon Expedition, 1952,” A.A.J., 1953, 8:3, p. 416; Bob Yeasting and Bill Niendorff: "King Peak— Yukon Expedition 1952,” Mountaineer, Dec. 15, 1952, 46:13, p. 41.)
BLACKBURN, MOUNT (16,140) Wrangell Mountains
"The most southerly of the prominent peaks .… has been called by me Mount Blackburn, in honor of Hon. J. C. S. Blackburn, of Kentucky.” (Henry T. Allen: Report of an Expedition to the Copper, Tanana, and Koyukuk Rivers … in the Year 1885, p. 59.) It remains for some loyal Kentuckian to expatiate upon the character and achievements of the late Joseph Clay Styles Blackburn.
First ascent: "The semi-weekly Colonist of Victoria, B. C., of May 28, 1912, announces the ascent of this peak by Miss Dora Keen of Philadelphia on May 19. Miss Keen attempted to climb Mount Blackburn last August, but was obliged to turn back after she had discovered what she thought to be a feasible route. This route was followed successfully by the present expedition.” (A.J., August 1912, 26, p. 353.) Miss Keen was accompanied by George W. Handy, whom she married in 1916. (Biographical notices in A.A.J., 1946, 6:3, p. 363, and in the present number.) ("First up Mount Blackburn,” by Dora Keen, Worlds Work, Nov. 1913.)
BONA, MOUNT (16,420) Wrangell Mountains
"Finally, to the northwest, some two hundred miles off, a conical peak soared up … apparently of even greater height than the other two [Lucania and Bear]. This was christened the Bona, after a racing yacht then belonging to H.R.H.” (Filippo de Filippi: The Ascent of Mount St. Elias (Alaska) by H.R.H. Prince Luigi Amadeo Di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi, 1900, p. 160.)
First ascent: July 2, 1930, by Allen Carpé, Andrew Taylor, Terris Moore. (Carpé: "The Ascent of Mount Bona, Alaska," A.J., May 1931, 43, p. 73; "The Ascent of Mount Bona," A.A.J., 1931, 1:3, p. 245.)
"The chain of mountains in northern Alaska forming the watershed between the Yukon Basin on the south and the Arctic Coast on the north, extending from Kotzebue Sound eastward to the international boundary, and embracing subordinate groups and ridges such as De Long Mountains, Baird Mountains, Endicott Mountains, part of the British Mountains, and others. So named in honor of the late Alfred Hulse Brooks (1871- 1924), chief Alaskan geologist, United States Geological Survey, from July, 1903, to his death, November 22, 1924, and previously, 1898-1903, as geologist, engaged in Alaskan explorations.” (Sixth Report of the U. S. Geographic Board, 1933, p. 166.)
Alfred Hulse Brooks, born at Ann Arbor, Mich., 1871; studied under Shaler at Harvard, B.S. 1894; Alaska career began in 1898, under W. J. Peters; in McKinley region, 1902; wrote a number of bulletins on mineral resources for U.S.G.S., and several Professional Papers, including No. 45, The Geography and Geology of Alaska, 1906, and No. 70, The Mount McKinley Region, Alaska, 1911. In World War I he was Chief Geologist for the A.E.F., with rank of Major; and with the Peace Commission as Lieut. Colonel. Hon. D.Sc., Colgate, 1920.
"It consists of many individual mountain groups. The Romanzof and the Davidson Mountains rise at the east end of the range; the Franklin, the Shublik, and the Sadlerochit Mountains lie in the Canning River drainage system; the newly named Philip Smith Mountains (named for Philip S. Smith, successor to Brooks as chief of the Alaskan Branch of the U. S. Geological Survey) are at the head of the Canning and Sagavanirtok rivers ; the Endicott Mountains are in the central part of the range, and the De- Long, Baird, and Schwatka Mountains form the west end. … The Brooks Range, like all other Alaskan ranges, forms a huge arc. The DeLong Mountains, at the west end, swing southwest, and the Romanzof and the Davidson Mountains, at the opposite end, merge with the British and the Richardson Mountains which swing sharply south into the Rocky Mountains of Canada. … The highest peaks in the range are to be found in the Canning River region. These are Mount Chamberlin in the Franklin Mountains and Mount Michelson in the adjoining Romanzof Mountains, both of which rise a little more than 9000 feet high. The peaks generally become lower westward to 6000 and 7000 feet in the Endicott Mountains,
although Mount Doonerak is about 8800 feet high. Still farther west, in the DeLong Mountains, the summits are more subdued, ranging in height between 3000 and 4000 feet." (Landscapes of Alaska, edited by Howel Williams, University of California Press, 1958, p. 111, map.) See, also: A.A.J., 1942, 4:3, p. 490.
BROOKS, MOUNT (11,940) Alaska Range
Named for Alfred Hulse Brooks (See: Brooks Range). Although not a member of A.A.C., Brooks generously contributed to the Club’s Alpina Americana the fine monograph, "Mountain Exploration in Alaska," No. 3 of the series, issued in 1914.
First ascent: Thayer Scudder, Winslow Briggs, John S. Humphreys, David Bernays, July 5, 1952. "The ascent … offered few problems. It remains a constant source of amazement to me that this beautiful peak, so prominent to all who reach McGonagall Pass, had remained unclimbed for so long." (Scudder: "Harvard 1952 Brooks-Mather Expedition,"
A. A.J., 1953, 8:3, p. 424; also, Humphreys: "H.M.C. Brooks-Mather expedition," Harvard Mountaineering, May 1953, No. 11, p. 15).
COOK, MOUNT (13,760) St. Elias Range
"Mount Cook and Mount Vancouver are two high peaks of the St. Elias Range … and by authority of the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, as they have been hitherto without distinct appelations, are now named in honor of those distinguished navigators." (W. H. Dall, in U. S. Coast Survey Report for 1873, p. 159.) The great English navigator Captain James Cook is too well known to require biographical comment here. The accounts of his voyages, in many editions, are enumerated in Sir Maurice Holmes’s Captain James Cook, R.N., F.R.S.: A Bibliographical Excursion, London, 1952. (See, also: Fairweather, Mount.)
First ascent: Aug. 1, 1953, by Richard E. McGowan, Timothy Kelley, Franz Mohling, Thomas Miller, all members of The Seattle Mountaineers. (McGowan: "Mount Logan—Cook Expedition," A.A.J., 1954, 9:1, p. 32; Mohling: "Mount Logan—Cook Expedition, 1953," Mountaineer, Dec. 15, 1953, 46:13, p. 29.)
