Joint Canada-U.S. Survey in the Mount Kennedy Region


  • Canada. Surveys and Mapping Branch



Koch, Lauge, 1892-1964


In 1935 a National Geographic Society glaciological expedition working in the St. Elias mountain range near the Alaska-Yukon Territory boundary described an unnamed mountain in the area as "magnificent, a granite peak sheathed in snow and ice on the south and west sides, and on the north and east sides has fantastic rock cliffs." Thirty years later this same peak was officially named Mount Kennedy in honour of the late President John F. Kennedy. A surge of activity in the area followed immediately. Senator Robert Kennedy climbed the mountain, an expedition sponsored by the National Geographic Society is engaged in producing a large scale map of the mountain and its environs, and a joint U.S.-Canadian party has just completed a survey through the area which will determine the precise geographic position of the mountain's summit and its elevation. The survey party was composed of six men from the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey and two men from the Surveys and Mapping Branch of the Canadian Department of Mines and Technical Surveys. The main purpose of the work was to connect existing surveys along the Alaska Highway with similar surveys along the Alaskan coast. The work will strengthen the control surveys throughout the area and provide new control points for mapping. The decision to include Mount Kennedy in the survey, while adding a touch of glamour to the operation, greatly increased the difficulties. The survey itself consists of five main stations, connected by traverse, with auxiliary points established at alternate stations to provide additional checks on field measurements. The lengths of the four traverse courses varied from eight to thirty-nine miles; the distances were measured by electronic distance measuring equipment, and the angles were measured with precise theodolites using signal lights and heliotropes for targets. ...