The Bounty Up North

Mount Logan & the St. Elias Mountains

Apr 27, 2004
Outside Magazine
canada parks, adventures

Heli of a View: Yukon high country    Photo: Corel

Summer Skiing
Mount Logan
Yukon Territory

By the numbers, summertime skiing on Mount Logan can seem daunting. At 19,524 feet, it's Canada's highest peak. Sitting squarely in the St. Elias Mountains of the Yukon's Kluane National Park and Reserve, Logan dominates a 12-mile plateau of eight subpeaks over 18,000 feet. The mountain itself rises more than 13,000 feet above its glacial base, which has a circumference of 100 miles.

But don't let Logan's Himalayan stats dismay you. The most popular route up, King Trench, is a North American classic—comparable to tackling Mount McKinley's West Buttress. You can ski the majority of the Trench's gently sloped glaciers, and with a dependably toasty sleeping bag and at least two weeks, intermediate skiers (with mountaineering experience and a guide) have a good shot at the summit.—Sam Moulton

DETAILS: International Mountain Guides (360-569-2609, will run an expedition May 30–June 19 for $4,000 per person. With Imax views, Icefield Discovery Lodge (867-633-2018,, on the St. Elias icefields, is a great base camp for ski touring. A two-night package for two costs $875, including meals and round-trip airfare from Silver City.

St. Elias Mountains
Yukon Territory

Flying over the St. Elias peaks in Kluane National Park and Reserve, you'd never guess the Ice Age ended some 10,000 years ago. Eighty-two percent of the park is glaciated, but at 8,487 square miles, there's plenty of lower-elevation terra firma to explore. From Haines Junction, on the park's eastern edge, Paddle/Wheel Adventures can arrange guided heli-hiking on the 5,600-foot Kluane Plateau, located just outside the national park. It's a quick 35-minute flight, but it's long enough to see the Dall sheep that dance, Dean Potter–like, up the sheer Kluane mountainsides.

Once you've landed on the plateau's sprawling alpine meadows, the choice is yours: Hike down the five- or six-hour route back to the road, or stick to the ridge and rendezvous with the chopper five or so miles farther southeast near Outpost Mountain. Either way, the views of Kluane Lake, the Slims River, and the hanging glaciers on Mount Vulcan are dizzying. But do stay focused: Grizzly sightings are common in these parts.—S. M.

DETAILS: Paddle/Wheel Adventures (867-634-2683, runs heli-hiking trips on the Kluane Plateau starting at $190 per person for an afternoon, including lunch and guide.