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Elevation: 2,349 ft 716 m
GPS: 62.4717, -135.43949
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Shared By: Peter Spindloe on Dec 29, 2010 · Updates
Admins: Braden Batsford, John Serjeantson

Description Suggest change

The Yukon is Canada's western most territory, bordered by Alaska, NWT, and British Columbia, with the vast majority of the small population centered in Whitehorse. Though practically the entire territory is mountainous, save the interior and northern plateaus, there is a surprising lack of vertical rock. Many of the mountains are large scree piles and the intense freeze-thaw is not kind to the cliffs that do exist. Access is also fairly limited due to a lack of roads. Thus, rock and ice climbing are not necessarily the hobby of choice here, though both communities are growing rapidly. The largest alpine community would be backcountry skiing/riding, with world class terrain in the southern passes, Haines and White Pass (though these are both technically in BC/AK, they are only accessible via the Yukon and by all means culturally part of it). That being said, there is more than enough to continue developing your skills on all alpine mediums and plenty of accessible and remote objectives that can challenge you.

Whitehorse is surrounded by a number of short crags of all kinds of rock-types such as granite, limestone, and basalt. Similar to the height of the cliffs, the approaches tend to be extremely short. A little ways out of town down the Takhini River Road, however, exists some of the best granite full length crack pitches found anywhere, in Golden Canyon. Also, the Ibex Valley contains amazing, though challenging to access, granite bouldering.

There are world class mountaineering objectives in Kluane NP including the tallest peak in Canada, Mt Logan. The icefield ranges, where Mt Logan sits, are only easily accessible by ski plane however the front ranges abutting the village of Haines Junction offer 1-2 day trips for mountaineering and scrambling (See: YukonHiking). But be warned, the St Elias Mountains are even chossier than the Rockies. Information is limited but there are a number of high quality snow/ice routes here. Across the valley sits the Ruby Range, where the territory's premier granite multipitch zone lies, Paint Mountain. Don't expect Squamish quality rock though, the freeze-thaw has done it's work here. It often feels more like a granite equivalent of Yamnuska with routes taking more of a mixed approach to protection. Regardless, there are some gems and the views are unbeatable. 

The Boundary Range of the coastal mountains extends all the way up from Prince Rupert to the Yukon/NW BC. The more coastal peaks are reminiscent of the mountains of the same parent range in SW BC (though generally chossier) with the interior peaks being a more mixed bag of granitic and volcanic rocks. The coastal Alaskan towns of Haines and Skagway are only accessible via road through the Yukon and include some worthwhile alpine climbs and lowkey rock and ice crags. Mt Emmerich (Haines, FA: Fred Beckey) and Pyramid Peak (Skagway) are two objectives to look into. Furthermore, the hard to access regions in the AK/YT/BC border region between the two towns have seen some incredibly impressive alpine climbs such as on Kooshdakha Spire and Rapa Nui. A ferry from either town will take you to Juneau, where you can access the Mendenhall Towers on the Juneau Icefield. Skagway is accessed through the South Klondike Highway, which will take you through the Southern Lakes region and namely the town of Carcross, where more granite multipitch, alpine, and ice climbing can be found. Further south on the way to Skagway will take you through White Pass, where there is more potential alpine climbing and unlimited bouldering potential. In the same region, the road to Atlin, BC, will take you past White Mountain. Here you can find roadside limestone, ice climbing and Rockies style bolted multipitching on the Rusted Goat wall. Some of the large buttresses on the North aspect have seen moderate gear ascents as well and look ripe for large bolted routes. Ark Mountain/Äthèkal, at the end of Kusawa Lake, is accessed via boat or floatplane. It is a granite spire of amazing quality and the route Reflection Ridge is considered by many the premier alpine rock route in the territory.

Climbing in the North and the Interior is more limited but there is a number of developed areas. The famous Tombstone's in the Ogilvie Range are majestic and begging to be climbed. However, reports from the Canadian Alpine Journal claim the rock is quite poor. That, coupled with the long approach, has prevented any significant development. Though the major features such as Tombstone Mountain and Mount Monolith have reportedly seen ascents. The limestone tors near Engineer Creek have reportedly seen some bolting as well, though information is quite limited.

