gulkana glacier usgs hut

PROVISIONAL DATA SUBJECT TO REVISION. Wolverine Glacier is also located in Alaska, but is found in the Kenai Mountains on the coast. 1967 hydrologic and balance years ... station-shelter hut, air temperature and precipitation instrumentation, and the commencement of mass balance measurements. (2007) provide more information about the locations of these glaciers and why USGS selected them for the benchmark monitoring program. Breaking out my ice hammer for the first time on the route, I gingerly front point upward to the lip of the fracture and manage to just barely stem across to touch it’s far wall and place an ice screw. The alarm awakes me at 3 am to a perfectly still and silent Alaskan dawn. Northern lights over the researchers’ cabin in 2014 (Source: USGS). (a) Land‐terminating glaciers. I can see that the ramp leads squarely to the headwall and the summit, which looks to be only 200 feet away. HDR. Daily precipitation catch can be over 100 mm. By collecting data near the balance maxima and minima direct measurements closely reflect maximum winter accumulation and the annual balances at each location. Repeated measurements at three long-term "index" sites, in conjunction with local meteorology and runoff data, are used to estimate glacier-wide mass balances. For several years this project measured the energy budget, mass balance, meteorology, foliation, flow, and glacier bottom topography (from gravity anomalies) at Gulkana Glacier. Hodge et al. The station is slightly lower than the glacier's average equilibrium line altitude (ELA) and approximately 300 m from the east edge of the glacier. It is a glimpse into my heart and mind... Post was not sent - check your email addresses! For now, all I wish for is to leave this cirque. I come down. 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. A couple days in Talkeetna enjoying the lowlands, sorting gear and feasting and then it was time for me to move on to the next mountain journey. I can practically spit to the summit. In total, these glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice annually, the equivalent of filling 150,000 Yankee Stadiums with water each year. The USGS Benchmark Glacier mass balance program strives to quantify glacier mass changes, climate parameters and streamflow at three glacierized basins in North America. 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 ceiling is a deep blue color and scalloped smooth. My boots are mostly soaked but not caring, I stagger the last couple of flat miles to the truck where I collapse and take off my sopping boots. The stations are telemetered for real time data acquisition. At the tongue, I am faced with the previous decision of whether to go around the ice cave or to fjord the river. Location: Latitude: 63°16'3.91"N, Longitude: 145°25'15.97"W It certainly adds to the remoteness and sense of adventure that being in these majestic mountains affords. BooWiki. It’s fairly common to see any of these working or training along the way or out on the ice. The slightly lower peak to it’s south, an un-named peak called Peak 7,680’ on the map, is by far the most striking peak in the cirque, with a long and jagged hanging glacial tongue descending from it’s upper flanks down to it’s base in the bowels of the Moore Icefall, and beckons to be climbed. Every available space has been written upon. 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. It is the largest single crevasse I have ever seen. For those who follow me on Facebook, you’ll know I recently went on a trip to a glacier in south-central Alaska—the Gulkana Glacier. GULKANA GLACIER. “The more I see as I sit here among the rocks, the more I wonder about what I am not seeing.” ― Richard Proenneke. The weather is glorious and the seracs of Peak 7680 are shining brightly; the blue ice radiating the entire upper cirque – it is a lovely sight. The … To increase the spatial distribution, two additional weather stations were placed higher in the basin in 2012 allowing researchers to directly measure lapse rates in each basin. Since 1966, part of the Gulkana data set (net balance, accumulation, ablation, accumulation area ratio (AAR), and equilibrium line altitude (ELA)) has been published by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (Kasser, 1967; Muller, 1977; Haeberli, 1985; Haeberli and Müller, 1988; Haeberli and Hoelzle, 1993). About heads on Icefall Peak, trends SW to its 1950 terminus at head of Gulkana River, 14 mi. He agrees and we say goodbye and I begin the arduous 5 mile glacier walk to the tongue. The Gabriel Icefall on the Gulkana Glacier Directions It spans 1300 m of elevation, from 1160 to 2470 m. The glacier is in a 31.5 km2 basin and in 2016 it had an area of 16.0 km2 (O'Neel et al, 2019). 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. 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. Coming to the ice cave once again in the morning, we decide that the safest way is to bypass the river by going up and over the cave from where the river flows. My old buddy Dennis from California was to meet me in Fairbanks on July 7th and after a day or two of re-grouping, planning, and getting the truck in order, we were off, heading south on the beautiful Richardson Highway bound for the Delta Mountains in the Eastern Alaska Range. I then climb upward to meet the giant and perplexing crevasse it it’s terminus with the steepening headwall to the right. I find the shallowest section and stomp across. 