American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Canadian Mount Logan Expedition

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Hans Gmoser
  • Climb Year: 1959
  • Publication Year: 1960

On June 12 an all Canadian party made the second ascent of Mount Logan’s east peak by the route first made in 1957 (AAJ 1958, pp. 31-38). Our party consisted of Willy Pfisterer, guide, Phil de la Salle, Ron Smylie, Don Lyon, Karl Rickmer and Hans Gmoser, guide. Pfisterer and Smylie drove our equipment to Whitehorse while the rest of us hitch-hiked. From Whitehorse we drove to Kluane Lake. After making two airdrops on the east side of Mount Logan and dropping three two-man rubber rafts on the tongue of the Donjek Glacier, Rickmer and I proceeded from the south end of Kluane Lake up Slim’s River to catch our friends who had started a day ahead of us. After a day and a half’s travel we got onto the Kuskawulsh Glacier, which we followed to the height of land, where it connects with the Hubbard Glacier. We continued 15 miles south on the Hubbard and nine miles west on a smaller glacier to reach the foot of the east ridge of Logan. This took seven days; we covered a distance of about 100 miles, carrying all our gear and ten days’ food.

After resting two days, we started the climb, taking skis to 8800 feet. On the fifth day we established Camp III at about 16,800 feet. The next day we reached the East Peak of Mount Logan shortly after 1 p.m. in perfect weather. There was hardly any wind; it was a gift from Heaven. We left Camp III the next morning at eight and reached the foot of the mountain at 2 a.m.

After two days of resting, eating and sleeping, we started our return journey. At the turnoff of the Kuskawulsh we kept going north and stayed on the Hubbard until we reached the Donjek Glacier. After four days, we arrived at the Donjek River flats, having covered another 100 to 120 miles. We picked up our rafts with considerable difficulty; one had 96 holes from landing in a tree. With skis and air mattresses we made two small rafts and began our river journey. A crackup 15 miles later forced four of us to walk, while Pfisterer and Smylie proceeded with one raft and all our equipment. A half mile from the highway all our gear was lost when the raft hung up on a snag. We reached Mile 1128 on the Alaska Highway at 1 A.M., June 22.

Hans Gmoser, Alpine Club of Canada

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