Mount Saint Elias, Icy Bay

Mount Saint Elias, Icy Bay

by | Aug 5, 2023

Mount Saint Elias is located on the Alaska-Canada boundary in the Saint Elias Range, about 165 miles (266 km) east-southeast of Cordova and 67 miles  108 km) northwest of Yakutat, Alaska. Its name in Tlingit is Yasʼéitʼaa Shaa, meaning “mountain behind Icy Bay”, and is occasionally called Shaa Tlein “Big Mountain” by the Yakutat Tlingit. Mount Saint Elias is notable for its immense vertical relief. Its summit rises 18,008 feet (5,489 m) vertically in just 10 miles (16 km) horizontal distance from the head of Taan Fjord, off of Icy Bay.

Mount Saint Elias was first sighted on July 16, 1741 by Vitus Bering on the ship Saint Peter representing the “official” discovery of northwestern America by the Russians. Although many authorities give Bering credit for naming the mountain, it appears more likely that the name was borrowed from Cape Saint Elias by 18th-century mapmakers and applied to the “high volcano” left unnamed by its discoverer. The first ascent of the mountain was made July 31, 1897, by His Royal Highness, Prince Luigi Amedeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi and his party.

The Saint Elias Mountains are a subgroup of the Pacific Coast Ranges, and span across southeastern Alaska, Southwestern Yukon, and the very far northwestern part of British Columbia. The range spans Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in the United States and Kluane National Park and Reserve in Canada and includes all of Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Read more here and here. Explore more of Mount Saint Elias here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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