Monday, June 21, 2010

The Search for Mt Tillman

We printed several of the 100+ year old Alaska maps I bought on CD. They're a lot of fun to look at and will be hanging in the 20 foot gertee if I ever get it built! I noticed several of the maps include a 16,600 feet Mount Tillman alongside Mt Drum, Mt. Sanford, Mt Wrangell and Mt. Blackburn.

Anyone who's followed my posts over the past few years has seen pictures of the last four mountains because they're right in my backyard. I didn't have internet down here in Chitina tp do any research until tonight, so I've been asking every geologist and environmentalist coming through here (this is a major destination for the sustainability-stewardship crowd) if they've ever heard of Mt Tillman. The answers have been as fun as my own speculations about what happened to the fifth volcano on the maps in 1898.

Author Walter Borneman tells us in Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land that it was Lieutenant Allen who made the map with Mt. Tillman on it.

Wikipedia has a bit about it on it's page about Samuel Tillman:
In 1885, when Henry Tureman Allen was exploring the Copper River in the new U.S. territory of Alaska, he named a discovered peak after Tillman, his academy professor, but the discovery proved to be one major error in the survey, Allen mistaking either Mount Wrangell[25] or Mount Sanford[26] for the non-existent Mount Tillman.
The maps I have that include Mt Tillaman were produced by the US Army under General Ambercombie and other credible (and copyrighted sources) as late as 1898.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says Tillman is a synonym for Mt Wrangell.

National Geographic tells a much more extensive story about Mt Tillman written in 1902. Apparently Mr Robert Dunn of New York settled the question once and for all in 1900.

One government employee I spoke with automatically discounted the existence of Mt Tillman on any maps and acted as if it was impossible that there was ever a map with a 5th mountain on it. He barely glanced at the copies I showed him and went off on a litany of all the places I could find good maps that would show me what's really there. Most locals have guessed that since it was a volcano it probably blew up (like Mt St. Helens) and others think it was moved somewhere else. A few people suggested HAARP had something to do with the disappearance.

I'm thinking of naming my video of the summer The Search for Mt Tillman. It's going to be mostly a nature film. I've got some good footage of one local moose swimming in Town Lake with her 2 babies. It's a little scary when the moose come tromping through my front yard like a herd of horses, but the tourists love it.

Hoping to get big gertee up by this next weekend. Had to wait on more strong rope because Chitina winds are some of the worst in Alaska. I'd hate to have to watch a bunch of environmentalists drinking espressos go flying away on a big wind gust...inside one of my gertees looking like a hot air balloon. And what a surprise to learn I love lattes and breves and plain old espresso. Some German tourists told me I make the best coffee in Alaska... the locals say my coffee tastes like shit. Guess who I'm catering to. :)

Watching a bunch of videos sent my way, and will take notes on a few fo them and give my reviews later. I'm learning a LOT of new things and confirming a lot of old assumptions. But obviously I don't have a lot of time to blog lately. Hope everyone is having a good summer and isn't missing my posts to awful much. It's a good thing I don't have regular access and place to whine about how hard I'm working, eh?

1 comment:

Sean said...

"I'm so glad, I'm so glad, I'm so glad I'm soooo glad" ....that everytink is goink according to planz.

I DO miss your posts. But I'm contented knowing that you're making dollerz and laughing over old maps.


-s