North America, Canada, Yukon Territory, St. Elias Range, Kluane National Park Reserve, Mountaineering Summary and Statistics

Publication Year: 2005.

Kluane National Park Reserve, mountaineering summary and statistics. Mountaineering use was down by 50% in the St. Elias Ranges, with only 19 mountaineering expeditions registered. Fifty-four climbers and skiers spent 1,009 person-days in the St. Elias Range, the lowest use that the Park has seen in many years.

As usual Mt. Logan received the most attention, with eight parties attempting the King Trench route and six parties attempting the East Ridge route. Four groups reached one of Logan’s main summits. Weather and tricky routefinding, due to open crevasses on the upper King Trench route, caused other parties to be unsuccessful. Climbers were also on Mt. Kennedy, Mt. Steele, King Peak, Pinnacle Peak, and Mt. Queen Mary.

Of note was a first ascent of the northwest face of Mt. Kennedy, by two British climbers [see report below]. They took three days to climb the face and descended by way of the Cathedral Glacier.

Also of note is an American team that climbed the East Ridge of King Peak. This was their fourth attempt at King Peak over a number of years and, they believe, the first time a woman has made the summit.

On a sad note, a Canadian was killed in a fall on a ski descent after climbing the East Peak of Mt. Logan. Recovery was not possible due to altitude and location.

Another death occurred during a planned traverse of the St. Elias Range by two Alaskan climbers. One member drowned after breaking through thin ice on Harlequin Lake only two days into their expedition.

Park staff took advantage of the heavy melt this summer and revisited the Project Snow Cornice camp established on the Seward Glacier by Walter Wood in 1948. A Parks Canada historian recorded part of the site, which will contribute to the human history of the St. Elias Range.

Anyone interested in mountaineering in Kluane National Park Reserve should contact the Mountaineering Warden, Kluane National Park Reserve, Box 5495, Haines Jct. Yukon, YOB 1LO, call 867 634 7279, or fax 867 634 7277 and ask for a mountaineer’s package. Or visit the Parks Canada web site at

Rick Staley, Park Warden, Kluane National Park Reserve