Mountain Light

Tombstone Territorial Park and  the northern Ogilvie Mountains –  5  days in location

Ddhal Ch’el, “among the sharp, ragged rocky mountains” is the traditional name for the Tombstone Range. It is an exceptionally dramatic landscape, with  jagged granite and syenite peaks soaring abruptly above sweeping picturesque valleys. Boreal forest and arctic tundra meet here, with the forested valleys of the Klondike and Chandindu Rivers in the southern end of the Park giving way to the treeless windswept Blackstone River uplands further north.   North of the Park extends the great sweep of the northern Ogilvie Mountains with their exquisitely carved and easily-accessed limestone ridges -a hikers paradise!

Tombstone Mountain, a towering plutonic intrusion, is at the heart of southern Ogilvies. It is also the namesake for Tombstone Territorial Park. This park straddles the Dempster Highway – a narrow strip of gravel in an immense expanse of northern Yukon wilderness. Multiple alpine glaciations have sculpted the rock spires and left behind distinctive features such as cirques, tarns and moraines. The Tombstones are at the southern edge of Beringia, a unique region that was not scoured by continental glaciers during the last ice age. There are good examples of permafrost features throughout the Ogilvies – patterned ground, pingos, seasonal frost mounds and solifluction lobes. This area is rich in cultural history as well, with rich archaeological evidence of at least 8000 years of First Nations peoples traveling across this land in search of its abundant game and fish – ancestors of today’s Tr’ondek Hwetch’in , Gwitchin, and Han people. The end of August and early September is perhaps the most alluring time of year to visit the Park due to its dazzling display of fall colours – the golden hues of the aspen and and balsam poplars, the burnt orange and fiery reds of the dwarf birch, and the brilliant russets of the alpine bearberry. This is also a season where the mosquitoes have abated, and the mountain tops (and occasionally valleys!) are often picturesquely tinged by  early snows.

Trip Details

Dates
August 27-31, 2020
Duration
5 days
Price
$1550+ 5%gst
Activity
Hiking, photography
Skill Level (minimum)
moderate fitness

Detailed Itinerary

The trip starts in Dawson City (if you need transport  from there) or Tombstone campground (if you have your own vehicle). If you need transport we can rendezvous in Dawson in the evening of August 26th (time and place TBD)  or just meet by 8:30 AM on the 27th at your  hotel. ( There is daily bus (Husky Bus)  and air (Air North) service between Whitehorse and Dawson City  and a wide range of accommodation options in both places).  We’ll drive the one and half hours to Tombstone campground, 80 kms up the Dempster highway, where we will base ourselves for the next 5 days.  Scenically located  on the North Klondike River, just below North Fork pass, it is an excellent place to base our explorations from.  Some day hikes into Tombstone Territorial Park we can access from the campground but most we will need to drive short distances south and north from camp. If the group desires we can travel further north one day into the northern Ogilvie Mountains, to access their unique  limestone ridges. By base camping (vs. backpacking) we can travel light each day, packing only a lunch, some warm clothes, and a camera.   We have no fixed destination over the week, and can plan our days depending on weather, and group inclinations. We can, for example, alternate a long hiking day in the Tombstone mountains with an exploratory day along the Blackstone Uplands, looking for wildlife and strolling up valleys. And we can build time  into the trip schedule for interpretive talks and creative expression (eg. photography, painting, writing).

We will return to Dawson by late afternoon  or evening of August 31st. 

What's Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Transportation from Dawson City return, or meet in Tombstone
  • the services of one or two fully qualified guides (depending on group numbers)
  • all group equipment including tents, cooking gear, first aid supplies and satellite phone
  • all meals from lunch Day 1 to lunch on Day 5

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • transportation to and from your home and Dawson City
  • personal belongings and equipment as per equipment list
  • any accommodation or meals in Whitehorse  and Dawson

Region Map

Your Leader

Jill Pangman is very familiar with the country along the Dempster. She worked on the Dempster, based primarily at Tombstone, as a naturalist and biologist in 1984 and has traveled the road countless times since. She has hiked up innumerable peaks and valleys in the Ogilvies and Richardson Mountains, and has been guiding hikers and wildlife enthusiasts here since the mid ’80’s.   More information.