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Juneau Icefield Ski Traverse
Timestamp Free: 2020.07.10 - 18:52:16
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Boundary Ranges / Juneau Icefield
  (20 days)
Participants: John Baldwin, Matthias Jakob, Dave Williams
A spring traverse in the northern Boundary Ranges.
The Juneau Icefield extends from Juneau to west of Atlin Lake and north to Skagway and is bordered by three bodies of water, the Lynn Canal, Stephens Passage and Taku Inlet. The icefield consists of a large expanse of ice punctuated by numerous peaks ranging in height from the low thousands to 8584 ft, the elevation of the highest peak on the icefield, the appropriately named Devils Paw.

The spring ski traverse that we had planned for May this past year was unusual in that the Juneau Icefield has been traveled north to south and I believe east to west on several occasions. Although the bulk of the route we planned to travel had been traveled previously this year, the allure of this immense icefield, that is ideally suited to ski touring, held our imaginations.

During the first three weeks of May 1999 our group of three - John Baldwin, Matthias Jakob and myself - traversed the Juneau Icefield on skis. We placed a two week food cache just to the west of Mt. Ogilvie and were dropped by Jim of Coastal Helicopters out of Juneau, at the toe of the Taku Glacier on beautiful Taku Inlet. The snow on Grizzly Bar at the snout of the Taku Glacier was covered with moose, bear and beaver prints. Within fifteen minutes of starting the trip we bumped into a family of three moose. What a delightful start! From here in a little under three weeks we skied north 168 km to Skagway with a total elevation gain of only 12800 ft. We did however climb an additional 21190 ft in elevation while covering a further 83 km on side trips to climb peaks along the spine of the icecap.

The Taku Glacier is one of the few Alaskan glaciers currently advancing. Inspite of its advancing state we had no problems getting onto the glacier from its western perimeter where the ice enters the forest. We...

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