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[TR] Mt Logan - Kings Trench 6/8/2012


chris
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Trip: Mt Logan - Kings Trench

 

Date: 5/16/2012

 

Trip Report:

Came wicked close to reaching the summit - 700m elevation, 7km away - but turned around due to quickly deteriorating conditions, poor forecasts, and determining that we did not have the supplies to wait out the weather for another attempt.

 

Day 1 - Arrive at the American airstrip (2570m), and travel to the Canadian airstrip (C1, 2700m)

Day 2 - Move to C2 in the King's Trench, caching enroute (3290m).

Day 3 - Back carry to C2.

Day 4 - Rest day.

Day 5 - Carry to Kings Col (C3, 4110m)

Day 6 - Move to C3

Day 7 - Rest

Day 8 - Carry to the Football Field (C4, 4840m)

Day 9 - Move to C4

Day 10 - Rest

Day 11 - Weather Hold

Day 12 - Move to C5 on the Plateau (5230m)

Day 13 - Wx deteriorating, descend to C4

Day 14 - Rest day

Day 15 - Descend to C3

Day 16 - Descend to C1

Day 17 - Traverse to the American aistrip, and picked up that afternoon.

 

The weather forecast called for a clearing day with moderate winds on day 13, but a return to storm conditions until day 17, and we realized we would be 4-6 overdue if we attempted to wait out the weather. Our team was pretty average in strength, and we were to shattered by the move to C5 to make a summit attempt in the morning as planned (a Canadian an Alaskan team, younger and stronger, did summit that day).

 

Our descent was epic - we climbed back up the col to exit the plateau in 50kph winds and -40C temps. The descent to C3/Kings Col was in 10-30m visibility, requiring compass and gps navigation through the greatest crevasse hazards on the route, covered by +30cm of fresh snow. The temps and conditions improved greatly as we descended from Kings Col, and the promised weather clearing made it possible to be picked up that afternoon.

 

Approach

We flew in from the Alaska side of the range with Ultima Thule. I've flown with them twice before and can recommend them without hesitation - Paul's one of the best pilots I've ever flown with. A second option is to fly from Kluane Lake. The contrast is that the Kluane Lake pilots are using Cesna's and have to fly over the range to reach the Canadian airstrip, while Paul is flying a Turbo Otter (bigger, more powerful), and has an easier flight up-valley. We had to wait two days to be flown in - that same day Kluane Lake was finally getting in after 10 days. The negative - US Customs refuses to allow flights originating in the US from landing at remote airstrips outside of the US, meaning Ultima Thule has to land on the Canadian/US border, and teams have to travel an additional 8km (one way) to reach the "start" of the route at the Canadian airstrip.

 

Equipment

This is the coldest I've been in a long time! I had an overstuffed -20 bag that worked fine. We used sleds (provided by Ultima Thule) to drag to C3/Kings Col, then carried after that. This is a great mountain to ski - not that the skiing is great, but they make a huge difference on the descents and the skiers on our team simply had more energy at the end of the day then the snowshoers.

 

Conclusion

This is not Denali.

When we left, 10 people in 3 teams had summitted, and approximately 60 people had attempted.

One pair of Anchorage climbers and a team of 4 Polish had waited on the summit plateau for 10 days for a summit - the Alaskans attempted once and the Poles 3 times without success.

Perhaps 2/3's of the teams made it above Kings Col.

There was still a team of four Canadian's on the plateau when we left, who looked strong enough and well enough supplied that I expected them to summit as well.

Camp walls are necessary from Kings Col and above, and the low numbers mean you don't get to just move into someone else's camp.

There is no such thing as a rescue from the mountain - anyone injured or sick will have to be taken all the way to the Canadian airstrip for evacuation, and you could have to wait for an extended length of time for that evacuation to take place.

 

That's it! It was an awesome three weeks, and now I'm stoked to be finishing the ski season and get to the rock! More information and photos can be found on my blog at Climb | Ski | Sleep | Repeat.

 

Here's the photos I promised.

[img:center]https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-E8ImA9c-yWA/T86cHooEAiI/AAAAAAAAQVI/aNLWgFdxVnQ/s800/DSC01556.JPG[/img]

 

 

[img:center]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-LocR0QrFyqA/T86cJOB3LuI/AAAAAAAAQVY/ZGs1y9DlVM0/s512/DSC01559.JPG[/img]

 

 

[img:center]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-68ul7hA_nf0/T86cOXC2wLI/AAAAAAAAQV4/hUYj-kidYUg/s640/DSC01568.JPG[/img]

 

[img:center]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9Bw84SpUMVI/T86cSaU_laI/AAAAAAAAQWg/XVTHa5Nm_8E/s640/DSC01584.JPG[/img]

 

 

[img:center]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wv9-_6a1jZ8/T86cV0E9YXI/AAAAAAAAQXA/Bpf1rV9PYGs/s512/DSC01595.JPG[/img]

Self portrait, Day 15

Edited by chris
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Tried it a few years back. Took like 7 days to get on the mountain and almost the same to get off from the Canadian side. Amazing area didn't summit.Summit or plummet, but got to ski some fun lines from base camp.

 

I would definitley recommend flying in from the US side.

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My party spent two weeks to get upto about 17,500 about 500 feet shy of the pass onto the plateau. We and weather coming in and were running out of fuel. I never forget the sense of disapointment and wonder as we tried one last dash to reach the summit. We reasched the pass, and looked down hill and all the way across the plateau and knew it couldn't be done in time. Great mountain, great skiing and great to drink with a bunch of crazy japaneese physicists who were up there collecting ice core samples. Next time I would have tried to bum fuel off of folks heading down. Cheers

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  • 2 months later...

Proud effort! The weather on Logan can be insane.....I climbed the East Ridge in 2009 and we hung out on the edge of the summit plateau for 6 days waiting for our shot. I would also highly recommend flying with Paul on the US side. We flew in with Andy Williams from Kluane Lake and didn't enjoy dealing with him at all.

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