It’s a story of family and community, of hard work and strength, of hardship and survival, and of playfulness and joy. Meteorological observations began in 1967 with installation of temperature and precipitation instruments near the moraine weather station. The hut is clearly visible from up glacier appearing silver as it is clad in aluminum. Measurements began on South Cascade Glacier, WA in 1958, expanding to Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, AK in 1966, and later Sperry Glacier, MT in 2005. After this is behind us, we are once again back on the lower angle part of the glacier just above the firn line where earlier, perfect crampon conditions made travel easy. Due to it’s proximity to the road, the Gulkana Glacier area is a place of  much study from the University Of Alaska and it’s GeoPhysical Institution, the USGS, and scores of other scientists and geologists. Gulkana Glacier is a branched valley glacier in interior Alaska on the south-facing flank of the eastern Alaska Range. In 1966, a continuing series of meteorological, snow and ice balance, and runoff measurements was begun by the USGS as part of the United States contribution to the International Hydrologic Decade study of mass balances on selected glaciers. Additional measurements have been made on Lemon Creek Glacier, AK to compliment data collected by the … In 1966 scientists with the USGS began collecting mass balance data on Gulkana Glacier, one of two "benchmark glaciers" in Alaska. Either way, we decide to make the decision in the morning and to make a bivi, but the last good flat spots are a half mile back, so reluctantly we head back down valley a bit to throw down our evening ghetto. We truck onward and soon crevasses begin to appear; all are easily zig zagged around, and as the firn line gets nearer, we begin to see the remains of snow bridges from winter, and soon the depths of the menacing cracks are skimmed over with dirty and forbidding snow.Luckily these obstacles are easily avoided, and once reaching the top of a steeper section of the glacier, the upper cirque opens up, yet visibility remains low. During climate changes, coastal glaciers are more sensitive to changes in precipitation (or the storm tracks that bring precipitation), whereas interior glaciers are more sensitive to changes in temperature. The Canwell Glacier, 4 miles wide and maybe 20 miles long sits 2500 feet below me, is crevassed significantly, and splits into three branches just up valley, where more un-named peaks push from it’s jagged dormancy. GULKANA GLACIER. No streamflow record was obtained prior to May 24,1967; however, it is estimated less than 5 percent of the total runoff occurred from October 1, 1966, to May 24, 1967. Wolverine Glacier and South Cascade Glacier are the other two monitoring sites. We continue to meander and zigzag around the maze of crevasses and looking up suddenly, I spot the USGS hut. tracking inner and outer landscapes along the road to creating community, Adventures starting in the heart of Alaska, ...A Life Simplified Is A Life Fully Lived, Conscious Thought: Driven by Intelligent Awareness, Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences. The channel is subject to frequent changes during high flows. Skiing on the Gulkana Glacier Alaska. It’s fairly common to see any of these working or training along the way or out on the ice. It is about an alternative perspective on a world gone mad. I can practically spit to the summit. Maps Sourced from CalTopo. GULKANA GLACIER. Dennis seems to like the confines of the hut, so I go out onto the moraine and pitch the tent. Gulkana Glacier across Summit Lake from Denali Highway in Fall. It is an area just north of the Alaska Range, where tundra, Spruce and Aspen forest, creeks, rivers, and rising glacial peaks dominate the landscape. The USGS reports that the state’s glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice annually, equal to the amount of water needed to fill Yankee Stadium 150,000 times each year. The Gabriel Icefall on the Gulkana Glacier Directions Gulkana River, Richardson Highway. Gulkana Glacier (lat 63°15' N., 1,700-m mean equilibrium line altitude) had a winter balance of 1.05 m, approximately normal for this glacier; the final annual balance was -0.30 m. Sundog Frames The Pointed Peak Of A Usgs Gulkana Glacier Research Hut, Interior Alaska, USA. Repeated point measurements at established index sites, in conjunction with local meteorology and runoff data, are used to estimate glacier-wide mass balances. Snowfall is the dominant form of precipitation and usually accumulates on the glacier from September through mid-June. Field visits to measure and maintain stakes at the three index sites are made each spring, at the onset of the melt season, and again in early autumn, near its completion. View Image Details. I get some great views of the bigger peaks in the area before the storm intensifies, sending me running back to the hut. Two Glaciers are studied in Alaska – Gulkana Glacier in the continental climate of the Alaska Range and Wolverine Glacier … DESCRIPTION: Latitude 63°15'34", Longitude 145°24'19" NAD27 Southeast Fairbanks Census Area County, Alaska, Hydrologic Unit 19080304 Datum of gage: 4,854.4 feet above NGVD29. Field Program. By collecting data near the balance maxima and minima direct measurements