American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Bressler, Northern Boundary Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963

Mount Bressler, Northern Boundary Range. The unexplored reaches of the Juneau Icefield are transected by the Alaskan-British Columbian boundary. Here a series of isolated and spectacular nunatak peaks at elevations of 7000 to 8600 feet rise out of the endless sweep of high glacier fields. In 1961 and 1962 this region was reconnoitered by exploratory field parties of the Juneau Icefield Research Program, operating from a new 7000-foot research station, Camp 8, on the Alaskan side of the boundary, on the high divide of the Taku and Llewellyn glaciers, about 12 miles northwest of the Devil’s Paw. During the first week of August, 1962, eight members, Barry Prather, David M. Potter IV, Fred Dunham, Douglas Swanston, Chris Egan, Frederick Fisher, Peter Kakela and the writer, reached the base of 8000-foot Mount Bressler in the sector of the range lying between Mount Ogilvie (7700 feet) and Mount Nesselrode (8100 feet). From here an ascent to the summit of Mount Bressler was made on August 5 via a route of mixed snow, ice and rock. Although the climb was generally simple technically, it provided exposed ridges and faces, including a 100-yard traverse of a memorably spectacular ice arête. The peak is being named for the late Dr. Tupper Bressler, field geologist with the Alaskan Branch, USGS, who had worked with several members of the Juneau Icefield Research Program. He lost his life in 1959, presumably from high-altitude pulmonary edema, while engaged in geological research on the summit of Mount Rainier.

While on this massif, we spent several hours collecting an assemblage of arctic-alpine lichen and in assessment of a large array of patterned ground features in felsenmeer pavements along frost-shattered ridges and cleavers. One interesting discovery was the recognition of a high erosion surface on the summit with distinct evidence of glacial overriding. This surface is considered tentatively to be pre-Pleistocene in origin. On the summit a panoramic photo survey station was established to be re-occupied by future parties. This station will provide not only a memorable photographic experience but a basis for valuable future comparisons of changes in ice level and general glacial configuration of these ice-armored peaks.

Maynard M. Miller

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