Logan

Elevation: 5959 m (19551 ft)
Location: Canada, Yukon Territory; 60° 34′ N; 140° 24′ W

Distinction: Highest mountain of Canada, second highest of North-America (part of Second Seven Summits) and the most remote of all Panamerican Peaks, surrounded by the largest non-polar icefields in the world.

On the Summit of Mt. Logan, with Kluane Icefields below

Photos of Mount Logan.

Also, check out the Logan panorama photos in this library.

Back to Peaks page.

Mt. Logan Facts (copied from my friend Zoran Vasic’ expedition page):

First Ascent: Tuesday June 23, 1925 A. MacCarthy; H. Lambar; W. Foster; N. Read

The Logan massif rises about 3000 m from the surrounding glaciers and has the largest base circumference of any mountain on Earth. A glaciated plateau, about 20 km long and 5 km wide covers the top of the massif. About a dozen peaks rise from the plateau – the highest being Mount Logan’s main summit.

Due to its proximity to the Gulf of Alaska, severe snow storms can hit the upper part of the mountain any time of the year. The climbing season is from late April to early July. Generally, the weather deteriorates as the summer progresses. Springtime winds can exceed 160 km/hour; temps on the glacier can range from -40° to +80° F.

The mountain is normally accessed by ski-equipped aircraft or helicopter.

2009 Expedition with Canada West Mountain School

Videos:

Summary Video (6min) of entire expedition:

Simulated Flight around Summit from Google Earth Satellite Data:

Sunset on King Col, 4150m, at Mount Logan expedition 2009:

Large crevasse above King Col at 4700m on Mount Logan:

Arriving at Camp 3, 4850m, above crevasse on Mount Logan:

Ski descent from Camp 4, 5250m, to Camp 3 on Mount Logan:

Reaching the summit of Mount Logan, highest point of Canada:

You can’t just ride to the base of this mountain and climb it solo. Just getting there is a considerable project. I joined the Canada West Mountain School 2009 expedition to Mt. Logan, Kings Trench route.

I was surprised to find only one expedition going to Mt. Logan in 2009. There are 50-100 times more people on Denali than on Mt. Logan. Denali is part of the Seven Summits and in some years more than 1000 climbers reach the top. On Mt. Logan, there are years where nobody stands on its summit! It is the most remote place I have ever visited.

We were a small and completely self-sustained team with 3 clients and 2 guides. We brought food and fuel for several weeks; if the weather turned bad, we would have to wait and hunker down. We can’t get off the mountain unless the weather is suitable for flying. Hiking out doesn’t appear to be an option, probably a 1-2 week journey through no-mans land in itself.

There are very little technical difficulties on the Kings Trench route. We ascended using skis and roped up for glacier travel. The main challenges here are the extreme cold and high altitude. I can now say that Mt. Logan is likely the wildest and most remote of all Panamerican Peaks!

Mt. Logan from South-West - Picture from Wikipedia page

From a 1992 ascent, photo by Michael Schmitt

The above picture is from the interesting and educational Yukon Government Museum’s page on Mt. Logan.

See also our guide Rich Prohaska’s own Blog with entries on this and other Mount Logan expeditions.

Daily Notes

May 18 – Day 1 – Monday

Weather: Clear, no wind, temp +10C (13:00), extreme UV. Shed almost all layers, afternoon heat very intense. Temp dropping to 0C (17:00) and -10C (22:00); overnight probably to -20C.

Snow firm, light crust on top. 180 cm since last year minimum.

Set up all tents and cook tent. Sort gear for planned carry tomorrow.

Food:
13:00 drink 3/4 l tea and water
15:30 eat bread and beef jerky
20:30 carot soup and pasta dinner
21:00 hot tea, chocolate pieces

Vitals:
80bpm, 90 blood oxy
Feeling great, good appetite.
1/2 Diamox morning and evening.

