The 1896 Expedition
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Guide to Map
Description and narrative of expedition
MPG V2.8, January 2013

Advisories about Google map display, the Carbon River Road and expedition locations.

Expedition Location Guide

The points along the expedition are catagorized as:

   Camp, a base camp, established with tents, camp cook and supplies;

   Stay, an overnight stay with just rations and blankets;

   Stop, a waypoint along their main route, cited in the narrative of the report;

   Trip, a waypoint on a side trip from a base camp (see "Camp" tag), cited in the text of the report.


In 1896 a team of USGS geologists conducted a reconnainssance of the glacers and geology of Mount Rainer. Their two week expedition, July 15-31, 1896, started at Carbonado, travelled the established Bailey Willis trail up the Carbon River to the terminus of the Carbon Glacier and established a camp at Philo Falls. After two days for side trips they did a traverse of the north side of Mount Rainier across the Carbon Glacier through Moraine Park to establish another base camp alongside Winthrop Glacier.

From there five members of the team climbed to Steamboat Prow before doing a summit climb the following day, staying overnight in one of the steam caves, and descending to Paradise Park. They returned to the Winthrop Glacier camp across Cowlitz, Ingraham, Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers, after which they returned to their camp at Philo Falls. After a day's rest, and under the threat from a nearby forest fire, the team split into two groups, one along the Carbon River trail and the other the Grindstone Trail, reuniting on the Bailey Willis Trail to return to Carbonado.

The team consisted of Bailey Willis, geologist, Israel C. Russell, geologist,team leader and lead climber, George O. Smith, geologist assigned to collect rock samples, George Landes, geologist, F.H. Ainsworth, Michael Autier, Fred Koch and Williams Williams, team assistants, and Hope Willis (age 10), Bailey Willis' daughter.

Loction Information

Note about .-- The "information window" for each location has the following information:

    (1) Place and Date,
    (2) Date and Description,
    (3) Location (latitude/longitude), Elevation and Terrain,
    (4) Description,
    (5) Notes,
    (6) Rock Samples, see Field Book.

This should provide sufficient information to locate the camps, trips and waypoints of the expedition, described in the report and the other documents, listed below.

Additional Resources

Numerous resources were used in the research for this set of Web pages, and the research is still being done to correct and improve the information. It's a living project and will be updated as I find new material and documents. To date these include the following primary sources, listed below, with the rest listed in the book resources Web page.

  • Publications and Documents
    • "Glaciers of Mount Rainier", Israel Cook Russell, 18th Annual Report, 1896-97, Part II, pages 349-415.
    • "The Rocks of Mount Rainier", George Otis Smith, 18th Annual Report, 1896-97, Part II, pages 416-423.
    • "Impressions of Mount Rainier", Israel C. Russell, Scribner's Magazine, Volume 22, page 169-176, 1897.
    • "Mount Rainer, A Record of Exploration", Edmond S. Meany, The MacMillan Company, 1916.
    • "Among the Cliffs of the Northern Spine Mount Tacoma (Rainier)", Bailey Willis, unpublished, 1882.
    • Field Notes on Geology and Rock Samples, G. O. Smith, Field Books, USGS, Aug. 1895 and July 1896.
    • Personal Correspondence, Bailey Willis, Huntington Library, July 29 and August 2, 1896.
  • Please use the contact link to send e-mail.

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