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North America, Canada, Kluane National Park Reserve, Mountaineering Summary and Statistics

Kluane National Park Reserve, mountaineering summary and statistics. During 2003 in Kluane National Park Reserve, 140 persons participated in 42 mountaineering expeditions. This accounted for 2,279 person-days in the Icefields of Kluane. This is somewhat higher use than in the previous year.

The weather this year was, as usual, unpredictable. Early in the climbing season a huge high-pressure system made for excellent traveling, and climbers fortunate enough to be in the St. Elias Ranges had successful trips. Unfortunately, during the main climbing period the weather was stormy and snow conditions poor, thus accounting for the low success rate on the major peaks, particularly Mt. Logan. On the King Trench route, only two out of 18 expeditions made the summit. With low snow last winter and an advancing icefall high on the route, difficult routefinding conditions existed. Many open crevasses have made this route more difficult over the past few years.

As usual most expeditions went to Mt. Logan. Twenty-nine attempted Logan—eight via the King Trench route, nine the East Ridge, one the Catenary, and one the Southeast Face. Only six expeditions reached one of the main summits. One success was a traverse of the mountain from the East Ridge to the King Trench.

Other mountains that saw climbing expeditions included King Peak (2), Queen Mary (3), Vancouver (2), Foresta (1), Kennedy (2), Hubbard (1), Walsh (1), Wood (1), and Steel/Lucania (1). In addition a research team was on Mt. Logan, and there were four ski-touring expeditions, including one that circumskied the Mt. Logan massif. The St. Elias Ranges offer excellent ski touring, and it was good to see more people taking advantage of this activity.

There were no major search and rescue operations. A few climbing teams self-evacuated or looked after injured or sick members of their team—thus the advantage of building self- reliance into one’s climbing plans.

Anyone interested in mountaineering or ski-touring in Kluane National Park Reserve should contact Mountaineering Warden, Kluane National Park Reserve, Box 5495, Haines Jet, Yukon, YOB 1L0; call 867-634-7279; fax 867-634-7277; or email kluane_info@pc.gc.ca. Ask for a “mountaineer’s package.” Alternatively, visit the parks website at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/kluane. Application forms and assumption-of-risk forms can be downloaded from this site.

Rick Staley, Mountaineering Warden, Kluane National Park Reserve