Camp Highlights

  • Explore Kluane National Park, a remote wilderness area
  • Guiding, transport from Whitehorse and food all included
  • Small group size with maximum of 8 people
  • 4:1 participant to ACMG guide ratio

Dates & price

  •  July 29 - Aug 8, 2019
  • $2,495 + Tax / Person

Glaciers, Tundra, and Alpine Passes: Experience One of Canada's Iconic Wilderness Destinations

No trail, no problem: the Donjek Glacier backpacking route in Kluane National Park traverses over 110km of tundra and alpine terrain, requires over a dozen creek crossings, crosses two high alpine passes, and, to top it all off, passes by the two-storey high ice wall at the toe of the Donjek Glacier.

The scale of the terrain is humbling. There is a very good chance that your group will be the only people you see on the route. There are signs of human habitation here and there: an empty park warden cabin, the border markers of Kluane National Park, and snatches of old mining roads and horse trails. Most of the time, though, you’re faced with kilometre upon kilometre of wilderness. Prints from wolves, bear, Dall sheep, and deer are much more common than human tracks. Your group will be entirely self-sufficient, carrying all of the supplies needed for the trek.

The Alpine Club of Canada’s national Adventures program specializes in planning guided hikes and treks to remote wilderness locations in Canada and around the world. Our hiking destinations change every year: if you’re interested in this year’s destination, register now to make sure that you don’t miss out!

Camp Objectives

The Donjek Glacier route: 110km, 1,234m elevation gain, from Duke River to Copper Joe Creek. 

Your group will be entirely self-sufficient, carrying all of the supplies needed for the trek. Our nine-day itinerary will give you the time that you need to navigate through the challenging terrain, but without weighing you down with too much extra food and fuel. ACMG-certified hiking guides will supervise your group. Having professional guides will provide you with peace of mind as you navigate through unmarked wilderness, pick your way around cliffs, and cross the rivers and creeks along the route. ACMG guides will also coach your group in leave-no-trace principles to make sure that this pristine wilderness stays unspoiled for the next visitors.

Day by Day Adventure Itinerary 
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  • Day 1: Meet 9:00 am at the Alpine Bakery in Whitehorse, YT (411 Alexander St). Meet your guides, review paperwork, and load the shuttle. Take the shuttle to the Haines Junction Visitor Centre for your group to check in for the hike and be issued your bear cannisters. You'll then be dropped off at the hostel. Your group will have the place to themselves to go over gear, pack food into the bear cannisters, and review the hike and objectives.

Day 2: Burwash Uplands. After a quick stop at the local bakery for breakfast, you'll head for the trailhead and the start of your hike! The route starts at the Duke River, about 10km north of Burwash Landing. Your shuttle will drive you as far up the old mining road as they're able, and then you're on your own. On the first day, you'll mostly follow old mining roads towards the park boundary. You'll choose a campsite next to one of the several lakes or creeks.

Day 3: Burwash Creek. Leaving the road, you'll work your way over the tundra. Head up and over a saddle and down to Burwash Creek. You'll then follow the creekbed towards the boundary of Kluane National Park. Just inside the park boundary, you'll pass a warden cabin. You'll camp at one of the many flat benches alongside the river, just before the climb up to Hoge Pass. 

Day 4: Hoge Pass.  Pick up an old mining road to the top of Hoge Pass. Once you're at the saddle, the road disappears. On top of the pass, you'll take in Hoge Creek far below, as well as the panorama across the Donjek River. Carefully choosing the right gully, you'll pick your way down to the creek. Follow the creek down to the confluence with the Donjek River, and set up camp on its banks. 

Day 5: Donjek River. Follow the Donjek River along its flat valley. In most seasons, the river is nearly black with glacial silt: the contrast with blue side streams is remarkable. You'll set up camp in moraines just before your first glimpse of the toe of the Donjek Glacier.

Day 6: Donjek River to Donjek Glacier. This section provides the classic views of the toe of the Donjek glacier. Leave the river and work your way back up the hill onto the meadows opposite the glacier. You'll follow an old horse trail for most of the hike through the trees. Viewpoints allow you to see how the river of ice completely fills the valley opposite. The horse trail disappears into meadows just before you work your way back down to creek level, and head for the sand dunes opposite the toe of the glacier. This section of the hike allows you to see and hear the cracking, 2-storey high walls of ice directly opposite you. If conditions permit, you might be able to walk along the bank of the river and see the ice walls towering overhead. 

Day 7: Expectation Pass to Atlas Pass.
Your next objective for a campsite is the meadow area just below Atlas Pass. Work your way up Expectation Pass for one last panoramic view of the glacier; or, conditions permitting, work your way up an adventurous route through the Bighorn Creek canyon to Chert Creek, and up a steep slope to a hanging valley. 

