La Perouse Glacier, Fairweather Range

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La Perouse Glacier is located in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The glacier starts on the south slope of Mount Crillon, and trends south for 15 miles (24 km) to the Gulf of Alaska, about 8 miles northwest of Icy Point, and about 24 miles (39 km) north of Cape Spencer. The glacier is an outstanding landmark along this coast because the higher mountains are usually obscured by clouds, and the glacier presents a seaward facing wall of ice 200-300 feet (60-90 m) high. The glacier was named in 1874 by W.H. Dall, of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, for Jean François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse, a French navigator who explored the coast in this area in 1786. The name was published in the 1883 Coast Pilot.

La Pérouse was a French naval officer, who was sent in 1782 to Canada to attack the British forts on Hudson Bay. In 1785 he was given command of an expedition of exploration by Louis XVI. The goal was to complete the Pacific discoveries of James Cook, including to correct and complete maps of the area, establish trade contacts, open new maritime routes, and enrich French science and scientific collections. His ships were the L'Astrolabe and La Boussole. He sailed in 1786 from the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) to the Alaska coast and made landfall near Mount Saint Elias where he mapped the coast in late June 1786. On 13 July 1786 an expedition barge and two longboats, carrying 21 men, were lost in the heavy currents of Lituya Bay. They later went south to explore the northwest coast and the outer islands of present-day British Columbia.

They returned across the Pacific in 1788, however, after departing from Australia, neither La Pérouse nor any of his men or ships were seen again. Parts of his ships were found in 1827 on Santa Cruz Island in the New Hebrides in the South Pacific. Learn more about La Pérouse here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of the La Perouse Glacier and the adjacent coastline.

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