adventures with Jen Olson

The Highest Biggest Baddest Mountain in Canada – Mt. Logan 2012

Kenneth, Juho (JS), Juho (JR), Gery and me

Thanks again to Mammut for enabling this incredible journey to the north of Canada, to climb Canada’s most wintery peak: Mt. Logan via the King’s trench. For more information on the Mammut website about the trip and all the individuals involved, please go here.

3 Finn’s, 1 Austrian and a canuck

We embarked on this journey by meeting in Whitehorse on May 23, 2012 at this fine establishment:

Good eats in the Yukon

Where we continued to ‘overeat’ in hopes of burning a few calories on the glacier. We also, supplied ourselves with lots of fuel and a few last minute groceries – the ‘heavy’ food like cheese, butter and expedition bread.

This evening also marks the change in our daily sleep patterns with the midnight sun keeping our energy high until at least 1 am for most of the rest of the trip.

We enjoyed watching a beaver play in the Yukon river after dinner whilst waiting for the sun to set……… we’re still waiting ; )

The next day we were taken in a 15 passenger van to Kluane Lake (courtesy of Up North Adventures) after registering with Parks Canada and getting a safety briefing on the hazards that are exceptional on Mt. Logan, like avalanches, weak snow bridges over crevasses and cornices.

you will never forget a trip to the North

We did get to know the road between Haines Junction and Kluane Lake a bit, as we ended up waiting a week to fly in due to either high winds or white skies.

a visual treat for us on one of our journeys to Haines Junction

We were very lucky during our first week of waiting because most days – it was obvious that we were not going to fly. This allowed us to explore the local environment. We went biking, hiking, fishing, explored the beach of Kluane Lake and used the sauna.

We had a nice day to hike to the top of Sheep Mountain.
Gery and Kenneth on the ascent.

Gery enjoying a steeper ridge on Sheep Mountain

Yes, we ACTUALLY saw LOTS of Dall Sheep on Sheep Mountain, and lots of new baby sheep too.

The amazing beach of Kluane Lake (just outside the Sauna)
During our entire trip we were able to observe the melting of the winter ice off of the lake.

We heard many different birds, but we really enjoyed watching the ravens hassle this Golden Eagle

We all really enjoyed meeting, Duncan (the cook at the research station), who graciously took us fishing…

and Duncan entertained us occasionally for our evening campfires where we made some amazing burgers, and learned the ‘canadian’ way of roasting marshmallows.

If you could stay up late enough, you could see some amazing sunsets (for hours)

We were psyched to meet our pilot Donjek and (my previous pilot) Andy Williams.

Finally, on June 1, on our second try of the day… Donjek managed to get Gery and I into basecamp on the King’s Trench on the Quintino Sella Glacier at 2750m.

Here is a little footage of our flight just before landing….

the glorious east ridge of logan on the flight in

our new home in the snow

Sooo, Gery and I flew in late on June 1, but JR and JS weren’t able to fly in until early on June 3. Kenneth decided that his time was better spent exploring the wilderness of the Yukon and Alaska before his family came to join him later in the month.

We had a nice progression up to King’s col (Camp 2) where we would carry one day and move camp the next day from Base Camp (2750m) to Camp 1 (3260m) to Camp 2 (4105m).

one of the steeper sections of the trip between camp 1 and camp 2 (king’s col)

We missed most of the teams that had flown in and out before we arrived, but we did get to spend a bit of time with Canada West Mountain school owner, Brian Jones and guides, Rich Prohaska and Tyler before they flew out. As well, we met a team of four, mostly from the Kootenays’, who summited (and got a bit of frostbite). The final team we met was from Alberta, when the four of them flew out, we were the only folks left on the mountain.

the carry to camp 3 (JS)

On about the fifth day of ‘work’, we decided to make a carry to camp 3 (4888m), as the weather was good and the next day was forecast to be ‘bad’. This was a difficult decision for JR, as he wasn’t feeling great, he was lower energy and suspected he might be getting sick. He chose to make the carry, and we moved at a very slow pace, but in hindsight, he probably got more sick due to the extra exertion and altitude.

