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Sirmilik National Park of Canada

Ski touring, ski mountaineering, and glacier travel

Skiing on Bylot © Tom Machutchon

Sirmilik National Park is a place for the experienced skier, mountaineer, and winter camper. Should something go wrong, your party must be prepared to help itself. Rescue is far away, and technical rescue equipment and personnel may have to be brought in from outside Nunavut. Rescuers may be unable to get to you and are not always available.

Skiers touring in the park must consider themselves to be completely isolated. Your group must be prepared for self-sufficiency. We recommend that groups contain a minimum of four persons.

With every decision you make about this trip, whether it is the route you choose, the time you choose to go or the gear you choose to take, you must seriously consider the consequences of any mistake for yourself and your travel companions.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you able to navigate by map and GPS in a whiteout?
  • Do you have the training, experience and equipment to assess avalanche conditions, make sound route choices and carry out self-rescue procedures?
  • Do you have the training, experience and equipment required for safe glacier travel and crevasse rescue? Technical rescue equipment and personnel have to be brought in from outside of Nunavut.

Parks Canada assumes no responsibility for the way in which this information is used. The decision to ski or climb any area rests solely with the individual.

Skiing

Those who seek an alpine powder snow ski experience will not find it in Sirmilik National Park. Windslab is common, snow cover is variable, and deep powder is very rare.

However, if you think of ski mountaineering as an alpine adventure involving skiing, exploration and climbing, Sirmilik National Park offers unlimited possibilities. The rock is rough granite, the ice is steep and solid and many peaks have never been climbed.

Although your skis can take you to many peaks and glaciers, most actual ascents will require technical climbing skills and equipment.

Glacier Travel

Much of the park is glaciated. Low temperatures combined with low annual snowfall mean that glacial movement is very slow. Crevasses and icefalls are reduced compared to glaciers in more southerly regions of North America. However, glaciers must still be treated with respect. Groups must travel roped, and must have a thorough knowledge of the techniques of safe glacier travel, including crevasse rescue.