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The Pelly River in the Yukon Territories is a relatively well known and famous paddling river, most people though only ever paddle the lower river. Only a handful ever venture into the inaccessible upper watershed to paddle the higher reaches of the river.
This year we will be one of these rare groups. We’ll start high in the Selwyn mountains right at the Yukon/NWT border on Summit Lake. This is only 20km from the famous Little Nahanni. It is truly spectacular country. Summit Lake sits at 3600ft elevation with the surrounding mountains rising another 2500ft to 6000. We’ll spend a couple days at this stunning location before beginning our descent. Over the next two weeks we’ll paddle the small creek tributary of the Pelly, the Upper Pelly, and the Middle Pelly, travelling rapidly downstream with only a minimum of portaging as we make our way 280+km through the mountains down to the community of Ross River on the Pelly River. An Alternate ending if we find the upper river slow going would be on the Robert Campbell Hwy, 60km upriver. Rapids in the upper river will be class 2 & 3. In the lower river class 1 & 2.
In the Event that the Yukon does not re-open to outsiders the Back-up alternate trip for Pelly will be:
This is a Northwestern Ontario tributary of the Attawapiskat River.
A boreal forest trip, at the edge of the Canadian Shield as it drops into the James Bay Lowlands.
The trip would start of the Road north of Pickle Lake. (Drive In).
We’d paddle the 240km from the road down to Kabania Lake just upstream of the community of Lansdown House. From there we would fly out back Pickle Lake Area.
There are numerous runnable class 1, 2 & 2+ rapids along the way as well as a half dozen or so portages around larger rapids. Cost for the trip would be less than the Pelly, approx $4995 pp. Dates would be the same.
(Note: this is a suggested itinerary only. Conditions on each trip may vary)
* Please note: It is the nature of bush plane flights that such factors as weather, pilot judgment, fire, mechanical problems etc. can dictate the schedule of flights and can cause delays. Wanapitei cannot control these factors and accepts no responsibility for lost time.
June 26, 2021, Meet: (Day 0-1) We suggest you arrive in Whitehose Yukon, June 26,
June 27: Whitehorse safety day in case of lost baggage. We’ll all meet up for lunch and welcome on the 27th. Afternoon Shuttle to Finlayson Air Base (5hr drive)
June 28: We will, weather permitting, be flown by charter float plane to the beautiful Summit Lake, high in the Mountains were we will set up camp.
Hike, Relax, Fish at Summit Lake. Stunning Alpine Lake surrounded by steep mountains.
Descend the creek from Summit Lake to the Upper Pelly (40km). This is a small and at times steep ck, alternating between sections of steep descent and meandering sections thru the alpine valley. In the steep sections going will be relatively slow as we will have to scout often to make sure the way is clear. It will take between 2 and 3 days to reach the Pelly itself.
Descend Upper Pelly (75km) including one day off to hike. Fast current. Class 1, 2 & some class 3 rapids. One Canyon, (possible portage). Likely 3 days of paddling and 1 day off for hike, fish, relax.
Descend Middle Pelly from Fortin Lake to Hoole Ck Bridge. 110km. Hoole Ck Bridge. Fast current, class 1 & 2 rapids. (note: Hoole Ck Bridge is an alternate pull out spot if weather or river conditions slow us down on the trip.
Afternoon Pick up at Hoole Ck Bridge and Shuttle back to Whitehorse.
.Flights home or on to Other adventures.
Note: Participants responsible for their own flights to and from Whitehorse, plus accommodations & meals in Whitehorse.
* Please note: It’s the nature of remote northern travel that uncontrollable factors like poor weather, pilot judgment, forest fires, and mechanical problems can affect our schedules and cause delays. We regret these situations but cannot accept responsibility for hotels, flight rebookings, and other costs you may incur.