Having had the privilege of climbing on all seven continents over the past eight years, I thought it was finally time to claim “home court advantage” and take on the challenge of climbing Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak. At an elevation of 5959 m (19,551 feet) above sea level, it has a massive prominence of 5250 metres and is the second highest peak in North America. Mount McKinley, also known by its aboriginal name Denali, is the continent’s highest peak and I reached its summit on June 26, 2005 (which gave wind to the sails of many big dreams but that is another story).Logan was first ascended on June 23, 1925.
Mount Logan is believed to be still rising in height because of tectonic uplifting but its height was fixed at 5959 metres in 1992 by a Canadian Geologic Survey expedition. Located within Kluane National Park and Reserve in southwestern Yukon, Logan is thought to have the largest base circumference of any non-volcanic mountain on Earth. The Logan Massif has eleven peaks over 5000 metres elevation and they tower over the St. Elias Icefields (one of the world’s largest non-polar icesheets).
The climb is scheduled to take between 22 and 25 days during June of 2013. We will be climbing the King Trench Route and flying in from the US side of things (the weather is supposed to be more cooperative on the US side). We’ll spend our first day on the mountain trudging with sleds six hours over to where we would have landed if we flew from the Canadian side :-). It’s funny to be climbing as a Canadian on the US team and the outfitter considers it to be an international expedition and I consider it to be a domestic one. Though I will need to take my passport on this domestic trip :-). I will be flying to Anchorage on May 27 and meeting the team on May 29–we’ll be calling in all weather favours and hoping to fly into the mountain on schedule, stay on schedule, and fly out on schedule (here’s hoping but not likely).
We’ll be hauling gear and food with sleds and backpacks for the first three camps and then leave the sleds as we make our way up to Prospector Col. Climbing Logan is similar to climbing Denali but is often considered more remote and challenging. I see it as a way to bring together the wisdom gained from several cold weather/polar expeditions and I’m training already so that I will be strong enough for the 60 pound pack I have been promised. For many years people here would ask me if I’d climbed Gros Morne, and I’d embarrassingly have to say no until I finally got myself over there to enjoy the climb to the top in 2009. In many ways, Logan feels the same, I’ve climbed to the high points of 11 other countries but not my own, so it’s time. It’s been on the list for the past five years but it’s timeframe has often conflicted with peak “speaking season” or Himalayan objectives…but alas, 2013 is the year. Mount Logan here I come! I hope you’ll follow along and cheer me all the way to the top!