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The Cirque of the Unclimbables
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Bustle Tower 
East Huey Spire 
Lotus Flower Tower 
Terrace Tower 

The Cirque of the Unclimbables 


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Location: 61.9939, -127.5235 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Jay Knower on Jan 7, 2007
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Bouldering in Fairy Meadow. Lotus Flower Tower in...

Description 

The Cirque of the Unclimbables offers amazing granite rock climbing in a remote, beautiful setting. Found in Nahani Provincial Park just over the western border of the Northwest Territories, the Cirque is pretty out there. No roads lead to within a hundred miles of the Cirque.

Often likened to the Bugaboos but without all of the snow and harder to get to, the Cirque holds many spires and walls. Most are suitable for climbing, but Lotus Flower Tower and Mount Proboscis stand out as gems. Mid-to-late summer offers the best climbing weather and also offers up to 20 hours of daylight because of the Cirque's northern geography.

Fairy Meadows, the traditional basecamp for all routes in the Cirque except the more remote Mount Proboscis, is a magical, lush, well, meadow. Granite boulders, some house-sized, dot the meadow and present rainy-day bouldering opportunities and shelter for tents. Most objectives in the area are a one-hour walk from the meadow. However, those who plan on climbing Mount Proboscis should plan on a much more involved approach from the meadow, one that takes a number of hours and involves a climb through What Notch, as Proboscis actually lies in a subsidary cirque.

Goerge Bell's excellent and informative site answers most questions about the area: home.comcast.net/~gibell/cirque/


Getting There 

This is the hard and expensive part. Unless you are masochistic, it is necessary to charter a float plane to fly you into the Cirque. Warren Lafave's company, Kluane Airways is the primary service for the Cirque. He owns the Inconnu Lodge, a very high end fishing resort, so those who chose to fly with Kluane often are treated to food and lodging at this up-scale establishment. Warren usually stashes a sat phone in the Cirque in order to coordinate trips back to civilization. More info can be found at: www.kluaneairways.com/unclimbables.html

We drove to Finlayson Lake, which is about two hours north of Watson Lake in the Yukon Territories. From here, a float plane picked us up and flew us to Glacier Lake, the major drop-off point for the Cirque. From Glacier Lake, expect a long slog up interminable talus to Fairy Meadows. So, from the lake, follow a meandering trail generally west until you hit the talus at the base of Mount Harrison Smith, a mile-high hunk of bad granite. Take a hard right and follow the talus generally north until you hit Fairy Meadows. It took us a solid half-day to get from the lake to the meadow.

It is also possible, though more expensive, to charter a helicopter to drop you off at Fairy Meadows, thereby bypassing the talus slog. If I ever go back, I am definitely getting the helicopter. After negotiating the talus a few times while shuttling loads, I came to the conclusion that the helicopter is absolutely worth the extra cost.


5 Total Routes


['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',1],['5.10',1],['5.11',2],['5.12',1],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Cirque of the Unclimbables:
Southeast Face   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 18 pitches, 2000'   Lotus Flower Tower
Browse More Classics in The Cirque of the Unclimbables

Featured Route For The Cirque of the Unclimbables
Bustle Tower through the fog in the distance.

Club International 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b C2  North America : Canada : ... : Bustle Tower
On the Southeast face of Bustle tower. 12 pitches of quality granite up one of the most aesthetic towers in the cirque. Named after route topo drawn on a girly magazine of the same name found in a waterproof case at the bivy site in Fairy Meadows. Left of the SE Face Route. Follows left facing dihedrals over a big drippy roof on pitch six. Goes free at mid 5.11, if pitch six isn't too wet. Do it in a day, or fix the first few pitches then fire it the next day....[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of The Cirque of the Unclimbables Slideshow Add Photo
Sun through the clouds in the Cirque of the Unclimbables - Photob by Deaun Schovajsa
Sun through the clouds in the Cirque of the Unclim...
The Cirque.  Mt Proboscis is on the left, Lotus Flower Tower is on the right.
The Cirque. Mt Proboscis is on the left, Lotus Fl...
Lotus Flower Tower with a dusting of fresh snow - Photo by Deaun Schovajsa
Lotus Flower Tower with a dusting of fresh snow - ...
Peter and Deaun smokin' cigars after a another gourmet meal in the cave, Fairy Meadows, Cirque of the Unclimbables
Peter and Deaun smokin' cigars after a another gou...
Mt Proboscis (on the left) from Fairy Meadow.
Mt Proboscis (on the left) from Fairy Meadow.
the Lotus and the Parrot Beak
the Lotus and the Parrot Beak
cragging at Fairy Meadows on "the Penguin" 5.12a/b with Mt. Harrison Smith in the background
cragging at Fairy Meadows on "the Penguin" 5.12a/b...
The Cirque from the air.  Lotus Flower Tower is visible on the right.
The Cirque from the air. Lotus Flower Tower is vi...
Feeling some earned exposure on the final hand cracks on the Lotus headwall; SE Face of Lotus Flower Tower
Feeling some earned exposure on the final hand cra...
the express elevator
the express elevator
Lotus Flower from Ferry Meadows
Lotus Flower from Ferry Meadows
Terrance Tower with Mt Proboscis in the distance
Terrance Tower with Mt Proboscis in the distance
back and forth for 800' on the 'ski tracks'.. with xenoliths abound! Lotus Headwall, SE Face of Lotus Flower Tower
back and forth for 800' on the 'ski tracks'.. with...
Terrace Tower.
Terrace Tower.
Dave Barnett takes a voyage over the sea of chicken heads! and the 'ski tracks' on the Lotus headwall, SE Face of Lotus Flower Tower
Dave Barnett takes a voyage over the sea of chicke...
Comments on The Cirque of the Unclimbables Add Comment
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By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 7, 2011

My guide is now at:
home.comcast.net/~gibell/cirque/