A hiker walks a ridge in Kluane National Park’s St. Elias Mountains on June 10, 2017. New rules are in place for climbers aiming to summit Mt. Logan and other mountains in Kluane National Park. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

New rules in place for Mt. Logan climbers

Moratoriums in place on solo expeditions and winter climbs

New rules are in place for climbers aiming to summit Mt. Logan and other mountains in the icefields of Kluane National Park.

At 5,959 metres tall, Mt. Logan is Canada’s highest peak with Kluane being home to 20 of the nation’s tallest mountains.

Ed Jager, director of visitor experience with Parks Canada, confirmed on Jan. 16 Parks Canada has placed a moratorium on solo climbs of Mt. Logan and on winter expeditions between Nov. 15 and March 15 anywhere in the ice field ranges of Kluane National Park.

Permits to climb any of the 20 highest peaks in Canada located in the icefields of the park also now have a condition attached requiring a minimum of $100,000 in search and rescue insurance.

The changes come in light of safety concerns in recent years.

“We want to make sure people are safe,” Jager said, emphasizing the safety of climbers as well as emergency response staff was taken into consideration in deciding on the new rules.

The number of rescues has been increasing with eight rescues in the last seven years. As with all national park rescues the funding comes out of the Parks Canada budget, and thus is paid for by taxpayers, at a cost of anywhere between $60,000 and $100,000 for each rescue.

Similarly, the national parks service in the United States covers rescues, while other parts of the world vary in how rescues are paid for.

Jager said Parks Canada has been looking at making some changes over the last couple of years.

“Kluane is very unique,” Jager said, highlighting the extreme weather and isolation that can make rescues that much more difficult.

There’s no plans to bring in similar rules at other national parks, Jager said.

There typically have not been a lot of winter expeditions in the park. The 2018/2019 season saw just one where two climbers successfully summited Mt. Wood.

As for what the changes may mean for the upcoming season, Jager said that while he can’t predict the future he expects anyone who may have been planning a solo climb may find a group expedition to climb with.

That said, it’s impossible to know whether it will impact the number of climbs happening in the park. Approximately 35 groups — comprising about 100 people in total — make expeditions in the park annually with about a third of those looking to summit Mt. Logan.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Parks CanadaYukon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

U Kon Echelon hosts Tour de Haines Junction

U Kon Echelon continued its busy schedule with the Tour de Haines… Continue reading

Melted beeswax, community pottery take centre stage at Arts Underground’s August shows

Two new, and very different, shows will be opening at Whitehorse’s Arts… Continue reading

Northern First Nations call for a major overhaul of mining legislation

The Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Vuntut Gwitchin Governments say change is long overdue

Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee recommends First Nations take ‘additional measures’ to conserve Chinook

Recommendation comes as Chinook run on the Yukon River appears unlikely to meet spawning goals

Students prepare for online learning as Yukon University announces fall semester

The school plans to support students who may struggle with remote learning

Changes to federal infrastructure funds allow for COVID-19 flexibility

Announcement allows for rapid COVID-19 projects and expands energy programs to Whitehorse

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

C/TFN announces Montana Mountain reopening plan

Carcross/Tagish First Nation and the Carcross/Tagish Management Corporation announced the partial reopening… Continue reading

Roberta Joseph reelected as Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in chief

Unofficial results show Joseph with more than double the votes of runner-up

Development incentives considered for three projects

Projects will add 24 rental units to the market

Delegate calls for crosswalk changes to show support for people of colour

Mayor states support for idea, but cautions it could take some time

Whitehorse advises of water system maintenance

Residents on the city’s water system are being advised they may notice… Continue reading

Walkway, signs planned for West Dawson paddlewheel graveyard

Unofficial attraction may get 135-m walkway and interpretive signs, if YESAB application approved

Most Read