Ascent of Mount Logan on 2022-07-17

Climber: Laura Tiefenbruck

Date:Sunday, July 17, 2022
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Carpool
Peak:Mount Logan
    Elevation:9087 ft / 2769 m

Ascent Trip Report

3 1/2 day summit of Mount Logan via Fremont Glacier, with Jeff Whitmer and Jean Kuo.

Route in excellent condition: scramble ledges are snow free, glacier shows no crevasses, snow finger to notch in ridge is intact but a moat is beginning to appear on climbers left. The trail to Thunder Basin is quite brushy and muddy after Skagit Queen. River crossing was thigh deep in the evening and knee deep in the late morning. Twice spotted a bear around Thunder Creek on the trail in the morning; it did not seem surprised by us and required some shouting before it ran to the other side of the river.

Permits obtained Noon in Marblemount, party joined after work and dinner at Thunder Creek TH for an 8 pm start to arrive at McAllister camp 10:30 pm. Late start the next morning, arrived in Thunder Basin that evening. Camp is mostly under snow; one site platform is melted as well as the edge of a second. Toilet is available. Mosquitos are hungry and prevalent; we used bug nets and ate inside the tents. Hung our food; we did see a black bear on two occasions, believed to be the same one, near the trail between Thunder Basin and Skagit Queen.

Clear skies in the morning for summit day quickly turned to clouds and fog rising from the valley. We followed the trail to a climbers' turnoff to bushwhack a short distance up to a flat snow-covered meadow where we ascended a moraine and began the traverse under the ridge (above the cliffs). Reportedly there is a climbers trail here but we quickly lost it under snow and brush. We jumped between animal trails, snow patches and ascended/descended moderate amounts ~50' to avoid unstable snow bridges and navigate waterfall slabs. The terrain was not difficult in waterproof boots but more time consuming than following a trail.

The snow bowl up to the glacier had great snow conditions mid-morning ~9-10 am; we kicked steps with ice axe and no crampons. We debated taking a series of snow gullies on climbers' right, but the slope and snow and rock condition going straight up the main bowl was excellent. We roped up and donned crampons at the top of this segment around 7,900'. Glacier showed a few cracks, some short, some long, but no open crevasses. Made a long, gradual rising traverse to the climb. Hogsback is large and prominent, the low point in the notch is easy to spot with a short snow finger up from the Hogsback. Snow was soft, even with a clear night. Take the rocky gully climbers left of the snow finger up to the ridge where a cairn marks the start of the scramble.

We were able to follow an "obvious" path with less lichen around the ledges dotted with a few cairns, occasionally being thrown off track by better-looking options that did not continue. We found the crux to be a face climb up to a steep exposed right-trending ramp with good holds, between the ledges up to the class 2 scramble toward the false summit. Downclimbing the false summit is somewhat exposed but very secure. The summit scramble we took is around the right side of the block and a fair 4th class, though a 5th class option around the left side seemed to be available. Follow ledges weaving back and forth to a short chimney top out to the summit ridge and as summitpost says, "crawl to the top." The north summit appears taller, and who knows, maybe it is; we did not find a register. Set a handline to descend given the exposure while climbing up, but did not need it.

The climb down was uneventful aside from the whiteout. Stayed close together on the scramble, roped up for the downclimb of the snow finger, across the glacier, and unroped for the snow below. Did not find a better way back across the traverse on the way out, but also mostly stayed on track, slowed by the low visibility and fatigue.

Overnight thunderstorms gave way to morning rain and eventually sun for the hike out. We made the entire hike from Thunder Basin to Thunder Creek TH (~18 miles by the map, but almost 22 on my GPS) in one day. The switch to trail running shoes and dry socks at Junction camp for me, and Skagit Queen for the others saved the trip. The trail had enough mud, brush and rocks up to Skagit Queen to require boots -- as well as the stream crossing, and the terrain is much more gentle following a short downhill trail section after Junction camp. The "enchanted forest" feeling and river views were enough to propel us to the beers we'd stashed in the water after McAllister camp. The final 6-ish miles were a blur, as we passed many day hikers and fresh smelling backpackers, families and couples with picnic baskets and sang shameless karaoke to the downloaded music on an ipod.

We tried the new Mexican restaurant in Darrington on 530 "Dos agaves" and were pleased with the service, menu, portions, prices and casual atmosphere. Two thumbs up for the hiker/climber crowd.

My GPS which tends to overstate mileage finished at 52.4 miles for the round trip and 14,250' gain.
Summary Total Data
    Trailhead:Thunder Creek  
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Headlamp, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:3 nights away from roads
    Weather:Raining, Cool, Calm, Low Clouds

Statistics by Day

Day Elev. Gain Elev. Loss Distance Hiked Max Elev. Camp
# Date Description Ft M Ft M Mi Km Ft M Name Ft M
12022-07-15TH to McAllister CampMcAllister
22022-07-16McAllister Camp to Thunder Basin Hiker CampThunder Basin Hiker
32022-07-17Summit RTThunder Basin Hiker
42022-07-18Thunder Basin Hiker Camp to TH

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