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Kluane National Park & Reserve of Canada

Mountaineering

Climber on the King Trench route of Mount Logan Climber on the King Trench route of Mount Logan
© Parks Canada / M. Martin

Kluane National Park & Reserve is known for its many challenging climbs, which attract skilled mountaineers from around the world. Some major mountains that are found within the Icefields of Kluane National Park & Reserve include: Mount Logan (5,959 m), Mount St. Elias (5,489 m), Mount Lucania (5,226 m), King Peak (5,173 m), Mount Steele (5,073 m), Mount Wood (4,842 m) and Mount Vancouver (4,812 m) to name a few.

Climbing parties must apply in advance of their trip and all climbers are required to register.


The Icefield Ranges

The Icefield Ranges, of the St. Elias Mountains, occupy two-thirds of Kluane National Park & Reserve's interior and represent a portion of the most extensive non-polar Icefield in the world. An ascent of any of the taller mountains requires extensive glacier travel and anywhere from 10 days to three weeks of climbing depending on the route chosen, weather and snow conditions.

Climbing Season

The mountaineering season generally extends from mid-April to mid-June.

Climate & Weather

North Ridge of Mt. Walsh
North Ridge of Mt. Walsh
© Parks Canada

The weather within the Icefield Ranges remains in winter-like conditions all year round. Severe storms involving cold temperatures, high winds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour and excessive snowfalls are common and can last for several days at a time. Air temperatures can range from minus 40 degrees Celsius to well above freezing during the climbing season depending on elevation, aspect and current weather patterns.

Cold injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia are always possible and should be guarded against with high quality winter mountaineering clothing, sleeping bags and tents. Food high in fat and carbohydrates is recommended for maintaining strength and warmth. Sufficient water must be consumed to prevent dehydration.

Altitude

Acute mountain sickness may occur on routes that are ascended too rapidly. Proper acclimatization must always be considered.

Intense solar radiation and long hours of daylight make sunscreen and good quality sunglasses a necessity.

Objective hazards

Objective hazards such as crevasses, avalanches and corniced ridges may be encountered during any expedition. Knowledge of mountaineering travel skills and self-rescue techniques is necessary.

Expedition Planning