Mt Logan – 2023

Join us on this journey to Canada’s highest peak, Mt. Logan at 5,959 meters. Canada West Mountain School has been leading ski mountaineering expeditions up the Kings Trench for over 25 years, one of the classic routes of Canada’s high mountain ranges. Mount Logan is the 2nd highest mountain in North America, and is often compared to Alaska’s Denali (North America’s highest peak) as “a more spectacular mountain without the crowds”. Unlike most trips on Denali, though, our Logan expeditions are ski-based to allow for quicker travel and enjoyable descents!

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    • All costs are in Canadian $ and include:
    • flights on/off Mt. Logan
    • guide fees
    • all permit fees and landing fees
    • trip food
    • group technical/safety equipment
    • satellite phone
    • ground transportation from Whitehorse to Kluane Lake and return

      Participants are responsible for the following:
    • travel to/from Whitehorse
    • accommodation in Whitehorse on Friday evening, May 7th
    • accommodation in Whitehorse after returning from Logan
    • all extra expenses incurred as a result of delays flying on/off Mt Logan (see note in Itinerary)
    • all costs associated with early departure for any reason
    • all personal gear and equipment
    • personal trip cancellation, medical or emergency rescue insurance
    • gratuities

    All extra costs incurred as a result of delays flying into, or returning out of, the Mount Logan region are the responsibility of the participants. These costs may include hotel accommodation, extra restaurant meals, and any extra transportation costs not already included.

    Emergency Travel Insurance:
    Travel insurance is encouraged for all participants and is not included in the cost of this trip.

  • Climbers on this program should have multi-day climbing, backpacking, and ski touring experience and be in excellent physical condition. Previous technical climbing experience is not required, though travel will be on glaciers using ropes.

    The climbing on Logan is generally non-technical glacier travel and crevasse rescue will be taught as required during the initial stages of the trip. Previous high altitude experience is not essential, though it is helpful.

    This is a Ski Mountaineering expedition and skis will be used for the complete ascent (and descent!), pending conditions. All team members of the Mount Logan King Trench expedition should be strong advanced-intermediate or expert skiers with extensive overnight backcountry touring experience.

    Due to the nature of the climb and the amount of time required, team members should be prepared to carry large packs and/or haul sleds while ferrying loads between camps. Pack sizes will be approx. 25-30 kg per person for each carry.

    Snowboarders interested in using split-boards should be aware that CWMS does not allow travel on a snowboard for the Logan King Trench expedition. This is due to the nature of the terrain while on the descent - there are many low-angle stretches, undulating terrain, and crevassed regions requiring uphill sections (while traveling down) that are simply not possible or practical, or safe while on a snowboard. Even on skis, it is challenging to negotiate these sections!

    Please contact our office directly if you have questions regarding your suitability for this ski mountaineering expedition to Canada's highest peak.

    If there are enough participants who wish to participate using Snowshoes, the Mount Logan King Trench Expedition can be done as a snowshoe trip. In this event, we require a minimum of 3 participants in order to form a complete rope team that will be all on snowshoes. Please contact our office directly if you are interested in climbing Mount Logan using snowshoes instead of skis.

  • The Kings Trench route on Logan is an isolated and adventurous path for ski mountaineers to the highest summit in Canada and 2nd highest in North America. This route is similar in nature to most of the West Buttress route on Denali, with the exception of the fixed ropes section on Denali - no fixed ropes or steep climbing are encountered on the Kings Trench route. Unlike Denali, the Kings Trench route on Logan is also a great ski mountaineering objective!

    This once-in-a-lifetime trip starts with a 1-hour flight through some of the highest, most remote mountains in North America. After landing at approximately 2,700 meters at the lower end of the "King Trench", we will set our base camp on the Quintino Sella Glacier. From there we spend 5-6 days making our way on skis up the glaciers to establish an Advanced Base Camp at the 4,100-meter King Col (between the Logan Massif and King Peak). After this point, in order to continue acclimatizing well, we will take a rest day before staging our carries over the next few days onto the upper mountain. Our final camp will be at approximately 5,300 meters in preparation for the summit attempt. After the summit, our descent back down our route will take a quick two days. A climb up (and ski run down) to be remembered!

    Due to the need to acclimatize on a mountain of this nature, the elevation gain between camps is only 600-700 meters every 2-days. This allows for a slower pace, though participants should be in excellent physical condition and be prepared for extreme weather conditions and altitude.

  • The 2023 Mount Logan Expedition will be conducted by one of our ACMG Mountain Guides. The 2023 expedition Guide team will be announced soon.

  • The 2023 Mount Logan Kings Trench trip departs from Whitehorse, in Yukon Territory, Canada.

    The team will meet on Day-1 in Whitehorse and review equipment, food and finalize plans and preparation for the expedition. Participants are responsible for getting themselves to (and from) Whitehorse and all accommodation and meals while in Whitehorse. We recommend that participants plan to arrive in Whitehorse on the evening before Day-1 to avoid any issues with travel delays.

    On the morning of Day-2 the team will leave Whitehorse and drive to the Kluane Lake staging area for the flight onto Logan, approximately 3 hours by van transport west of Whitehorse. Once at the airstrip on the shore of Kluane Lake, the team will spend the remainder of this day going through their final gear, food, and logistics checks in preparation for the flight into Mount Logan Base Camp.

