Mount Logan-Douglas Glacier Date of Climb:
7/22/2006 Trip Report:
I climbed the Douglas Glacier on Mount Logan via Easy Pass. We made the approach to the 4,800 foot basin on Friday and I summited on Saturday morning in 6 hours round trip from camp. We then hiked out Saturday afternoon. The route is still in-shape as the glacier is mostly straightforward. Many thanks to the trip report from a month ago and the ranger report from last week.
Photos and more:
We set out from the Easy Pass trailhead at 12:30 pm on Friday. The walk up to Easy Pass was hot, but once there, we were treated to an amazing display of wildflowers. Mount Logan and the route up Douglas Glacier were clearly visible too.
Flowers of every color filled the hillside making for some sweet photographs.
We descended into Fisher Basin enjoying wildflowers all the way to the valley floor. Continuing through forest, we finally reached the valley through which the melt waters of Douglas Glacier flow. Easy cross country travel through old growth forest brought us to the devastating slide path. We ascended from the lower to upper basin, taking a brushier route than we could have (as we discovered on the descent). This would have been of little consequence, but my partner was already feeling the effects of heat exhaustion and the extra chunk of brush only compounded the problem. We arrived at the upper basin (4,800 ft) at just after 7 pm and then I went about finding a suitable camp spot. Everything was either rocky or boggy except one sand bar I found along the rushing glacier waters. With minimal effort, we had a perfect spot for the tent (which I was thankful to have because of the bugs).
The following morning, my partner was still feeling the effects of heat exhaustion, so I set out to do the Douglas Glacier solo, departing at 5:10 am (no action shots…sorry). A ranger report from the previous week gave me confidence the route could still be soloed. I ascended the slabs and worked my way up to the glacier.
The glacier was still relatively straightforward. My route had no ice, very little crevasse end-running, and only a few snow bridges to cross. The glacier as a whole was much more crevassed and broken than photos from a month ago, but the route will probably stay in-shape for a couple more weeks.
I quickly worked my way up the glacier and the hidden steeper snow slope to the col between the Douglas and Banded Glaciers (the Banded appeared very broken from above). From here, it was a simple scramble to the summit arriving at 8:05 am, just under 3 hours from camp at 4800 ft.
At the summit, I enjoyed the warmth and calm conditions for 50 minutes. Not only did the high clouds make for pleasant climbing weather, they also created some of the best photography light and clarity I have encountered in the mountains.
While I have seen the view from Logan before via the Fremont, it was very dramatic to see the sweeping Boston Glacier appear for the first time only minutes before the summit.
I don’t look too flattering…
I even figured out the self-timer on my camera.
I retraced my steps down the glacier and then spent some time finding the right slab to descend to the upper basin. Down climbing the slab was probably the hardest part of the climb, but I made it to camp at exactly 11:10 am, six hours after setting out.
The photo below is of the Eldorado Ice cap with Baker (left) almost invisible by this point due to the contrast.
My partner got some good rest and was feeling much better, so we packed up and set out for the trailhead at just before 12 noon. The view from the slabs allowed me to pick a route that minimized the brush and we were in the old growth forest and out to the Fisher Creek trail before we knew it. A quick walk up the valley, head down up to Easy Pass, and then tired legs and sore feet down to Hwy 20, arriving at the trailhead at 5:15 pm and at my home in sweltering Sammamish at 8:30 pm for dinner!
The Douglas Glacier route was very enjoyable. The avy swath gives the option of doing this route in two days by motivated parties (I still had a few hours daylight), but as the glacier becomes more complex to navigate and the snow melts under the slide debris, it will be more difficult. Either way, expect to return tired if you do it in two days!
TH – 4,800 camp: 6 hrs, 45 min
Camp – Summit: 2 hrs, 55 min
Summit – Camp: 2 hrs, 15 min (6 hrs RT)
Camp – TH: 5 hrs, 15 min Gear Notes:
axe, crampons, tent to keep the bugs out! Approach Notes:
trail brushy in sections down Fisher Creek, avy swath up to 4,800 foot basin still fast with hard snow underneath the debris.