American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Avalanche, Lost Equipment, Stranded, Yukon, St. Elias Mountains, Mount Logan

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

AVALANCHE, LOST EQUIPMENT, STRANDED

Yukon, St. Elias Mountains, Mount Logan

On July 28, a party of four climbers were involved in an avalanche at about the 4600- meter level on the East Ridge of Mt. Logan, a short distance above their camp. Although no one was seriously injured, two of them were shaken up, and they lost some climbing equipment and food. They made their way back to the camp, and were able to radio out for assistance.

The following day, a team was dispatched and dropped groceries, gear, and another radio into their camp. They felt that the current snow conditions made the route too dangerous to descend with the gear they had left, so they were evacuated by helicopter sling to the base of the mountain, and then flown out to the highway at the south end of Kluane Lake. Because of deteriorating weather and the high altitude, a thorough examination of the site of the accident was not feasible, and some of the climbers’ gear was abandoned at their camp. Also, a language barrier made it difficult to determine much about the circumstances of the accident. (Source: Lloyd Freese, Park Warden, Kluane National Park Reserve)

Analysis

Mountaineers are often at some risk on multi-day routes like Mt. Logan s East Ridge, It is common for good snow conditions to become dangerous. Besides the inherent difficulty of recognizing avalanche hazard, climbers tend to be especially optimistic once they are near to their goal, and so may push their luck rather than abandon their commitment of time, money, and effort. (Source: Orvel Miskiw)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.