November 17, 2009

Hinman Glacier, North Cascades disappears

Posted by Mauri Pelto

In the USGS map for Mount Daniels-Mount Hinman in the North Cascades, Washington based on 1958 aerial photographs, overlain in Google Earth. Hinman Glacier is the largest glacier in the North Cascades south of Glacier Peak. Today it is nearly gone. Hinman Lake, unofficial name, has taken the place of the former glacier, which still has a couple of separated relict ice masses. From 1984-2007 all 47 glaciers observed by the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project receded. Hinman Glacier has had one of the more dramatic retreats. Immediately below is the 1965 Mount Daniels Quadrangle USGS map of the glacier. The glacier extends from the top of Mount Hinman at 7600 feet to the bottom of the valley at 5000 feet. The next image is of Hinman Glacier from the west in 1988,the Hinman Glacier is now a group of four separated ice masses, three are significant in size still. The third image in the sequence is the 1998 aerial image of the glacier a few areas of blue ice are seen, the glacier is 20% of its mapped size. There are still three sections of remanant blue glacier ice. The next picture in the chain is the glacier in 2006, from a Google Earth image,at this point the glacier is no longer detectable under the snowcover, note the map outline and the gorgeous new unnamed Lake Hinman. The new lake 0.6 miles (one kilometer long). Lastly is a 2009 view from the far end, north end of Lake Hinman up the valley and mountain side that was covered by the Hinman Glacier, now 90% gone. Each of the two larger ice masses from 1998 is now divided into at least two smaller portions. This is no longer a glacier and is just a few relict pieces of ice, the largest has an area of 0.05 square kilometers.