Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Translating II

Well, today while running errands around town I took my expedition documents, printouts, maps, etc. to a cafe, bought a large mocha and read and reread the narrative, and compared that to maps of the day. And I think I have an answer that better fits their trip, so far anyway. And the answer?

Well, it lies in a few sentences.

For one I.C. Russell writes, "Taking heavy packs on our backs on the morning of July 21, we descended the steep broken surface of the most recent moraine bordering Carbon Glacier in its middle course, some idea of which is conveyed by Pl. LXXIV, and reached the solid blue ice below. Our course led us directly across the glacier, along the lower border of the rapidly melting covering of winter snow. The glacier is there about a mile across. Its central part is higher than its border, and for the most part the ice is concealed by dirt and stones. Just below the névé, however, we found a space about half a mile long in which melting had not led to the concentration of sufficient débris to make traveling difficult." (page 367)

This identifies the approximate place the crossed the Carbon Glacier, just below the upper end of Goat Island where it splits the glacier into the main flow and the tongue on the east side.

He continues, "On the east side of the glacier we found several steep, sharp-crested ridges, clothed with forest trees, with narrow, grassy, and flower-strewn dells between, in which banks of snow still lingered. The ridges are composed of bowlders and angular stones of a great variety of sizes and shapes, and are plainly lateral moraines abandoned by the shrinking of the glacier. Choosing a way up one of the narrow lanes, bordered on each side by steep slopes densely covered with trees and shrubs, we found secure footing in the hard granular snow, and soon reached a more open, parklike area, covered with mossy bosses of turf; on which grew a great profusion of brilliant flowers." (page 367)

This identifies they followed a moraine up to the plateau on the northwestern corner and across the norhtern end of Moraine Park.

In the same paragraph, he writes, "Our way then turned eastward, following the side of the mountain, and led us through a region just above the timber line, which commands far reaching views to the wild and rugged mountains to the northeast. This open tract, heading down to groves of spruce trees and diversified by charming lakelets, bears abundant evidence of having formerly been ice-covered, and is known its Moraine Park." (page 367)

The key here is that Moraine Park in 1896 was identified as a larger area than it is today. They travelled, as best I can determine to somewhere near the northern end of Old Desolate (Ridge). This is the only place you can view the Elysian Fields and have an unobstructed view to the northeast.

Next he writes, "In order to retain our elevation we crossed diagonally the steep snow slopes in the upper portion of the Moraine Park. Midway over the snow we rested at a sharp crest of rock,..." (page 368)

It's likely they traversed the length of Old Desolate to the west end and around up to their camp alongside the Winthrop Glacier. There is no description of this last stretch in this day's trek. But they got there early enough to establish a camp and do some exploration of Winthrop Glacier, crossing to the east side and back.

The next day they did another trek up to Curtis Ridge, down to the Carbon Glacier and Moraine Park before returning to the camp and rest before their summit climb the next day.

Or so that's what I see today.

No comments: