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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
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Archives > Books and Poetry > RWS Information > Mount Service Expedition

Mount Service Expedition

Published by Webmaster on 07/21/2003 (13689 reads)
The 2002 Mount Service Expedition Latest update: Dec 24, 2002

We had a difficult time attempting the climb of Mt. Service. Last summer was the worst weather on the Juneau Icefield in about 30 years. We had rain , snow, wind and often blizzard conditions in July. Then winter set in around Aug 7. At one point we had 9 days of fog or white out where we couldn't see 10m in front of our cross country skis. Our GPS units were worthless trying to go to a place where no one had been before.

We were able to climb up onto the mountain about a third of the way up from the glacial carpet lying below the summit. This attempt by a small advance party met climbing conditions much more difficult than we had anticipated from photos I had taken earlier from 20 km away. The rock is very rotten and rock was falling everywhere. The party retreated and circled along the base of the face of Mt. Service searching for an easier route to the summit.

They took this photo  showing the rugged and challenging mountain that it is. The party choose not to circle around the back side of the mountain as the weather was closing in. I feel that there is a better route on the back side of the mountain. I am now organizing another attempt at the summit, and I have the summit box right here in my living room waiting to be placed on the summit as promised. This attempt will be in either June/July 2003 or 2004.

Picture Of Mt Service Summit by Jeff Barbee


Several years ago a mountain in the Alaska Canada Border Range had been named after Robert Service. To the best of our knowledge it remains unclimbed. Every summer  the Juneau Icefield Research Program operates a research effort  in this area. This August Toby Dittrich, a physics professor at Portland Community College, plans to climb Mt. Service and the companion peak Mt. London, named for the other Yukon author Jack London. He is seeking support from the National Geographic for an article and also there is the possibility that he will produce a live webcast of the event by cell phone connection from the top of both peaks.

A telephoto picture of Mt. Service and Mt. London taken from about 20 miles away looking
northwest across the Llywellan Glacier. Mt. London is on the left and Mt. Service is on the right.
Photo copyrighted: Toby Dittrich, Juneau Icefield Research Program, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.

Mr. Dittrich would greatly appreciate any cooperation in providing any Robert Service personal effects or memorabilia which will be placed on the summit of both mountains in weather-proof boxs. This will personalize the event and the boxs will remain on Mount Service and Mount London forever. The boxes have been donated by Zero Halliburton and are painted especially for the climb.

As of this date the following items have been contributed and will be contained in the Service box:

Collected Poems of Robert Service
(contributed by Toby Dittrich)
American Flag
Canadian Flag
R.W. Service's wallet
French Driver's License
Auto Club of Monaco Card
1927 Map of British Columbia
Will Strong Poetry Award
Diary Page
Harper of Heaven Announcement
Misc Photos
Birth Certificate 16 January 1874
Death Certificate 11 Sept 1958 1:00PM
Family Photos
Hommage d' Robert W. Service
Photo of Grave and living quarters in Alaska
Victory Medal and British War Medal Certificate
Letter to R.W. Service from Mme. Iris Davies
Letter to Toby Dittrich from Mme. Davies (daughter)
Letter to Toby Dittrich from Mme. Anna Longepe (grand daughter}

Also you may help by contributing. Anne Longepe, the granddaughter of Robert Service, has contributed several of his belongings and some photocopies of papers, like his French driving license.

How you can help! In addition to contributing any small item to be placed in the weather-proof box mentioned above, you may wish to donate a small amount to help fund this expedition.

Mr. Dittrich will honor Robert Service's works of rhyme by reading his favorite poem "Each Day a Life" from the summit of Mount Service, elev; 2381m Alaska/Canada Border Range. Progress on this First Ascent and photos from the expedition will be available on this page beginning on July 1, 2002.

As for the location of the peak, it is a border peak in the Alaska - Canada Border Range, about 55 miles north of Juneau Alaska. The coordinates are roughly 59.05 degrees north and 134.27 degrees west. Mount Service has an elevation of 7,847 feet and Mount. London is 7,550 feet.. The highest peek in the range is Devils' Paw at 8,584 feet.

Mt. Service marked with the 'X'

Mt. Service  is a proud frozen distant silhouette on the horizon of the ice plateau of the Juneau Icefield. It looks out over the headwaters of the Yukon River. Below it the Yukon River flows several thousand kilometers through the heart of the land Robert Service wrote about. Ultimately the snows on Mt. Service find their way to the Arctic Ocean near where Russia and America meet. His mountain was well chosen and sits next to another mountain named Mt. London (previously climbed in 1999).

Here are two geological maps of the area from the Department of the Interior.
Click on the small map for a larger view.
Mt. Service & Mt. London are located on the
U.S./Canada border near the bottom of both maps.

Mr. Dittrich will keep us advised as his plans for the ascent develop. At the right is Professor Toby Dittrich, in front of the Vaughn Lewis Icefall.
He can be contacted at:

Below is Dr. M.M. Miller, right, Director of the Juneau Icefield Research Program. He has studied this
area every summer for 55 years. Don McCully, left, (Facilities Manager) will also be involved in the climb.



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