Climbers flock to Canada's highest mountain for spring season

Historic year for climbers - and rescues - on Canada's highest peak

At 5,959 metres, reaching the top of Mount Logan is no easy feat. This year, climbers are flocking to the challenge of attempting to summit Canada's highest mountain, located in the Yukon's Kluane National Park.

"This year we have approximately 56 climbers and 18 parties registered to climb Mount Logan," said Craig McKinnon, resource conservation manager for the national park. An average year would see about 25 climbers. 

Spring is the main climbing season and this week McKinnon said there are four parties on Logan. 

He isn't exactly sure why there's such a bump in interest this year, but figures it's connected to the Canada 150 celebration and the resulting Parks Canada promotion. 

Of those who attempt to summit the giant mountain, only about half are successful, McKinnon said.

- PHOTOS | Rescued climber recounts terrifying week stranded on Yukon's Mount Logan

Rescue last week

This season has already seen a rescue from the mountain. Last Wednesday, parks staff retrieved three Americans, after one of them reported altitude sickness at a height just shy of 5,000 metres. 

"This team consisted of climbers from the United States — from Washington, and Alaska, and Colorado," said McKinnon. 

"Climbers and a rescue team were all safe in Haines Junction by 8 p.m. that night, and all three climbers are healthy and doing well."

McKinnon says over the last five years, Park Canada has done four rescues in the ice fields of Kluane, and three rescues off Mount Logan.

He reminds anybody planning an ascent that they must be self sufficient, and in the event of emergency must be prepared for lengthy delays and response times, due to the mountain's remoteness and weather conditions. 

All climbers must register with Parks Canada prior to starting an adventure in the ice fields, McKinnon said. He added that rescues at high altitude mean increased risk both for climbers, and the rescue team.