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  • Writer's picturePascale Marceau

Route Planning - check out the squiggly lines!

Here we are. After so much uncertainty about whether this would actually be able to happen, we have arrived and started our quarantine in Whitehorse. During these two weeks, we will be making final preparations for our all-women expedition to Mt. Lucania - Canada's 3rd tallest mountain.

We already spent hours analyzing the route on FATMAP with all of the different layers it features. The gradient overlay is THE best, but we rotated between aspect, elevation, gradient, and avalanche. We refined our route and think we can avoid the more technical crux right before gaining the ridge below Mt. Steele. FATMAP allowed for great visualization of the route answered some of our questions and we are both now feeling even more confident and excited!

Our plan is to land on the Upper Donjek Glacier at 9,000 ft. It will take us a couple of days to ski up to 12,000 ft. where we will set up our Advanced Base Camp (ABC). Here we will drop our skis and switch to backpacks and start climbing. There is a knob we go over and back down and we will sleep at Low Col Camp. We will do a carry, which means we will drop all our gear at ABC and then bring up food and fuel, come back down and then move our camp up. If it is too heavy to do in one trip we might actually do it twice before we move our camp up, we shall see. From there, we traverse in front of Mt. Steele. We won’t go directly to the summit, we will bypass in front of it to a dip where we will camp (Steele Camp). This leg is a tougher, steeper climb. We will again do a food and fuel carry, go back down and then move our camp up.

We will go to the summit of Mt. Steele to acclimatize and build confidence. We will then pick up our gear and move it to the col. It is called Shangri-La camp, which is a famous name for this spot from the first ascensionists Bradford Washburn and Robert Bates. Shangri-La camp is in the middle of both mountains, between Steele and Lucania. From there we have a 2,000 ft. climb to gain Lucania’s ridge proper. We will set up a high camp and then go to the summit. This high camp might be on top of the ridge or on a plateau below we haven’t decided that yet, it all depends on conditions.

This all (round trip from and back to Base Camp) should take us 16 days if we have no breaks or weather problems, but we are bringing enough food and fuel for 22 days.

Day 1: Fly in and set up Base Camp on Upper Donjek Glacier (9,000 ft. / 2,747 m) Day 2-3: Ski towards Advanced Base Camp Day 4: Reach Advanced Base Camp, drop skis & sleds (12,000 ft. / 3,640 m) Day 5 -6: Double carry supplies to Low Col Camp (13,125 ft. / 4,000 m) Day 7-8: Double carry supplies to Steele Camp (15,255 ft. / 4,650 m) Day 9: Summit Mt. Steele (16,644 ft /5,073 m) continue to Shangri-La Camp Day 10: Rest Day at Shangri-La camp (14,200 ft. / 4,330 m.) Day 11: Reach High Camp (16,000 ft. / 4,875 m.) Day 12: Summit Mt. Lucania (17,146 ft. / 5,226 m) and back to High Camp or Shangri-La Day 13: Shangri-La Camp (14,200 ft. / 4,330 m.) Day 14: Low Col Camp (13,125 ft. / 4,000 m.) Day 15: ABCamp (12,000 ft. / 3,640 m.) Day 16: Base Camp (9,000 ft. / 2,747 m.)

+ 6 Contingency storm days (we will have food/fuel for 22 days)

Follow along! We will be calling in via sat phone and with the above maps, you can know exactly where we are and where we are headed.

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