THOMPSON PASS
WORTHINGTON GLACIER


thompson.jpg (85029 bytes)

Coming out of Valdez, you climb up the mountains and go through Thompson Pass. Just to the north of the pass, there's a large glacier and a visitor's center/ranger station.   There's a small hike around the pond down at the base of the Worthington glacier, and access to the bottom face of the glacier.  We walked around down there, read the plaques regarding the glacial origins, and wandered onto the glacier face a bit, although we stayed out of the caverns/crevasses there.  There's a glacial moraine (gravel ridge) just to the south of the glacier that has a trail on it that rises to the top.

We decided to take a hike up this trail.  Deanie and Zach became uncomfortable about 1/3 of the way up, after the trail got to the ridge of the moraine and it was more or less headed up at a 20 degree angle and only about 3 feet wide.  They headed down, and I headed up - I wanted the exercise, and the view promised to be spectacular.  It was reasonable strenuous, and the wind became stronger the higher I went.  The picture above was taken from about 2/3 of the way up. You can see the pond, the bottom of the Worthington glacier, the Richardson Highway heading north away from Valdez, and to the right of the highway just about in the center of the picture, an airport runway (dirt).  I continued up almost all the way to the top, until I got very hungry and cold.  The whole way up and back I was talking loudly to myself to keep the bears away.  Felt like a moron again, but better an alive moron than a dead one.

You really can't get a sense of the size of this thing (the glacier) from the picture - I'm probably about 1500 ft. above the base, and the glacier is about 1/2 mile across. The ridge of the moraine is probably a hundred feet or so above the top of the glacier - maybe 200 ft.


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