Auyuittuq National Park Ski and Hike Traverse

Here are some photos from our trip the across the Canadian Auyuittuq National Park between August 20 and September 4, 1999. The park is on Baffin Island in Nunavut Territory. We were lead by the incredible Richard Weber of Canadian Arctic Holidays, as we skied and hiked the 150 kilometers up and across the Penny Ice Cap and along many unamed glaciers to the better known parts of the park.

We began with a boat ride from Broughton Island, north of the park, to the base of Coronation Glacier, so named by Richard's father during a mountain climbing trip made at the time of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

Upon gaining footage in the rubble at the end of the glacier, we donned our packs and hiked, dragging our supplies in sleds, up the rough glacial ice to the ice cap. A foot of fresh snow made our journey across and down the ice cap quite delightful with superb weather and outstanding ski conditions.

Our journey continued up and down a variety of glaciers surrounded by rock walls, ice cap and feeder glaciers until we arrived at the base of the incredible 4000 foot twin towers of granite known as Mt. Asgard. Outstandingly blue skies and bright sun lighting the rock faces made our camp at the base of this peak a source of many beautiful photos. The peaks in the area were named after Norse Gods by Richard's father during his first ascent of this peak.

Shortly beyond Mt. Asgard, we reached the Weasel River Valley and the trail that traverses the park between North and South Pangnirtung Fiords. We had easy hiking on the trail but heavy packs for the remaining days as we hiked down and past the incredible 5000 foot precipice known as Mt. Thor. The top 1/3 of this wall greatly reasembles Half Dome in Yosemite National Park! The equivalents of the Brothers and Quarter Domes appeared on an unimmaginable scale. Huge rock structures surrounded us everywhere!

boatride
We are leaving Broughton Island on the boat, wearing the survival suits that Nunavut requires for everyone.

downcoronation
As we hiked up the Coronation Glacier, we had great views down it toward the Coronation Fiord.

upcoronation
The surface of the glacier was rough, but beautiy abounds!

thegroup
Our group of five, Jim, Richard, Tim, Olaf, and me (behind the camera), paused for lunch on the way up the Penny Ice Cap.

jimatstream
Luckily the temperatures dropped, freezing our main obstacles, the deep melt water streams.

camp
The last camp below the ice cap. Note Jim hanging around in the crevasse we found next to our tent!.

timupicecap
Weather turned snowy and frosty for the last part of the climb up the ice cap.

cooking
Richard prepares our morning hot cereal, coffee and tea under our cook tarp.

topofbaffin
Richard leads us across the Penny Ice Cap, birthplace of the last North American ice age, the top of Baffin Island.

icecapdescent
Descending an ice cap is always fascinating, as the world unfolds below.

dwarfed
Jim skis over toward the ice capped rock wall that borders our camp.

skiacrossstream
Skis aid crossing the frozen glacial melt streams.

sunset
Sunset at the bottom of the 15 Km long glacier (unamed) leading the the "island".

jimleads
Jim enjoys leading the way with Kaneta, our polar bear dog, and Richard following close behind.

coldcamp
The beautiful late evening scene from our tent at our coldest camp.

ropeddescent
Descent of the feeder to the Turner Glacier required roped travel.

asgard
Mt. Asgard, the most spectacular feature of the park, under outstanding conditions.

packing
Somehow all of our community gear and food has to go from our sleds to our packs!

valley
Hiking along the tundra and moraine with Mt. Thor in the far distance.

climb
Our day off is devoted to climbing the 3000 foot peak above camp.

kanetaclimber
Kaneta has no problem on steep snow. Her claws are like crampons.

weasel
The Weasel River valley with Mt. Thor growing larger.

thor
Mt. Thor's 5000 feet of granite from our camp at its base.

circle
Crossing the Arctic Circle.

cotton
Now we see vegetation like Arctic cotton below the hanging glaciers.

bayatend
South Pangnirtung Fiord at the end of the trail. When the tide comes in we will take a boat to the Pangnirtung hamlet.


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