Posts Tagged ‘Fairweather Mountain’

Candidate: #9

Location: Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and British Columbia, Tatshenshini/Alsek Provincial Park – part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Elevation: 4,671 metres

Range: Fairweather Range, Saint Elias Mountains

Just 23 kilometres from Glacier Bay in Alaska rises one of the world’s highest coastal mountains and the dominant peak of the Fairweather Range in Alaska and British Columbia. Named by Captain James Cook for the fine weather he encountered, Fairweather Mountain is a mountain that actually enjoys very little fair weather. It receives over 250cm of precipitation each year, most of which falls as snow, and the summit, though visible from Glacier Bay when conditions are clear, is usually enshrouded in clouds when storms aren’t blowing in off the Pacific. Furthermore, the temperature can drop to -50 degrees. The mountain is often more commonly referred to as Mount Fairweather, however the mountain is officially gazetted on Canadian maps from March of 1924 as “Fairweather Mountain” and American maps that labeled it as Mt. Fairweather at the time have since been updated.

Fairweather Mountain is a beautiful snow-covered peak with the Fairweather Glacier flowing slowly out to sea, 35 kilometres away. Though its slopes are on average about 50 degrees, there is a non-technical route along the west ridge. Only a few parties attempt to climb Fairweather each year because the actually climbing season is short – from May to July – since the summer produces more unstable conditions and storms. The first ascent was by Allen Carpé and Terris Moore on 8 June 1931. It was ascended for the second time in 1958 by a team who climbed it in celebration of British Columbia’s centennial year as a crown colony. Although 2/3s of the mountain lies in Alaska, because of a SW turn of the border that nearly cuts off the Alaska Panhandle, the summit is actually in British Columbia making it the highest point in the province.

The mountain is known as Tsalxhaan in the Tlingit language and is said to once have been next to Waas’eitaa Shaa (Mt. Saint Elias) but they had an argument and separated.














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