Logan

Mt. Logan: King’s Trench Route

Mt. Logan: Canada’s Highest Point

Located in the SW corner of the Yukon Territory, near the Alaska border, is the 5959m (19,551′) high Mt. Logan.  Surrounded my the rugged peaks of the St. Elias range in the heart of the Kluane National Park, Logan is the 2nd highest peak in North America, just behind the much more famous Denali. But, unlike Denali, there are no crowds on Logan. Just the vast icefields and rugged peaks of the roof of Canada. Logan is ideal for experienced ski mountaineers that want to test their skills on an aesthetic and challenging mountain.


The Route:

The King’s Trench is the most common route on Logan and one that can be tackled as a ski mountaineering objective.

This route features generally straightforward ski touring terrain on large broken glaciers and involves winter camping at high altitude. The ascent gradually climbs 3500m over 23kms, from base camp to summit, and offers a fantastic panorama on some of the biggest glaciers in the world. Mount Logan is for advanced ski mountaineers wishing to push their skills on a challenging summit.

Logan
Basecamp on a beautiful but cold morning. Photo: Holly Walker

The King’s Trench is, at its core, a high altitude ski tour. There’s no technical climbing on the route. Starting from a basecamp at about 2800m, we gradually ascend up the Trench to the to the King Col camp at 4130m. This section is quite low angle allowing us to utilize sleds to help haul our equipment. After the King Col camp we no longer have that ability and will be carrying everything on our back.

From the King Col camp we gradually push up to our high camp on the summit plateau at 5080m. For this part of the climb we employ the classic “carry high, sleep low” method to aid in acclimatization. We don’t ascend more than 600m per day and take rest days as needed.

Typical layout of camps:

  • Basecamp: 2750m
  • Camp 1: 3300m
  • Camp 2 (King Col): 4130m
  • Camp 3: 4870m
  • High Camp (Summit Plateau): 5080m
Logan
Summit Day. Photo: Holly Walker.

Once we reach the summit plateau we set up our high camp and prepare for an attempt on the 5959m summit. We’ll wait for the best weather window before making the attempt to maximize our chances of success. If the team has acclimatized well and the weather cooperates we’ll arrive at high camp with a week worth of provisions buying us lots of time at high camp and increasing the chances of success.

Logan
Squeaking a few turns in on the descent. Photo: Holly Walker

After we tag the summit it takes a couple of days to get back down to basecamp. Then it’s a quick flight back to civilization… so long as the weather’s good. Sometimes it takes a few days to get picked up for the return flight to Kluane Lake.


Trip Details:

Length:​​ 24 days
Cost:​​

– 4 Guests: $8,999 CAD ea. 
– 3 Guests: $11,999 CAD ea.
– 2 Guests: $12,999 CAD ea.
– 1 Guest: $18,999 CAD 
Dates:​​ May 8th to June 1st, 2021
Difficulty:
Good fitness, Strong-Intermediate technical skills & experience ski touring
Meeting Location:
Whitehorse


Itinerary:

St. Elias
Sunrise over the beautiful St. Elias Icefield.

The weather and the conditions on the mountain will have a significant effect on our exact itinerary as will the team’s fitness and ability to acclimatize. However, that being said, here’s the itinerary that we’ve based the trip on:

Day 1: Meet-up in Whitehorse for a final gear check, sign waivers, review the weather and avalanche conditions, discuss logistics and enjoy a nice dinner.

Day 2: It’s go time! We catch a ride to Kluane Lake and set-up camp near the airstrip. We will also go over some technical systems, rope rescue systems and review how things are packed.

Day 3: So long as the weather is cooperating we fly into basecamp! Unfortunately, flights from Kluane Lake into the King’s Trench are very often delayed. You will want to be prepared to hang out for a few days while we wait for a weather window.

Days 4: After an early breakfast it’s time to start climbing Logan!

Days 5-20: We will use this time as needed to slowly move up the mountain and establish a high camp on the summit plateau. Once there we will wait for a weather window for summit bid.

Days 21 & 22: Descend back down the route to our basecamp for pick-up.

Day 23: As with just about every aspect of this trip, weather can easily delay the flight. But should everything work out we fly back to Kluane Lake, catch a ride to Whitehorse and book into a hotel for a hot shower before meeting up for dinner.

Day 24: Parties over and it’s time to go home.


Summit vs. Safety:

Mt. Logan SummitIt’s important to know that standing on the summit of Mt. Logan is not guaranteed. There are numerous factors to take into account such as the weather, avalanche conditions, snow conditions, team fitness, acclimatization and so on. Our guides are ACMG / IFMGA certified to the highest standards in the world as well as avid mountaineers. So while we’ll try our best to reach the summit with as many guests as possible, safety will be priority number 1. There’s no point in getting to the top if you don’t come down again.


Prerequisites:

Winter Camping

The King’s Trench route on Mt. Logan is an advanced ski mountaineering and high elevation program. You must have previous overnight winter camping experience, be an advanced intermediate downhill skier and an experienced ski-tourer. Previous high altitude mountaineering experience is a huge asset as well. .

It’s also important to have experience ski touring with a big overnight pack and it’s great if you have also used sleds. There won’t be anyone to help you carry your gear so all your personal equipment and food will be on your back as you go up the mountain. You may also need to help with some group gear at times.

BlackSheep Adventure Sports is heading up Mt. Columbia just before the Logan expedition so if you want to finesse your skills and techniques before Logan it’s the ideal opportunity. More info can be found here: Mt. Columbia.


St. Elias
A view of the massive Mt. Logan from the shoulder of St. Elias.

Included:

  • Pre-trip planning & support
  • ACMG/IFMGA Certified Guides
  • Shuttle Bus to/from Kluane Lake
  • Ski Plane Flights (in & out)
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner while on the mountain
  • Group safety equipment (ropes, rescue kit, first-aid kit, etc.)
  • Group camping equipment (stoves, base-camp tent, etc.)
  • Sleds for hauling gear
  • Parks permits & landing fees
  • Black Sheep Adventure Sports swag
  • Alternate plan based on conditions

Not-Included:

  • Accommodation in Whitehorse
  • Meals and equipment while camping at Kluane Lake
  • Personal snacks for the mountain
  • Personal winter camping equipment & expedition clothing
  • Personal ski touring equipment
  • Any additional costs related to itinerary changes
  • Trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, travel/rescue insurance – very highly recommended
  • Travel to/from Whitehorse

Fine Print:


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