American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Alaska, Chugach-St. Elias Mountains, West-East Ski Traverse

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1982

Chugach-St. Elias Mountains, West-East Ski Traverse. Jack Duggan, Gunnar Naslund, Brian Okonek, Roger Cowals, Vern Tejas and I completed a 365-mile traverse of the extensive east-west-trending glacial system between Cordova and Yakutat. We started on March 5 at Miles Lake on the Copper River, left the ice at Harlequin Lake and arrived at Yakutat on April 8. We individually carried 40-to-60-pound packs and pulled up-to-80-pound sleds while skiing across ten major glaciers: Miles, Martin River, Stellar Glaciers, Bagley Icefield, Columbus, Seward, Hubbard, Art Lewis, East Nunatak and Novatak Glaciers. The 35-day trip took us out of and into Alaska three times, Yukon Territory twice and British Columbia once. The traverse was mostly self-supported with one food-and-fuel cache en route, which we picked up north of the Bagley Icefield at Barkley Lake near the Tana Glacier terminus. The immense scale and vastness of the region became apparent while trekking across the Bagley. As we skied eastwards toward the St. Elias and Logan massifs, we thought they looked three days away. It took us over ten to ski to between their bases.

Steven Hackett

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