At 5,959 meters, Mount Logan is the second highest peak in North America and is arguably the hardest high peak to climb in both North and South America. There are no technical difficulties, a climber can ski almost right to the summit. The difficulties come from the commitment required, remoteness, weather, and arctic temperatures. Climbing Mount Logan is a serious undertaking and typically takes three weeks.
Mount Logan is the only big peak the two of us attempted in all our trips together. I (Manrico) climbed higher and technically harder peaks in South America before meeting Liz but these were far less committing than Mount Logan. We went with one other person, Linda. Attempting the climb around the same time were other teams. One of those was from the North Shore Rescue group that included people we knew.
The Kings Trench route, the easiest on the mountain, starts with an easy ski ascent up a glacier to the 4,100 meter King Col between Logan and King Peak. From there the route steepens although it’s still mainly a ski ascent to AINA-Prospector Col at 5,500 meters. Then the route becomes truly committing as there is a 400 meter descent, an eight kilometer traverse, and finally a 800 meter ascent to the peak.
Our highest camp was at King Col where we spent a couple of days in storm. At that point I made difficult decision to retreat even though the weather was good at the time and we still had, in theory at least, enough time to do the climb. The decision was made because the weather forecast was bad, our pace was slow, and I had “bad vibes” about the overall situation. Liz and I turned back while Linda joined a team from Quebec and later joined the North Shore Rescue team to continue the climb.
In retrospect this was probably the best turn back decision I’ve ever made in the mountains even though the decision was contentious at the time. None of the other teams in the area made it to the summit due to very severe weather. Some members of the North Shore Rescue team almost died and had to be rescued. Many fingers and toes were lost to frostbite.
Now the photos which are transparencies scanned in 2021. Unfortunately the transparencies have degraded somewhat with time even though they were stored properly.
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