Summary

Duration: 13 days total (11 in the field, 2 in hotel/B&B)

Considered by many to be one of the Top 10 multi-day hiking adventures in Canada, the Akshayuk Pass is set in the heart of the Baffin Mountains and is surrounded by the Penny Ice Cap. Formerly known as the Pangnirtung Pass, this incredible area is located within the boundaries of Auyuittuq National Park (Inuktitut: the land that never melts). In addition to offering visitors some of the most breathtaking mountain landscapes on the planet, the Pass is rich in history, as it is a traditional corridor for Inuit to travel between the communities of Pangnirtung and Qikiqtarjuaq.

Program overview:

This challenging expedition is perfect for individuals seeking an authentic Arctic experience in a land rich in history and culture. Guest will fly to the remote Inuit village of Qikiqtarjuaq, typically departing from either Ottawa or Montreal. Upon arrival at the airport you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to the hotel. Once settled, you may take the opportunity to explore the community or relax at the hotel. The following day we will travel by boat (approximately 3-hrs) from Qikiqtarjuaq to the head of North Pang Fiord, arriving at the trailhead in the early afternoon. Our Captain has a keen eye and will likely divert the boat on occasion to show guests the many natural attractions of the area – such as icebergs or resident marine and terrestrial wildlife. It is not uncommon to see Bowhead whales, marine birds and even polar bears on the ride to the drop off point. Once at our destination, we will offload our gear and begin the 97-kilometer (60 mile) adventure into the Pass. Our goal is to make some headway into the Owl River Valley before making camp for the evening. For the remaining 10 days of this adventure we will begin the day with an early wakeup call followed by a nutritious breakfast prior to setting off. Our journey begins at sea level, but we gradually gain altitude until we top out at the aptly named Summit Lake (420masl). From there we follow the Weasel River Valley, where the effects of glacial activity are even more pronounced as we encounter erratic boulder fields, moraines, sky-scraping mountain peaks and nunataqs. Two of the most well-known peaks in the region are Mount Thor (1675masl) and Mount Asgard (2015masl) – both names derived from Norse mythology. Thor Peak is of particular interesting as it has Earth’s highest vertical drop at 1250m (4101ft). The group will camp at Thor Peak and guests will have an opportunity to explore and photograph this incredible mountain. As we continue south, guests will have an opportunity to officially cross the Arctic Circle (66o30’) – a truly memorable experience. Parks Canada has constructed a marker at this point, offering a memorable photo op.  The final stretch takes us to Overlord, the southern entrance of the Pass, where we will await pickup by boat from another of our local guide partners. The 30km trip to Pangnirtung is stunning and is a great opportunity to relax before heading back to the realities of modern life.

Difficulty rating: 2

Guests should be aware that this trip is considered to be of moderate difficulty and the expectation is that individuals have the ability to carry a 50-65lb (23-27kg) backpack for 7-8 hours per day (10-15km each day). We’ve designed this as an expeditionary style adventure, therefore all clients will be required to share the load of group equipment, such as fuel, stoves and common cooking gear. This trip also involves several river crossings; therefore, you should have some degree of comfort crossing moving water (up to the knees). Your guide will evaluate water levels and determine the safest and most efficient place to cross. There may be a need to time certain crossings with water levels, so a degree of flexibility is required.

Location

Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island, Nunavut

Trip Details

Dates

August 5th – 18th, 2020

Ratio (client to guide)

5:1

Fee

$6200 + GST (5%)

50% deposit required on registration. Balance due 90 days prior to start. 

What’s not included:

Gratuity (recommended)

What AWE provides:

Hotel Accommodation (based on double occupancy)

  • Qikiqtarjuaq (August 5)
  • Pangnirtung (August 17)

Boat transfers to/from Auyuittuq NP

Trail food

  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner during expedition. Dinner in Pangnirtung (last day)
  • Trail snacks and hot drinks

Professional guide

Group equipment

  • Satellite phone, inReach®, expedition quality tents, fuel, MSR stoves, camp kitchen, medical kit, repair kit, etc.

Parks Canada permit

Clients are responsible for: 

  • Return airfare to Qikiqtarjuaq (see “Getting to Nunavut” below)
  • Meals in Qikiqtarjuaq
  • Personal camping items (sleeping bag*, camp mattress*, personal hiking gear/clothing, medications/toiletries)
  • Medical and evacuation insurance (mandatory). Proof of insurance will be requested prior to trip start.
  • Trip cancelation insurance (recommended) for issues outside of our control (bad weather, etc.)

*AWE can assist with rentals

Abbreviated schedule:

Wednesday, August 5 Guests arrive to Qikiqtarjuaq. Group meeting at 1530hrs.
Thursday, August 6 Depart Qikiqtarjuaq for Auyuittuq NP
Thursday, August 6 – 16 In the field!
Thursday, August 17: Boat pickup and overnight in Pangnirtung. Final dinner.
Monday, August 18: Guests depart Pangnirtung.

Getting to Nunavut

Guests typically arrive in Nunavut from Montreal or Ottawa – the two major gateways to the Arctic in Eastern Canada*. Upon arrival, we will transfer you to your hotel or B&B, where you can relax or set out to discover the bustling city of Iqaluit, population 7500! Despite its small size, Iqaluit is a diverse community with an array of activities and shopping to explore.

*There are also flights to Iqaluit from Winnipeg, Edmonton and Yellowknife that connect through Rankin Inlet

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