Running along the eastern border of the territory is the Mackenzie Range. This range is often erroneously described as a Northern extension of the Rockies and though some peaks may look at home in either, they are geologically different. Similar to the Rockies and BC/AB, the YT/NWT border straddles the continental divide of the Range. With the famous Cirque of the Unclimbables in Nahanni NP sitting on the NWT side, often accessed via flight from the Yukon. Information for climbing on the YT side is limited to non-existent but the North Canol Highway and Nahanni Range Road provide access to these remote mountains with ascents of Keele Peak and Itsi Mountain being reported.

Similarly, the Pelly Mountains in the South Central area of the Territory (east of Whitehorse) has next to no information regarding climbing, though it surely has some hidden gems. It can be accessed via the Canol Highway running between Johnson's Crossing and Ross River. 

Given the remoteness of many of the mountains, there are many more hidden gems to discover, much of the community discussion occurs on the Facebook pages: Yukon Alpine Community and Yukon Climbing. The 'Yukon Climbing Guide' book is generally considered outdated but does contain a few crags not listed here. You can also purchase the online Yukon Bouldering guidebook for more information.

The Yukon is also incredibly unique in that we are home to 11 of the 25 self-governing indigenous communities in Canada. Under the Umbrella Final Agreement and their individual Final Agreements, these First Nations have particular land rights that must be legally respected. As a community, we also aim to have a collaborative relationship around Land Stewardship and therefore it is important for us to respect all land managers, including First Nations. 

"If you are developing a new crag, do some homework. Large parts of land fall under First Nations Land Claims agreements and may be subject to special regulations or considerations. Using land for recreational purposes is allowed under most Land Claims agreements, however modifications to the land such as bolting and cutting trails is usually controlled. Failure to comply with Land Claims agreements could lead to closure of the crag."

From the first edition of Ryan Agar's guide book to the area: Yukon Climbing Guide.

Updated description by John Serjeantson

Getting There Suggest change

Flights into Whitehorse are offered from Toronto & Ottawa (summer only), Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria. Otherwise, the classic way to get there is driving the Alaska Highway through Alberta and NE BC. Another option is via the Cassiar Highway through NW BC, this route is significantly less busy and has less time spent driving through the oilpatch but the road is significantly more windy and doesn't have the hot springs along the way. 

356 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Yukon Territory

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c AI2-3 Steep Snow
 4
East Ridge
Ice, Snow, Alpine
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 7
Letter to the Editor
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 8
Cracking Up
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
 10
Yellow Brick Road
Sport, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 7
Swiss Family Robinson
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 6
Shark Fin
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Latvian Gambit
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Chunder Gully
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 7
Heretic/ ArĂȘte
Sport, TR
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 11
Sting in the Tail
Sport, TR
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 7
Uppity Buddha
Sport, TR
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 5
One Crack Mind
Trad, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 7
Crucifix
Trad, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 5
Ginger
Trad, TR
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 9
Swamptart
Sport, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
East Ridge Alaska Highway… > Kluane NP > Mt Logan
 4
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c AI2-3 Steep Snow Ice, Snow, Alpine
Letter to the Editor Alaska Highway… > Paint Mtn (Hain… > Swiss Wall
 7
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Cracking Up Takhini River &… > Golden Canyon > Dihedral Wall
 8
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Yellow Brick Road Takhini River &… > Golden Canyon > Cranberry Meadows
 10
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Sport, TR
Swiss Family Robinson Alaska Highway… > Paint Mtn (Hain… > Swiss Wall
 7
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Shark Fin Takhini River &… > Golden Canyon > Cranberry Meadows
 6
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Latvian Gambit Takhini River &… > Golden Canyon > Cranberry Meadows
 4
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Chunder Gully Alaska Highway… > … > Chunder Canyon > Upper Chunder (Multip…
 4
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
Heretic/ ArĂȘte Whitehorse > Rock Gardens > Grand Central Station
 7
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport, TR
Sting in the Tail Whitehorse > Vinyl Village
 11
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport, TR
Uppity Buddha Takhini River &… > Golden Canyon > Cranberry Meadows
 7
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport, TR
One Crack Mind Takhini River &… > Golden Canyon > Dihedral Wall
 5
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad, TR
Crucifix Whitehorse > Rock Gardens > Grand Central Station
 7
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, TR
Ginger Whitehorse > Vinyl Village
 5
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, TR
Swamptart Whitehorse > Vinyl Village
 9
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport, TR
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