Published: June 2008

Marking the Alaskan Boundary

Hikers on mountainside

Unusual difficulties are being met and overcome in marking the Alaskan boundary.
(Originally published in the March 1908 National Geographic)

Photograph by E.R. Martin

Unusual difficulties are being met and overcome in marking the Alaskan boundary as determined by the Boundary Tribunal at London in 1903. The shortness of the season in which the work can be done, the absence of all trails, the necessity of climbing almost inaccessible peaks, and the severe cold practically all the time have made the surveying of the boundary a very hard problem. The work is, however, being pushed vigorously by both the United States and Canadian governments.

The illustrations (see photo gallery) will give the reader an excellent idea of the region in which the work is being done. These illustrations are from photographs by Messrs Radcliffe Hordern and E. R. Martin, of the Alaskan Boundary Survey, and have been sent to this Magazine through the courtesy of Hon. O. H. Tittmann, Alaskan Boundary Commissioner for the United States.

Kate's Needle, whose peculiar profile (see photo) is about 10,000 feet high, and is the highest mountain in southeastern Alaska outside of the Saint Elias and Mount Fairweather ranges. It is one of the boundary mountains selected by the Tribunal of London. Whichever of the pinnacles projecting above its summit ridge is chosen as the exact turning point in the boundary will be a grander and more enduring monument than any which can be built by human agency. The reader will note the remarkable profile of a female face with a striking head-dress.

The mountain is the source of great glaciers lying on its slopes, and from one of these in a most inaccessible region this photograph was taken by Mr Radcliffe Hordern, of the Alaskan Boundary Survey. The mountain is 8 miles west of the Stikine River and about 34 miles from Point Roberts at the mouth of the river.

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