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THE "CREST OF THE CONTINENT"?
BY HERSCHEL C. PARKER.
MAP SHOWING PRINCIPAL MOUNTAIN AREAS OF ALASKA.
(Mt. St. Elias and Mt. Logan are shown in the lower right-hand corner of the map, and the great ice fields
of the West. He said: "I do not know what its effect will be, but this I do know, and that is that if there is any business to be done when the canal is completed, we shall be there, ready to do it. I have never opposed the construction of the canal, and I wish to say, moreover, that I have never been approached by any of my railroad associates or any other interests with any idea of defeating or delaying the canal's construction. My notion is that whatever contributes to make transportation swifter and cheaper beween different sections means development and business, and it is develop ment and business which our roads seek."
It is interesting to know that Mr. Harriman and his associates had obtained control of the Burlington, or at least so large a block that no other interests could obtain control, before Mr. Hill and his associates began buying up the road. One of the syndicate which purchased the stock began to sell when the price began to rise so rapidly, thinking thereby to keep the price down; and he sold so much that the Hill interests were enabled to obtain a majority.
Yet again, Mr. Harriman had similarly bought a large block of Rock Island, with a view of preventing any other interests from obtaining control of that road; prices rose, and, thinking to take profits and buy the stock back again lower down, Mr. HarriWith such a long record of success have man sold. It was just at that juncture that gone many defeats. His plans have not the United States Steel Corporation was always been carried out as he had designed. formed, giving sudden millions to many men, Some of these misses are well known, as in and it was with this money that the present the struggle for the possession of the North- "Rock Island crowd," so-called, stepped in ern Pacific. The whole story of that mem- and snapped up the road. It is comforting orable contest has never been told. The to know that even the most far-sighted of Harriman interests had what they believed men slip up once in a while. to be a clear majority of the stock. To Apropos of the recent purchase of half of clinch it and put the control beyond ques- the Pennsylvania interest in the Baltimore & tion Mr. Harriman desired to purchase 20,- Ohio, Mr. Harriman observed that he had 000 shares more. All this was before the long been an extensive holder in that road, Hill-Morgan interests were aware of what that he had been a director from the time of was going on. The order to buy these the reorganization. He was a member of 20,000 shares was not executed, and, owing the Expenditures Committee that planned to a provision in the articles of the road, the the outlay of $30,000,000 in improvements. preferred stock, largely held by the Harri- "I put in 18 months of hard work at it," Mr. man interests, was retired, giving control to Harriman remarked. Asked what he meant the other side. Mr. Harriman remarked of to do with the Baltimore & Ohio, he smiled this battle: " From the time the other inter- and said: "The purchase of half of the ests learned of our holdings we did not pur- Pennsylvania interest does not give us conchase one single share of stock. The bidding trol, any more than the Pennsylvania, does up of Northern Pacific to $1000 a share and it?" the panic that followed were not our work." Out of this defeat Mr. Harriman came with a profit to his road of $80,000,000. One day I asked Mr. Thomas Woodlock, well known as an expert in railroad affairs, what he regarded as Mr. Harriman's most noteworthy achievement. He replied: "I think it was this, to get licked in a fight and pull out of it with a colossal fortune as the result."
The Harriman of that especial sentence is the Harriman that worries Wall Street. Other men talk over their plans with their friends, their friends with theirs; Mr. Harriman does not. So Wall Street calls him · inscrutable.
Napoleon and other men of this type had their critics; Mr. Harriman has his. It is the function of an on-looker in life merely to describe.
MAP SHOWING PRINCIPAL MOUNTAIN AREAS OF ALASKA.
(Mt. St. Elias and Mt. Logan are shown in the lower right-hand corner of the map, and the great ice fields are indicated by the dark shaded portions. The great peaks and glaciers of the Fairweather group are
(Dr. Cook is seen standing by the small silk tent in the center of the picture. Mt. McKinley is the peak River, a distance of some twenty-five miles. It was over
These two great mountain ranges differ in a very marked degree in their general characteristics. The St. Elias Range, with an average width of about 100 miles, presents a vast area of glaciation for practically the entire extent, the Malaspina Glacier alone, from which rise Mt. St. Elias and Mt. Logan, having an extreme length of 120 miles and breadth of 60 miles. As this glacier descends directly to sea level, Mt. Logan, or the highest summit of this group of peaks, must be by far the highest mountain above the line of perpetual snow and ice in the world (the line of perpetual snow in the Himalayas being from 16,000 feet to 17,000 feet).
The Alaska Range has few glaciers, comparatively speaking, of any considerable extent, the largest in the region of Mt. McKinley probably not exceeding 25 miles in length by 5 miles in breadth.
On the northwestern slopes of Mt. McKinley traces of vegetation extend to a height of some 5000 or 6000 feet, so that this peak arises only about 14,000 feet above the line of perpetual snow.
There are only three peaks of the Alaska Range known to exceed 12,000 feet; Mt. McKinley, approximately 20,000 feet; Mt. Foraker, 17,000 feet; and an unnamed peak observed by our expedition this summer adjacent to Mt. McKinley of probably some 16,000 feet.
In the St. Elias Range, while this is as yet largely unexplored, there are at least five peaks known to practically equal or exceed 16,000 feet: Mt. Logan, approximately 20,000 feet; Mt. St. Elias, 18,000 feet; Mt. Sanford, 16,000 feet; Mt. Blackburn, 16,000 feet; Mt. Crillon, nearly 16,000 feet.
It may be well to mention here that there are two methods for determining altitudes; the method of triangulation and the hypsometric method or that of observing the difference of atmospheric pressure on the summit of the mountain and at some station near the base. The former method, while theoretically more accurate, is liable to very serious errors in practice due largely to the difficulty of locating a suitable base line near the mountain. It may be remembered that one of the triangulations of Mt. St. Elias
on the left. The great glacier on the right descends from the base of Mt. McKinley almost to the Chulitna this glacier that Dr. Cook later on reached the mountain.)
was in error nearly 3000 feet. The latter 100 years, but was not indicated on maps method, when the observations are properly made with standard mercurial barometers, or the boiling point of water is observed by means of especially graduated standard thermometers and the hypsometer, is usually far more reliable for the determination of very great altitudes.
Various triangulations of Mt. McKinley have given results varying from nineteen thousand and some hundred feet to some thing over 20,000 feet. The figure 20,300 feet given for the altitude of Mt. McKinley is the average of several such
A very approximate determination of the altitude of Mt. Logan has given the result of 19,500 feet. This summit may perhaps be a thousand feet higher. It is also not very improbable that to the north of Mt. Logan other peaks of this group may rise to still greater altitudes.
Mt. McKinley is visible from Cook Inlet when the weather is exceptionally clear, although the distance is about 200 miles.
until recently. To the Russians it. was known as Bulshaia," and to the natives of Cook Inlet as "Traleika," both names signifying high or big mountain. In 1895 it was named McKinley by W. A. Dickey, who while probably not approaching the mountain much closer than 100 miles, called attention to its great height. In 1898 G. H. Eldridge and Robert Muldrow, of the United States Geological Survey, made determinations of its position and altitude, and in the following year Lieut. Joseph S. Herron named the second highest peak of the range Mt. Foraker." In 1902 a more extended exploration of the Alaska Range was made by Alfred H. Brooks and D. L. Raeburn, who were the first white men to reach the base of Mt. McKinley. During the summer of 1903 Dr. Frederick A. Cook led an expedition from Tyonek on Cook Inlet to the Kichatna River, a westerly tributary of the Yentna, and thence following the route of Brooks and Raeburn crossed the Alaska Range to the headwaters