    Day-3 will be the first scheduled day to fly the team onto Mount Logan. We work with the local charter company Icefield Discovery, they have the longest record of flying groups into the St Elias Range and we are always excited to join their professional and incredibly experienced team of staff and pilots.

    Please note though, that the flight onto Mount Logan is contingent on safe flying and weather conditions. Due to the nature of the mountain region of the St. Elias ranges, inclement weather can delay flights for periods of up to two weeks or longer. We always defer the decisions to fly in (and out) of the St Elias Range to the pilots and staff of Icefield Discovery, relying on their decades of experience living and working in the Icefields to know when it is safe to fly.

    In the event of weather delays, the team will plan on camping while based at the airstrip on Kluane Lake. There are limited facilities and amenities at this location so participants should prepare for a possible extended stay of camping. A small number of hotels and B&B's may have available accommodation as an option for those who are interested, though due to the last-minute nature of these delays, we cannot guarantee availability. Occasionally, it may be best to stay in Whitehorse before even heading out to Kluane Lake, if the weather forecasts indicate a long period of poor weather that will delay the flights for more than 1-2 days.

    Any extra costs as a result of delays in flying into the Mount Logan region are the responsibility of the participants, including hotel accommodation, extra meals, and any extra transportation costs.

    Once the team has the "'green light" to fly, everyone will get ferried to the Base Camp on the Quintino Sella Glacier at 2,700 meters elevation. from here, the team will embark on the journey up the King Trench, between Mt Logan and King Peak. Camp 1 will be established partway up the Trench as an intermediary camp, before moving up to Camp 2 in King Col at 4,100 meters. The process of moving all the supplies and the team up the trench will take between 3-5 days, depending on snow and weather conditions.

    From King Col (C2) the route heads up into steeper terrain and navigates the first significant icefall directly above C2. Due to the constantly changing nature of this terrain, often our teams will spend 1-2 days of reconnaissance in order to establish the safest route through, before moving camp up to C3, at the aptly named "Football Field" located above the icefall at approx. 4,850 meters.

    From C3 there are a few strategies for moving onto the upper mountain. In order to access the final summit, climbers must cross over to the north side of Mount Logan through Prospector Col at 5,500 meters. Many groups choose to put in their final High Camp on the south side of Prospector Col and complete their summit push from that camp. While this leads to a longer summit-day, it eases the logistics of carrying loads up and over to the north side of the mountain and reduces the risk of getting caught by bad weather on the exposed upper plateau on the north side. The alternate plan involves carrying loads up and over and establishing High Camp on the summit plateau, much closer to the main summit of Mount Logan.

    The final summit day is a long and exposed day regardless of the final camp location. The main summit of Mount Logan is at 5,959 meters and is located on the eastern edge of the upper plateau, farthest away from Prospector Col. The West Peak of Mount Logan at 5,925 meters is also climbed frequently, as it is much closer to Prospector Col and due to weather conditions is often a more reliable objective.

    The descent from high camp is much quicker than the ascent of course, with our team usually returning to King Col on the first day after their summit climb and collecting any extra gear, food, and waste stashed there. The 2nd day of the descent is spent skiing down the King Trench with a stop at C1 to collect waste and emergency cache supplies, before finally arriving back at the Base Camp. Once the team is all back at Base Camp, they will fly off the mountain back to Kluane Lake.

    The specific dates, climbing schedules, and campsite locations will depend on many factors, primarily weather-related. In perfect weather conditions (no weather delays affecting flights or travel) and a strong group, it is possible to leave Whitehorse on Day 1 and climb to the summit and return back to Whitehorse by Day 15 . However, in the St Elias Range, the "ideal" conditions are rare. More likely, there will be a few days spent waiting on the weather, starting with the first flight onto the mountain. Weather days can also slow or stop a team on the ascent, as well as delay teams who may wait for days at Base Camp before a plane can safely fly in to get them to dpart teh mountain. In addition, as with any big, glaciated mountain, the snow and travel conditions can be challenging. Some expeditions return with stories of digging trenches through the snow with their shovels in order to ski downhill! Others have spent days exploring for a safe route through the icefall before finding the hidden path. Or, not finding a route at all in some seasons.

    As a result of these variables and unknowns, we plan to use up the full 21 days; and, we always go onto the mountain with the expectation that it is possible to end up stuck at Base Camp for an extended period before being able to get off the mountain.

  • The equipment required for an expedition of this nature must be of high quality, properly fitted, and familiar to each user. We will work closely with each participant to ensure that your equipment and gear systems are carefully tuned and you are prepared for all conditions.

    The Mount Logan King Trench Expedition is a ski-mountaineering trip, and requires use of alpine ski touring gear.

    Please review our equipment list and contact us with any questions - Mount Logan Expedition equipment list

    If there are enough participants who wish to participate using Snowshoes, the Mount Logan King Trench Expedition can be done as a snowshoe trip. In this event, we require a minimum of 3 participants in order to form a complete rope team that will be all on snowshoes. Please contact our office directly if you are interested in climbing Mount Logan using snowshoes instead of skis.