closely reflect maximum winter accumulation and the annual balances at each location. glacier), Wolverine Glacier in coastal Alaska (a maritime glacier), and Gulkana Glacier in inland Alaska (a continental glacier). The 50-year mass balance records for these three USGS . Index-site glacier-surface and summer-surface altitudes, measured winter balance, and net firn and ice balance from 1975 to 1983 are reported by Mayo and Trabant (1986). USGS 15478038 GULKANA GLACIER 16 MI N OF PAXSON AK. The bearing from the hut to the pass is 192 degrees. For now, all I wish for is to leave this cirque. Scenic view of Gulkana glacier as seen from the Richardson Highway, Southcentral Alaska, Summer. Thank you for signing up for the newsletter! News and opinions on the environment in the Haines area and greater North. After a short lunch break, we untie the coils used for traveling the crevassed sections below us and decide to set up a belay and climb the full rope length. To accomplish this work, USGS scientists travel to Wolverine and Gulkana glaciers twice a year to make observations of snow accumulation and snow/ice melt that allow them to calculate the health of the glaciers. We manage to get to the ice cave where we must make a choice: either cross the dreaded fury river in front of us, or climb up and over the massive cave via the endless talus and scree slopes above and traverse around it. The hike was supposed to be 3 miles and mostly flat, but the views were great, and I suggested we may be able to get some ice climbs in if we started early enough. I plant an ice screw and a snow picket and bring Dennis up. Basin areas ( Ab) and 2011 I go up again. I had seen photos of it and not found any information on routes or description on either peak; such is mountaineering in Alaska, where many peaks are un-named, rarely climbed, and undocumented. The next day, Dennis ambles in about 2 pm and we decide to head back to Delta Junction and re -group. The steep walls of the hut are a notebook for every climber and skier that has entered this cirque for the last 49 years. Northern lights over the researchers’ cabin in 2014 (Source: USGS). It is maybe 25 feet across and 80 feet deep; the walls below me severely overhanging and rotten. For somebody afraid of heights (like myself) it was frightening and also amazing to stand near the edge and look down hundreds of feet to the miles-long glacier running below. That did the trick and soon I was able to drift into sleep. The USGS even built a hut at the 5000’ level high in the cirque back in 1968, which has served as a haven for climbers and skiers ever since. Glacier,withanareaof945km2).Glaciersstretchfromsea level up to 4000ma.s.l. The incredible numbers of Moose and Caribou here is staggering. From the snow-kissed mountains to the icy rumblings of melting glaciers, Marines from 2nd Platoon Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif., along with instructors from U.S. Army Alaska’s Northern Warfare Training Center conducted military alpine operations at Black Rapids Training Site and Gulkana Glacier July 18, 2015. The tiny A-frame structure sits atop a large moraine, perhaps 400 feet above the ice, and after another hour of crossing through the crevasse fields and climbing the talus we reach the hut and enter. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. These data constitute the longest continuous set of mass-balance data in North America (Josberger and others, 2007) which are used to understand glacier dynamics and hydrology, and understand the glacier's response to climate change. Then ponder… we are so gawdam close. Soon we are above the firn line and after sticking my leg through a snow bridge covering a menacing crevasse, we rope up and get to some proper glacier travel. No need to register, buy now! It is sometimes radical, sometimes funny. Not a chance… That sound goes right through earplugs. Radar system to measure snow thickness, April 2014, Driving the radar system across the upper glacier, April 2014, Thickness and density snow-pit, April 2015, Lunar eclipse over Icefall Peak, April 2014, Northern Lights over the camp, April 2015, GPS to survey ablation stakes, April 2014, GPS survey of an ablation stake, April 2014, Gulkana Gaging Station Data (USGS 15478040), Incoming and Outgoing Short-wave Radiation. I am far too tired to climb the talus to go around, so I opt for the river. 5A). Gulkana Glacier is located along the south flank of the eastern Alaska Range. Available data for this site . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx2ypx155Rk, The Parton River: A Weekend Packraft Adventure, THE MIND OF RD REVILO, The Blog (& Podcasts) 4 BLACK Men. Getting to the same spot, I feel the risk is not worth the potential disaster of falling off this face and I retreat. The USGS even built a hut at the 5000’ level high in the cirque back in 1968, which has served as a haven for climbers and skiers ever since. Starting in the late 1980's the station has been updated with progressively newer, more accurate, and more sensors. He agrees and we say goodbye and I begin the arduous 5 mile glacier walk to the tongue. I belay Dennis down to the base of the serac and after joining him, we begin the long and arduous decent through the jumbled maze of seracs and crevasses. 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