Wilderness Adventures in British Columbia & Yukon since 1988
My wife and I had read about the Tombstones in a travel magazine. The description heightened our interest to visit this unique Yukon treasure. Your guides, their professionalism & knowledge, along with your itinerary, were top notch. Flying into the area by helicopter gave everyone a special, scenic view of this amazing park. We were happy that we followed your conditioning tips as the hike was every bit as challenging as the topography suggested. Fall colors and Northern Lights were like the cherry on a delicious sundae. Thanks for a great trip.” Jennifer & Howard Dickerson, San Diego, CA.What’s so special about a wilderness adventure trip? The simple answer is – you, and the others who join you. You’ll be part of a small group of very special people, of differing ages, educational levels, nationalities, religions, and ethnicity. You’ll come together as strangers and, more often than naught, leave with connections.
Shared wilderness travel fosters a unique and remarkable dynamic. It manifests itself in helping hands, campfires, raising a fist to the rain, good food, storytelling, conversation, facing fears, personal triumphs, sore muscles, and lots of laughter. It transplants us from our “all providing” environment to one where our baser instincts, skills, and human interactions measure outcome. You will come away with important revelations of self, cooperation, and human spirit. And, to no lesser degree, you will expand your appreciation of the wilderness and the need to protect our natural treasures.
Background The legendary and spectacular Tombstone Mountains are the focus of this trek in the northern Yukon. Enter the “Patagonia of the North” and a time when the only people here were the First Nations people. Aboriginal people captured the power of Tombstone Mountain when they named it Odhah ChaaTat meaning “among the sharp, ragged mountains”. This is the land where craggy, black granite pinnacles point to the sun. Where hidden valleys are settings for crystalline lakes. Where every summer the tundra explodes in a magnificent carpet of colours that delight the eye. The only forces that have truly touched the landscape are wind, water, and glaciers—except in the northern Beringia areas where the glaciers did not form, and where mammoths, steppe bison, scimitar cats and other giants of the ice age roamed.Subarctic tundra, boreal forest, and alpine tundra all interweave to create a remarkably diverse and productive ecosystem. The variety of wildlife including caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly reflect this diversity. Bird sightings include golden eagles, boreal owls, and rare gyrfalcons.
Getting to Whitehorse, Yukon Air Canada [www.aircanada.ca], WestJet [www.westjet.com] and Air North [www.flyairnorth.com] have scheduled flights to Whitehorse. Please check with them or your travel agent for details.
Weather While hiking in the Yukon we enjoy sunlight not for a day but for a whole season. Day time temperatures in late August usually range from 10C – 20C (50F- 65F). Overnight temperatures may drop below freezing during the late summer months.
Terrain Hiking in the Tombstones is challenging. Sections of the hike include scree slopes, small boulders, slippery unstable rocks, bushwhacking, and elevation gains. Terrain travel is over tundra tussocks, rock glaciers, talus slopes and rock slide areas.
Travel Distance Hiking distances per day will be about 10 km. Our longest day will be the hike over the pass, anywhere from 10-14 hours dependent on group ability and weather conditions. On most days we begin hiking at 9am (on pass day we will leave around 6 am due to the physical demands of that day), take breaks, lazy lunches (weather permitting), and look to get into camp around 4-5 in the afternoon. To protect the environment, we employ “ No Trace Camping” practices.
Level of Difficulty The trip is open to people of all abilities; however, it requires physical endurance and psychological stamina. Although our guides carry most of the group equipment, hikers can expect to carry 15kg+ (30lb). Participants should prepare by executing an exercise program coupled with some walking or running or cycling.
Group Size and Composition Maximum group size is 8, two of whom are guides. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities. People come by themselves or with family/friends. The youngest can be 13 and the oldest in their 70s. We would need to be comfortable that, at either end, the hiker is capable of taking on the heavy demands of hiking the Tombstone Mountains.
Guides Our guides are highly trained and accredited leaders. They are committed to providing our guests with the best in wilderness adventure, while always focusing on safety. Our guides meet strict Yukon governmental park standards before they are licensed to guide on our behalf.
Accommodations This is a camping trip. At night you will sleep in a top of the line tent. Typically, tenting is double occupancy and partners are arranged by gender. You are welcome to bring your own tent but you should contact our office to ascertain the suitability of your tent to environment. Bathroom facilities will range from outhouses to wilderness sanitation practices.
Meals The food we bring is plentiful, nutritious, and primarily vegetarian (because this keeps better than meat). Food is divided and carried by participants. A food drop helps to reduce the overall weight that will be carried. You can expect meals to be varied, and delicious: burritos, rice, pasta, and vegetable stir-fry for dinner; bagels and sandwiches for lunch; oatmeal, and granola for breakfast. Beverages include herbal and regular tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cider. If you have special dietary restrictions or preferences, be sure to list them on your registration.
Equipment and Clothing We will supply you with a list of outdoor clothing and articles you will need. We supply all the group equipment including kitchen and cover. All you need to provide is your personal gear, such as clothing and a sleeping bag. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation. We do rent packs, sleeping bags/pads for a nominal charge (cleaning).
ITINERARY TOMBSTONE MOUNTAINS
- Meals: All meals while on the hike, including snacks and beverages
- Arrival in Departure City: You should be here at least one day before Day 1.
- Dawson City: Days in Dawson may be governed by poor weather conditions that affect helicopter flights into the Tombstone area.
Late season hikes into the Tombstone area takes advantage of the incredible autumn colours. There are also the additional advantages of no mosquitoes, and the very good possibility of seeing migrating caribou and the Northern Lights.
Day 1: Leave Whitehorse. We will drive the scenic Klondike Highway to our destination Dawson City. This is about a 5-6 hour drive. Evening to enjoy and wander about in Dawson. Accommodation is the Bunkhouse in Dawson.
Day 2: Flight by helicopter over the Ogilvie Mountains – incredible way to be introduced to the colours and topography of the Tombstone area. Will set up camp near Mt. Tombstone and do a pack free exploration around the camp.
Days 3-5: Pace and weather will design our itinerary over the next few days. Basically, we will hike along the North Klondike Valley, camping at some of the lakes along the way – Talus and Divide Lakes, over Glissade Pass and into Grizzly Lake. Bring a camera and extra batteries and memory cards, as the mountainous landscape and autumn colours will explode around you.
Days 6 & 7: Meet our van along the Dempster Highway pick up point. We will be transported to Dawson City for more time to enjoy the history and entertainment of the onetime center of the Klondike Gold Rush
Day 8: Return by van to Whitehorse.
What is included in the cost
- Travel between Whitehorse – Tombstones – Dawson
- Park permits and camping fees
- Group camping equipment
- Two person tents
- Guides do Meal preparation
- All food/snacks/beverages during hiking
- Helicopter flight (weather permitting)
- Accommodation in Dawson City
- Major first aid supplies
- Satellite phone