May 19 – Day 2 – Tuesday

Weather: Clear, slight mountain wind, overnight -14C in the tent!
Warming up fast in the sun, pressure 1015 mb slightly down;

Food: 2.5 pancakes with jam, coffee, tea. After carry (5hr up, 1.5hr
down Ski) carot noodle soup, then Rotini Primavera, then trail mix,
tea, hot Gatorade.

Packing food and fuel for carry to camp 1; very heavy carry (40-50 kg) on sled & pack.

Vitals: 56bpm, feeling great.
After carry 80bpm, 95 oxy
1/2 Diamox am and pm

2 avalanches on both sides of trench. Everything worked well with skis
and bindings.

May 20 – Day 3 – Wednesday

Weather: slight overcast, no wind, -10C in tent overnight; pressure
1016 stable, increasing to 1018 by 19:00

Food: Eggs and cereal breakfast, coffee and Gatorade. Tuna and 2
slices of bread with cheese for lunch, trail mix and more Gatorade.
Garlic Broccoli soup and pasta for dinner, followed by hot chocolate.

Vitals: 80 bpm, 95 oxy
1/2 Diamox am and pm
Slight muscle soreness in calves from pulling sleds.

Packing up everything incl tents to establish Camp 1 at 3315m. Climb
today in 4:10 (compared to 5:10 yesterday). Set up Camp 1 by 17:00.

Mood is very good; everyone is doing well sofar (except Mike’s
blisters). Team of four (Mike Wiegele) is camping right next to us.
Glorious evening with sunshine until 22:30! Spectacular colors of
seracs on surrounding walls. Sitting in cook tent in the sun wearing
sunglasses at 22:15 without wind – magnificent!

May 21 – Day 4 – Thursday

Weather: clear, barometer up to 1019 in the morning, temp -14C in tent overnight!

Vitals: 80bpm, 90 oxy (same in morning and evening),
1/2 Diamox am and pm

Food: Cereal in morning, hot Gatorade and coffee. Bread with cheese
and sausage for lunch, various chocolate bars and 3 l Gatorade until
evening, hot corn soup and Pasta with garlic, dark chocolate and tea.

Today we carried food and fuel to King’s Col, our Camp 2 at 4170m. The first 450m vertical we could go unroped due to switchbacks up a
relatively steep hill (which wouldn’t work well roped up with sleds);
time 1hr40min. Then we needed to wait for the rest of the group and
had lunch. The rest of the way roped again, but terribly slow. Another
400m in 4hrs! Some concern about ability of all to summit if going is
this slow 2000m below summit elevation. Then skied down to Camp 1,
tricky snow but great scenery all the way!

May 22 – Day 5 – Friday

Weather: clear and sunny, some Cu clouds in afternoon, barometric
pressure 1017 am, then 1016 pm. East wind all day at 10-30km/h. In
evening Logan main summit had lenti cloud cover. Temp -10C in tent
overnight, sunny but colder to ascend due to wind; Evening temp at
King Col was -16.8C, considerable windchill. (First time I used my
down jacket and mitts.)

Food: Cereal and coffee at Camp 1 for breakfast, then hot Gatorade
along the way, some “Landjaeger” sausage and trail mix for lunch; hot
pasta soup and pasta with marinata and sausage. More Gatorade and tea (~3l per day).

Vitals: 76bpm in morning, 95 bpm and 85 oxy in evening at 4150m. I had trouble catching my breath while working to level the snow and set up my tent – the altitude makes itself felt!
1/2 Diamox only in evening (to stretch supply).
Martin (assistant guide) doesn’t feel too good (slight headache).

Reaching King Col was hard work today. We now have most of our food and fuel up here at 4150m. After we reached Camp 2 Hans Kammerlander and another party of two Austrians returned since the route is impassable after a bridge over a huge crevasse collapsed at 4700m before Camp 3. The only route they saw leads through unstable seracs which they deemed too risky and thus turned around and descended.
Also, Hans’ friend Wilfried didn’t feel well after having reached 5300m two days ago with only four days to get there – probably altitude sickness. They descend on foot since the icefall swept away their ski cache.
Tomorrow we plan to go up to see for ourselves.

