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North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Attempt on a North Ridge of Mount Logan

Attempt on a North Ridge of Mount Logan. We were a party of five: Vince Bauer, Peter Thompson, Alice Purdy, Bob Cuthbert and I. We flew in by Great Northern Airways on June 24 from Kluane Lake to the base of our ridge on the north of Mount Logan at 8000 feet, west of Blomberg’s Independence Ridge (A.A.J., 1966, 14:2, pp. 309-314). Base Camp was a mile east of the ridge, perhaps not the best place, but the area closer had a number of open crevasses and some that were about to open. From a food dump at the western base of the ridge at 8300 feet, we climbed to the ridge and along its very thin crest or on its west side. Camp I was at 9400 feet. We spent the next 16 days on the ridge, setting Camp II at 10,400 feet and Camp III at 11,000 feet. While climbing at midnight about 100 feet above Camp III, two of the party were carried down by an avalanche on the western side of the ridge; one suffered a broken arm and the other a bad gash in his forehead. There had been an 18-inch snowfall a few days before and in crossing an easy 40° slope, one of them caused the snow to break away. They were carried about 700 vertical feet down a 60° slope and stopped hung up around a small hummock in the snow where the snow eased off before dropping off more steeply. The three of us still in the tent found them still climbing back up the soft-snow-covered ice slope just below camp at five A.M. They had fallen at midnight and were back in camp at 5:30; at two P.M. Jack Wilson from Alaska flew over and at three o’clock a helicopter from the Centennial Camp picked up the person with the broken arm. We made a further attempt on the very thin ridge above camp, but bad weather and lack of time made us decide to abandon the climb two days after the accident. We had only eight days more and had the prospect of two more weeks of climbing if the weather remained good. 1967 was the wrong year for this ridge. The snow was often soft on the crest so that we could only climb from midnight to ten A.M. Below, soft snow lay on ice. Where corniced, the ridge was not safe. At 14,000 feet the ridge meets up with a 400-foot-high icefall before the route emerges onto the high snowfields. We flew out on July 21.

James A. Craig, British Columbia Mountaineering Club