Lt. Lowe's search

By the time Captain Abercrombie and the Copper River Exploring Party arrived in Valdez, most of the prospectors were across or crossing the glacier. They were unanimous in their opinion that the government needed to find a glacier-free route to the interior.

Abercrombie dispatched Lt. P.G. Lowe on April 23, 1898 to find the reported old Russian route rumored to lead to the interior. Lowe spent days bushwhacking through alders and densely growing willows before concluding that there was no trail. If there had been one, rapidly growing alders, avalanches and rock slides had now obliterated it.


Perhaps the most noteworthy event of Lowe's expedition occurred when Abercrombie named the Lowe River after him, presumably because of his endurance and scouting abilities. However, Addison Powell, writing in Trailing and Camping in Alaska, remarks: "Lowe River was formerly known as the Valdez River, but Lieutenant Lowe fell into it once and thereafter changed its name from its mouth to its source. According to this precedent, most of the rivers in that part of Alaska should be named Powell."

Abercrombie later dispatched Lowe on another expedition to find a route over Valdez Glacier to Eagle. It remained for others to find the first glacier-free route from coastal to interior Alaska.

Previous | Return to Index | Next

© Copyright 1998 Nancy Lethcoe and Virtual Valdez. This page is a Valdez Gold Rush site.