Wrangell-St Elias in the United States was given National Park status in 1980 and covers an astonishing 13.2 million hectares. It abuts the Canadian Kluane National Park and together these two parts form the biggest wilderness area in the world, which is also included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The park is broken up into four mountain ranges: Chugach, Wrangell, St Elias and the eastern part of the Alaskan Range.
The 16 highest mountain peaks in the United States can be found in the park, including Mount St Elias (5.5 km). In the low-lying areas the terrain changes into treeless tundra and subsequently into forested highlands. The Wrangell-St Elias mountain range stretches over a distance of 800 km between Anchorage and the capital of Alaska, Juneau. Everything here is enormous and magnificent. Not only does the St Elias mountain range contain some of the highest mountains in America and Canada, the ice fields in this mountainous region are among the biggest glacier areas in the world.
It’s that last geographical characteristic in particular that brought polar explorers and Alpina ambassadors Borge Ousland and Vincent Colliard to the St Elias Ice Field. The pair needed 19 days to cross the 434 kilometres on the ice. It was their third glacier crossing and the adventure forms part of the Ice Legacy project. Borge Ousland and Vincent Colliard plan to cross twenty of the world’s biggest ice caps in the next ten to fifteen years. Their objective is to make the public aware of the warming of our planet and the melting of large ice masses.
Alpina is the perfect watch partner for the two ice adventures. The Geneva watch house already has the perfect name and its collection contains plenty of adventurers watches as well. During their trek across relatively unknown terrain – everyone knows that Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, but who knows the name of the biggest glacier on the planet?* – Ousland and Colliard wore an Alpina Horological Smartwatch. This watch was capable of recording the distance travelled, the number of steps taken, the number of calories burned was calculated and the pair’s sleeping profile was recorded. Obviously there was no problem with the number of steps and the burned calories.
*The longest glacier in the world is the Lambert glacier in Antarctica. It is 64 kilometres wide and 704 kilometres long.