AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, Canada, St. Elias Range, Kluane National Park Reserve, Mt. Logan, The Orion Spur

Mt. Logan, The Orion Spur. In late May Jeremy Frimer and I climbed a new route on the northeast side of Mt. Logan (5,956m). The Orion Spur drops from Logan’s summit plateau into the basin formed by the Catenary Ridge (1967) and the Independence Ridge (1964). From its toe at 2,600m the spur gains the summit plateau at 4,800m in just 2.5 km, making this the shortest route to the plateau yet established. As with most routes on Logan, the plateau itself presents a significant challenge, with another 1,200m over six km remaining to the true (center) summit.

Due to high winds near the mountain, Andy Williams dropped us 20 km out on the Logan Glacier on May 20. We reached the plateau in five days, climbing alpine style, establishing no supplied camps or fixed ropes. We spent two days waiting out weather on our way across to the true summit, which was reached in a blinding whiteout on May 29. One more day was spent traversing across to the King Trench route, which was descended in two days. We flew out from the Trench base camp on June 3.

The climbing was exclusively on snow and ice, with occasional steep pitches (up to 60°) encountered while crossing the many serac bands. Most difficulties could be avoided by traversing off the ridge crest, but onto softer, deeper snow. The upper ridge was more consolidated and knife-edged, which made for easier trailbreaking, but campsites required excavation. At the top of the spur we exited right (west) to avoid a rock band, gaining a snow slope that led to the plateau.

We thank Dave Jones and Andy Williams for their support in the planning and execution of this trip. Partial funding was supplied by the Helly Hansen Mountain Adventure Award (administered through the Alpine Club of Canada).

Jay Burbee, Canada