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Ascent of Mount Logan on 2014-06-21

Climber: Julie Myer

Others in Party:Kevin H
Mark L
Marty B
Bill H
Date:Saturday, June 21, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Logan
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:9087 ft / 2769 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day 1: 9 hours to 4,700’ camp in basin below Douglas Glacier
Day 2: 6 hours to summit; 2.25 summit to high camp; 1 hour to 4,100’ camp
Day 3: 6.25 hours low camp to cars
Gear—pickets, ice screw, 2-30m 8mm ropes, handful of rock pro. Used ropes on the glacier and one to rappel from false summit to saddle below actual summit. Otherwise, did not need screw or pickets.
We obtained our backcountry permit in Marblemount then headed to Easy Pass trailhead (Parking pass required). The trail was mostly clear of snow for 1 ½-2 miles before becoming increasingly difficult and ultimately impossible to follow. We continued up the north side of Easy Pass Creek a bit far and ended up in some wet slide alder/wet bog trying to get back across to the left side of the creek. Once at Easy Pass we dropped over the south side to begin a rightward (west) traverse. We learned on our return trip that the trail continued at or near pass level as it moved west. After some wandering and searching for a path we were finally connected with the switchback trails leading down to Fisher Creek. The trail was mostly clear of snow. We exited the trail at approximately 4,000’ and turned south to cross Fisher Creek. We walked further west to find a solid log to cross (just a bit further west is a great log jam that turned out to be about 50 yards off the trail we found on our return trip. There is a tree marking this exit point that has an approximate 7’ vertical scar or blaze).
Travelling through the forest was fairly clear and easy, staying above the creek at a fairly level 3800-3900 elevation until it turned to brush, devils club and slide alder. Once you reach this point it is best to just stick close to the creek for much of the remainder of the ascent into the basin. One camp option, which we took advantage of on night two, were nice sandy platforms next to the Douglas drainage creek. There is a massive waterfall on the left that is mostly hidden by trees.
We continued to work our way up, staying close to the creek (and along the right-hand side of the “pillbox”). Snow returned as we ascended into the lower basin below the Douglas Glacier. We camped directly above the pillbox allowing views of our ascent options. There was an exposed rock bench we camped around but then area was otherwise covered in snow. There was a small amount of water there from the snow melt we could collect.
On day two we travelled up the basin to the walls surrounding the area and turned southeast to gain the eastern most part of the Douglas Glacier (this is hidden until you are well into the basin). From here we traversed back west and up to the steep wall at the col between the Douglas and Banded Glaciers. Once on top of the col we un-roped and followed the snow up to a rocky ridge. We scrambled to the top of the false summit and rappelled down to the saddle before the actual summit. The final summit scramble was class 4, low 5th. Exposure was significant. We rejoined another mountaineer group coming up from the Banded Glacier (we had met them at the ranger station on Day 1 and followed them in to Easy Pass—Thanks for kicking the steps!). They waited on the false summit until we returned. There was old slide/slough activity and a remaining cornice as you traverse to the col between the Banded and Douglas Glaciers. Additionally, later that afternoon we observed a significant soft snow avalanche near the east ridge draining into the lower basin. Beware of travelling later in the day when temperatures are warm.
We descended to camp the same route and collected all our gear and dropped down to 4,100 to snow free camping. The descent through the brush seemed to be much better on the way out and we made good time. Back to the cars before noon.
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