CRILLON, MOUNT (12,728) Fairweather Range
"C’est à Cross-Sound que se terminent les hautes montagnes couverte de neige … le mont Beau-temps me restait alors au Nord 50d Ouest, et le mont Crillon au Nord 45d Ouest. Cette montagne, presque aussi élevée que le mont Beau-temps, est au Nord de Cross-Sound, comme le mont Beautemps est au Nord de la baie des Français; … le mont Beau-temps paraît accompagné de deux montagnes élevées, et le mont Crillon, plus isolé, a sa pointe inclinée vers le Sud." (Voyage de La Pérouse autour du Monde, Paris, 1797, II, p. 219.) The first published English translation is also given, as these are the only references to Mount Crillon in La Pérouse: "The high mountains covered with snow … terminate here … Mount Fairweather, north 5° west; and Mount Crillon, north 45° west. This mountain, almost as lofty as Mount Fairweather, is to the north of Cross Sound, as Mount Fairweather is to the north of Port des Français. … Mount Fairweather appears from every point of view accompanied with two less lofty mountains, while Mount Crillon is more isolated, and its point inclines toward the south." (A Voyage Round the World, … Under the Command of J. F. G. de la Pérouse, London, 1799, I, pp. 415-16.) Charts in the French atlas show "Mt. Beautems" (note difference in spelling) ; in the English atlas, "Mt. Fairweather."
There is no explanation in the original narratives of why or for whom Mount Crillon was named. In 1874 William H. Dall, assisted by Marcus Baker, conducted a survey along the Alaska coast. Dall says that La Pérouse saw "another high mountain, which he named Mount Crillon, after the French minister of marine." (Report of the Superintendent, U. S. Coast Survey, for 1875, p. 159; emphasis here supplied.) This statement was repeated by Marcus Baker in his Geographic Dictionary of Alaska (U.S.G.S. Bulletin 187, 1901; 2nd edition, Bulletin 299, 1906), and copied by others since. Crillon is a famous name in French history, but a diligent search fails to disclose any member of that family who was a minister of marine. However, turning back to the narrative of the voyage, one discovers the following: "M. le maréchal De Castries, ministre de la marine, qui m’avait désigné au roi pour ce commandement …" (Paris, II, p. 9) : "The marshal de Castries, minister of the marine, who had obligingly recommended me to the king for this command …" (London, I, p. 263). There is little doubt that Dall and Baker confused de Castries with Crillon; a bay west of Japan was later named for de Castries (Paris, III, p. 56; London, II, p. 38), which may account for the confusion. Who, then, was Crillon? It would hardly be other than the great General Louis des Balbes de Berton de Crillon (1543-1615), who distinguished himself at Lepanto and fought for Henri III and Henri IV.
The protagonist of the climbing history of Mount Crillon is H. Bradford Washburn, Jr. His first attempt, in 1932, was frustrated by bad weather (A.A.J., 1933, 2:1, p. 131; Harald Paumgarten, in A.J., May 1933, 45, p. 135.) The following year Washburn, with Robert H. Bates, Charles S.
Houston, Walter C. Everett, H. Adams Carter, and William S. Child, tried again. Violent wind and snow halted them at 11,500 feet on July 28. Next day Washburn, Bates, and Everett reached 12,390 feet, but were again turned back ; the same day Child, Houston, and Carter made the first ascent of Mount Dagelet (q.v.). (Washburn: "The Attack on Crillon," Appalachia, June 1933, 20:4, p. 1; Child: "Crillon 1933," A.A.J., 1934, 2:2, p. 148). Finally, July 19, 1934, Washburn and Carter attained the summit for a first ascent and, with Waldo Holcombe, returned two days later for a second ascent. (Washburn: "The Conquest of Mount Crillon," National Geographic Magazine, March 1935).
DAGELET, MOUNT (9550) Fairweather Range
Named for Professor Lepaute Dagalet, of the Academy of Sciences, astronomer, who was with La Pérouse when he visited Lituya Bay (Port des Français), July 1786. "Messrs de Langle, de Monti, and Dagalet, with several other officers, attempted to ascend the glacier. With unspeakable fatigue they advanced two leagues, being obliged at extreme risk to leap over clefts of great depth (des crevasses d’une très-grande profondeur) : but they could only perceive one continued mass of ice and snow, of which the summit of Mount Fairweather must have been the termination." (A Voyage Round the World, … Under the Command of J. F. G. de la Pérouse, London, 1799,I, p. 374; Paris, 1797, II, p. 159.)
First ascent: William S. Child, Charles S. Houston, H. Adams Carter, July 29, 1933. (Child: "Crillon 1933,” A.A.J., 1934, 2:2, p. 154.)
DALL, MOUNT (9000) Alaska Range
"Named by the writer after W. H. Dall." (Alfred H. Brooks: The Mount McKinley Region, Alaska, 1911, p. 46; shown on map, 1910.) William Healey Dall, born at Boston, Mass., Aug. 21, 1845; studied natural sciences under Prof. Louis Agassiz at Harvard; to Alaska with Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865, and succeeded Robert Kenni- cott as leader on the latter’s death. Wrote Alaska and its Resources, 1870, (another edition, 1897) ; joined U. S. Coast Survey; Took over from Professor Davidson the preparation of a new and expanded edition of Pacific Coast Pilot, Alaska, Part I, 1883, assisted by Marcus Baker. Palaeontologist on U.S.G.S., 1884-1898; in later years attached to National Museum. Died March 27, 1927. Memorial in The Nautilus (a journal for conch- ologists), July 1927, 41:1, p. 1. Bibliography of his writings in Wicker- sham’s Bibliography of Alaskan Literature, 1927, items 1829-1929.
DEBORAH, MOUNT (12,540) Alaska Range
"Mount Deborah was named about 1907 by James Wickersham for his wife and was made a formal decision by the Board in 1917." (Letter from Board on Geographic Names, Feb. 17, 1959.) Deborah S. Bell, of Rochester, Illinois, married Judge Wickersham in 1880. She died in 1926. He was Territorial Delegate to Congress from Alaska, 1909-1921, 1931-33.
