Chilkoot Trail Backpack – Trip #2
Thursday, August 7th,[masked]:00 PM
To Tuesday or Wednesday, August 12th or 13th
A TBD location in Whitehorse, Yukon or Skagway, Alaska
Description (thank you Wade):
Regarded by many as one of the world’s epic treks, the Chilkoot Trail follows the route travelled by thousands of prospectors from Skagway, Alaska to the Yukon goldfields in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. Up to five BC Outdoor Adventurers and I will ply this same 53-kilometre route through the Coast Mountains from Dyea, Alaska to Bennett, BC near the Yukon border. In doing so, we will travel through three climatic zones, see remnants left by those early prospectors, cross the USA-Canada border by climbing up and over the Chilkoot Pass, and have what should be an unforgettable experience!
The number of hikers crossing the Chilkoot Pass into Canada is limited to only fifty per day, of which 42 places can be booked in advance, and I have purchased Trail Permits (which includes all camp reservations) for eight people for the dates noted in the itinerary below. Wade is organizing a second trip on alternate dates with a slightly varying itinerary allowing you to RSVP for the event that is most suitable.
PLEASE READ THIS EVENT DESCRIPTION IN ITS ENTIRETY BEFORE YOU RSVP!
Once I have “confirmed” someone for the event, they will then be given until March 28 to reimburse me for the cost of the Trail Permit and Reservation fee ($62 total).
This trip will NOT be cancelled or postponed due to inclement weather.
Travel: Day 1 and 6 (or 7) are travelling days.
Travel Day 1: We can travel to Whitehorse and rent a car or take a shuttle to Skagway, or fly to Skagway. We need to get to Dyea Trailhead. Details to follow
Hiking (5 days) Chilkoot Trail
Hiking DaY 1: Dyea Trailhead to Canyon City camp (12.5 km hike)
Hiking Day 2: Canyon City to Sheep Camp (8 km)
Hiking Day 3: Sheep Camp to Happy Camp (via Chilkoot Pass, cross back into Canada; 12.7 km with lots of elevation gain over a short distance
Hiking Day 4: Happy Camp to Bare Loon Lake (13.7 km)
Hiking Day 5: Bare Loon Lake to Bennett (6.5 km); from Bennett we will take the White Pass & Yukon Railroad to Whitehorse (arrive 18:30 Pacific Time).
Travel Day 6 or 7: We will either leave Whitehorse by plane that night or the next morning. Details to follow.
A map of the trail can be viewed here (Thank you Wade):
A distance and elevation profile of the trail can be viewed here:
The Chilkoot Trail can be rough with deep mud, standing water, unstable boulders, slick rocks and roots making footing difficult. It rises from tidewater to the Chilkoot Pass at 1,067m/3500 feet; the steep hike from Sheep Camp over the Chilkoot Pass and then on to Happy Camp can take up to 12 hours, even though it is a distance of only 12.7 km.
While this event is scheduled at a time when the best weather reputedly exists, Parks Canada advises that “regardless of the season, hikers can expect wet, cold, windy and/or whiteout conditions; severe rain or snow storms are possible even in the middle of summer.”
This is bear country and we will need to put our food in the designated bear lockers at each camp.
For more information, download Parks Canada’s “Chilkoot Trail Hiker Preparation Guide” here:
Due to the nature of this trip I will give first preference to those I have backpacked with before, or those with recent backpacking experience (i.e., multi-day hiking carrying a 30-50 lb pack and experience in backcountry camping) and the strength and stamina required to complete the journey at pace with the group.
THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER EVENT. Do not over-estimate your abilities. If you do not have the required level of fitness you may, at the very least, affect the enjoyment of the trip for the rest of the group and, at worst, put the safety of other group members at risk.
My hiking preference is for a small group like this to keep reasonably close together (i.e., no member should ever be out of sight of another member). This is for the safety of not only yourself, but other group members. This is a group event, which means you must stay with the group, look out for other members of the group (although we are all ultimately responsible for our own safety) and do what the group is doing. If you like to wander off ahead and leave everyone else in your dust, then this is not the trip for you.
On the other hand, people who enjoy working with others as part of a team are ideal!
Also, while it should be understood without saying, the following also applies: no guests, no drugs, and (for entry into the US) no criminal record.
Total cost of doing this trip is estimated to be around $[masked] (the $62 Trail Permit and Reservation fee is all you would pay to me):
- Airfare ($470-$510 currently)
- Transport between your residence and YVR
- Chilkoot Trail Permit (Canada and US combined)=$50.30 plus Reservation Fee of $11.70
- ? 1 night hotel in Whitehorse ($[masked]/night; or maybe around $120 per person sharing room with 2 beds)
- Overnight at Dyea trailhead at a cost of $10/tent at a first-come, first-serve basis
- Train/bus/rented car from Whitehorse to Skagway ($124 USD)
- Train/bus from Bennett to Whitehorse ($99 USD)
- Shuttle from Skagway to Dyea trailhead ($20 est)
- Meals in Whitehorse and Skagway
- Fuel and provisions
- Insurance (should cover hiking in the US and possible evacuation; not required, but advised)
This list is not exhaustive since, as an experienced backpacker, you will know what to bring, but some things that should be underscored are:
PASSPORT! (or Nexus card or other documentation required for entry into the US and then back into Canada)
Your various travel reservations (air, train/bus, hotel)
Poles if you use them
Headlamp and spare batteries
Water-proof/ wind-resistant Jacket
Layered Clothing and clothing for both hot and very cold temperatures
Gloves & toque
Water purification system (filter, chlorine dioxide tablets, etc)
First aid supplies, suntan lotion, lip balm, insect repellent
Tent, stakes, and cord to secure tent to platforms; sleeping gear; backpacking stove and cooking equipment, etc.
Neither bear spray nor fuel is permitted on commercial flights, so we will need to purchase these in either Whitehorse or Skagway.
Please be aware that BC Outdoor Adventures is not a professional organization and although the organizers make every possible effort to ensure the safety of event participants, the volunteers leading events are not professional guides. We are simply taking advantage of the Meetup organization and using Meetup as a way of bringing like-minded individuals together to share in an enjoyable outdoor experience.
BC Outdoor Adventures is run entirely by volunteers (no financial remuneration is accepted/collected from members) and is dependent on the active participation of members.
It is expected that you will show up to events prepared (first aid, proper footwear, clothing, 10 essentials etc.) and that you will be physically able to take part in the event. Also please be aware that risks are inherent in all of the outdoor type activities that we take part in and if you are injured or worse, BC Outdoor Adventures, or your event organizer, cannot be held responsible in any way. The success of each event depends on the cooperation & efforts of every member who participates. Although we always make an effort to look out for one another to the best of our ability, each of us is nevertheless responsible for our own safety and well-being during every event. By RSVP’ing “yes” for this event, you acknowledge and accept these terms.