Mount Steele, Yukon, Canada

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Mount Steele, Yukon, Canada

In early June 2016 we made an attempt to summit Mt Steele in Kluane National Park, Yukon. Due to a large storm and inappropriate avalanche conditions relative to the final 1000m ascent, we did not attempt the summit. There were four of us in the group, of which three were old friends from Canmore and originally Swiss migrants to Canada, past and present Mountain Guides, and very active outdoorsmen. The oldest in the group was 72, I was the youngest, 43. Two in the group had been to the summit of ‘nearby’ Mount Logan in 1977. It was a privilege for me to be invited to join this great group on an expedition style trip.

The logistics and dependency on weather requires patience and commitment. Here is how the trip unfolded:

Fly to Canada, spend 3 days finalising gear and food for 20 days on the icefield
3 days to drive 2800km to Haines Junction
5 days waiting for fly weather
Fly into our zone, only to be restricted by low clouds and forced to land and make base camp at 2600m, 7km further down glacier than anticipated. Doesn’t sound like much, that that added 3 days of work to relocate our supplies to the intended base camp
Another 7 days moving and stocking camps 1, 2 and 3 while acclimatising
Day 10 at camp 3, 4000m. We had momentum and fitness, ready to move to camp 4 the next day, and make the summit the day after that
It then snowed for 30 hours, and we remained at 4000m for 3 days while summit chances plummeted
Day 14, reverse to camp 1 collecting caches along the way, fly out
I think I’d like to go back there or to another zone in Kluane NP and ski tour the area from a base camp. The massive scale and views are worth it. Perhaps I’ll team up with a senior guide and offer a guided trip there some time, though not for the easily frustrated types.

Category: BLOG

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