scramble the King’s Throne, Yukon

From some angles the King’s Throne looks like a King’s Throne, hence the name. It’s an easy climb or a tough scramble.

10km (6.2mi) in distance to the summit, about 6hrs return, moderately strenuous.

You have the choice of a 457m (1500ft) climb to rock glacier. Or — if conditions are good  — continue to the top, total ascent being 1,250-metre (4,100-foot) above the lake.  

The views are spectacular all the way up, so there’s no need to top out. Especially if it’s windy or you get “weather”.

You need to find transport to the Kathleen Lake campground 32km (20mi) south of Haines Junction, Yukon. We stayed there one night after our descent.

You will not feel rushed during the long days of the northern summer. It was light out until perhaps midnight when we were there.

Kluane National Park Hiking Guide

Kluane National Park Hiking Guide

Atop the King’s Throne you’ll be inspired to adventure deeper into this, the largest protected area of the world. But there are very few established trails. You’ll likely be bushwhacking. Or paddling.

Contributor Kelly Mock from Whitehorse suggests (instead) a spring ski tour of the most famous long trail in the park, Cottonwood.


Ryan Jordan – Wilderness Trekking School

I wish I could have atteneded Backpacking Light’s Wilderness Trekking III Course.

From super hiker Ryan Jordan’s blog:

… food, water, avalanche gear, group gear, snowshoes, and all clothing worn and items carried. Our pack weights to start actually averaged in the 12-14ish pound range.

If I had to sing praise for the most merit-worthy benefits of this course, it was the cross pollination of experience, the joy of camaraderie in the face of wilderness stress, and the satisfaction of having achieved something meaningful as part of a group. …

Ryan Jordan’s Backcountry: Wilderness Trekking School Featured in Billings Gazette



see all the wonderful photos – Wilderness Trekking III Course

snow is beautiful …

Well said, Laplandica.

I lived 10yrs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Cold, clear and snowy is the norm during the long winters there. Beautiful.

I’m planning on New Year’s Eve at Emma Lake, SK.

The best way to learn about snow is to play with it, doing this often. By playing with or in snow, one gains experience with the different types of snow and one can readily and enjoyably adapt to snowy conditions allowing more opportunities in being outdoors.


Laplandica » Snow Is Often Considered…

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, Canadian Rockies

At the Banff Mountain Festival I bumped in Chris Hopkins, a friend I hadn’t seen for 17-years.

num.jpgTurns out he and his wife are managing beautiful Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, 40km north of Lake Louise on the Banff – Jasper highway.

Unlike many of the tourist highlights of the Canadian Rockies, winter is their favourite season. When I told Chris I was a hiker, he spoke of great trails out of the lodge. But that the cross country and backcountry skiing was even better.

I’d love to tour of all the Rocky Mountain lodges. This would be high on my list.

Stop summer or winter. The red roof, the blue lake, the green trees. This would be a terrific place to film your movie.

Num-ti-jah Lodge – official website

hiking Skyline Trail, Jasper in OCTOBER

So, the University of Alberta Outdoors Club in Edmonton decided to hike the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park in the Fall.

That’s crazy, man!

This — our favourite hike in the Canadian Rockies — is difficult enough in August.

Did they survive?

Check the trip report by Ewen on his Outdoor Video Magazine site:

… When I awoke in the morning, I discovered the rain had turned to 4 inches of snow over night, and everything was frozen solid. A temperature somewhere between -5C and -10C coupled with the rain the night before meant people had to resort to licking tent poles to get them to collapse, and I had to spend nearly 10m de-icing the bear hanger before we could get our food down.

Outdoor Video Magazine » Hiking the Skyline Trail- Jasper National Park


We’ve linked to Ewen’s trip report from our Skyline Trail information page.

PCT late season hike – Freezer Bag Cooking

Sarah’s Freezer Bag Cookingâ„¢ | Outdoor Food Simplified site is #1 for hiking food in my opinion.

But Sarah’s a hard core hiker, as well.

