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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kodiak's own Koniag Glacier, 2004

Kodiak continues to have its greatest winter in recent memory - snow is deeper at sea level than I have ever experienced in my time here. Ironically, while we have a good snow pack down low, up above 1500 feet there is not much snow. Most of our storms have been cold and the snow up high has simply blown away. It kills me to say it, but we need a warm storm - 36 degrees and raining in town but wet snow that sticks up high and does NOT BLOW AWAY. But hey, who am I to complain, The cross country skiing has never been better. Last weekend I skate skiied 15 miles round trip to Neva Cove on the coast between Ouzinkie and Anton Larsen Bay from Monashka Bay. It is literally 'ski anywhere snow'.

Unfortunetly the glaciers on Kodiak continue to receed. In 2004 we climbed Koniag Peak, the highest mountain on Kodiak, and I was horrified at how much the glaciers have recently receeded. The maps we used to navigate were from 1954 and in places the glacier had dropped hundreds of feet in elevation since that date, and about a third of the glaciers have dissapeared since then. It made it hard to find a place to get on the glacier! All of the white granite represents recently exposed bedrock - lichen has not had time to grow and turn the rock a dark color. It's obvious that more bedrock is now exposed on Kodiak than at any time in the last 120,000 years!

The top view is looking south from the top of Koniag (The village of Old Harbor is on the extreme left) while the bottom view is looking north from the summit. In the view north the white, lichen free granite is quite apparent. (PGS)


Colin Young said...

Hi, great blog! I am starting to do some research on hiking Koniag and I have had a hard time finding info about possible routes. Do you have any ideas of places to look for info? Do you live in Kodiak? I just moved here. Thanks, Colin

Zoya, Patrick, Nora and Stuart said...

Colin, check out the Kodiak snow forum.
It has some great info on Kodiak trails, skiing, and even water routes. Another place to check out is the Island Trails website.

Hope this helps,