The La Perouse Glacier tumbles out of the Fairweather Range in Glacier Bay National Park, about 24 miles north of Cape Spencer. The glacier is an outstanding landmark along this coast because the higher mountains are usually obscured by clouds, and a seaward facing wall of ice is 200 to 300 feet (60-90 m) high. The glacier was named for Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, a French explorer of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest appointed in 1785 by Louis XVI to lead an expedition around the world. 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 first made landfall near Mount St. Elias 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 Perouse nor any of his men or ships were seen again. Learn more about Lapérouse here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of the La Perouse Glacier and the adjacent coastline.