View topic - Baillie/Ellice route summer 05

Canadian Canoe Routes

Baillie/Ellice route summer 05
Page 1 of 1

Author:  markrhamlin [ December 3rd, 2005, 1:10 am ]
Post subject:  Baillie/Ellice route summer 05

Recently read a few posts about summer 05 on the Back and some reference to the overland route to the Ellice. Knew there was a widgi group planning to do the Back this summer and it was intersting to hear what happened.

Wanted to report that I led a trip this summer from Healy Lake (a few miles off the lake as the lake was frozen solid and we had to find a small patch of open water to land on!), down a tributary of the Baillie (ice choked... lots of dragging and lots of chunky ice dams), onto the Baillie to the confluence with the Back, spent 5 miles going down the Back, then turned upstream to get to the Ellice, and took the Ellice to Queen Maud Gulf.

Amazing trip! Put in on June 15th, finished on the salt water and flew to Cambridge Bay on July 15th.

Lots of ice, lots of wildlife (23 wolves!), and very rocky headwaters on the Ellice tributary we navigated.

Didn't see a soul. Jim Abel did do the route in 1979 and said he, "doubted any sane person had gone that way before or since"! I do know of a couple other parties that have done it, but it was none-the-less an "unconventional" route.

Happy to answer questions if they are out there.

Think north,

Author:  david demello [ December 3rd, 2005, 3:41 am ]
Post subject: 

i talked with Abel in gjoa haven some years back. he said he had done the ellice and that the water was clayish and opaque. can you give an idea of just how much water you were floating your boats in and just how 'season sensitive' the water levels were.

Author:  markrhamlin [ December 3rd, 2005, 6:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

Water level on the upper headwaters is very season sensitive. Our reason for such an early start (June 15) was to do the Baillie and still catch at least some water still up high on the Ellice. Bill Stirling of Yellowknife portaged for 11 days to get from the Back to the Ellice in August of 03 or 04. He said they should never have been in there that late.

We were at the headwaters of the major eastern tributary of the Ellice before July 4th. If we had been a week later, we would have walked 3-4 times as much as we did. Any single blue line on the 1:250,000 maps was covered in mere inches of water flowing through slimy boulder fields. We were able to drag and stumble a lot, but a week later and we would have had to have portaged. This year was also a high snowpack year up north so we got lucky on our year AND planned our route to get to the headwaters as early as possible.

Once we got to the confluence with the Ellice proper, things were smooth sailing... again, we were definitely the first canoe party on the Ellice for the season and had plenty of water. Pretty easy travel when the wind wasn't blowing and when we had gradient. Water was beautiful, but that may change later in the season as things get lower. Lots of sand, a few major canyons, good rapids as well plenty of long skinny lakes.

Author:  rkatz [ April 6th, 2006, 12:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Baillie/Ellice questions...

Hi Mark -

I actually read the article some of your tripmates wrote re: the Ellice/Bailie combo you did last summer.

Would it be possible for me to contact you directly over email to ask you some logistical details about your trip. I'm in the process of planning a trip up North for the summer of 2007.


Author:  markrhamlin [ April 9th, 2006, 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Baillie/Ellice

Hello Becca,

Glad you got to read the article. I sent you another personal message with my email address if you want to touch base on some logistical info. Let me know through this thread if you didn't get it.

For those that would like to see the NOLS article: ... icle.shtml

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group