First ascent: June 19, 1954, by Fred Beckey, Heinrich Harrer, Henry Meybohm. "It was our unanimous conclusion that Deborah was the most sensational ice climb anyone of us had ever undertaken." (Fred Beckey: "Mount Deborah and Mount Hunter: First Ascents," A.A.J., 1955, 9:2, p. 43.)
DOONERAK, MOUNT (8800) Brooks Range
"The Kobuk Eskimos had no gods, but thousands of devils or spirits or Dooneraks, as they called them. These Dooneraks might be beneficent, but generally they seemed to delight in making trouble. Their jealousies and their desire to prove their strength caused no end of bother to mankind and especially to the medicine men who controlled them." (Robert Marshall: Arctic Village, 1933, p. 340.) "I discovered Mount Doonerak, made the first map of it, and named it when I was in the Arctic back in 1929-31, so I wanted to complete the job and also make the first ascent." (Robert Marshall: Doonerak or Bust, 1938.) As in many pioneering efforts, Marshall was defeated by the approaches before getting to the main peak itself, but was able to view it at close quarters from the neighboring North Doonerak. (Robert Marshall: North Doonerak, Amawk and Apoon, 1939.) Marshall believed that his mountain was the highest peak north of the Arctic Circle, but measurements subsequent to his death in 1939 showed it to be lower than he supposed and that others were higher. "Mount Doonerak was shown with an elevation of 10,100 feet on government maps as late as 1945. Soon thereafter, the U. S. Geological Survey reestimated its height as 8800 feet.” (Note in Arctic Wilderness, by Robert Marshall, edited by his brother, George Marshall, 1956, in which Bob’s accounts of his Arctic explorations are gathered into one volume.) Henry S. Hall, Jr., says that when he visited this region in 1941 he felt sure that the peak was not more than 7500 feet high. After some correspondence with the late Philip S. Smith, of the U.S.G.S., it was agreed to split the difference and call it 8800 feet until an accurate survey could be made.
The first ascent was ultimately made June 30, 1952, by George W. Beadle, Gunnar Bergman, and Alfred Tissieres. ("Up Doonerak—An Arctic Adventure," by G. W. Beadle, in The Living Wilderness, Winter 1952-53, 17, p. 7; "Up Doonerak—Climbing Bob Marshall’s Mountain," by G. W. Beadle, in The Land, Winter 1953-54, 12, p. 413; Arctic Wilderness, p. 153.)
DRUM, MOUNT (12,000) Wrangell Mountains
"The next is Mount Drum … called in honor of the Adjutant-General of the Army." (Henry T. Allen: Report of an Expedition … in 1885, p. 59, with profile sketch.) Richard Coulter Drum, of Pennsylvania, served in the Mexican War and the Civil War, cited for gallant and meritorious services at Chapultapec; brigadier general and adjutant general, 1880; retired 1889. (Heitman’s Register.)
First ascent: June 4, 1954, by Heinrich Harrer, Keith Hart, George Schaller. "On the whole, the climb was easy. The three former parties which had attempted the mountain had not chosen the right route and were hindered by bad weather." (Heinrich Harrer: note in A.A.J., 1955, 9:2, p. 160.)
FAIRWEATHER, MOUNT (15,318) Fairweather Range
April 27, 1778—"The wind was at South East, blew very hard, and in squalls, with thick hazy weather. At half past one in the afternoon, it blew a perfect hurricane. … But at eleven o’clock, the gale again increased, … till five o’clock the next morning, when the storm began to abate.” April 28—"The weather now began to clear up; and, being able to see several leagues round us, I steered more to the Northward … with a fresh gale at South South East, and fair weather." May 3—"… the most advanced point of the land, to the North West, lying under a very high peaked mountain, which obtained the name of Mount Fair Weather … the point under the peaked mountain, which was called Cape Fair Weather." May 4—"Mount Fair Weather, the peaked mountain over the cape of the same name … is the highest of a chain, or rather a ridge, of mountains, that rise at the North West entrance of Cross Sound, and extend to the North West, in a parallel direction with the coast. These mountains were wholly covered with snow, from the highest summit down to the sea-coast; some few places excepted, where we could perceive trees rising, as it were, out of the sea; and which, therefore, we supposed, grew on land, or on islands bordering upon the shores of the continent." (A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean … for making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere, Performed under the Direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Discovery … (Third Voyage), Volume II, written by Captain James Cook, London, 1784 (2nd edition, 1785), pp. 342-346.)
A famous visit to the Fairweather region was that of La Pérouse, in 1786, mentioned elsewhere in connection with Mount Crillon and Mount Dagelet, on which occasion Lituya Bay (Port des Français) was explored. (Voyage de La Pérouse, Paris 1797; London, 1799.) In the atlases accompanying these volumes are fine views of the Fairweather Range. (Reproduced, from the French edition, in A.A.J., 1929, 1:1.) It will be noticed that the name is given as Beau-temps, Beautems, or Beautemps in French texts; in other texts and maps: Gutwetterberg, Schönwetter Berg, Buen tiempo. The U. S. Coast Survey, under Wm. H. Dall (see: Dall and Crillon) made charts and detailed directions here in 1874 and Dall made a fine sketch of the mountain. (Report for 1875.) John Muir’s description, written when he visited Glacier Bay in 1890 has an enduring place in the literature of the mountain: "I also had glorious views of the Fairweather Range, La Perouse, Crillon, Lituya, and Fairweather. Mount Fairweather is the most beautiful of all the giants that stand guard about Glacier Bay. When the sun is shining on it from the east or south its magnificent glaciers and colors are brought out in most telling display. In the late afternoon its features become less distinct. The atmosphere seems pale and hazy, though around to the north and northeastward of Fairweather innumerable white peaks are displayed, the highest fountain- heads of the Muir Glacier crowded together in bewildering array, most exciting and inviting to the mountaineer." (John Muir: Travels in Alaska, 1915, p. 291.)