May 23 – Day 6 – Saturday

Weather: dawn clear and cold, -17.8C in tent, barometer has fallen to
1013mb, the high pressure system is ending. Wind E at 10-20km/h, with a few stronger gusts overnight. As we hiked up around noon clouds set in and slight snowfall.

Vitals: 75 bpm, 85 oxy
1/2 Diamox am and pm
Very tired after day hike to 4700m.

Food: Cereal and roasted bagle with Camenbert cheese; during day cereal bars and a few nuts. rice soup followed by Clam Chowder with rice.

Thought about Tyrolean Traverse for crevasse at 4700m – maybe our only way up and the team of six from Quebec only way down! We hiked up with crampons to the big crevasse – impassable!

May 24 – Day 7 – Sunday

Weather: cloudy, light snowfall, occasional sunny spots; temp -12C in
tent overnight, barometer slightly rising to 1015mb, clearing in
evening but clouds below.

Food: scrumptious breakfast with roasted bagels and cheese, coffee,
hot Gatorade. Afternoon tea and hot Gatorade; then cream of mushroom and asparagus soup and pasta with tomato sauce and tuna. More hot Gatorade.

Vitals: 75bpm, 88 oxy.
1/2 Diamox am and pm.

Rest day with prolonged reading session in tent in early afternoon.
(Mozart on iPod and “Your Inner Fish” on Amazon Kindle provide quite
the contrast to the environment beyond the tent walls!)
Other team went down today (Andy, Mark, Crosby, Rosi) as Andy felt
sick since day before.
Team of 6 Quebec climbers came down from summit and made their way through seracs around crevasse. They dug out their stashed gear from King Col and kept descending on ski.
Team of 4 Norwegians arrived after full carry from Camp 1. Travel on
XC-ski with strongly built sleds and interesting leather-Goretex boots.

May 25 – Day 8 – Monday

Weather: windy overnight, gusts perhaps 50 km/h. Clear morning, -10C in tent overnight; sunny and often very intense heat on glacier; upon return to tent >20C in tent. Some Cu clouds coming in around 5pm.
Still 1014mb, evening 1013mb.

Food: Granola cereal and hot chocolate for breakfast. Toblerone and
Mars bar for lunch. Bagel sandwich with eggs and sausage at 6pm. Corn rice soup and pasta with marinara sauce and blue cheese for dinner. Drank 4l of Gatorade and 1l of hot chocolate today :-)

Vitals: 78bpm, 91 oxy
1/2 Diamox am and pm.

Plan to go up light to recon route around crevasse in good light and
visibility. Found new route to left of crevasse (under Seracs) and
descended on route to the right. Didn’t seem so bad. This is great as
it keeps our summit bid alive! Norwegians also came up to “Fort Knox”
just below the crevasse as small carry on their “rest day”!

May 26 – Day 9 – Tuesday

Weather: cloudy with sunny spots; -10C in tent overnight due to
clouds; 1012mb

Food: cereal for breakfast; 3l Gatorade, some chocolate bars along the way. Great beans and pasta soup and spaghetti for dinner.

Vitals: 88 bpm, 88 oxy
1/2 Diamox am and pm.

Very long and hard day. 10 hrs roundtrip carry food and fuel to Camp 3
at 4850m. Navigated crevasse twice. Extremely heavy backpack (35-40 kg). Took 1 hrs for 100 m vertical gain. Back at tent around 21:30!

May 27 – Day 10 – Wednesday

Weather: -14C in tent overnight, some snowshowers, very hot without
wind up the slope;

Food: cereal and coffee, hot Gatorade, sausage wrap and bars on trail, good bean soup in evening.

Vitals: 80 bpm, 90 oxy

Breaking down tents and moving up to camp 3. Very hard day, pulling
sleds up very steep slopes (often slipping sideways and tumbling over).

May 28 – Day 11 – Thursday

Weather: -20C in tent overnight! Light snow through thin layer of
clouds. Sunny on top, but very windy.

Food: cereal, hot Gatorade, Mars chocolate bars, alphabet soup with
sausage, beef pasta mix.