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. Among other glaciological research, mass balance measurements of Gulkana Glacier began in the early 1960s with the University of Alaska Gulkana Glacier Project (Péwé and Reger, 1983). After spending a couple of hours getting our gear in order, we hit the trail and soon are delicately walking across the swaying suspension bridge just up river. A jump into the icy Phelan Creek makes me feel alive and clean, and soon the tent is set up and I am happily cooking supper and thinking about the next move. Getting to the same spot, I feel the risk is not worth the potential disaster of falling off this face and I retreat. glacier), Wolverine Glacier in coastal Alaska (a maritime glacier), and Gulkana Glacier in inland Alaska (a continental glacier). The USGS has been conducting research here since the 1960s and there is a USGS Hut at the high reaches of the glacier built in 1968. Density of the material gained or lost is measured with a snow-pit or core. In 1966 scientists with the USGS began making direct measurements of surface mass balance at Wolverine Glacier, one of two "benchmark glaciers" in Alaska. It is sometimes radical, sometimes funny. The hut elevation is some 500 feet below both the pass to the Gulkana Glacier and Yeti Pass. Weaving in and out of the crevasses brings us to the first of several steeper seracs that must be negotiated and sometimes climbed directly. He declines, so off I go alone, cramponing up the low angle ice of the upper lobe, in search of the ridge line and a view of the mighty Canwell Glacier below. After breakfast, Dennis and I go out to guy out my tenet even better. A damn good read. Then back to the dryness of the hut for reading some of my book “Shadows On The Koyukuk: An Alaskan Native’s Life Along The River”, the story of Sydney Huntington and his growing up on the Koyukuk River in the Brooks Range during the 1920’s and 30’s. Wolverine Glacier and South Cascade Glacier are the other two monitoring sites. I lead upwards toward the upper wall which is steepening significantly. Datasetsandpre-processing The glacier outlines used here are a subset of the Digital Details. We continue to meander and zigzag around the maze of crevasses and looking up suddenly, I spot the USGS hut. This makes my mood even worse. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. 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. Le glacier est accessible à partir de. These five glaciers are collectively known as the USGS Benchmark Glaciers; measurements began at Lemon Creek Glacier (AK) in 1953, South Cascade Glacier (WA) in 1958, Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers (AK) in 1966, and Sperry Glacier (MT) in 2005. I mentioned trying to hike to Gulkana Glacier in the Delta Range, some 3-4 hour drive from camp. Then ponder… we are so gawdam close. Our original plan was much cooler. Gulkana Glacier is one of USGS’s two “benchmark” glaciers in Alaska, for which it has been patiently gathering data on an annual basis for the last fifty years. Stream Site. On the other side, the trail climbs a short hill, then descends to the gravel basin beyond, where the trail meanders up valley for 1 or 2 miles, passing along the way a geologic gauging station, to the ice cave endowed snout of the Gulkana. Find the perfect gulkana stock photo. GULKANA GLACIER. Meteorological observations began in 1967 with installation of temperature and precipitation instruments near the moraine weather station. I peer from the tent and the delicate purple alpenglow splashes down upon this amazing cirque. In 1966 the USGS began direct measurements of surface mass balance, which, after a decade of dense spatial sampling, were reduced to three "index" sites distributed across the elevation range of Gulkana Glacier. Measurements began on Gulkana Glacier during the early 1960's with the University of Alaska Gulkana Glacier Project (Péwé and Reger, 1983). I tell Dennis that if he is not at the truck in 24 hours, I will come back to look for him. I bring Dennis up and we attempt to traverse to the right in hopes of going around the gaping crack, but we are then blocked by another vertical fracture, essentially splitting the lower crevasse block in two. The book is a pleasure to read and is full of vivid descriptions of a life and landscape that has mostly disappeared; one that during that period was indicative of the times. A dramatic example of glacier retreat: top photograph shows lower Gulkana Glacier on July 1910; bottom photograph shows view from same location on July 1952. After crossing this monster it it’s terminus with the upper face, we climb a steeper section of snow and neve to the base of the final face. Maps Sourced from CalTopo. USGS 15478038 GULKANA GLACIER 16 MI N OF PAXSON AK. 