Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/15

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5
THE GLACIERS OF GREENLAND.

the ice, and the general compression or extension that it has undergone. In but few instances did we find the rifting so complete as to debar easy circumvention through zigzagging, and rarely did the crevasses have a greater vertical plunge than from thirty to forty feet, or a width exceeding ten or fifteen feet; indeed, by far the greater number were of insignificant depth and breadth, offering little difficulty in their passage to the mountaineer provided with a glacial axe.

Our first attempt to scale a Greenland glacier was made on one of the minor ice sheets debouching on the northern face of Sonntag Bay, in latitude 78°. We had with us a steel-shod Hudson Bay toboggan, on which we loaded some two hundred or two hundred and fifty pounds of traveling impedimenta, and which

PSM V46 D015 Terminal wall of verhoeff glacier.jpg

Terminal Wall of Verhoeff Glacier.

we had hoped to be able to drag with us. We had selected this glacier because from our anchorage it presented to the eye an attractively gentle slope, which was apparently interrupted by but few crevasses, and a terminal ice wall of but insignificant height. Approach to the ice border soon showed, however, how erroneous had been our perspective. The ice wall, instead of being fifteen to twenty feet in height, as we had assumed, in reality rose to the respectable proportions of some sixty feet, over which arched a dome of graceful and even curve. In a few minutes some of our party had cut their way to the top, but it was made manifest that any attempt to draw our sledge over would only result in disaster to it, and we accordingly abandoned the enterprise. We repeated our efforts still the same night on a