Alpine Club of Canada

CAJ 2022 JL Sneak Peek

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The Canadian Alpine Journal 2022 13 In order to try any of the lines on the south side of Mount Logan, we deemed it necessary to return to the East Ridge once more and acclimatize fur- ther. e prospect of a mixed weather forecast and windy acclimatization sounded a bit grim to Pete. He elected to stay in basecamp for some self-reflec- tion and watching the migratory birds. Over the next three days, Alik, Ethan and I regained our highpoint at the edge of Logan's summit plateau. After an undecided (and rather late) morning on May 11, we set off from our 4,750-metre camp (the Ice Palace) to the main summit of Mount Logan. High winds and cold temperatures kept the doubt in my mind throughout the summit day. Not until we reached the col between the main and east summit did it feel like we had a good shot at summiting, though we were late and dehydrated. From there, several false summits led to the final summit ridge. Seeing the final part of the Hummingbird Ridge trend into the highest point of Canada from the south reminded me of the enormity of the landscape. As the Yukon sun set, we looked from the summit across the glacial plateau, the Seward and Hubbard glaciers and the five highest peaks in Canada. After getting down to the col where the King's Trench and East Ridge routes split, we brewed up in the final rays of sun and walked back to our crevasse camp into the night. Our alpine-style approach did not allow us to spend much more time up high, so after a rest day we descended the East Ridge to base camp. After our day of descending and skiing back, Pete welcomed us with our final Mexican meal night, complete with tacos, guacamole and Gatorade margaritas. Base camps and good friends are great. After only a few days of rest, our basecamp became relatively busy. Friends of ours (Kirk Mauthner and Isobel Phoebus) were flying in for their East Ridge ascent and traverse of Mount Logan, which they completed over 22 days. After welcoming them into our camp, we quickly unloaded and reloaded the aircraft. Making use of the plane's availability, Alik, Ethan and I got flown over to the Seward Glacier, below the daunt- ing south side of Mount Logan. Sherpal had never landed on the Seward Glacier before and picked a good spot several kilometres south of Mount Logan and east of the Hummingbird Ridge. After dropping us off, Sherpal picked up Pete from base camp and they returned to the Silver City airstrip. e south side of Logan is the largest alpine wall I've ever seen. e history and aura of this aspect of the mountain is legendary, with almost all routes unrepeated. Starting from around 2,000 metres, all routes on the south aspect end well above 5,000 metres, with the Hummingbird Ridge finishing directly at 5,956 metres on the main summit. During our first evening on the Seward Glacier, we were fortunate to see the entirety of the south face, including our intended route on the southeast face. I-TO was originally climbed in 2010 (Okada-Yokoyama) and was a huge tour-de-force by the Japanese team, culmin- ating in the east peak of Mount Logan over three days of climbing. On May 18, despite our relatively short weather window, we set off toward the face. Closer to the wall, the approach was briefly threat- ened by enormous seracs from multiple sides. Due to route finding and hot temperatures, we arrived at our first bivy quite late in the evening. We ran into the remnants of Jack Tackle's cache at this bivy. Tackle had tried the line of I-TO twice before. e next day was supposedly our best weather day, and we were intent on using it. On the morning of day two, we had a snow fluting traverse for break- fast, which took us into the main couloir of the route. Around noon, clouds started to form and light flurries began. Our world quickly changed to small spindrift sluffs, and within minutes larger spindrift sluffs. During my last lead of the day, we were fully engulfed at times, looking for a way out. e ledge we saw in our photos proved to be a 50-degree snow slope with hard ice beneath. is was the most exposed I'd ever felt in the moun- tains, and a rappel descent seemed quite unpleas- ant and unsafe with avalanches roaring down the gully. Luckily, Alik suggested we stay put for the night and wait to see what the morning would bring. After a failed snow hammock, we elected to hack out a horizontal ledge to lay down our pads and have a spindrift-filled sleep. Fortunately, the next day dawned with mixed clouds, with occa- sional spectacular views of the Seward Glacier To read the full article order your copy of the 2022 CAJ today.

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