The climbing history of Fairweather begins in 1926 when a reconnaissance was made by two separate parties, one from the west, one from the east. (W. S. Ladd: "The Fairweather Mountains," A.A.J., 1929, 1:1, p. 23; Allen Carpé: "An Attempt on Mount Fairweather," Appalachia, Dec. 1926, 16:4, p. 442; W. Osgood Field: "The Fairweather Range: Mountaineering and Glacier Studies," Appalachia, 1926, 16:4, p. 460, map.) Another reconnaissance, that led eventually to greater things, is described in Bradford Washburn’s Bradford on Mount Fairweather, 1930. In 1932 came the first ascent: Dr. William Sargent Ladd, Allen Carpé, Terris Moore, and Andrew Taylor established a camp at about 9000 feet, but an attempt to reach the summit was frustrated by weather and Dr. Ladd and Andy Taylor went down to a lower camp. Carpé and Moore rode out a storm and on June 8, in clear weather, stood on the top. (Carpé: "The Conquest of Mount Fairweather," A.J., Nov. 1931, 43, p. 221; "The Climb of Mount Fairweather," Mountaineer, Dec. 1931, 24:1, p. 7; Ladd: "The Fairweather Climb," A.A.J., 1932, 1:4, p. 429).
FORAKER, MOUNT (17,395) Alaska Range
Named by Lieut. Joseph S. Herron, U. S. A., in 1899, for Senator Joseph
A. Foraker, of Ohio. (Herron: "Explorations in Alaska, 1899," Adjutant General’s Office, Publication 31, 1901.) Joseph Benson Foraker (1846- 1917), elected Governor of Ohio, 1886 but defeated 1889; elected U. S. Senator from Ohio, 1896, re-elected 1902; exposed by the Hearst papers for accepting fees and loans from Standard Oil Co., and driven from public life; attempted a come-back for the Senate, 1914, but was defeated by Warren G. Harding. Not a very happy connotation for so great a mountain.
First ascent: North Peak, Aug. 6, South Peak, Aug. 10, 1934, by Charles S. Houston, T. Graham Brown, Chychele Waterston; support party: Oscar R. Houston, Charles Storey, Carl Anderson. "On the sixth, the weather, though doubtful, proved good enough for us to climb the North Peak, returning at 8:00 p.m. in a blizzard which lasted intermittently until the ninth. … We dug out on the tenth and climbed the longer and more difficult, though nearer, South Peak." (C. S. Houston: "The Climb of Foraker," Mountaineer, Dec. 1934, 27, pp. 17-18.) "We decided that the North Peak was the true summit." (Charles S. Houston: "Denali’s Wife,"
A. A.J., 1935, 2:3, p. 285.) "Mount Foraker is a formidable mountain, and the route followed looked to be the only practicable one. Its average standard is at least as high as that of a first-class Alpine peak, and some of the passages were difficult, while much of the exposure was very great." (T. Graham Brown: note in A.J., Nov. 1934, 46, p. 401.)
GOODE, MOUNT (10,610) Chugach Mountains
"After R. U. Goode, geographer, United States Geological Survey, in charge of the Pacific division, topographic branch, at the time the first work in Alaska was executed." (Sixth Report of the U. S. Geographic Board, 1933, p. 329.) Richard Urquhart Goode, born in Virginia, Dec. 8, 1858; attended University of Virginia; after a year with the Army Engineers entered the U.S.G.S. as a topographer; on Northern Transcontinental Survey, 1882-84; astronomer with Panama Canal Co.; from 1889 Geographer, U.S.G.S.; died 1903. Contributed a topographic map and description to A. H. Brooks’ "The Geography and Geology of Alaska," U.S.G.S. Prof. Paper 45, 1906. Also named for him is a peak in the Sierra Nevada, California, and one in the Cascades, Washington. In the latter case there is a local tendency to call the peak "Mount Goody"; perhaps the following will help to overcome it:
A surveyor named Richard U. Goode Left bench marks wherever he stood.
The old English word goode ’Tis true rhymes with Buddha,
But in this case Mount Goode rhymes with Hood.
HAYES, MOUNT (13,700) Alaska Range
Named for Dr. Charles Willard Hayes, of the U.S.G.S. (U.S.G.S., 20th Annual Report, 1898-99, Pt. VII, p. 436.) Hayes was born in Ohio, Oct. 8, 1858; grad., Oberlin College, 1883; D.Sc., Johns Hopkins, 1887; LL.D. (hon.), Oberlin, 1908; d., Feb. 8, 1916. With U.S.G.S. from 1887; to Alaska with Lieut. Schwatka, 1891 (Wrote: "An Expedition through the Yukon District," National Geographic Magazine, May 15, 1892) ; became an economic geologist, specializing in petroleum; resigned from U.S.G.S., 1911. "It is difficult to name any other American geologist who made so conspicuous a success in so many strongly contrasting fields of activity. … He was beloved by the men who knew him best. He inspired their confidence, enthusiasm, and admiration.” (Alfred H. Brooks, in Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 1917, 28, p. 81.)
First ascent: August 1, 1941, by Bradford Washburn, Barbara Washburn, Benjamin Ferris, Sterling Hendricks, William Shand; also in the party: Henry S. Hall, Jr., and Lieut. Robin Montgomery. (Bradford Washburn: "The Ascent of Mount Hayes," A.A.J., 1942, 4:3, p. 323.) Previous attempts had been made by two University of Alaska students, 1935, and by Oscar Houston, Roger Whitney, Andrew Taylor, and Grant Pearson. (Oscar Houston: "Expedition to Mount Hayes," A.A.J., 1938, 3:2, p. 127.)
HUNTER, MOUNT (14,573) Alaska Range
After Dr. Cook had failed to make much progress in his attempt to climb Mount McKinley at the end of August 1903, on the way out, Robert Dunn, a young reporter and protegé of Lincoln Steffens on the New York Commercial Advertiser, was leading the way to a pass. He describes the view: "Then toward Foraker, through the gap, gathering all the southern ridges about the final bend in Peters [Glacier], and yet beyond all, rose and rose a turret-like summit, smooth, white, specked with bergschrunds to a terrifying height. 'There's the hell of a high mountain over there,' I shouted, 'just appearing, you can’t see it yet.' " In a note he says, "This has been named Mt. Hunter." ("Highest on Mount McKinley," Outing Magazine, April 1904; and substantially the same in his The Shameless Diary of an Explorer, 1907, p. 228, except for omission of the naughty word.) Dr. Cook says: "The mountain referred to is entirely covered with ice, and its summit reaches an altitude of 14,000 feet. This will appear on our map as Mount Hunter, in honor of Miss A. F. Hunter, of Newport." ("America’s Unconquered Mountain," Harper’s Magazine, Feb. 1904, and the same in Cook’s To the Top of the Continent, 1908, p. 73.)