Vitals: 88 bpm, 88 oxy in morning;
92 bpm, 81 oxy in evening.
1/2 Diamox am and pm; Aspirin in evening.

Carry up to Camp 4 at 5250m. Found Hans Kammerlander’s tent, dug it
out and moved up to camp 4; -20C and strong wind;

May 29 – Day 12 – Friday

Weather: -21.7C in tent overnight; (8 hrs later I measured 35.9C
before opening the vestibule to cool down – that’s almost 58C temp
swing in 8 hrs!) during day light wind and cloudy, with sun breaking
through clouds at our elevation and higher. Barometer falling way down to 1004 mb, the lowest since we’re here. This also caused strong winds overnight.

Food: hot Gatorade and chocolate plus cereal bar for breakfast; bread
with bacon and cheese for brunch

Vitals: 76 bpm, 84 oxy
1/2 Diamox am

Due to 1-2 remaining days of poor weather we take a rest day at Camp 3. After brunch spent time reading and relaxing in the tent. Took all cloth off and reveled naked in the 30C+ heat of the tent. Listened to iPod, dried out all cloths, recharged the Solio and my own “batteries”.

May 30 – Day 13 – Saturday

Weather: -23.5C in tent overnight! Barometer trending up again, at
1008mb in the morning;

Food:

Vitals: Having trouble breathing through my nose at night.

Today we carry our tents up to Camp 4 in order to get in position for
a summit push two days later as the weather is supposed to get very
clear again for a couple of days.

May 31 – Day 14 – Sunday

Weather: cold wind, 3 of us in tent, -15C overnight. Crossed Prospector’s Col and moved across plateau; very cold wind (20-30km/h), trouble setting up mess tent.

Vitals: 81 bpm, 80 oxy

Food: soup with sausage, then Kathmandu Curry Rice, cheese crackers.

Carry all put tents across Prospector’s Col (5500m) and set up Camp 5
below summit at 5080m. Very windy when walking and setting up tent.
(30-40km/h)

June 1 – Day 15 – Monday – Summit Day

Weather: dawned clear, still about 20-30 km/h wind, diminuishing
during the day.

Vitals: 76bpm , 82 oxy

Food: Granola breakfast, Mars chocolate bars,

12 hrs round-trip to Logan main summit. Beautifully clear skies,
hardly any wind on summit, spectacular views. On ascent in harmless looking terrain Lucille broke through a snow-covered crevasse and was hanging from the rope with only her head still above the snow. Good thing we are roped up!

June 2 – Day 16 – Tuesday

Weather: wind abated overnight, -10C in tent overnight, almost calm
(5-10km/h), clear skies, 1027 mb high pressure.

Vitals: 74 bpm, 84 oxy

Food: Cereal and chocolate bars during the day, then pasta soup with
sausage and Italian pasta with beef for dinner.

Retreat to Camp 3; took 6hrs to climb Prospector’s Col (5500m)! Then
down walking to Camp 4 (5250m), further skied down to Camp 3 (4850m). Dumped excess food at Camp 4.

June 3 – Day 17 – Wednesday
Weather: clear skies, some high cirrus clouds, morning temp -20C at
camp 3 (4850m). High pressure system remains stationary, little wind.
Getting very hot during descent to Base camp.

Vitals: No more pills, getting down to much lower elevations, feeling
super-strong due to acclimatization!

Food: Granola cereal and 1l of hot tea, another 1.5l of water for the
way down. We dumped some of the food we had brought up at Camp 4 to reduce weight for descent.

Today we descended with full backpacks and sleds on skis – tricky
business, we tried various rigging techniques with different success –
Rich put it best by stating that “all methods basically suck”.
Down crampon steep slope to King Col, lowered sleds on two ropes
(120m) to avoid down carry. Then ski down all the way to Base Camp,
arrived by 5pm, called airstrip and pick up getting started right away.
Landing at Kluane Lake by 7:30pm and hitch-hiked back to Whitehorse by midnight – back to oxygen-rich air, springtime smells and
temperatures, a hot shower and civilization!

[End of expedition]

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