John Muir


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44 on the right side. As if its bed had been suddenly heaved up in the centre. This gl [glacier] ought not to be set foot upon as many of the most dangerous of the crevasses are slightly snow covered even this late in the season. (Aug 16) & when [open] it would be almost impossible to pick a way through them even with all patience & nerve & every appliance possible. I descended the left side after deliberating whether I would not attempt the right in order to look down into the wide gaping crevasses. [Some] ([7] or 6 ft) but on reaching the terminal moraine discovered that I had narrowly escaped some crevices that reached nearly to my [trunk.] Stretched & then [ran] [NW ward] around the great wall that formed [the left] [bank] of the gl [glacier]. Discovered another gl [glacier] not so wildly broken & shattered but exceedingly interesting & beautiful from its fine swooping curves its splendidly sculptured walls & its moraines & lakes & general [scenery.] In form it is nearly triangular [sketch] much crevassed near head beautifully barred with curved lines at foot where dirt stained. Attempted [ascending] to head up the middle of gl [glacier] but mostly [bare] & hard compelled to cut [every] [step] in most careful manner. Wearied of this & cut my way over to snow covered portion on the right side wh [which] was steeper in its curves yet much safer, though its crevasses all too narrow to be dangerous but any looking into one was startled to find myself on the bank of a snow covered portion of one wide enough to let me [in] to sure death. The snow was not more than 6 inches thick above it I looked into its cold [mouth]. Clear [ice] below a depth of 4 ft never could not see down more than ten feet owing to curve of the walls.

45 All the walls of these crevasses have convex sides uppermost. Walked carefully sounding with my hatchet, reach top safely & was glad to see on looking down the opposite side of the Main Minaret wall that I would be able to get over to W [west] side & so home to camp. This pass is 11300. This gl [glacier] about 500 yards wide 3 or 4 long. Alt [Altitude] at top 11300 bottom 11000 with long neve at foot reaches to [ ]. There are three [other] gls [glaciers] on the Mono side of Minarets one South end wh [which] I have not visited two others nearer Ritter & both very [fine] gls [glaciers] The one next [ ] Ritter. I descended last year is much crevassed in middle next South is gentler has moraine (terminal) about 50 ft h [high]. Reached camp early unwet unwearied unhurt out of all my perils-- a day whose duties domineered me. At the head of my camp can[y]on is a madnificent [magnificent] term [terminal] moraine of [glacier] now dead. Yet not old 300 ft high on face Neves yet in place of gl [glacier] came from recess in S.E. flank of Ritter. Main Can [Canyon] runs nearly S [south] So also that of [Minaret]. This camp can [canyon] also had no well-marked side gl [glacier]. Min [Minaret] Can [Canyon] had two on E [east] Side one yet active. Min [Minaret] Can [Canyon] much the larger drained all the W [west] side of Min [Minaret]s wh [which] made but one fan shaped gl [glacier] therefore its can[yon] is deeper & enters main trunk of Joaquin Can[yon] with much lower mouth.

The N [north]most gl [glacier] fountain of Min[Minaret] Can [Canyon] has been active long after death of trunk but is now dead—has left finely formed moraine 3 parted is fine example of gl [glacier] active from height rather than shelter. [sketch] Saw when ice made an abrupt rise from level to angle of 41° in camp can [canyon] foot Ritter. 9th day In descending the canon [canyon] side of Joaquin Slate Yosemite I could see the [young] river beneath flowing from grove to [grove] & through meadows with here & there a strip of white that marked a cascade but in trying to follow it up among the mtns [mountains] at head lost it entirely. In vain I tried to discover its course by some green forest or willow strip it appeared to sink only dry empty canons [canyons] were seen excepting this long distant strip of White water wh [which] came from the [great] W [west] gl [glacier] of Ritter. In following up the river two days later wh [which]

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Original journal dimensions: 15 x 18 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist