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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Mount Logan/Banded Glacier

Complete traverse over the major glaciers of Mt Logan with a car shuttle between the Easy Pass TH, and Colonial Creek TH. A very intense trip!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Overall the route up the Banded Glacier was in decent shape, given that the glacier has receded greatly since the picture in Beckey.  We had soft snow when in the sun, but excellent cramponing in the shade.  There was some rock scrambling to get from the top of the Banded to the summit ridge that I don’t recall seeing mentioned elsewhere, but possibly it could be bypassed going higher on the snow.  Doing it again, I would prefer a couple weeks earlier in the season, with fewer bugs, and more snow covering some of the moraines.

Going in over Easy Pass was fun, and gives you a great view of the mountain.  If you’re doing a carryover, I recommend this way, rather than going in and out from Colonial Creek which is also a few miles longer. The turn off at the outlet from the 5200’ lake is pretty straightforward to find, but there’s only an intermittent boot path, and plenty of brush to impede progress.  Once at the lake level, we found a swamp around that area that required either wet boots/socks or cold bare feet.

There were a few bivvy sites in the bouldersto the east of the lake, and perhaps more in the trees at the west end of the lake.  Bivy on the moraine was buggy!   So long as you have a good idea of the location of Christmas Tree col (not marked on USGS), then it’s simple to get there, and it magically appears just when you’re thinking it’s going to be tough getting over the ridge.  Descent to the glacial lake from Xmas tree col is tedious, and by all means, parties should aim for earlier in the season when the moraines below the glacier are snow covered.  We had one near miss when rockfall almost hit us at a natural choke point in the route.  Rockfall such as this from above, seems to begin when sun hits the slope.  We left camp around 0510; leaving at first light (0430) would have avoided the sun on the route, and made it safer with easier travel on harder snow.

Upon reaching the summit ridge, there’s a pretty well established climbers’ trail over the false summit to the base of the final pyramid. This has a choice of exposed 4th class chimney (which we protected with a fixed line), or the class 2 descent which we found coming down.  These are the blocky steps to the left of the path to the chimney.

Back down the ridge, the scramble route to the exit ramp onto the Fremont glacier doesn’t seem as obvious as when you’re both ascending and descending it.  We progressed on the Fremont side of the ridge steadily downwards, until just above the ramp where we regained the ridge, and found some cairns.  There are two possibilities after crossing the fremont glacier; more or less directly down the fall line, intersecting the Park Creek Pass trail at 4400’, or a descent followed by a traverse south, intersecting the trail at the first switchback below the pass around 5300’.  If choosing the fall line, stay out of the brush in the timber!  On the traverse, try to find a faint boot path which was there around 10 year ago.

We had a fine bivy just across Thunder creek from the trail at 4400'; plan on fording the creek - it’s not deep or wide at this point.  From there, it was a straightforward 18+ miles to the colonial creek TH.

Times: day 1 to 5200’ lake bivy: 8h including stops.  Day 2: 15h including stops. Day 3: 9h including stops.

Permits: don’t count on using any of the trail camps; when we were at marblemount, there were many parties unable to get their chosen sites.   However, we were the only ones in Logan XC during our time out there.  It also took us an hour waiting for the parties ahead of us at the RS to secure our permit.