From the foregoing it might be inferred that Dr. Cook bestowed the name for a friend of his ; no further identification of Miss Hunter was published until recently—even the U.S. Board on Geographic Names had no record. Bradford Washburn, however, talked with Robert Dunn a few years ago and found that it was he who had named the mountain, for his aunt. In a note in A.A.J., 1953, 8:3, p. 478, Washburn says: "The Government later surveyed the present Mount Hunter which is 9 miles S.E. of the 12,515-foot snow dome originally named by Dunn. This error in nomenclature was not discovered till 1950. The original Mount Hunter has no name at present. Dunn could not possibly have seen the present Mount Hunter from his camp on McKinley." Dunn was much upset to find that the name he had given had been transposed to another peak. He was consoled, however, when Washburn assured him that the present Mount Hunter "is a much more magnificent and superb peak than the peak he had originally named, and that he had better leave things just as they were if he wanted something really nice named after his aunt! This he did." (Letter from A. W. to F.P.F., Feb. 1959.) In order to amplify this information I wrote to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum at Newport, R. I., and received the following reply: "Miss Anna Falconet Hunter (b. Dec. 24, 1855) died June 4, 1941 at the age of eighty-six. She never married. She was an energetic philanthropist and was interested in the local history of Newport. Several papers written by her were published by the Newport Historical Society. Miss Hunter’s niece, Miss Anna C. Dunn, informs me that Mt. Hunter was named, not by Dr. Cook, but by her brother, Robert Dunn, Miss Hunter’s nephew. Robert Dunn has written an autobiography, World Alive (New York, 1956), in which he tells, p. 111, of discovering the new peak and naming it Mt. Hunter. Miss Dunn says that the expedition was partially financed by Miss Hunter, but that this was not the sole reason for Dunn’s having named the mountain in her honor. He was, she says, very devoted to his aunt."—Donald T. Gibbs, Librarian. Dunn says that his aunt gave him $1,000 towards his expenses and that he handed this over to Dr. Cook on the condition that Mrs. Cook, who had come to Alaska with them, leave the party; "and in an hour she sailed away." (World Alive, p. 103.)
First ascent: July 5, 1954, by Fred Beckey, Heinrich Harrer, Henry Mey- bohm. (Fred Beckey: "Mt. Deborah and Mt. Hunter: First Ascents," A.A.J., 1955, 9:2 ; see, also: Bradford Washburn: "Mount Hunter Via the West Ridge, a Proposed Ascent," A.A.J., 1953, 8:3, p. 478, with photos.)
LA PEROUSE, MOUNT (10,728) Fairweather Range
"To a high peak near the sea at Icy Cape, just south and east of Lituya Bay, is now applied the name of La Pérouse." (W. H. Dall, U.S. Coast Survey Report for 1875, p. 187.) Le Comte Jean-François Galaup de Lapérouse was born 23 Aug. 1741, "au Guô près d’Albi," France. "Lapérouse had an attractive and colorful personality. He was handsome, romantic and brave. As a naval officer he distinguished himself in campaigns in the Indian Ocean. … He accompanied the French fleet sent to help the American colonies in the Revolutionary War, and his skill and success in combats with the British resulted in his selection to lead an expedition into Hudson’s Bay. There he … captured the famous governor, Samuel Hearne. Finally, Lapérouse was placed in charge of two splendid frigates with which to explore the Pacific Ocean and to circumnavigate the world. … He had largely carried out his orders and visited many parts of the coasts of both America and Asia, as well as numerous Pacific islands, before he put out from Botany Bay, Australia, in 1788, never again to be seen by European eyes." (Edward Weber Allen, California Historical Society Quarterly, March 1941, 20:1, p. 48.) It was not until 1827 that the wreckage of the ships was found on the reefs of Vanikoro Island of the Santa Cruz group. The journals and charts up to the time of leaving Australia had been sent home in care of others and were finally published by the French Government in 1797 in 4 volumes and an atlas. In explanation of the various ways in which the name is written, Allen (letter to F.P.F.) quotes from a memoir by a member of the family, published in 1888 on the occasion of "le centenaire de la mort de Lapérouse," to the effect that when the young man entered the marine, his parents gave him the estate of Peyrouse, and that thereafter he added this name to his own and invariably, in his own handwriting, wrote it in one word, but without the y. Nevertheless, in most publications the name is given as La Pérouse, and that is the way it is used for the mountain according to the U.S. Geographic Board* (Sixth Report, 1933). Allen hopes that his forthcoming biography of Lapérouse will initiate a restoration of the latter’s own orthography.
First ascent: Aug. 15, 1942, by James F. Seitz, Karl Stauffer, Rowland Tabor, Rolland Reid, Paul Brown, Ian Hendrickson. "As part of our job last summer five of us had the pleasant task of climbing Mount La Perouse.
… We were members of a U.S. Geological Survey party investigating the geology of a layered gabbro body which makes up Mount La Perouse and Mount Crillon. One critical section of this gabbro body was exposed near the summit of Mount La Perouse, which meant that if we were to be thorough in our investigation we would have to climb the mountain." (Seitz: "Ascent of Mount La Perouse," A.A.J., 1953, 8:3, p. 434.)
LUCANIA, MOUNT (17,147) St. Elias Range (Yukon Territory) "On the far horizon, somewhere between fifty and one hundred miles off, a broad summit towered up behind the western corner of Mount Logan. … H.R.H. named this peak Lucania, in remembrance of the ship that had brought us to America." (Filippo de Filippi: The Ascent of Mount St. Elias (Alaska) by H.R.H. Prince Luigi Amadeo Di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi, 1900, p. 159.) The Cunard liner Lucania left Liverpool May 22, and arrived at New York May 28, 1897. The steel twin-screw steamer Lucania, 12,952 tons, commissioned in 1893, saw service until 1909, when she was badly damaged by fire. She was the first ship to have permanent wireless installed. In her day she was one of the largest and fastest merchant ships in the world. (Note from Roger Chorley, taken from "Ships of the Cunard Line," by Frank E. Dodman, London, 1955.)
First ascent: Bradford Washburn and Robert H. Bates, July 9, 1937. (Washburn: "The Ascent of. Mount Lucania," A.A.J., 1938, 3:2, p. 119; "The Ascent of Mt. Lucania," A.J., May 1938, 50, p. 95.)
