Auyuittuq Traverse Hike
Auyuittuq National Park in Canada’s eastern Arctic has some of the most beautiful alpine scenery on earth. This backpacking expedition crosses the entire Akshayuk Pass, including the rarely-seen northern section in the Owl River valley.
July 29th Departure - We meet in Qikiqtarjuaq - a remote Inuit hamlet on an small island off the north coast of Baffin Island. Local Inuit will take us by motor boat to the end of the North Pangnirtung Fiord. At this point, we'll help each other put on our packs for the first steps south on our 97-km journey. We begin with the ascent of the Owl River Valley to the top of the pass - 500 metres above the sea.
As we penetrate the mountains we'll pass melting glaciers extending from the enormous Penny Ice Cap. Between Glacier and Summit Lakes, the magical cylindrical tower of Mount Asgard draws us to the top of the pass. Then we begin the long descent of the Weasel River Valley. Mount Thor, 1500 metres above us, is said to have the longest, uninterrupted cliff face in the world. We'll pass Windy Lake before crossing the Arctic Circle. Next, it is on past Crater Lake towards our final destination at Overlord - a majestic peak overlooking the trailhead on the shore of Cumberland Sound. We will be met here by local Inuit and taken by boat to Pangnirtung. Our July 27th departure will take place in the opposite direction - starting in Pangnirtung and ending in Qikiqtarjuaq.
The "Auyuittuq Traverse" is a suitable expedition for any reasonably-fit and adventurous hiker with previous experience on a multi-night hiking trip. We will be carrying full packs, and, in places, the route is challenging - but, the efforts of this adventure are profusely rewarded. It will be the trip of a lifetime. For those interested in a shorter expedition, check out our Auyuittuq Classic and Auyuittuq Getaway trips. For those in for an added challenge, have a look at our epic Auyuittuq Ski Traverse, which takes place in April - bundle up!
"The physical demands of the trip made me feel that I connected to the harsh and stunningly beautiful land. I felt like I had accomplished something important when the hike was finished." Charlene, Ontario, Canada
Recommended Skill Level And Dates
Guides 5:1 ratio
• 12 nights of camping
• 1 night in Qikiqtarjuaq
• 1 night in Pangnirtung
• dinner and breakfast in Qikiqtarjuaq
• all meals and snacks from Day 2 lunch to Day 14 lunch
• dinner and breakfast in Pangnirtung
• sleeping tents: free-standing expedition dome tents - 2 per tent (add a solo tent for $50)
• kitchen / group tarp, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc.
• first aid, safety, rescue, and repair kits
• communications equipment (satellite phone)
• motor-boat transfer between Qikiqtarjuaq and North Pangnirtung Fiord
• motor-boat transfer between Overlord Peak and Pangnirtung
• airport transfers in Qikiqtarjuaq and Pangnirtung on Days 1 and 15
• transportation of guides, group gear, food, etc. to and from the expedition
Trip Rendezvous Point: Qikiqtarjuaq & Pangnirtng, NU