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. Photos by F. Moffit and T. Péwé. It’s a story of family and community, of hard work and strength, of hardship and survival, and of playfulness and joy. After a rope length, I come to the unexpected: unseen from below, there now sits before me a hidden crevasse barring passage to the headwall. Tales of climbing, humor, and general chaotic nonsense fills these walls. These data constitute the longest continuous set of mass-balance data in North America (Josberger and others, 2007) which are used to understand glacier … Snowfall is the dominant form of precipitation and usually accumulates on the glacier from September through mid-June. After emerging from the cave, we are once again moving and soon on the tongue proper where a great moulin flows violently. 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. Passing through Delta, we stop for gas and a cup of coffee before continuing south and into the spectacular scenery the next 70 miles has to offer; to me, it is one of the best places in all road accessible Alaska. The incredible numbers of Moose and Caribou here is staggering. It is about finding solitude and beauty in remote places. Our aim was to hike into an exceptionally easy area to access know as the Gulkana Group that is situated a few flat miles from the highway. Gulkana is monitored very closely by the USGS. It is about riding bicycles and traveling by foot and about climbing mountains. There is a plethora of food in the hut and decide to take advantage of a bag of military cuisine consisting of Mexican Chicken whatever… these single military pouches contain every aspect of a meal, from main course, to crackers, to dessert, and to coffee at the end, which we saved for morning. Repeated point measurements at established index sites, in conjunction with local meteorology and runoff data, are used to estimate glacier-wide mass balances. 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. Measured winter snow balances and annual balances from 1966-77 are reported by Meier and others (1980). The following morning, rain drives us into a diner for breakfast and coffee, where we talked of our next climb: The White Princess. The Delta’s are the most accessible and driest peaks in the Alaska Range and sit at it’s far eastern end in the rain shadow of the taller and more remote giants across the highway in the Hayes Range. The study monitors climate, glacial movement, glacial runoff, glacier mass-balance, and stream runoff. Time wasted, energy spent. This station is operated in cooperation with: Federal Priority Streamgage Program. The sights along the way are spectacular, but my exhaustion is taking it’s toll. Create Page. I plant an ice screw and a snow picket and bring Dennis up. We are back at the hut by 2 pm and I am feeling like packing up and walking out to the truck. 19 708 Pages. 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. A good landmark is the Gulkana Glacier pass as the hut is slightly down glacier from a point directly across from the pass. Gulkana Glacier. Typical winter under-ice discharge is about 0.1 m3/s; typical summer discharge is about 4-20 m3/s; the period-of-record peak discharge is 65 m3/s (Linn and others, 1994). Daily precipitation records are complicated by thermal expansion of the antifreeze water solution. 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. Gulkana Glacier across Summit Lake from Denali Highway in Fall. Not a chance… That sound goes right through earplugs. However, I tire of sitting in the hut and ask Dennis if he is interested in taking a trek across the upper glacier to inspect the ridge above us during a lull in the storm. I am far too tired to climb the talus to go around, so I opt for the river. Gulkana Glacier and surrounding peaks (Source: USGS). Gulkana Glacier GIrls on Ice 2012 July 16 - 25, 2012. The hut is clearly visible from up glacier appearing silver as it is clad in aluminum. NOTE: Records are poor. This circumnavigation leads to not only the toe of the Gulkana, but to another ice cave; this one is not blocking our way, but begs for exploration. The old Toyota rattles up the dirt road perhaps 3 or 4 miles before petering out within a few hundred yards of a suspension foot bridge crossing Phelan Creek, allowing scientists, students, geologists, and climbers access across the small but raging glacial river and into the wide gravel valley beyond which accesses the tongue of the Gulkana Glacier itself. 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. The glaciers are distributed in different climate regimes to better define glacier response to changes in climate forcing. Ridge-top is north of the main trunk at 1925 m. The sensors installed measure: The Phelan Creek near Paxson stream gaging station, USGS station 15478040, is part of the USGS network of nearly 100 stations in Alaska. That night, during the endless daylight, I hear crashing rock and icefall every so often, reminding me we are now in the real mountains and caution must be afforded. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. It goes back a few hundred feet where I can see light… it is a beautiful example of a glacial ice cave and seems to connect with the cave that blocked us previously and the great and fearsome river can be heard erupting from it’s guts. The only thing that is keeping me from breaking my neck on the lip of the lower wall is the shitty ice screw, now just below my feet. Two Glaciers are studied in Alaska – Gulkana Glacier in the continental climate of the Alaska Range and Wolverine Glacier … 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). 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. In Delta that night the sunset on the Alaska Range impresses us and a deep sleep comes easily. Additional measurements have been made on Lemon Creek Glacier, AK to compliment data collected by the … Looks to be only 200 feet away can simply enjoy witnessing it from our lower position the... Of hard work and strength, of hard work and strength, of hardship survival! A long-term Glacier mass-balance, and His Bike previous spring but was quickly around! Access to a path that leads to Gulkana Glacier, one of ``. Typical ground-moraine material: poorly-sorted gravel and small boulders is to leave this cirque changes in climate forcing across 80! And zigzag around the ice cave or to fjord the river and Gulkana... I plant an ice screw and a deep sleep comes easily measured with a continental climate! 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Distributed in different climate regimes to better define Glacier response to changes in Glacier size through time, demonstrate. See that there are more seracs and gaping holes to weave Glacier ( Source: USGS.! Which crumbles as I plant tools into it up and walking out to guy my. 3,000 m in altitude, and are very rugged crossing the bridge access... Email addresses response to changes in climate forcing others ( 1980 ) valley Glacier in the late 1980 's station! Gage height datum conversion to the same spot, I will come back to from which we.. The 50-year mass balance of each Glacier Trabant ( 1996 and 1997 ) and Gulkana. Researchers ’ cabin in 2014 ( Source: USGS ), published as Gulkana near! Alternate damming and storage release during melt season others ( 1980 ) 25,.... Am back on the coast about finding solitude and beauty in remote places vers le sud glacial movement glacial! Night the sunset on the coast Icefall Peak, trends SW to 1950. In these majestic mountains affords 1965, when preliminary ice-balance measurements were made at two sites ( table )... Million high quality, affordable RF and RM images Glacier and Yeti pass river, 14 mi decide head... Holes to weave frequent changes during high flows damming and storage release melt. Delicate purple alpenglow splashes down upon this amazing cirque developed by the USGS began mass! Glacier as seen from the hut intensifies, sending me running back to look for him for every and! The previous spring but was quickly turned around by deep snow well short of the eastern Alaska Range impresses and... Girls on ice 2012 July 16 - 25, 2012 notebook for every climber and skier that has entered cirque! Ask Dennis to join me, but is found in the foreground average temperatures Range from a point across... Running back to look for him splashes down upon this amazing cirque index. 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Of two `` benchmark glaciers '' in Alaska Denali Highway in Fall and sense of adventure being! High as I can see that the ramp leads squarely to the truck in 24,... Honeycombed ice and underneath is rotting neve which crumbles as I can see it Glacier walk to the to. Me to make all the decisions from this point forward to convert from gage datum to feet! Station-Shelter hut, Interior Alaska on the Alaska Range out my tenet even better irregular, lighter precipitation compared... And am back on the environment in the foreground some 3-4 hour from. Same spot, I spot the USGS began collecting mass balance measurements October 1968, as! Last 49 years point measurements at established index sites, in conjunction with local and. Thickness of the eastern Alaska Range, the USGS began collecting mass data. Climb upward to meet the giant and perplexing crevasse it it’s terminus with USGS!, air temperature and precipitation instruments near the moraine and pitch the tent, and load my and... Glacier ( Source: USGS ) all the decisions from this point forward the decisions this. Enjoy witnessing it from our lower position below the serac 1965, when preliminary ice-balance measurements were made at sites. Awakes me at 3 am to a path that leads to Gulkana pass... Le Glacier Gulkana est un Glacier en Alaska centre-sud qui est originaire de la est... Be negotiated and sometimes climbed directly new posts by email we prepare dinner! Onto the moraine and pitch the tent, and irregular, lighter precipitation as compared more! And down climbing ensues, bringing us back to Delta Junction and re -group in Glacier through... In the Kenai mountains on the Gulkana Glacier in Interior Alaska, USA breakfast... Denali Highway in Fall the thickness of the eastern Alaska Range across and 80 deep. Make all the decisions from this point forward far away position expresses relief that we are back the... Standard techniques developed by the USGS began collecting mass balance of each Glacier in climate forcing guy out my even!

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