MARCUS BAKER, MOUNT (13,176) Chugach Mountains
The highest point in the Chugach Mountains at the head of Prince William Sound appears on maps both as Mt. Marcus Baker and Mt. St. Agnes. An inquiry addressed to the U.S.G.S. in 1941 by Henry S. Hall, Jr., received the following reply: "Search of the Alaskan Branch records reveals no basis for the use of the name Mt. St. Agnes, which appeared on the 1923 edition of the general map of Alaska issued by the Geological Survey. I can only assume that some member of the Branch may have intended to recommend that name and so placed it on the manuscript copy. However, the name was not submitted or administratively approved, and evidently slipped through unnoticed in the course of proof reading and publication of the map. The Survey’s record shows that the name Marcus Baker was proposed by Alfred H. Brooks in a letter to the Director of the Geological Survey dated February 18, 1924. Mr. McCormick, in a memorandum of February 26, 1924, apparently questioned the desirability of this name, because of the number of geographic names already named for Marcus Baker. Brooks, however, pressed his original recommendation in a memorandum of February 29, 1924, and at a meeting of the Geographic Board on March 5, 1924, the name was officially adopted. Since that date, therefore, Mt. Marcus Baker has been the only name officially recognized for this mountain. You will find specific reference to the decision regarding the name Marcus Baker on page 507 of Vol VI, U.S. Geographic Board for the Years 1890-1932." (A.A.J., 1943, 5:1, p. 147.) The decision mentioned is as follows: "Marcus Baker: peak … Named after Marcus Baker, formerly of the Coast Survey, Geological Survey, and Carnegie Institution; author of the Geographic Dictionary of Alaska; and member of the United States Geographic Board from its foundation until 1903."
The origin of the name "St. Agnes" is explained by Bradford Washburn as follows: James W. Bagley, of the U.S.G.S., named this peak after his wife, but knowing that the name would not stick if the secret leaked out, he added the "St." for concealment. The secret never did leak out until this moment, unless Brooks possibly got wind of it. At all events, Agnes, whether Saint or not, lost her peak to Mr. Baker. (B.W. to F.P.F., March 1959.)
First ascent: June 19, 1938, by Bradford Washburn, Peter Gabriel, Norman Bright, Norman Dyhrenfurth. (Washburn: "The Ascent of Mt. St. Agnes," A.A.J., 1939, 3:3, p. 255; also A.J., Nov. 1939, 51, p. 207.)
MATHER, MOUNT (12,125) Alaska Range
For Stephen Tyng Mather, Director of the U. S. National Park Service from its inception in 1917 to 1929. It was during his administration that the Mount McKinley region was made a national park (Act of Congress, Feb. 26, 1917). Born in San Francisco July 4, 1867, he grew up in the Bay region; graduated from University of California, 1887; was newspaper reporter on the New York Sun, 1887 to 1892 ; then entered the borax business in which he had a spectacular career—the introduction of package borax under the caption "Twenty-Mule Team" was a sales promotion of his. During this period he lived in Chicago. Called to Washington in 1915 by Secretary Franklin K. Lane, as Assistant to the Secretary, he became enthusiastic about the National Parks and remained there the rest of his life. In 1905 he climbed Mount Rainier with the Sierra Club, of which he was an early member. He died at Darien, Conn., Jan. 22, 1930. (Robert Shankland: Steve Mather of the National Parks, 1951.) In conferring upon him the honorary degree of LL.D., in 1924, President Campbell of the University of California saluted him as follows: "Stephen Tyng Mather: mountaineer and statesman, lover of nature and of his fellow men ; with a generous and far- seeing wisdom he has made accessible for a multitude of Americans their great heritage of snow-capped mountains, of glaciers and streams and falls, of stately forests and quiet meadows." (Farquhar: "Stephen T. Mather," Sierra Club Bulletin, Feb. 1931, 16:1, p. 59.) The name is pronounced to rhyme with lather.
First ascent: Thayer Scudder, Winslow Briggs, John S. Humphreys, David Bernays, July 21, 1952, arriving at 2:30 A.M. (Scudder: "Harvard 1952 Brooks-Mather Expedition," A.A.J., 1953, 8:3, p. 424; Humphreys: "H.M.C. Brooks-Mather Expedition," Harvard Mountaineering, May 1953, No. 11, p. 15).
McKINLEY, MOUNT (20,320) Alaska Range
"We named our great peak Mount McKinley, after William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the Presidency, and that fact was the first news we received on our way out of that wonderful wilderness. We have no doubt that this peak is the highest in North America, and estimate that it is over 20,000 feet high." (William A. Dickey, "Discoveries in Alaska," The Sun, N. Y., Jan. 24, 1897.) Dickey (1862-1939), native of New Hampshire, graduated from Princeton, 1885, lived for most of his life in Seattle. The N. Y. Sun article is reprinted in full in Mount McKinley and the Alaska Range in Literature; a Descriptive Bibliography, by Bradford Washburn, advance edition, 1951.
The early attempts to climb McKinley have been so fully discussed that it is unnecessary to recount them here. Suffice it to say that the North Peak was reached by Pete Anderson and Billy Taylor, Alaska "sourdough" miners, April 3, 1910, with Charley McGonagall stopping a few hundred feet below (Farquhar: "The Exploration and First Ascents of Mount McKinley," Sierra Club Bulletin, June 1949, 34:6, p. 95) ; that Herschel C. Parker, Belmore Browne, and Merl LaVoy almost reached the South Peak, July 29, 1912, being turned back by a storm (Browne: The Conquest of Mount McKinley, 1913) ; and that the highest point was ultimately attained by Henry P. Karstens, Hudson Stuck, Walter Harper, and Robert G. Tatum, June 7, 1913 (Stuck: The Ascent of Denali, 1914.) "I put Walter in lead and kept him there all day with never a change. I took second place on the rope so I could direct Walter … (Diary of Harry Karstens). "It was this heroic work of Walter Harper, backed by the dogged persistence and firm judgment of Harry Karstens, which brought success that day, for Tatum could no more than hold his own, while Stuck was frequently gasping for breath …" (Farquhar: op. cit., Part II, S.C.B., June 1950, 35:6, p. 27.) The claim of Dr. Frederick A. Cook that he reached the summit of McKinley in 1910 has been exhaustively examined and finally and completely proved to have no foundation in fact whatsoever. (Washburn: "Doctor Cook and Mount McKinley," A.A.J., 1958, 11:1, p. 1.)
