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Kluane National Park & Reserve of Canada

Expedition Planning

Camp below Pinnacle Peak
© Parks Canada

Mountaineering groups are encouraged to apply for your permits a few months in advance of the start of your trip.


Low Impact Mountaineering

Low impact mountaineering practices are critical to the future of the wilderness attributes that have made Kluane National Park & Reserve world famous.

  • Carry out what you carried in.
  • Do not leave fixed line, glacier wands, food caches or broken equipment in the icefields.
  • Reduce packaging prior to entering the Icefield Ranges.
  • If garbage is burnt, carry out all remaining material including foil and ash.
  • Human feces should be buried as deep as possible in pit privies or deposited into crevasses

Safety Recommendations

  • Expeditions of four or more people are stronger and more capable of self-rescue than smaller groups.
  • Allow for extra time, food and fuel in the event of delays in flying into and out of the Icefield Ranges.
  • Travel roped on all glaciers.
  • Acclimatize slowly: carry high and sleep low.
Communication
Bergschrund and avalanche debris on the approach to Mount Logan’s East Ridge
Bergschrund and avalanche debris on the approach to Mount Logan’s East Ridge
© Parks Canada

Reliable communication with someone outside of the Icefield Ranges is strongly recommended for all expeditions. It is important to be able to call for assistance in the event of injury or illness and to request food drops, weather information and transportation arrangements.

Satellite telephones are the preferred form of communications. These may be rented locally from telecommunications business in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Personal locator beacons (PLB’s) are a good choice for emergency notification. These lightweight devices can be manually activated to transmit a distress signal that is received by satellite and relayed to a National Search and Rescue organisation. In Canada these devices should transmit at 406 MHz and should be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry.

Other satellite GPS messenger devices, such as a SPOT or inReach, are also effective. 


Parks Canada 24 hr Emergency Dispatch

1-780-852-3100 (if calling from a satellite phone)
1-877-852-3100 (toll free)

Rescue Capability

All expeditions should be fully capable of self-rescue and should be able to bring their sick or injured members to a location where an aircraft landing and evacuation is possible.

In the event of an emergency you should be prepared for lengthy delays in search and rescue response times due to:

  • Delays in reporting the emergency
  • Availability of suitable aircraft
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Elevation and location of the sick, injured or stranded persons
  • Time required for members of a rescue team to arrive and acclimatize

Access

Access into the Icefield Ranges is accomplished by either an hour or more aircraft flight or one to two weeks of overland travel from the nearest road.

Aircraft Access

Fixed wing aircraft on glacier
A fixed wing aircraft on glacier
© Parks Canada

Aircraft access is allowed into the Icefield Ranges of Kluane National Park & Reserve for the purposes of mountaineering. An Aircraft Landing Permit must be obtained for each and every landing within the Icefields.

Both helicopters and light fixed wing aircraft on ski-wheels are normally available in Yukon at the:

  • Haines Junction Airport
  • Kluane Lake Research Station
  • Burwash Landing Airport.

Access to the border of Kluane National Park and Reserve is available from Alaska at the:

  • Haines Airport
  • Chitina River at Ultima Thule Lodge

It is recommended that arrangements and reservations be made well in advance. Please contact Kluane National Park & Reserve for the current Aircraft & Ground Transportation list.

Overland Access

glacier travel
Overland access into the Icefield Ranges
© Parks Canada
Ä’äy Chù (Slims River)

Access into or out from the Icefields via the Ä’äy Chù (Slims River) Valley, between April 1st and November 15th requires the use of bear resistant containers for all food, garbage and food wastes. These can be borrowed from the park.

Kaskawulsh River & Alsek River Valleys

Access into or out from the Icefields via the Kaskawulsh and Alsek River Valleys is not permitted between April 1st and November 15th.

Crossing the Yukon - Alaska Border

People travelling by foot into Kluane National Park & Reserve from Alaska must clear Canadian Customs before your trip by calling:

  • Canada Border Services in Whitehorse, Yukon: 1-867-667-3943 or 3944

If you will be entering Alaska from Kluane National Park & Reserve, call:

  • U.S. Customs & Border Protection in Haines, Alaska: 1-907-767-5511

Topographic Maps

Looking down the Logan Glacier into Alaska
Looking down the Logan Glacier into Alaska
© Parks Canada

Topographic maps at a scale of 1:250,000 and 1:50,000 are available for all areas of Kluane National Park & Reserve. Two 1:250,000 maps cover the entire Icefield Ranges of Kluane National Park & Reserve and are ideal for planning expeditions:

  • "Mount St Elias" (115 B&C)
  • "Kluane Lake" (115 F&G)

Maps can be obtained through your local Canada Map Office Distributor.

Guides in the Icefields

All persons intending to guide a mountaineering expedition into Kluane National Park & Reserve require a license to do so. Please contact Kluane National Park & Reserve for the Kluane National Park & Reserve Business License Package.

For those seeking the services of a guide, a list of licensed mountaineering companies for Kluane National Park & Reserve is available. Please contact Kluane National Park & Reserve.

Required Permits

Registration is mandatory. Each expedition must deregister upon completion of the trip.