We finally earned our ‘porridge’ and our rest day at King’s Col.

The mighty King’s Peak gave us hours of entertainment at King’s Col

We awoke the next day with the plan of moving to camp 3, if JR was ok. He wasn’t. He felt worse and his pulse oximeter reading was 65, (down from the 80’s). He didn’t feel well enough to ski down either (a common symptom of the man flue). So with our handy dandy sat phone, we managed to coordinate a rescue from King’s col with Parks Canada. (Thanks to Andrew, the park’s rescue specialist)

Due to the altitude and cloud, JR flew out, but without much of his gear. We decided to retrieve the carry from camp 3. This decision was based on the fact that we felt JR might be very sick and need assistance from JS ASAP.

The trip between King’s col and camp 3 is spectacular due to the seracs and King’s Peak. We enjoyed fresh powder skiing, as well. We did have a ‘visitor’ at camp 3. A solo raven, sampled much of our food. (He visited us again at basecamp at the end of the trip)

The following couple days were spent sitting in camp at King’s Col- waiting for weather. During this time, we found out that our dear friend, JR, was okay.  Thanks to Dr. Jeff Boyd, we had sent him off with the appropriate anti-biotics and he felt much better back at Kluane lake (after visiting the nursing station in Haines Jct.).

good times reading in the tent

Now, we had the tough decision of what to do next. There were many teams prior to us that waited many days to fly in or out of the Quintino Sella Glacier. Based on fear of missing future engagements, the team decided to head back to basecamp and catch the first available opportunity to fly out.

We didn’t have a great weather forecast in our future and we did have a lot of unused fuel, uneaten food, and JR’s extra gear to get off the mountain, as well.

down we go- with WAY too heavy loads : (

Gery and JS worked together to get 3 sleds full down the mountain whilst navigating in the WHITE!

On the way down we heard an avalanche of ice and snow on the King’s Peak side, it was a tough day with heavy loads while Gery lead us with his GPS back down the mountain.

Back at basecamp and time to break out the ‘backcountry oven’ treats like pizza and brownies

We ended up having to wait a few days back in basecamp. During this time, we exhausted our library (somethings were read twice) and Gery and JS enjoyed some ‘extreme’ couloir skiing close to camp.

Gery treated us to a workout facility in which we could work on our pullups.

JS cranking out a set. ‘Extreme’ couloirs in the background of photo. ; )

Finally, less than eight hours, before our flight out of Whitehorse, we were miraculously whisked out of base camp, by Doug (the heli pilot) and back to Kluane Lake at 10pm. We enjoyed a cold beer while swatting at mosquitoes and packing up our stuff.

Our taxi ( Woody’s Limo +1-867-668-1676 ) arrived after midnight to take us to the Whitehorse airport, where we were just in time for our 6 am flight to Calgary on June 16!

We feel so lucky to of had such an adventure in the wilderness of northern Canada.

We especially want to thank Sian and Lance of Kluane Lake and the Icefields Discovery Tours who enabled the best trip possible and were amazing hosts despite it being possibly the WORST weather in 40 years!

Sian waiting to fly in, too!

Lance, being patient and wise : )

Our pilot Doug

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4 responses

  1. Leila Olson

    Very interesting Jen,thanks!

    June 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    • jen

      Thanks for reading Aunty : )

      June 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

  2. Sian Williams

    Super photos, what a variety of locations and weather. You can add in the photo Lance sent of Doug if you want. Thanks for the fly by on your way out of Logan. Good to see someone, even if they were 5 m off the ground and moving very fast! Sian

    June 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

    • jen

      Thank Sian. Great to spend a bit more time with you. I should include the photo of Doug!!!
      Glad you made it in and out – hopefully you got lots of help with the digging.
      jen

      June 24, 2012 at 6:47 am

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