"The Indians have three names for these two mountains [McKinley and Foraker]. The Suchitna tribe call them 'Bolshoi,' the Russian word meaning 'big.' The Kuskokwims call them 'Din-az-ee,' the Tananas and Yukons 'Din-al-ee'," (Joseph S. Herron: "Explorations in Alaska, 1899," Adjutant General’s Office, Publication 31, 1901, p. 48.)
ROMANZOF MOUNTAINS Brooks Range
"At six this evening [Aug. 3, 1826] we passed the termination of the British chain of Mountains, and had now arrived opposite the commencement of another range, which I named after the late Count Romanzoff, Chancellor of the Russian Empire, as a tribute to the memory of that distinguished patron and promoter of discovery and science." (John Franklin: Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea, London, 1828, p. 145.) "Romanzof : mountains, in northeastern Alaska, near the Arctic Coast …" (Sixth Report of the U.S. Geographic Board, 1933, p. 648.)
RUSSELL, MOUNT (11,670) Alaska Range
"Named by the writer after I. C. Russell." (Brooks: The Mount McKinley Region, Alaska, 1911, p. 46; shown on map, 1910.) Israel Cook Russell (1852-1906), geologist, first with the Wheeler Survey (West of the 100th Meridian), 1878, then with the U.S.G.S., until 1892, when he became Professor of Geology at University of Michigan. His Alaska connection is notable for his efforts to climb Mount St. Elias, in which he very nearly succeeded, but was finally prevented by storms. (Russell: "The Expedition of the National Geographic Society and the United States Geological Survey (1890)," Century Magazine, April 1891, 41, p. 872; "An Expedition to Mount St. Elias, Alaska," National Geographic Magazine, May 29, 1891, 3, p. 53; "Mount Saint Elias Revisited," Century Magazine, June 1892, 44, p. 190.) Russell Glacier, north of Mount St. Elias, was named for him by Hayes (National Geographic Magazine, May 15, 1892, 4, p. 15) ; Mount Russell, in the Sierra Nevada, California, is also named for him. Russell was a Founding Member of A.A.C. (Thorington: "American Alpine Club Annals, Part I," A.A.J., 1946, 6:1, p. 119.)
"Although considerably lower than Mount Foraker, Mount Russell is a splendid peak worthy of any mountaineer’s attention." (W. Osgood Field: "Unclimbed Peaks in the Alaska Range," Harvard Mountaineering, June 1928, 1:2, p. 41.)
ST. ELIAS, MOUNT (18,008) St. Elias Range
Although it is frequently stated that Bering named Mount St. Elias because he saw it on the day of the saint, the precise facts are slightly different. Of the original accounts, the following is perhaps the clearest, from the journal (in translation) of Sven Waxel, a Swedish lieutenant on Bering’s ship, St. Peter: "On 16th July  we were, according to an observation taken, on latitude 58° 38' N, … On this day we sighted land in the direction of N by W and at a distance of about 25 German miles [120 nautical miles]. This land consisted of huge, high, snow- covered mountains. We attempted to sail in closer towards land, but, as we had only light and shifting winds, it was not until 20th July that we drew near to it. At six o’clock in the evening of that day we let go our anchor in the neighborhood of an island of considerable size, lying at no great distance from the mainland. … On our map we called the place Cape Elia, since … it was on Elia’s day that we had anchored there.” (Sven Waxel: The American Expedition (translated from Skalberg’s Danish version), London, 1952, pp. 105-107.) The log book of the St. Peter (translated in Bering’s Voyages, by F. A. Golder, American Geographical Society, 1922, I, pp. 93 and 96), however, introduces some complications. Here we find that on the afternoon of the 17th (the date having changed at noon) "we sighted high snow-covered mountains and among them a high volcano N by W." This is undoubtedly the earliest mention of Mount St. Elias, but it was not on the day of that saint. On the 20th (after midday) the ship rounded a point of an island and anchored. The point and the island were named St. Elias, as this was the day of that saint. Elias is the Greek name of the prophet Elijah. In the Orthodox and Russian churches many of the Old Testament prophets and other worthies are saints. Elias seems particularly appropriate to mountains, witness Hagios Ilias one of the high peaks of the Greek Olympus, perhaps because "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings, 2:11.) At all events, the name of the saint has long since left the island (now Kayak) and has ascended to the mountain. Although there is no evidence that Bering gave any name to the mountain at the time, nevertheless, when charts were made some years later the name appears on the peak. Following the days of Bering the mountain became a landfall for navigators voyaging to the Northwest Coast of America—Cook, La Pérouse, Malaspina, Vancouver—who attempted to measure the height and fix its position.
The earliest attempts to climb St. Elias were made in the late 1880s and early ’90s. 1886—Frederick Schwatka: "Mountaineering in Alaska," A.J., Nov. 1886, 13, p. 89, and Feb. 1887, 13, p. 177, and "The Expedition of 'The New York Times' (1886)," Century Magazine, April 1891, p. 865; H. W. Seton Karr: Shores and Alps of Alaska, London, 1887. 1888 —William Williams*: "Climbing Mount St. Elias," Scribner’s Magazine, April 1889, p. 387, reprinted in The Out of Doors Library: Mountain Climbing, New York, 1897, p. 225, and "Reminiscences of Mount St. Elias," A.A.J., 1942, 4:3, p. 355; George Broke: With Sack and Stock in Alaska, London, 1891; Harold W. Topham: "An Expedition to Mount St. Elias, Alaska," A.J., Aug. 1889, 14, p. 345. 1890—Israel C. Russell: "An Expedition to Mount St. Elias, Alaska," National Geographic Magazine, May 29, 1891, 3, p. 53, and "The Expedition of the National Geographic Society and the United States Geological Survey (1890)," Century Magazine, April 1891, p. 872; Mark Brickell Kerr: "Mount St. Elias and its Glaciers," Scribner's Magazine, March 1891, p. 361, reprinted in The Out of Doors Library (op. cit.), p. 275. 1891—Russell: "Mount Saint Elias Revisited," Century Magazine, June 1892, p. 190.
