Climbing Conditions

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Climbing Conditions

Hi all,

We just finished guiding a successful ascent of Mount Logan spanning 21 days from May 17 to June 7, 2024.

Our group of 8, composed of 2 guides and 6 guests, ascended Canada’s highest peak on skis via the King Trench route and summited on May 30th. We accessed basecamp from the Silver City airstrip in Yukon with Horizon Helicopter. The support of ski planes provided by Icefields Discovery was used on the way out. We waited 2days to fly-in and 5days to fly-out due to poor weather. During our expedition, we traveled from 2750m to 5960m on the Quintino Sella Glacier, King Trench, Prospector Col and Summit Plateau areas on route to the main summit.

We experienced a variety of Spring weather conditions typical of the St-Elias Range for the season. A consistent southeasterly flow aloft generated light-moderate easterly winds for most of our expedition. Temperatures throughout felt cold but seasonal. We endured very cold overnight lows in the -20C to -40C range while daytime highs oscillated in the -20C to -5C. Luckily, the weather cooperated and allowed us to progress upwards close to our scheduled itinerary. We reached King Col (4100m) on May 21st and the football field (4900m) by May 25th where we endured a small storm while acclimatizing. The small of amount of storm snow accompanied with moderate-strong winds created a small avalanche cycle, perfect time to hang out at the football field and build red blood cells! On May 29th, a marked improvement in the weather allowed us to move camp onto the summit plateau (5250m) via the Prospector Col (5520m). Favorable weather conditions with minimal winds allowed us to summit on May 30th and start our descent the following day.

Traveling conditions, snow coverage and crevasses were generally excellent this year. Snowpack depth on glaciers was greater than 250cm and increased with elevation. Thinner snowpack areas were observed in some wind exposed locations. The crevasses and snow bridges above the King Col headwall (4200m) felt spicy but intuitive and more manageable then in previous years. Similarly, the crevasses and tension areas immediately below the Football Field (around 4800m) were well covered and easy to navigate this year. That said, a long open crevasse below the Queen Peak icefall (4550m) was tricky to navigate this year. A series of intermittent bridges, varying in thickness, had to be negotiated there. It will be interesting to see how this one evolves over the next few years. There appears to be other more challenging options around the East side of this crevasse which may become useful in the future.

Gear wise, we used ski crampons, boot crampons and ices axe in specific locations. Ski crampons were useful for ascending the refrozen headwall above King Col early in the mornings. They were also very useful for ascending to last few meters to Prospector Col. Boot crampons & ice axe were used to tackle the final steep slope and ridge walk to the main summit where good cramponing on varied firm surfaces lead to the summit. We believe our success is directly related to adequate group fitness, luck with the weather, and decent mountain conditions on the route. That said, our ascent progression (carry high & sleep low) while taking strategic rest days certainly contributed to it. In the end, it seems as though patience and determination were almost as important as fitness and weather factors.

Of note, during our descent, one of our guests developed a mild pulmonary edema and fingertip frostbites. After an extra rest day on the summit plateau and a cocktail of mountain sickness drugs, we managed to self rescue the subject up and over Prospector Col and back down the mountain. They were evacuated from basecamp, treated at the Whitehorse Hospital, and expected to make a full recovery. This was a lucky outcome and strong reminder that high altitude ski mountaineering at 60 degrees North is a serious endeavor. We were grateful for the support of both Parks Canada and Icefields Discovery in managing this situation.

Feeling lucky to have had the opportunity to guide yet another great group of folks up Canada’s highest peak!


David Lussier
ACMG Mountain Guide


Dan Morton
ACMG Ski Guide

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.