American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, Mount Logan, First Winter Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987

Mount Logan, First Winter Ascent. On March 16, six Alaskans, Todd Frankiewicz, Willy Hersman, Steve Koslow, George Rooney, Vernon Tejas and I, reached the summit of Mount Logan via the King Trench to become the first climbers successfully to climb the second highest peak in North America in the winter. We helicoptered to the western end of King Trench at 9600 feet, where a Base Camp snow cave was excavated. We used no tents on this expedition, and though the process of erecting a combination ice block-snow trench shelter was a three- to four-hour ordeal, the warmth and wind protection afforded by these structures was instrumental in our success. Camp I was established on March 1 at 11,500 feet just below the constriction of the King Trench Glacier. Camp II was placed at the col beneath King Peak at 13,600 feet on March 4. After ascending the headwall on March 8, we set up Camp III at 15,000 feet. Camp IV was established on March 11 at 17,000 feet, just below the pass that drops onto the great plateau. On March 13, we crossed the plateau to its eastern end and excavated Camp V at 16,700 feet, still three miles from the summit of Logan. The first summit attempt was on March 15. Sunrise temperatures were – 35°F with clear skies overhead. Soon after departure, a ground blizzard developed, driving the temperature down and forcing a return to camp after we had gained only 800 feet in two hours. March 16 was clear and cold (– 30°F) with practically no wind. We gained the summit in six hours and had a spectacular view of the St. Elias Range with the greatest glaciated terrain outside of the polar regions. Frankiewicz, Hersman and Rooney flew out from Base Camp on March 23, while the other three of us skied 120 miles to the Alaska Highway via the Ogilvie, Logan and Kaskawulsh Glaciers and then down Slims River.

John Bauman, Mountaineering Club of Alaska

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