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Ellesmere Island ArxDescr

Location: Ellesmere Island is the northernmost island in the Canadian Arctic. It is west of Greenland, and north of Baffin Island and lies from 76 to 84 degrees north. It is part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands.

Terrain: Ellesmere Island is the largest island of the Queen Elizabeth Islands located off the northwest coast of Greenland. The island is about 500 km wide and 800 km long and has an area of about 200,000 sq km. It is the most rugged in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Cape Columbia, at latitude 8307' N, is the most northerly point of Canada, and Barbeau Peak, at an elevation of 2,616 metres, is the highest point in Nunavut. The settlements are all quite small, including Eureka, Grise Ford (Aujuittuq), and Alert. Alert is the northernmost community in North America.

History: Ellesmere Island was first seen in 1616 by William Baffin. It was named after the Earl of Ellesmere in 1852 by Sir Edward A. Inglefield's Expedition to navigate the coast. Mountaineering activity started in the 1950's with Geoffrey Hattersley-Smith leading several exploratory expeditions in the northern part of the island, funded by the Canada Defence Research Board. On a joint venture with the Royal Air Force in 1967, they climbed Barbeau Peak, the highest peak in eastern North America. In 1971 Don Gardner and 4 Calgarians did a ski traverse, climbing peaks along the way, including Mount Oxford. The southern part of Ellesmere Island saw a series of expeditions to Makinson Inlet in 1976, 1978, 1980, 1987 and 1990 led by Cochran, and climbing Inglefield Mountains and Thorndike Peaks. In 1988 Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve was created.