Check these photos from her latest trip report:

My friend Steve and I set out to do the section hike of Chinook Pass to White Pass on the PCT here in Washington. We headed southbound on this section. It is roughly a shy 30 miles. …

We left Chinook Pass in a snowstorm, the only vehicle besides us up there was the snow plow.



Would you go out this late in the year?

Snow on the PCT – trip report and more photos

hiking Alaska takes SKILL

Any idiot can hike in California.

But hiking the far North takes smarts. Route finding skills. Bush whacking skills. Survival skills.

GPS is essential, we feel.

Don’t count on calling in rescue with a satellite phone. They are far from 100% reliable.

If you plan to trek Alaska in future, start your research with Eric Molvar’s book. Published in 1996, it covers river crossings, snowfield travel, and glacier travel and wildlife very well.

Wilderness Techniques for the Far North (Hiking & Climbing)

Alaska on Foot: Wilderness Techniques for the Far North (Hiking & Climbing)

If we’d only studied this book in advance we’d have never crossed this snow bridge over a raging Alaskan creek above Whittier. Turns out it’s dangerous!


hiking out of Homer, Alaska

click for larger map

trail-map-gif.gifEvery tourist loves charming Homer on the Kenai Peninsula.

We did not have time to hike Kachemak Bay State Park but I would love to go back one day. A water taxi can get you there quickly.

One of the largest coastal parks in the United States, Kachemak Bay State Park offers glaciers, mountains, islands, lakes, rugged shoreline and beaches, plus over 80 miles of trails, 20 developed campsites and five public use cabins. Bay Excursions transports people to the various trail heads and campsites.

Kachemak Bay State Park water taxi – Hiking and Camping


Portage Pass Trail – Alaska

We enjoyed the short Portage Pass Trail day hike out of Whittier.

Hiking author Dean Littlepage:

… A half-day or overnight hike to Portage Pass, Portage Lake, and an overlook of Portage Glacier.

Portage Pass is a beautiful spot in its own right, and this hike is also the easiest way to get a good view of the face of Portage Glacier since it melted back out of sight of the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center, in 1993.

A moderate hike to an outstanding destination, this trip offers a reward-to-effort ratio that’s right up there with the best Southcentral Alaska has to offer.

Portage Pass is a gap gouged out of the earth long ago by a lobe of Portage Glacier and opened up for hikers by the glacier’s retreat of the last century.

The trail has history too; in the 1890s, when the Alaska Gold Rush brought in the first big influx of non-Natives, steamships docked at the foot of Portage Pass, where Whittier is now, and dropped off prospectors headed for gold strikes near Hope and Sunrise on Turnagain Arm. They hauled their supplies up the steep east face of the glacier with ropes and pulleys, hiked a beaten path across the ice through Portage Pass, and rambled down to Turnagain Arm and the diggings.

Special features: A glacial landscape, alpine scenery, and historic interest.

Portage Pass Trail | Alaska Hikes


Recommended for the Portage Trail is Hiking Alaska, 2nd: A Guide to Alaska’s Greatest Hiking Adventures

hike Wrangel – St. Elias National Park, Alaska?

First MAPS:

In a huge and wild park such as Wrangell-St. Elias, you can never have too many maps

National Geographic – Trails Illustrated has produced a 1:375,000 (1 inch = 6 miles) scale map of Wrangell-St. Elias that is a great tool for initial trip planning.

It is waterproof, tear resistant, and covers the entire park, including detailed inserts of the Nabesna Road and McCarthy/Kennecott areas. This map is available at all park ranger stations, or online through the Alaska Natural History Association for $9.95

We highly recommend that backcountry hikers also purchase the highly detailed USGS 1:63,360 (1 inch = 1 mile) topographic maps, also known as 15-minute quadrangle maps of the particular route they plan to travel. Note: this part of Alaska is not covered by USGS 7.5-minute maps.

maps – National Parks Service


The best I can find is Hiking in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
by former mountain guide Danny W. Kost (2000)


This Park is very intimidating.

Get all the information you can before you travel to hike here.

We will simply dayhike from the road access.

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