paddle, portage and camp in pristine, protected wilderness
Learning to paddle in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a spiritual necessity; an antidote to the high pressure of modern life - and a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium. While this might not be a traditional mountaineering experience, learning the skills to navigate, paddle, portage and camp in unpredictable weather is a mental challenge in and of itself. Portaging - carrying your canoe and gear across miles-long trails from lake to lake - can be a physical challenge that will test your endurance.
September 20-24th, 2019 via a circular route of lakes and campsites.
Plan your flights to arrive by noon on Friday, September 20th and depart after 5:00 PM on Tuesday, September 24th.
$3,000 - this trip is currently sold out. Please contact us to be notified of the next available trip.
This trip is open to all physically fit enthusiastic novices, beginners or advanced beginners. All group camping equipment, including canoes, life vests, tents and cookware is included. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners on the trail will be also provided by the expedition crew (see menu options here). Cost of airfare to Minneapolis and fishing licenses is not included.
Expedition participants must provide their own clothing (a robust personal gear list discussion can be found here.) Let us know if you’re missing any personal gear, we can usually help with spare gear.
Each participant is expected to raise $3,000 towards Climb For Hope’s mission of funding breast cancer and MS research and providing life-changing experiences for those affected by cancer.
When you sign up, we will provide a Crowdrise fundraising page, for you to solicit or make donations. We are more than happy to help you with fundraising ideas, email templates, and marketing support, especially if you don’t have a lot of fundraising experience.
Core strength is the key to a successful expedition. Long days of paddling and portaging requires good technique involving the whole torso, not just one’s comparatively small arm muscles. We provide training plans and supplemental homework (like paddling skills videos and map reading tutorials) prior to the trip.
Our longtime partner, Piragis Northwoods Company handles the nitty-gritty details of providing gear for our adventure, so that we can focus on the landscape and our own personal experiences. They carry the most modern and lightest-weight gear including Wenonah kevlar canoes, NEMO tents and Bending Branches paddles.
The expedition will be lead by Tiger Beaudoin, a long-time Climb For Hope participant and volunteer. Tiger is a cancer survivor and has lost close friends and a family member to this terrible disease. His involvement with Climb For Hope not only helps him give back, but also builds a support network of others affected by cancer.
Introduced to paddling adventures through the Widjiwagan progression of canoeing expeditions at age 15, Tiger has been paddling and camping the BWCA for over 30 years. His longest trip to date is a 28 day un-resupplied paddle through the BWCA and Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park. An adherent to the “Widji-way” of traveling though lake country, he believes that only three things should ever touch the hull of a canoe: water, air, and bread dough.
Past trip Highlights
Day 1 (Friday)
Fly to Minneapolis, please arrive by noon. Drive to Ely, MN together in expedition van (6 hrs).
Evening gear check, group introductions, team motivation and prepare for the paddling expedition.
Day 2-3 (Saturday-Monday)
4:30 a.m. wake up for a hearty breakfast at Britton’s Cafe when they open at 5:00 a.m. Arrive at Piragis by 6:00 and drive van and equipment to the eventual exit point on Snowbank Lake. Then drive to the put-in at Moose Lake.
A motorized tow will be provided to get us to the edge of the Boundary Waters, after which no motors are allowed. Begin paddling, fishing and portaging toward potential campsites identified the previous evening.
Explore various lakes, rivers, waterfalls, fishing holes and hikes (as the weather allows). Option to basecamp rather than make a new camp each night, subject to team consensus.
DAY 4 - (Tuesday)
Up and out by sunrise to cross Snowbank lake before the wind picks up. Snowbank is a big lake, sometimes subject to choppy waters that can impede travel. Pick up waiting van and return rental gear to Piragis. Drive 6 hours to the airport in time for departing flights.