Skiing the Pacific Ring of Fire and Beyond
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Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

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  Kiska Volcano
  Mount Gareloi
  Tanaga Volcano
  Kanaga Volcano
  Mount Moffett
  Great Sitkin
  Korovin Volcano
  Carlisle Volcano
  Mount Cleveland
  Mount Vsevidof
  Mount Recheshnoi
  Makushin Volcano
  Shishaldin Volcano
  Isanotski Peaks
  Pavlof & Pavlof Sister
  Mount Veniaminof
  Mount Chiginagak
  Mount Peulik
  Mount Mageik
  Mount Griggs
  Mount Katmai
  Mount Douglas
  Augustine Volcano
  Iliamna Volcano
  Redoubt Volcano
  Mount Spurr
  Denali (Mt McKinley)
  Mount Drum
  Mount Sanford
  Mount Wrangell
  Mount Blackburn
  Mount Bona
  Mount Churchill
  Mount Saint Elias
  Mount Logan
  Mount Fairweather
  Mount Edgecumbe
  Hoodoo Mountain
  Mount Edziza



Alaska & Northwest Canada: Regional Map and Introduction

Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula #
    The Aleutian Islands and their continuation on the mainland of the Alaska Peninsula (known as the Aleutian Range) are one of the world's major volcanic arcs, forming a chain of more than 80 stratovolcanoes stretching over 2000 miles from south-central Alaska across the North Pacific towards Russia. Formed by subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the edge of the North American plate, many of these volcanoes are extremely active and in most years several of them erupt. Most of the volcanic islands are uninhabited and barely explored, and are shrouded by continual foul weather. Nowadays, most of these islands are a wildlife refuge, and the already difficult access is more severely restricted in some cases. The islands near the Alaska Peninsula are larger and inhabited, allowing easier access to more well-known peaks such as Shishaldin and Vsevidof. The highest peaks in the chain are found on the mainland, including Iliamna, Redoubt, and Mount Spurr. The heavy precipitation cloaks all of the major peaks with glaciers, despite their relatively modest elevations, and snow typically persists into early summer even close to sea level. Although almost all of the 80+ volcanoes in the Aleutian Arc are skiable, only a selection of the most prominent peaks with the best ski descents are presented here.

Alaska Range #
    Dominating central Alaska is the massive uplifted block of the Alaska Range, rising from the low plains near sea level to the 20320 ft (6194 m) summit of Denali, the highest point in North America. The Alaska Range is non-volcanic, yet formed by the collision of the Pacific and North American plates, it is clearly a part of the Ring of Fire. The range is very heavily glaciated, and skis have long been used for glacier and winter travel. Of all the major mountain ranges in Alaska, the Alaska Range has the most information available about its mountains and routes, so this guidebook will concentrate its coverage on other less well-known ranges and mountains.

Select a mountain from the clickable map above

Wrangell and Saint Elias Mountains #
    The largest mountain mass in North America lies in southeastern Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, the rugged Wrangell and Saint Elias Mountains. The Wrangells are a volcanic range, containing several of the largest land-based shield volcanoes in the world such as Mounts Wrangell, Sanford, and Blackburn, all encased in a series of massive glaciers and icefields. The highest of the Wrangell volcanoes, Mount Bona, actually lies in the Saint Elias Range to the east. Most of this range is non-volcanic, uplifted by the same collisional forces as the Alaska Range, and it includes the 2nd and 4th highest peaks in North America, Mounts Logan and Saint Elias. Some of the heaviest snowfalls on earth occur here, feeding the largest icecap and glacier system in the world outside of Antarctica and Greenland. Access to most areas of these ranges is feasible only by landing on the glaciers with ski-equipped aircraft, although coastal peaks such as Mounts Saint Elias and Fairweather can be reached from a boat landing.

Northern Cordilleran Volcanoes #
    Although little-known to the general public, the northwestern part of British Columbia is home to an extensive region of volcanic activity, which stretches into neighboring parts of the Yukon Territory and also eastern and southeast Alaska. The volcanism here is due to extensional fracturing of the Earth's crust, as the Pacific Plate grinds past the edge of the North American Plate along the Queen Charlotte Transform Fault on its way to subduction beneath Alaska and the Aleutians. This region is generally known to volcanologists as the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province or the Stikine Volcanic Belt, and it contains Canada's largest volcanoes, far larger than the minor stratovolcanoes found in the Canadian portion of the Cascades Arc. Huge complexes such as Mount Edziza have erupted numerous times during the past several thousand years, with extensive lava flows and cinder cones surrounding the central shields or stratovolcanoes. Numerous smaller centers are also scattered throughout the region, such as Mount Edgecumbe and Hoodoo Mountain, many of which erupted subglacially through the large ice sheets which once covered the region during the Ice Age.

North America | South America | Asia | Oceania & Antarctica | Beyond the Ring | Volcanic Seven Summits | Volcano WebCams
Ski Mountaineering Photos & Trip Reports Equipment & Info Cascade Volcanoes Ring of Fire Site Map

Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
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