Trip Report
Rescued from Mt. Logan's East Ridge
Sunday April 29, 2018 11:36pm
A year ago, two friends and I were rescued from 16,000 ft on Mt. Loganís east ridge while attempting to traverse over the mountain, the largest in the world. Eric had high altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema. Here's my write-up of an ambitious-for-us trip, the mistakes we made, and lessons we learned:

maxneale.blogspot.com/2018/04/rescued-from-mt-logan-east-ridge.html

East Ridge of Mt Logan as seen from one of the helicopters that rescue...
East Ridge of Mt Logan as seen from one of the helicopters that rescued us.
Credit: maxneale

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maxneale
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neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Apr 30, 2018 - 03:42am PT
hey there, say, maxneale... whewww... man oh man! say, good to know you made it through that, :O


i will go read it, in a few hours... going to sleep now...
thanks for sharing... whewww... :O


:)
nah000

climber
now/here
  Apr 30, 2018 - 06:47am PT
hmmm... interesting.

only one question to start: did you give your friend Eric a chance to read and offer you feedback on what youíd written, before you put this write up out to the masses?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
  Apr 30, 2018 - 07:59am PT
Interesting insight and a good read, thanks for posting.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Apr 30, 2018 - 08:42am PT
Well written. Eric was highly remiss going up there with an old inhaler. Talk about setting yourself up for failure, or worse. You made the right decision to call the Mounties, hope your friendship survives. Hate climbing in a threesome - always so hard not to be envious of the middle sleeper!
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Apr 30, 2018 - 09:21am PT
Wow...wild story.

I think the East Ridge of Logan is hard to do alpine style. Your plan of doing Vancouver first was great...but...you didn't get what you needed. At that point...you could have made a course correction but I get that it maybe too hard to pull the plug.

One thin rope, no pickets, very little gear...only one stove without even a back up pump? Yikes. Risky.

No foam pad (to back up inflatable)?

You got the hard part of the East Ridge done. But, you really didn't have a reasonble option to descend it if something went sideways. Yikes. Risky.

Folks have different levels of risk tolerance. Given that the Vancouver part of the trip didn't go as planned, you could have switched to a double carry strategy on Logan, but, you weren't really able to given the lack of gear and maybe food/fuel? Mighta flushed out the health issue with less risk.

Good on you for surviving! Heckuva learning experience.

Great to see your photo's and that video in the helo...wow! Big ol' ridge...(I went up to true summit and down it in 1995 in a long, hard trip).

Thanks for the story...cheers!
BJ

climber
  Apr 30, 2018 - 09:55am PT
Hate climbing in a threesome - always so hard not to be envious of the middle sleeper!

Known in France and Quebec as Lucky Pierre
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
  Apr 30, 2018 - 11:37am PT
He had HAPE from the outset, simple asthma doesn't act like that and the fact that it got worse with altitude and better at lower elevation. He was HAPE from the get go.
BJ

climber
  Apr 30, 2018 - 12:05pm PT
He had HAPE from the outset, simple asthma doesn't act like that and the fact that it got worse with altitude and better at lower elevation. He was HAPE from the get go.

Never say never, but he started showing signs at very low elevations, and the OP never mentioned coughing or fluid on the lungs. So maybe you meant HACE. The elevations mentioned are still rather low, and without the splitting headaches that HACE often brings about. I would guess either HACE or AMS secondary to asthma. All three (or four) can be fatal, but the issue(s) probably would not have occurred without asthma as a triggering problem.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Apr 30, 2018 - 12:10pm PT
A very definitive and honest description. I think you had a good analysis of errors made and areas of improvement needed. Experiences like yours are invaluable teachers when survived.
I concur with others about your stove....there can be no more valuable piece of equipment. It sounds like you had a liquid fuel stove which I would never bring on a trip like yours now that cartridge stoves are available.
BJ

climber
  Apr 30, 2018 - 12:15pm PT
I concur with others about your stove....there can be no more valuable piece of equipment.

Except for the pipe, lighter and beer bong.

Especially the the lighter (or five)
ExfifteenExfifteen

climber
  Apr 30, 2018 - 12:20pm PT
or fluid on the lungs.

My limited experience with HAPE is it's bad bad!!! Very difficult to diagnose for your everyday climber. The symptoms mimic many other problems. But once you "notice" the fluid in the lungs your chance of survival is greatly diminished...
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
  Apr 30, 2018 - 01:14pm PT
BJ,
The raspy cough described was what i keyed in on, simple asthma is usually but not always and dry cough. The moderate altitude is not to be ignored, especially with a quick ascent. I have learned over the years that fitness level, prior experience at elevation and age have little to do with how you will handle altitude unless you live at altitude or have a lot of time to aclimate. I have done great at altitude off the couch from sea level and I have also come down with a raging case of AMS after two weeks at altitude. Also he got better but not great with Diamox.

I think the party just didn't want to admit so soon that they were dealing with such a serious situation which is totally understandable given the travel and money spent on such a big trip. These factors can easily cloud your judgement.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
  Apr 30, 2018 - 01:34pm PT
^^^^^
Your second paragraph makes a very good point, Batrock.
maxneale

climber
Author's Reply  May 2, 2018 - 10:48pm PT
Thanks, all, for your thoughts and feedback.
J-B

Social climber
Van-groovy
  May 3, 2018 - 12:49am PT
Sounds like a full-value trip. Glad everyone made it back. Perhaps a bit of hubris in the decision making but by your own conclusions you took away some valuable lessons. Careful with the "I now know what I don't know" though...

As for friendship, time is great for giving perspective. Although intense to live, I'm sure this trip will provide a lifetime's worth of memories and accelerate the direction those relationships were going.

Skis on the East Ridge don't really make sense unless you're traversing; however, it's been done more than once. This crossing (and the lead-in to it) is probably the most impressive:

St Elias Mountains Traverse - AAJ 2003
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 8, 2018 - 04:34am PT
Some good lessons here.
Iím glad everyone made it out alive.
You made a life saving choice to bring a satellite messenger.

Ditto the comments on stoves, pickets, and listening to your body.
Thanks for posting this, learning is part of the process.
frostback

Social climber
great white north
  May 8, 2018 - 06:39am PT
Credit: frostback
Great report and ditto to the comments above. My memories of a 1987 holiday there which involved a new route on n face of augusta (shown) and then a 4 day round trip on the east ridge benefiting from acclimatization gained in the first outing, was that things can go wrong. Stoves fail, weather comes in, plus the ever-present danger of HAPE which requires a willingness to hit the bail button if one is not committed to a route; fortunately the E ridge gives that option.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  May 10, 2018 - 10:59am PT
Great story well told. Also, you show a commendable level of introspection over the whole episode. I have not done that mountain, but am personally aware of how funky the weather can get on mountains in that part of the world, and how fast things like AMS and HAPE can come on (no personal experience with HACE). For me personally, the primary goal is that everyone comes home alive. I have backed off plenty of stuff I probably could have gotten up, but I have been reluctant to push a partner into a situation they were really uncomfortable with. I'm glad you guys made it out safe, I really am.
Be safe out there, lads.
cheers
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  May 11, 2018 - 02:36pm PT
Yes Nick,
No need to push it when "The Undertoad" is around, as you once said to me and Mr. Dean (which we promptly ignored and somehow had an epic on Spring Creek Pinnacle).
Cheers! Moss
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