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Mount St.Elias

Mount St.Elias



Far away from the civilized world, Mount St. Elias is located in south-eastern Alaska bordering the Yukon Territory. The Canadian side is part of Kluane National Park, while the U.S. side of the mountain is located within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Mount Saint Elias is notable for being the highest peak in the world so close to tidewater, the second highest peak in the U.S. and the fourth highest in North America.
Coordinates 60°17′36″N, 140°55′46″W

Mount St. Elias is a spectacular snow-covered pyramid. Icy, almost-vertical slopes hide perilous deep crevasses. Well known for its extreme and changeable weather patterns, hazards like avalanches, falling rocks and ice, dense fog and temperatures below -60°C (-76°F) are an expedition’s permanent companions.

Its name in Tlingit is Yaas'éit'aa Shaa, meaning "mountain behind Icy Bay", and is occasionally called Shaa Tléin, "Big Mountain", by the Yakutat Tlingit. It is one of the most important crests of the Kwaashk'khwáan clan since they used it as a guide during their journey down the Copper River.
Mount Saint Elias is the relatively highest mountain of the world. Its 5,489 meters (18.008ft) rise right from sea level, whereas the absolute highest peak of the world, Mount Everest (8,848m / 29,029ft), towers only 3,500m (11.500ft) above the Tibetan highland.


The mountain was first sighted by Vitus Bering of Russia in 1741. While some historians contend that the mountain was named by Bering – he discovered the mountain on July 20, saint’s day of St. Elias, others believe that eighteenth century mapmakers named it after Cape Saint Elias which is located on the south-western end of Kayak Island, 104km south-eastern of Cordova.

In 1897 the Duke of the Abruzzi, who gave name to the Abruzzi-Spur on K2, managed to climb Mount St. Elias on his expedition to Alaska as the first man ever. An extraordinary mountaineering achievement, since the task was no easier than having to cross the world’s largest glacier from the ocean and only then daring to embark on this expedition on uncharted territory.

Professor Israel C. Russell and the National Geographic Society tried an ascent and reached an altitude of about 2,900m (9,514ft) in 1890. Another ascent was not until 1946, when a group from the Harvard Mountaineering Club including noted mountain historian Dee Molenaar climbed the Southwest Ridge route. Since then approximately twelve to 15 expeditions have made it to the summit. The latest peak ace was in 2003, before the successful ascent and ski descent by Axel Naglich and Peter Ressmann in 2007.