Quebec climber Monique Richard reaches the summit of Mount Logan in solo climb and becomes the first woman to do so alone.
“Monique just reached the summit,” François Masse said in an email message to The Canadian Press, referring to Monique Richard.
Richard had to deal with unseasonably cold temps, delays and equipment issues during her climb of the 5,959-metre peak, Canada’s highest, in Yukon’s Kluane National Park.
Parks Canada says there is no record in its data stretching back to the late 1800s of any woman having reached the summit in a solo climb.
The Montrealer started on May 15 and reached a camp on the King’s Trench 800 metres from the summit on Tuesday.
“Tonight I sleep at 5,144 metres,” Richard said in a brief exchange with The Canadian Press. “Wow! 815 metres to go. Awesome. I am so lucky. Tired. Burned face but still smiling.”
Parks Canada says the weather has come as advertised this climbing season.
“It has been somewhat unseasonably cold, with mountaineering groups reporting –30 C temperatures even at this time of year, but this is not far from normal,” the department said Wednesday.
Parks Canada warns that the three biggest obstacles to reaching the summit are the remoteness, the weather and the altitude.
Richard said her first night was “weird and uncomfortable” as she had to deal with a torn tent and finicky stove.
She had to spend a week at camp two due to bad weather. Nearly the entire climb was in poor conditions.
“She’s had two whiteouts since she flew out and that was her biggest fear,” Masse said. “But it’s full speed ahead.”
Two Quebec climbers were several hundred metres behind her to give her a measure of reassurance, Masse said.
Richard plans for a two-day descent and is about a week ahead of her planned schedule.
“Take secure routes,” Richard said on her way up. “Rest, lots of rest. 25 steps and rest. Having the time of my life. The mountain is all mine. No one around.”