First ascent: On July 31, 1897, the Duke of the Abruzzi and his retinue stood upon the summit of Mount St. Elias. (The Ascent of Mount St. Elias (Alaska) by H. R. H. Prince Luigi Amedeo Di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi. Narrated by Filippo de Filippi, illustrated by Vittorio Sella. Westminster, 1900; also, briefly, in A.J., May 1898, 19, p. 116; In Memoriam, A.J., Aug. 1900, 22, p. 223.)
SANFORD, MOUNT (16,208) Wrangell Mountains
"The last prominent peak, barely visible from the same point, has been called Mount Sanford." (Henry T. Allen: Report of an Expedition to the Copper, Tanana, and Koyukuk Rivers, … in the Year 1885," p. 59.) Marcus Baker, Geographical Dictionary of Alaska, says that Allen named it in honor of the Sanford family, his great-grandfather being Reuben Sanford.
First ascent: July 21, 1938, by Terris Moore and Bradford Washburn. The ascent was made for the most part on skis. "At about 9 p.m. we reached what was obviously the highest part of the mountain. Never has the writer visited the top of a high peak and found such a large flat summit as that of Mount Sanford." (Terris Moore: "Mount Sanford: An Alaskan Ski Climb," A.A.J., 1939, 3:3, p. 265; substantially the same in A.J., Nov. 1939, 51, p. 222.)
SPURR, MOUNT (11,070) Alaska Range
"Mount Spurr is the most prominent peak in this mountain mass. …
Named by the writer after J. E. Spurr, who explored the Skwentna and Kuskokwim valleys in 1898. … This, the first party to cross the Alaska Range, determined the general features of the geography and geology of the province." (Brooks: "The Mount McKinley Region, Alaska," U.S.G.S. Prof. Paper 70, 1911, pp. 45, 28.) Spurr wrote "A Reconnaissance in Southwestern Alaska in 1898," in U.S.G.S. 20th Ann. Rep., for 1898-99, Pt. 7, pp. 31-264. Josiah Edward Spurr was born at Gloucester, Mass., Oct. 1, 1870; A.B., Harvard, 1893; A.M., 1894. He entered the U.S.G.S. in 1894 and became a specialist in mining geology; did important work in Utah (Mercur) and Colorado (Leadville and Aspen) ; made two expeditions into the interior of Alaska ; was a consulting geologist to the Sultan of Turkey, 1900. In 1905 he became chief geologist for allied mining interests, including American Smelting & Refining Co. Organized firm of Spurr and Cox, Inc., later Spurr & Co., specialists in mining; operated in Tonopah region, Nevada, and other widely separated regions; "dollar-a- year" work in Washington in World War I. Edited Engineering and Mining Journal, 1919-27. Retired in 1927 and spent his summers at Alstead, N. H., and winters at Winter Park, Florida, where he died Jan. 12, 1950.
VANCOUVER, MOUNT (15,700) St. Elias Range
Named by W. H. Dall, U. S. Coast Survey, 1874, at the same time that he named Mount Cook (q.v.). George Vancouver (1758 ? -1798), English seaman and navigator, had been with Captain Cook on the Third Voyage, 1778, and was therefore familiar with the general character of the Northwest Coast when he was commissioned to command a voyage of exploration which took him back to that region in 1792-94. His intensive and thorough surveys of the coast have been the admiration of navigators ever since. Most of his work, however, was done either south or north of the St. Elias-Fairweather section. Vancouver Island, as well as the principal city of British Columbia, is deservedly named for him. On July 25, 1794, Vancouver, sailing south from Prince William Sound, sighted the great peaks: "We had now an extensive view of the sea coast, stretching by compass from S. 77 W. to N. 86 E., within which limits mount St. Elias and mount Fairweather rose magnificently conspicuous, from the still-continuous range of lofty snowy mountains." (A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World … under the command of Captain George Vancouver, in three volumes, Vol. 3, p. 208 ; contains a handsome engraving of Mount St. Elias.) It is quite possible that the Captain may have seen in the distant background the peak named for him eighty years later.
First ascent: July 5, 1949, by Noel E. Odell, William R. Hainsworth, Robert S. McCarter, Alan Bruce-Robertson. (Odell: "Some Scientific Observations, and the First Ascent of Mount Vancouver, St. Elias Range," A.J., Nov. 1950, p. 484; "The St. Elias Range and the First Ascent of Mount Vancouver," Canadian Geographical Journal, July 1951, 43:1, p. 36.) Radio conversation between CK6W on Seward Glacier and WXD at Yakutat: "We have news for you! Four of our boys have just come in from the first ascent of Mount Vancouver. … I know you’ll be pleased with the news. Over." "Oh, yeah! What in hell did they want to go up there for? Anyhow, congratulations!" (Hainsworth: "Vancouver Episode," A.A.J., 1950, 7:4, p. 367.)
WOOD, MOUNT (15,880) St. Elias Range (Yukon Territory)
Named in 1900 for Major Z. T. Wood, of the Northwest Mounted Police in Dawson. (Walter A. Wood, Jr., A.A.J., 1936, 2:4, p. 439; Geographical Review, Jan. 1942, 32:1, p. 40.)
In 1939 Walter Wood and party came within 1800 feet of the summit, but were turned back by high wind and streaming snow. (Foresta Hodgson Wood: "An attempt on Mount Wood, St. Elias Range," A.A.J., 1940, 4:1, p. 1.) Two years later, with the best weather known in the St. Elias Range in 25 years, Walter Wood and his wife Foresta, accompanied by Robert H. Bates, Anderson Bakewell, Albert H. Jackman, and Robert P. Sharp, returned for a fourth season of field research for the A.G.S. On the climb of Mount Wood, Sharp did not participate, being engaged in geological work; Mrs. Wood was forced to turn back because of frost bite, and Bates went back to camp with her. (Walter A. Wood, Jr.: "Parachutes on the St. Elias Range," A.A.J., 1942, 4:3, p. 341; "The Parachuting of Expedition Supplies: An Experiment by the Wood Yukon Expedition of 1941," Geographical Review, Jan. 1942, 32:1, p. 36.)
First ascent: July 25, 1941, by Walter A. Wood, Jr., Anderson Bakewell, Albert H. Jackman.
*Altitudes, in feet, are taken from recent maps or such other sources as are available. In many instances the figures are approximations only.
*Except that the accent is not used in the place name.
*William Williams (1862-1947) became a member of A.A.C. in 1921 (In Memoriam, by J. Monroe Thorington, A.A.J., 1947, 6:3, p. 407).