This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
Kellet, who discovered this island in 1849, and landed on it under unfavorable circumstances, describes it as an inaccessible rock. The sides are, indeed, in general, extremely sheer and precipitous all around, though skilled mountaineers would find many gullies and slopes by which they might reach the summit. I first pushed on to the head of the glacier valley, and thence along the back bone of the island to the highest point, which I found to be about twelve hundred feet above the level of the sea. This point is about a mile and a half from the northwest end, and four and a half from the northeast end, thus making the island about six miles in length. It has been cut nearly in two by the glacial action it has undergone, the width at this lowest portion being about half a mile, and the average width about two miles. The entire island is a mass of granite with the exception of a patch of metamorphic slate near the center, and no doubt owes its existence with so considerable a height to the superior resistance this granite offered to the degrading action of the northern ice sheet, traces of which are here plainly shown, as well as on the shores of Siberia and Alaska, and down through Behring Strait, southward, beyond Vancouver Island. Traces of the subsequent partial glaciation it has been subjected to are also manifested in glacial valleys of considerable depth as compared with the size of the island. I noticed four of these, besides many marginal glacial grooves around the sides. One small remnant with feeble action still exists near the middle of the island. I also noted several scored and polished patches on the hardest and most enduring of the outswelling rock bosses. This little island, standing as it does alone out in the Polar Sea, is a fine glacial monument.