First Climb of Mount Logan
On June 23rd, 1925, four men stood on top of Mount Logan. They had become the first to climb Canada’s highest mountain. The story of…
It's the jewel in the crown of the fabled St Elias mountains of the Yukon and Alaska. Towering slightly more than 19 thousand five hundred feet above sea level, the mountain is the second highest in North America.
Mt. Logan seen from the Alaska highway some 60 miles away, is an awe inspiring sight. It's the highest mountain in the St. Elias range, but just 15 hundred feet taller than Mt. St Elias itself. The highest mountain in North America is Mt. McKinley in Alaska. It's named for an American president.
Mt. Logan is a Mecca for north American mountain climbers. It was named in 1890 by Professor Russell of the United States Geographical survey. He was on an expedition sponsored by the National Geographic society. Luckily, this American surveyor decided to name the mountain after a Canadian.
Sir William Logan was the founder and first director of the Geological Survey of Canada. Logan was born in Montreal in 1798. When he was 14, he was taken by his father to Scotland where he studied geology. When the Canadian government decided to set up a geological survey branch in 1841, Logan was chosen as it's first director.
Mt. Logan in the St. Elias range was not the first mountain to be named for Sir William Logan. Back in 1887, George Dawson, leader of a Canadian geological survey at the time, named a mountain in the Logan range east of Francis Lake for him.
But when the 19 thousand foot giant of a mountain in the St Elias was spotted, everyone agreed that it was a more appropriate feature to carry the name Mt. Logan. The mountain near Francis Lake was renamed Mt. Hunt in 1916. Mt. Logan was first climbed in 1925 by a Canadian-American expedition headed by H.F. Lambert, a Canadian and A.H. McCarthy an American. Since then, climbers from around the world have scaled this impressive peak.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.