The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides president Marc Ledwidge has released a statement about the rescue of Monique Richard on Mt. Logan earlier this season.
Richard became the first woman to solo Canada’s highest peak, but was rescued on her way down the mountain.
Early reports suggested that Richard called for a rescue, but according to Ledwidge, two climbers from Quebec were the ones who radioed Parks Canada and began communications about Richard before initiating a rescue.
The statement reads:
“This past week, Stephane Gagnon, a Quebec-based ACMG Ski Guide and his 19 year-old son Guillaume, took a critical part in the rescue of a climber on the Kings Trench route on Mount Logan. The climber had become lost on the descent from the summit, had run out of fuel and food, and was too weak to descend any further down from 5,500 metres (Prospectors Col.)
“At this point, Stephane and Guillaume had moved up to Camp 4 at 5,200 metres elevation. After some communications with Parks Canada, they decided on their own accord to go to the aid of the stranded climber. They ascended to the col, rescued, and guided the subject back down to their own camp, and stabilized the climber. Later that day, a Parks Canada rescue helicopter was able to reach that location and evacuate the incapacitated climber.
“Stephane and Guillaume made an informed decision to rescue the stranded climber based on their skill levels, a strong desire to help, their own acclimatization, and personal safety. They likely saved the climber’s life. The ACMG and guiding community are very proud of their actions.”
The rescue of Richard has made many climbers question if her solo ascent of Logan counts.
In 1998, Hawaii-born Francys Arsentiev reached the summit of Mount Everest without bottled oxygen or Sherpa support alongside her Russian husband Sergei, but she died on the descent.
Because she did not return safely, she did not get recognized as the first American woman to climb Everest without bottled oxygen.
Most mountaineers do not consider a summit official unless the climber returns safely.