Friday, April 3, 2009

Translating III

Ok,, I'm still working on the expedition for specific dates and places, and I'm almost done with the narrative and map Web pages for the expedition. Even then it will still be the first draft of the pages so I can get feedback or suggestions to improve or correct the pages and information. There still are some segments in their travel which are confusing at best.

When the team which did the summit climb they descended down the standard "tourist" route by way of Cowlitz Cleaver and Gibraltar Rock, where Camp Muir is located at the 10,000 foot elevation. They simply followed the obvious trail down to Paradise Park and the people camping there. They spent the night there before getting some rations and starting back to the Winthrop Glacier base camp with the rest of the team.

Their narrative is what I haven't grasped yet. This is what I.C. Russell wrote:

"Bidding our friends in Paradise Park good-by, we resumed our journey early on the morning of July 26. Ascending toward Gibraltar until an elevation of about 10,000 feet was reached, we turned eastward for the purpose of traversing the eastern slope of the mountain and regaining our camp at Winthrop Glacier. After crossing the upper portion of Paradise Glacier, we traversed broad and but little broken snow fields to the brink of the valley down which Cowlitz Glacier flows. Beyond Cowlitz Glacier, at about the same level that we had reached, we could see the bold, cathedral-like crags of Little Tahoma, the upward-pointing angle of a secondary mountain mass which divides Cowlitz and Emmons glaciers. Not wishing to descend into the deep valley before us and climb out again on the farther side, we chose to cross the névé fields to our left and endeavor to pass over a rugged and much broken region where the main current of Cowlitz Glacier descends a rocky slope about a thousand feet high. In following the route chosen we became involved in a succession of crevasses and ice precipices, which caused much delay. Slowly working our way upward, we reached the base of the highest ice wall, but a vertical cliff of ice about 50 feet high barred all further progress in that direction. Reluctantly we turned back and, losing all the advantage we had gained by three or four hours of excessively hard climbing, went down the central portion of the Cowlitz Glacier until we reached the level of the highest grove of trees on its left bank, and crossing to the land chose a delightful and well-sheltered spot beneath low pine trees at which to rest for the night."

As much as I try I can't follow this on any map. If they went up to the 10,000 foot elevation that would put them at Camp Muir, but there isn't anything in the report about Camp Muir. So I'm thinking the only got as far as Anvil Rock, which is only a few hundred feet above 9,000 feet. I think this because Russell talks about "... brink of the valley down which Cowlitz Glacier flows.", which fits the Anvil Rock location.

In addition I'm lost on their traverse across upper Cowlitz Glacier between Cowlitz Cleaver and Cathedral Rock. I don't have a real idea where they ended up on the Cathedral Rock side to face the ice wall, and then turn back.

And the last thing I don't understand is their next decision, to go down nearly 4,000 feet to the east side of Cowlitz Glacier below Ingraham Glacier for the night when Camp Muir was just a few hundred feet above them. on the west side of Cowlitz Glacier. It was then what it is today, the overnight camp for sumitt climbs. I would have thought they knew about this camp and it's closeness to where they were on the Cowlitz Glacier.

Anyway, any help appreciated by climbers. I'm rolling on with the Web pages.

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