Fatbike Expedition

Welcome to the Yukon Fatbike Expedition 2017......it's gonna be awesome!  Please read through the following carefully and please contact me if you have any questions - 867-336-4875 OR jamesminifie@gmail.com

This is a remote, backcountry trip that involves winter travel and winter weather. Please ensure that you prepare physically for this trip and also ensure that your equipment is in good working order. Your safety is our number one priority and preparation leads to a safe and enjoyable adventure.

You will be required to ride 40-60km/day during the trip. Depending on trail conditions and your fitness level, that can mean anywhere from 4-7hrs/day in the saddle. Please remember that this is fat-bike packing so some pushing and hard work will be involved. That said, our crew will do our best to maximize the rideability of the trail. It will be a great adventure!

Please arrive in Whitehorse a day or two early to ensure your bike and gear are ready for the trail. Icycle Sport in Whitehorse will be able to assist you with any last minute mechanical repairs. You can also check out some of the amazing winter single track around town.

We will have a team meeting at one of the local beer and nacho retailers to discuss final plans for Thursday morning.  

There are a number of accommodation options here in Whitehorse.

Day 1 (snacks/lunch/dinner)

My crew and I will pick you up at your hotel at 0700hrs. We have about 2.5hrs of driving to get to the starting point at Eagle Bluff. 

Please be packed and ready for the trip. This includes your riding gear and personal duffle (see equipment below). 

You are responsible for your own breakfast on day 1. We can stop at Braeburn Lodge for a full breakfast approx 1hr from Whitehorse. 

The journey begins at Eagle Nest Bluff an important and prominent landmark on the Yukon River.  We will cross the river on a trail that weaves between large blocks of spectacular  jumble ice, on the other side we will join the Yukon Quest Sled Dog trail that connects Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks Alaska for a total distance of 1600 kilometres.  In 2015 Jeff Oatley of Fairbanks became the first to ride the entire length of the trail over a couple of weeks in February.  Following in Oatley's tire tracks we will start the climb up to Mandana Lake and on to the Chain of Lakes.  We will travel through several large burns where blackened trees stand as stark sentinels providing shadows and contrast to blankets of wind settled snow before we drop onto the flat lake ice of Mandana.  Depending on time we may be able to visit the Heebink cabin which was built in pioneer style with log construction and a sod roof, large windows and good stove make it a great place to rest and absorb the atmosphere of being out on the trail.  

Day 2 (all meals/snacks)

After a night out and hopefully our first peek at the Aurora Borealis, we'll rise to hit the trail again on our way to the village of Braeburn. Another check-point of the Arctic Ultra, Braeburn gives us a short reintroduction to civilization before we head into the wilderness again. Today you will ride on a lake system bordered by steep mountain terrain. A highlight of this leg is Coghlan Lake with it's stark limestone cliffs. Sections of single track between these lakes will get the heart pumping and the last 10km into Braeburn might be the most beautiful section of the whole route!

Day 3 (all meals/snacks)

Before 1902, mail and freight were carried by dog team along the river between Whitehorse and Dawson City in order to support the thousands of Klondike gold seekers in search of riches. In 1902 a road was constructed between the two cities in order to expedite travel and make it safer and more reliable. What is known as the Dawson Overland Trail resulted marking a new era of transportation in the Yukon. Eventually, a highway was built further east leaving this remote trail to dog mushers, hunters, and now fat bikers. Today, the trail serves as a remote corridor for sustenance hunters seeking bison and moose. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of these giant northern ungulates as you journey down a trail riddle with artifacts, old cabins, and other historical treasures.  

Day 4 (breakfast/lunch/snacks)

The last leg of our journey takes us past curiosities such as Dog Grave Lake and Golden Canyon. As we approach the end, civilization will start to show itself once again. The terrain opens up as we approach the Takhini River valley, a large tributary of the Yukon River.  A winding dog-mushing track leads us to Takhini Hot Pools were we will ditch our bikes and soak our weary bones in naturally heated mineral pools. 

Equipment

All participants must have all of the following equipment. Biking gear can be rented locally and we can help with that.

Biking Gear (guides will carry an extensive repair kit)

  • fat bike in good working order (minimum 4" tire platform)

  • helmet (optional but recommended as we will be crossing some bare lake ice)

  • 1 extra tube, bike tool, tire lever

  • pump (everyone should have their own pump as you may want to alter tire pressure frequently)

  • pogies (hand warmers that fit over handlebars see example here

  • headlamp or bike light (we will try to avoid riding in the dark)

  • water bottle (1L)

  • small thermos (750ml)

  • sunglasses

  • extra full merino or poly base layer (in luggage)

  • hand warmer packs

  • sunscreen

  • emergency light, packable puff jacket (down or synthetic)

  • luggage systems to carry all of they above plus snacks and extra clothes. See examples of bike packing luggage here. Icycle Sports in Whitehorse also sells an assortment of luggage from Salsa and Revelate

  • positive attitude

Clothes

  • full merino med - light base layer (2 sets)

  • footwear for biking (see note below)

  • camp booties (insulated)

  • touque (2)

  • ultra light gloves for inside pogies

  • larger gloves for camp etc.

  • balaclava

  • soft shell biking pants OR gortex over pants

  • cycling bibs

  • 1 set comfy camp clothes

  • 1 light cycling jacket for warm days

  • 1 packable puff jacket

  • 1 breathable fleece or softshell 

Footwear: there are options here but your feet must stay warm down to -20C. Please put some thought into your footwear and run it by us before you commit to a system. I will be riding with a pair of lightweight wool boots called Lobbens with overboots OR Wolfhammer SPD winter cycling boots from 45North. I will likely go with flat pedals and Lobbens though I have ridden this route with SPD winter boots with success. Lightweight winter boots with flat pedals are acceptable. Remember, there is a chance you will have to push your bike for short stints. 

I actually DO NOT like wind-proof layers when riding. I like to allow the wind to both cool me and keep me dry. I will bring a thin wind proof sweater for biting cold days.  If you are purchasing items of clothing for this ride, Derek Crowe, Arctic Ultra veteran recommends Rab Vapour Rise garments and Sealskinz socks

Personal gear for camp (will be transported for you)​ - Everything must fit in a small, soft duffle with no hard wheels or sides. Like a helicopter trip, there is very limited space on the snow machine trailers. Think extremely minimal packing like a self-supported ride

  • winter sleeping bag (-20C min)

  • warm jacket and pants for camp

  • toiletries (things freeze)

  • book/reading material

  • camp booties

  • camp clothes

  • ear plugs (if needed)

  • personal medications (please inform our staff of medical conditions if you think they could lead to an emergency)

  • positive attitude

 

 

Booze and snacks

  • Alcohol is not provided by SBA but we will transport it for you. Please be reasonable with amounts. No glass please. 

  • SBA will provide riding snacks however, if you are particular about your nutrition please bring your own gels, bars, whatever. We will have trail mix, bars, cookies, etc. 

Guides

We will have 4 - 5 staff along for the ride.

James Minifie - guide and owner of SBA. James is a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He runs a remote trapline in the central Yukon that is only accessible by aircraft in the winter. A former member of the Canadian National Ski Mountaineering team, James held speed records on many of the classic Canadian ski traverses. His annual winter exploits take him from the Monashee Mountains, through the Rockies, and north to the Boundary Ranges and St. Elias mountains. Winter fat biking is a passion that he longs to share with other winter adventurers.  

Crew - we will have 2 or 3 support crew who are born and bred Yukon outdoors-people and all around great folks. 

 

 

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