Day 8: Atlas Pass to Duke River.  
Atlas Pass provides panoramic views of the rugged terrain in all directions. Pick your way down the improbable route to the creek, and follow it out to the Duke River. You'll head along the banks of the Duke river and scout out both a likely crossing spot and potential camp spots. 

Day 9: Duke River to Cache Lake.
Wade across the Duke river in the morning to take advantage of the lowest stream flows. Soon, you'll be bushwhacking to catch another old mining road that will take you to the meadows surrounding Cache Lake. You'll either camp here, or get a jump on the next day's hiking by following the road back towards the park boundary. 

Day 10: Copper Joe Creek.
The route down Copper Joe Creek is fairly straightforward in terms of navigation, but a challenging hike in terms of routefinding. Soon after the park boundary, the road disappears into washouts, and was taken out by landslides in many places. Your guides will find you the best possible route over, under, and through. About 5km before the highway, you'll meet another road, this one in current use and in much better shape. At this point, you'll set up camp and relax. Your guides will get in touch with the shuttle company via satellite phone to coordinate the next day's pickup. 

Day 11: Back to Whitehorse. Meet your shuttle at the Alaska Highway: it's back to civilization! You'll return to Whitehorse, where you can check into your choice of hotel and enjoy your first hot shower in over a week. While the camp officiallly ends upon your return to Whitehorse, you might enjoy one last dinner out with your fellow participants and camp staff. 

Is this Camp For Me?
Intermediate - Advanced Hikers

This camp welcomes those who are physically fit, and able to carry a 40-50lb pack for several hours a day over rough terrain. You should have previous backpacking and off-trail hiking or scrambling experience.  Please be prepared for long days, exposure, river crossings, and challenging hiking. 

Food, Accommodation and Guiding

Food

All backpacking food on this trip is included. All front-country food and restaurant meals are participants' responsibility. Please budget approximately an extra $150-$250 for meals on day 1, breakfast on Day 2, and all meals on day 11. If your group finishes the hike early, you may also need to purchase dinner on day 10. 

Accommodation

All accommodation on this camp is included, from the night of Day 1 until the night of Day 10. Pre- and post-camp accommodation is not included. Your group will stay in hostel accommodation in Haines Junciton on the evening of day 1, in tents for the backpacking portion of the trip, and if necessary a hotel/hostel on the evening of day 10. All accommoadation is double-occupancy. 

Guiding

This camp is guided by Association of Canadian Mountain Guides-certified Mountain and Hiking Guides. There is a maximum group size of 8 participants with 2 ACMG hiking guides accompanying the group. 

  • And then, we spied the Donjek Glacier. Oh my - Wow!
  • We saw grizzly bears, Dall sheep by the dozen, caribou, golden eagles, hares, pine marten, fox, ptarmigan, shore birds and moose.
  • What pure joy to break away from the grasp of normal life and truly embrace the heart of the wild.
- Spring 2016 Gazette trip report on the Donjek -

Adventure Map

Contact Us

  Email
   403 678 3200 ext. 213

Organizing Fantastic ACC Adventures For Over 100 Years

  • Local Knowledge - based out of Canmore, AB, we know the Rockies region and the best local caterers, guides and porters
  • Dedicated resources - full-time office staff, ACMG guides and group equipment on-hand to ensure your trip runs smoothly
  • Not-for-profit - any money we make on camps and courses is reinvested into providing services for our members and the mountain community

Cancellation policy and travel Insurance

Please be sure to review our cancellation policy before registering for ACC Adventures:
 
Cancellation Policy
We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips

Travel Insurance


Included WITH YOUR CAMP FEE

  • 4:1 professional guiding throughout the camp the camp by fully-certified ACMG guides 
  • Transportation to and from the trailhead from Whitehorse
  • All backpacking meals
  • Double-occupancy tent accommodation; hostel accommodation
  • All group gear

Participants Must Provide

  • Transportation to and from Whitehorse, YT
  • Restaurant meals on Day 1 and Day 11, breakfast on day 2
  • Pre and post camp accomodation 
  • Personal gear (see gear list )

Your Guides

Sylvia Forest

Sylvia (Syl) Forest is a mountain guide living near Golden, BC. Syl worked as a park warden and mountain rescue specialist in Jasper, Lake Louise and Glacier National Parks for 23 years, and managed the mountain rescue program in Glacier Park for eight years. She completed her UIAGM Mountain Guide certification in 2001. Syl left Parks in the fall of 2013 in order to spend more time guiding, and to spend more time with her family.

Syl also teaches avalanche courses regularly for the Canadian Avalanche Association, and works as a heli ski guide during the winter months.

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