29-Mar-2007 -- This confluence is located in South Central Alaska, USA, to the west of Cook Inlet and 3.8 miles (6.1 km) SE of the highest peak of Iliamna Volcano. This volcano is part of a chain of volcanoes that are located all along the Alaska Range. The Alaska Volcano Observatory continually monitors these mountains and documents disturbances. This area is located in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Iliamna volcano is a broad, roughly cone-shaped mountain. Most of the volcano is covered by perennial snow and ice and numerous glaciers radiate from the summit area. Large avalanche deposits occur on the flanks of the volcano and steam plumes are often observed at various parts of the mountain. Iliamna Volcano is 10,016 feet high (3,053 m) and last experienced an eruption in 1953. This location is 130 miles (210 km) south of Anchorage.
On March 29, a particularly nice sunny spring day, Larry and I went flight seeing in Larry’s airplane with the goal of locating and documenting 4 different confluences. We took off from the Kenai airport, flew due west to cross over Cook Inlet at its narrowest point, then turned south and flew along the west side of Cook inlet toward Iliamna Volcano. We first located 60N and 153W then flew due west to 60N and 154W. We then went due north to 61N and 154W then turned east we traveled to 61N and 152W then returned to Kenai. The round trip took us about 3 hours of flying time. The temperature on the ground at the airport was about 32 degrees F (0 degrees C); at altitude, it was about 20 degrees F (-7degrees C). Our trip took us across an inlet covered with melting ice floes, across mountains of the Alaska Range and deep into the back country of Alaska, far from any cities, towns, villages or roads. Once we started across the mountains we saw only a few isolated snowmobile tracks in hundreds of miles.
Larry and I flew over this site in Larry’s 1975 Cessna 180J airplane; the actual confluence was determined by the on-board Garmin 295 GPS. With the satellites that we were able to receive on this day, we flew over the confluence to within an accuracy of 19 feet (5.9 m).
Locating this particular confluence was relatively easy; we have flown over or near this location several times. The exact confluence was located on the north side of a ridge on the south east side of the highest peak of the volcano. Since we obviously couldn’t land at this location, the exact elevation is not known, but it appeared to be about 1,000 feet (305 m) down from the top of the volcano on the side of a very steep slope. This confluence is covered in perpetual ice and snow and is almost totally inaccessible to all but very experienced mountain climbers. As can be seen in the accompanying photographs, this location is far from any access or populated areas.
Photos: Photo 1 shows Iliamna Volcano as viewed from the east of the location. The confluence is on this side of the peak. The body of water shown in the foreground is Cook Inlet. Photo 2 is the actual confluence, the picture taken from the plane in a sharp bank and looking straight down. Photo 3 was taken directly over the confluence and looking due east. The body of water beyond the mountains is Cook Inlet; the land mass beyond the water is the Kenai Peninsula. Photo 4 was taken over the confluence looking almost due south. Just visible in the far upper right corner is Augustine Volcano which was very active this past year. Photo 5 was taken over the confluence looking due west. The peak of Iliamna Volcano is just to the right. Photo 6 was taken a short way off the confluence to show the peak of Iliamna volcano. The area in the center of the picture that looks like a lake is actually a snow field. This view is taken almost due east of the confluence looking west.
According to the rules of the web site, this visit is considered incomplete because we weren’t on the ground. As can be seen from the pictures and due to the complete inaccessibility of this confluence, I seriously doubt that it will ever be visited on the ground. At least our flyover shows something about the site.