Mountaineering Summary and Statistics, 1997. Last year year saw 38 expeditions comprising 137 people within the icefields of Kluane, a slight drop in numbers from the last few years. (The maximum number of climbers in a single season was 186 in 1992.)
There were 22 expeditions and 74 people on Mount Logan this year, representing 54 percent of the people in the icefields. The King Trench route, on the west side of the mountain, saw 12 expeditions and 49 people; the East Ridge had eight expeditions and 22 people. Two groups and three people attempted routes adjacent to the Hummingbird Ridge. Of interest to climbers this year was the appearance of a large crevasse bisecting the King Trench route at 5100 meters. This obstacle, not evident during the 1996 season, slowed the progress of each expedition. A very thin bridge early in the season was gone by late season, forcing later groups to explore alternative routes that detoured widely from the preferred ascent route. It will be interesting to see what effect this crevasse has on climbers in 1998.
Other mountains that were attempted included Mount Kennedy, Mount Hubbard, Pinnacle Peak, Mount Slaggard, Mount St. Elias, Mount Steele and Mount Walsh. In commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the first ascent of Mount St. Elias, several attempts were made on the Canadian side. Poor conditions turned all back.
Ffew groups managed to reach the summits they were aiming for. On average, 60 percent of expeditions successfully get at least part of their team on the summit. In 1997, only 30 percent of all groups in the icefields seemed to have succeeded.
There were no serious accidents in 1997 and no search-and-rescue operations were required.
Anyone interested in climbing within Kluane should contact: Mountaineering Warden, Kluane National Park Reserve, Box 5495, Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada YOB 1L0 and ask for a registration package.
Andrew Lawrence, Park Warden