Whitehorse is the last bit of normal civilisation we passed through on the way out the Cirque of the Unclimbables, and it feels like it, with the qualities one associates with an old style frontier town. Whitehorse tourism efforts take advantage of this and present a number of Yukon gold-rush, First Peoples, and frontier town sight seeing attractions.
We had anticipated that we would not be able to get much in the way of supplies in Whitehorse, other than essential groceries for our food while in Fairy Meadows. We were wrong. As it turns out there are three huge supermarkets including a Walmart and the massive Real Canadian Superstore on 2nd Avenue that we used. You can get just about anything in Whitehorse, even a lot of things you ought not be able to get hold of (ref. Northern Hempisphere)!
Possibly a crucial store is Coast Mountain Sports, a large outdoor gear shop that sells everything from clothing to camping kit, and from climbing equipment to bear sprays and deterrents.
Talking of bears, we didn’t encounter a single one. However, I did see some black bear faeces on the trail down from Fairy Meadows. So it’s up to you whether you invest $40 in a personal bear (pepper) spray. Remember you won’t be able to bring it out as they are not allowed in your luggage on aeroplanes. We left ours with Warren at Inconnu Lodge. He already had a few from similar donations by departing climbers. So it may be possible to simply borrow one from him.
On our return to Whitehorse we tried to adjust our flights back to Vancouver to get a couple of extra days climbing in at Squamish. No can do. All the flights out of Whitehorse were full. Remind me, what exactly is the point of selling flexible tickets – at extra cost – if there are never any seats!
This left us no choice but to stay a few days. As we had arrived back in Whitehorse late after the seven hour drive from Finlayson Lake we had booked in to a super cheap hotel (doss #7) for a night. Now that we were forced to extend our stay we found the lovely Aurora Cabin (doss #8) that was totally off-grid with zero facilities, not even running water.
As was now standard for our Canadian trip it was raining! So after our day orientating in Whitehorse booking accommodation etc. the rain stopped in the afternoon so we took time to explore a few of Whitehorse’s tourist spots: the Klondike river steam boat, the river front, and the First Peoples cultural centre…
Finally though we did get our second Canadian blue-sky day and took advantage by going rock climbing in the local climbing hot spot, Rock Gardens. Not a world-class venue, but it was fun. We pretty much climbed every traditional line there was on offer in the local guidebook ($24 from Coast Mountain Sports). The best of which was the awesome granite hands crack of Crucifix.
Series - LFT
- Journey from the UK to Canada’s Yukon
- The Cirque of the Unclimbables
- Whitehorse and Yukon Rock
- Squamish and Vancouver