Kluane National Park – Tackling Slim’s West

Kluane National Park – Tackling Slim’s West

There is one wilderness gem that we’d driven all of this way on our ultimate Canadian road trip to see, sure the Alaskan Highway has been in itself a natural and rather prestigious trail, but Kluane National Park has for some months commanded the peak position for our mountainous experiences in Canada.

 

Conversing with friendly Parks Canada staff before our arrival there is one trail in particular that falls from everyones lips: Ä’äy Chù West aka Slim’s West, a three or four day expedition that is a MUST-SEE if only you can tackle the trail. Prue and I decided immediately to take this on and began careful preparations regarding the following:

 

  • Bear Awareness. We are now in serious bear country, grizzlies inhabit the 8 percent of Kluane National Park, that is the only forested areas as the rest is mountain and ice. We bought a bear bell to ring as we walked, a horn to warn bears away and bear pepper spray as a last resort.

 

  • Food supplies. Everything we were going to eat had to fit inside a single large (and very heavy) plastic container that would prevent bears from reaching inside. a great conservation initiative to protect bears from being accustomed to human food. But four days and one container… wow!

 

  • Fitness. The initial walk in is 22.5km, from there we need a second day to combat 19km and a mountainous height gain to reach one of Kluane’s many inner beauties, namely the Ka… Glacier. Following that we’d need to hike the 22.5km back out.

 

  • Self sufficiency. Everything from tent to clothes, food to water purification tablets would have to sit in our backpacks. We had to survive solely on what we could carry and since we don’t have a portable stove we’d be reliant on making a backcountry fire if we wanted to consume anything warm. It might be summer but temperatures drop from fine to freezing in minutes, we needed clothes and a variety of them.

 

It is probably one the greatest adventures of our lives: A challenge, a thwarting of our bodies and one hell of an expedition. Several deep creek crossings, an encounter with a grizzly bear on foot, barely 20m from us (yes we’ve proof), one of Canada’s finest lookouts and a revelation into just how far we can push ourselves and our ability to work as a team. We’ve come out exhausted but much stronger people and with the ability to survive in nature. Since pictures speak a thousand words this post lets images tell the story of our adventure in Kluane National Park. See the official Parks Canada website for details on this hike and Kluane National Park in general.

 

First… the hike in

 

Kluane National Park, Ultimate Canadian Road Trip Kluane National Park, Ultimate Canadian Road Trip

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Then a Bit of Basic Camp Life

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Kluane National Park, Ultimate Canadian Road Trip
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The Second Push

 

 

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Kluane National Park, Ultimate Canadian Road Trip
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And Reaping in the Kaskawulsh Glacier Rewards

 

Kluane National Park, Ultimate Canadian Road Trip
Kluane National Park, Straight On Detour, World Travel

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Before Returning Home

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Return to our ‘100 Day Ultimate Canadian Road Trip‘ guide

 

 

 

Written by

Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.