North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Mount Logan, First Ascent of Northwest Ridge

Publication Year: 1980.

Mount Logan, First Ascent of Northwest Ridge. On May 28 Paul Kindree, John Howe, Reid Carter, John Wittmayer and I were flown to the westernmost cirque of the upper Logan Glacier. With 30 days’ food, climbing gear and 3000 feet of rope, we were left at 8500 feet at the base of the unclimbed northwest ridge. (This should not be confused with the erroneously named “northwest ridge,” a spur on the north face reported in A.A.J., 1975, p. 140 by Kurt Schuttenberg.) We gained the ridge by a steeply crested ice spur and our third camp was placed at 12,200 feet, where the spur and the ridge proper join. The next section was the crux, a 2000-foot traverse blocked by a steep ice gendarme, the “Cockscomb,” and then by a narrow serrated ridge, the “Cakewalk,” which led onto a broad shoulder. This marked the site of Camp IV, at 12,400 feet and the end of continuous technical climbing. The ridge rose 2500 feet straightforwardly in a mile, occasionally barred by ice towers which we turned on the lee. An icefall flowing off the summit plateau obstructed the top of the ridge, but it proved very stable and we threaded an easy route through onto the plateau. On June 15 we had all our gear on the plateau after 18 days. After four more days of impeccable weather and eleven miles later, we stood on the roof of Canada. We were treated to a party at the congenial AINA camp before descending the King Trench in two days.

Michael Down, Alpine Club of Canada