Highpoints of Canada


Barbeau Peak Expedition
Musk Ox and Midnight Sun

Barbeau Peak on Ellesmere Island is the highest peak in the territory of Nunavut, and the highest point in the Canadian Arctic. Here in June “...there is no darkness to mark the passage of time telling you when to sleep and when to wake. There are no trees to remind you of lands further south. The scale of the land is both immense and intimate at the same time. Intricate patterns of rock, frost-cracked ground, willows and wildflowers at your feet extend out from where you stand into endless vistas in the clear, dry air. Glaciers on a mountainside 15 km away seem to be details in a landscape within reach.

“Animals in the park appear innocent in their lack of fear of people. Long-tailed jaegers may hover in front of you while caribou may approach you closely, each curious of your presence.

“The signs of men and women that came before you are still clearly evident even though some are 4,000 years old. A stone fox trap, a tent ring, and scattered remains of North Pole exploration parties all speak of the courage and the adventurous spirit of those who first came to this solitude at the top of the world

“They are all reminders that, regardless of where you come from, you are a long way from home.”

Jack & Tom Bennett are organizing an expedition to Barbeau Peak for June/July of 2010. We will land on the icecap of Ellesmere Island, barely 800 miles from the geographic North Pole. We will climb Barbeau Peak on day 1. After that we will take 10-14 days to travel down the glaciers and across the tundra to Tanquary Fiord for our return flight. There are about 4 different possible routes to the fiord, ranging from 36 to 60 miles. Routes are about ½ glacier and ½ tundra. We will decide which route to take as a group.

Weather on Ellesmere Island in June is generally fine. It is an arctic desert, with only 6 cm of precipitation a year, so there is little to interrupt our plans (except occasional high wind). Musk ox sightings are not uncommon, while the sun makes a lazy 24-hour circle in the sky.

All members of the expedition will share costs equally. It is critical that we fill a Twin Otter for the 5-hour charter flight north from Resolute, which means we must have 8-10 passengers. It is also important that we ride share the cost of the charter. This means that we must coordinate our schedule with other groups going up and coming back. For this reason, we will need to keep our exact schedule flexible until as late as March 2010.

The cost of the charter will likely be $50,000-$60,000 CAD. If we can split that 10 ways, and ride share both ways the charter cost could be as little as $3,000 CAD, or about $2,500 USD/person. This is the best possible outcome. A commercial flight from the US to Resolute is now running $3,500 to $4,000. If you cannot afford these costs, please make other plans.

If you are interested in joining us on this unforgettable journey to the top of the world, and would like to be included on future mailings, please contact Jack Bennett at
bennettje@windstream.net, or Tom Bennett at zoo2u@windstream.net. Welcome aboard!