National Geographic : 1910 Jun
VOL. XXI, No. 6 WASHINGTON JUNE, 1910 G1NIL SOME TRAMPS ACROSS THE GLACIERS AND SNOWFIELDS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA BY HOWARD PALMER Illustrations from Photographs by the Author BRITISH COLUMBIA is preemi nently a land of mountains. From its eastern boundary-the conti nental divide of the Rockies-to the roll ing Pacific, 5oo miles away on the west, the traveler is kept in constant bewilder ment by the endless succession of ranges, peak piled on peak and glacier on glacier. Gaze upward from any forest-filled valley and the gleam from some snow cap will dazzle you through the tree tops. Follow that valley to its head and a glacier tongue will stretch downward, luring you still higher to the frigid won ders above. Other natural features demand admi ration - dark gorges, roaring torrents, spraying cataracts, beetling cliffs, dense forests, glorious wild flowers-but the dominant note above all is glistening ice in pinnacle and crevasse. The climax of this grandeur is attained in the Selkirk Range, whose highest summits indent the clouds r ,ooo feet above tide-water. From its rugged shoul ders more glaciers hang than are to be counted in all the Alps. Even a native Swiss has acknowledged that the Sel kirks "surpass our mountains in laby rinthine organization, in the production of primeval thickets, and the vast num ber of glaciers."* One can count as many as a hundred of these from even one of the minor summits. To reach this mountain wonderland there is only one way: take the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railroad and alight at Glacier Station. You are then very nearly at the summit of the range, with splendid peaks and glaciers on every side. One of the finest of these, the "Great Illecillewaet," pours seemingly out of the sky only two miles away-a short hour's trip from the Pullman car. Another, the Asulkan Glacier, four miles to the south, may be explored by way of an excellent trail leading up through a flower-strewn valley of the same name. At the heads of both these glaciers lie magnificent fields of permanent snow, the one above the Illecillewaet being especially remark able. Here, at an altitude of 8,0oo feet, rounded billows of spotless never stretch away to the south for 15 square miles an inexhaustible reservoir for the rifted ice-streams which flow from it at either extremity. * E. Huber in Schweizer Alpenclub Jahrbuch, 1890-1891, p. 278.