Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon (21-25 Aug) - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Whitehorse, YT, Canada.
Posts: 223
Default Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon (21-25 Aug)

Phase 2 of my trip to the Yukon in August was a sojourn in the breath-taking Tombstone Territorial Park. CWF was with me for this one as well, and we also picked up a friend living in Whitehorse.

After spending the evening in the campground on the side of the Dempster, we woke up to slightly below freezing temperatures and thick, thick smoke.

We began our hike up Grizzley Creek valley following a fairly well marked route. The smoke was combined with some misty rain which made the rocky parts of the route (and there were many) fairly treacherous. The distance from the trailhead to the lake was 9 kms and took an amazing 7.5 hours to complete.

The sun did manage to come out in the evening and gave us some beautiful views of the valley. This on again, off again weather was typical for the entire time in the park.

Day 2: Along with the others at the Grizzley camp, we looked up at Glissade pass and thought huh? Where the heck are we supposed to go? Well, we went straight up. Oh what fun, you can see the smiles on the hiking party and Grizzley Valley in the background:

Looking down Glissade Pass - this was a fun descent as we got to boot ski down a huge section of it. After the cold rain at the top of the pass, we were rewarded with a rainbow over the Tombstone Valley at the bottom.

We were making good time on day 2, so we only stopped at Divide Lake for lunch a few photos before pressing on.

After leaving Divide Lake, we crossed Tombstone Pass which is the dividing point between the headwaters of the North Klondike River and the Tombstone River.

We set up camp at the edge of Talus Lake. Simply amazing. It was still a bit smokey but Tombstone Moutain could be made out throught haze of sunset and the sunrise views down the valley were stunning.

Day 3 started with rain but then turned into a beautiful sunny afternoon that found us lounging around in the alpine tundra forging for berries and taking many photos of the ever changing vistas.

The winds picked up in the afternoon and created some amazing clouds before also bringing the rain... the rain which pretty much carried through until the next afternoon. Did I mention the winds? The sheer pleasure of restaking a tent down at 2:30 a.m. in the pouring rain is one that cannot be described my mere words alone, it needs to be experienced.

We broke camp in the early afternoon of day 4 and made a quick jump back to Divide Lake that we had only paused at on day 3. Just in time for the rain to set in again and clear up for a nice sunset.

The toll collector enroute to Divide Lake:

A cold and breezey sunset at Divide Lake:

Day 5 saw the rain break at about 2:30 in the afternoon. I poke my head out of the tent to find the 3 Rangers packing up their stuff to make a beeline for the highway - 16 kms out the valley - almost all bushwacking. So what did we do? Packed up with them and practically ran along behind them. A trip that shall not soon be forgotten.

The views on day 5 were some of the best - the extra cold temperatures (note the snow on the peaks in the pictures) seemed to bring out the stunning fall colours.

This trip was a real adventure: tough hiking, challenging weather and so much beauty that you don't even realize what you are seeing until after the experience. If you get a chance, go.

Just one more pic, after a night of rest, we drove to the north end of the park up the Dempster to see the Blackstone Uplands - an unglaciated area where the mountains are quite different than those scoured by glaciers.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 03:13 PM
Off the Beaten Path
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Calgary, alberta, Canada.
Interest: Hiking, running, family stuff. Cooking for my 3 sons.
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Probably a dumb question,,,how did you bear proof your food with no trees?[:I]

The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
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Location: Whitehorse, YT, Canada.
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I'm glad you asked... with a Bear Vault 300, it is good for about 7 days worth of food. You can pick them up at MEC but they aren't in the online catalouge last I checked.

I think if you search you'll find some threads on here about bear canisters.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 05:50 PM
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Location: whitehorse, yt, .
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Great Review... It was a spectacular trip.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 06:41 PM
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Location: Forest Gnome Cabin, , Canada.
Interest: Outdoor stuff...especially scrambling,trailrunning,mountain biking,kayaking,and hiking, and of course photography
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What fascinating terrain, a one of a kind place to visit. A group of Cters were up there last year and really enjoyed it...
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 06:48 PM
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Even though I have heard that the rock is covered with lichen and unpleasant to try and climb, I still want to go there and climb Tombstone and some of the other peaks
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 06:55 PM
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Location: Port Moody, B.C, Canada.
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Awesome looking terrain. The colourfull rolling valleys with rocky spire like peaks scatered around give it a mythical feel. Very nice TR!!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 07:05 PM
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Here's a link to the fine report posted by Beersnob and company last year [8D]
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 09:34 PM
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Sorry to hear that you guys had smoke in the area - there appears to be a curse of some sort.

Out of curiosity, when you followed the rangers back to the campground, did they follow the GPS track that I sent to CWF, or is there a better route that I don't know about?

It's great area - looking forward to returning next year! (as long as there isn't smoke around - grr)
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2005, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Whitehorse, YT, Canada.
Posts: 223

I'm pretty sure we didn't follow the GPS coords. But if I can try to describe it would be stay as high as you can on the south side of the Tombstone valley after you pass the valley that leads to Glissade Pass. Stay high until you reach a really big boulder field that has a log of orange lichen on it (this is about 2/3 of the way back from Divide Lake to the Dempster) - then head down to the valley bottom and attempt to follow the boggy, braided, swampy horse trail for the last 5 kms.

I got the sense that they (the rangers) were just winging it for most of the time themselves and we were pushing through a wall of buckbrush almost the entire time for the first two thirds.

I'd say that heading downhill on the way out made it a bit easier. When I go back, which I will, I'll probably take the same route in to Grizzley Lake and then over Glissade Pass to get to Divide.

Let me know if you need more details and I can probably throw some grid coordinates together of my old fashioned topo maps.
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