The Lure of the Icefield Studies of glacial deposits on land indicate at least four major periods of glaciation. Three years later, J. Vin Hoeman, Dave Johnston, and Dr. Grace Jansen made an eastbound attempt. Alaska has so much to offer, and one of those offerings is being able to hike right up to a massive glacier! Elevation Gain of the Harding Icefield Trail. Remnant from the last ice age the Harding Icefield feeds over 40 glaciers like Exit Glacier across the Kenai Mountains. During the first three full years of operation, the lowest observed temperature was -21 degrees F, the highest observed temperature was 68 degrees F, and the maximum observed sustained wind gust was 117 miles per hour. The first known crossing of the icefield occurred in 1940 when two Alaskans, Eugene “Coho” Smith and Don Rising, crossed from Bear Glacier to Tustumena Lake. The trail is an extension of the Exit Glacier hike, passing through alpine meadows and craggy, bushy terrain before reaching the Harding Icefield. Recent scientific studies are documenting significant short-term changes in Alaska glaciers and the Harding Icefield. Part of this group, including Yule Kilcher, continued across the Harding Icefield and skied down Exit Glacier. In 1983 Roman Dial and Jim Lokken skied from the edge of the Skilak Glacier to the Tustumena Glacier edge in a single day and in 1984 Dial skied from the Skilak to the Chernof solo in one day as part of the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic. In the mid-1960s, two parties attempted but failed to make the crossing. Two parties attempted to cross the icefield in the mid-1960s. Before I knew it, only 12 hours after my arrival and a restless night, I was up in the air on a bushplane, admiring glaciers from above. 3000 feet or 914 metres. Seward residents generally ignored the huge icefield west of town before 1922. (2006). They are free to join. OVERVIEW: The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8.2-mile, 5-hour hike round trip with a 3,150-foot elevation gain.Hiking conditions are best from June to September. Hiking Tip. [2] The icefield itself receives over 400 inches of snow each year.[3]. Ice as Far as the Eye Can See Both attempts were unsuccessful. However, in Seward Alaska, it’s easier than ever to get right up to the glacier and see the vast expanse of the Harding Icefield as well. Harding Icefield Trail Exit Glacier Trails Map photo taken July 2003 North 0 0.5 Miles 0 0.5 Kilometers Kenai Fjords National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Harding Icefield Trail A hike to the top of the Harding Icefield Trail gives you a glimpse of what much of south-central Alaska looked like during the last ice age. 8.2miles or 13km return. Antarctica and Greenland are the only present-day ice sheets. By continuing to browse our website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. The Harding Iccfield is located on tlie southeast side of the ICenai Pcninsula, with elevations reaching 1500 ni above sea level. The Harding Icefield and its outflowing glaciers cover 700 square miles of Alaska's Kenai Mountains in glacier ice. Some of these glaciers are tidewater (Aialik Glacier) or terminate in lakes (Skilak Glacier), and some end on land (Exit Glacier). Very excited! Naming the Ice A steep, four-mile trail leads from the ranger station at Exit Glacier up to the edge of the icefield, affording visitors with a spectacular view and skilled mountaineers with ready access to the ice. The trail gains about 1000' of elevation, so it is not a hard hike. The forecast shows local time for Harding Icefield. Ice sheets are huge and continental in scope. Bedrock can show through the ice of an icefield. For more details about cookies and how to manage them, see our cookie policy.cookie policy. Current wind map of Harding Icefield, United States contains live wind speed and wind direction map showing prevailing winds in this area. Before the early 1920s, local residents paid little attention to the huge icefield in the mountain range behind the town. The Harding Icefield is an expansive icefield located in the Kenai Mountains of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Access to the Harding Icefield is exceptional in comparison to other large icefields. I went in mid-July and there was still some snow at … Along the way, the party made a first-ever ascent of Truuli Peak, a 6,612—foot eminence that protrudes from the northwestern edge of the icefield near Truuli Glacier. Dense clouds hung low, and fingers of fog crept up the valleys. Between the mid-1920s and the early 1930s, the increasing popularity of aviation had given a lucky few the opportunity to soar over the icefield. Needing to get to Homer and unwilling to wait for another steamer, Kilcher decided to cross the Harding. It is also partially located in Kenai Fjords National Park. Several glaciers originate from this icefield like the Bear Glacier. A National Park Service (NPS) study using aerial photographs and satellite imagery measured a three percent reduction in the surface area of the Harding Icefield over a period of 16 years. The expedition left Homer on April 17, bound for Chernof Glacier; eight days later, they descended Exit Glacier and arrived in Seward. Some of the more notable glaciers include the Tustumena Glacier, Exit Glacier, and McCarty Glacier. In the spring of 1968, the first documented mountaineering party succeeded in crossing the icefield. It was typical weather for a temperate rainforest, I kept reminding myself, but gloomy all the same. They hiked from Bear Glacier west to Tustumena Glacier. "Sights To See." It was a 3000 foot gain in altitude--6 miles roundtrip. Icefields are sensitive to climate change, growing and melting in response to changes in temperature and snowfall. The 8.2-mile round trip Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike leaving from the Exit Glacier Area.Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield. Aboard a warm and spacious vessel customized for comfort, cruise past alpine and tidewater glaciers among the fjords and take in a bounty of … United States - Hike to Harding Icefield - My husband and I are travelling to Alaska during the last 2 weeks of July. The Harding Icefield is thousands of feet thick, but it does not completely bury the underlying mountains. Harsh conditions limit the growth of plants at high altitudes. Satellite retrieval of snow algal discoloration in the Harding Icefield has also been achieved using similar techniques by Takeuchi et al. Scientists studying glacial geology and past climates recognize that the last two and a half million years of Earth’s history fluctuated periodically between cold and warm conditions. Yule Kilcher, a 27-year-old Swiss immigrant, had heard of the icefield and seen its edge from the steamer that had dropped him off in Seward. Also, a wind forecast map is available, the map includes all changes of wind for a 10 days period by 3 hours steps. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Harding Icefield,, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 February 2020, at 20:33. The numerous fjords carved by these glaciers give the protected area its name. 3 Days later I was on my first real challenge, called the Harding Icefield Trail near Seward. Climate Change Past and Present Today, during the warmth of the mid-summer season, many people climb the Harding Icefield Trail to see the ice firsthand. Hike to the Harding Icefield Shelter. The Harding Icefield and its outflowing glaciers cover 700 square miles of Alaska's Kenai Mountains in glacier ice. Current weather observations and summary reports can be viewed at the Western Region Climate Center’s website: Harding Icefield between Bear and Skilak Glaciers, Nunatak Plateau in background, Last edited on 23 February 2020, at 20:33, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Alaska Science Forum: "Harding Icefield's Loss is the Ocean's Gain." But still, regardless of the micro-climate variations, the general trend of the phenomenon known as forest succession is that the glaciers leave behind bare rock, which lichens then begin to break down. Alutiiq and Dena’ina Natives were no doubt familiar with the ice and had accessed it, but there is no record of any attempted crossing until 1936. Early in the season, about half of the trail is covered in snow, but hikers with boots will have little problem walking through it. Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park: See 190 reviews, articles, and 281 photos of Harding Ice Field Trail, ranked No.1 on Tripadvisor among 8 attractions in Kenai Fjords National Park. Retrieved December 14, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2006", Kenai Fjords National Park - Exit Glacier (U.S. National Park Service). Icefield, ice cap, ice sheet—the terms can be confusing. Most scientists accept the Milankovitch theory (see climate change section of this manual) of orbital forcing—that cyclical changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun are a principal cause of the ice age and long-term changes in the Earth’s climate. The trip took eight days. In 2004, the NPS installed an automated weather station at 4,200 feet on a nunatak in the northeastern part of the Harding Icefield (Figure 2). The Harding Icefield is 777 square km and one of the largest non-polar icefields in the world. Dense clouds hung low, and fingers of fog crept up the valleys. As noted above, Yule Kilcher, Dave Johnston, Vin Hoeman, and Grace Hoeman were veterans of previous attempts; of the ten, only four–Bill Babcock, Dave Johnston, Yule Kilcher, and Vin Hoeman–hiked all the way across the icefield. The NPS plans to repeat this study every ten years to monitor further changes. Created more than 23,000 years ago during the Pleistocene Epoch, the Harding Icefield was a small piece of the vast ice sheet that covered much of Southcentral Alaska (Figure 1). It is named for United States President Warren G. Harding. Conditions on the icefield overwhelmed him however, and a week later he was back in Seward. Harding Icefield, named for former U.S. President Warren Harding, is located in the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. The park received 303,598 visitors in 2017. Ten people were involved in the crossing, which went from Chernof Glacier east to Exit Glacier. In 1963, a party consisting of Don Stockard, Tom Johnson, and Carl Blomgren tried a westbound crossing. The Harding Icefield (approximately 80 km x 30 km in area) spawns several dozen outlet glaciers that flow down valleys and terminate on land, in … This website uses cookies. Sun and moon, 01/10/2020; Sun Moon; Sunrise 08:07; Moonrise 20:04: Sunset 19:29: Moonset 07:33: Latitude/longitude: 60°01′05″N 149°59′09″W Decimal coordinates: 60.0181 -149.9861.
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