• Samuel De Sira

King's Throne

Technical Difficulty: Advanced

Endurance Difficulty: Advanced

Distance: 12.7km

Type: Out & Back

Time: 6 hours

Elevation Gain: 1374m

My favourite trek of all time (and that's saying something). You'll have to go far North to experience The King's Throne, located in Kluane National Park, Yukon, but the experience is like no other. A surreal scene awaits you at the peak with vast mountain ranges and untouched wilderness to behold. The views of Kathleen and Louise Lakes are astounding. It should be noted however, that this hike is seriously tough, and is certainly one of the most difficult treks I've ever attempted; this hike is only recommended for avid hardcore hikers. I saw many on this trail turn back halfway up. Ensure your fitness is high and you've scaled difficult hikes before, as well as have experience scrambling. This trail can be dangerous both on the ascent and descent if hiking ability is not high as there is plenty of loose rock and steep incline to deal with.

Despite the fair warning, I cannot recommend this trail enough. What makes this trail so special (apart from the insane views), is the fact that the Yukon is not heavily populated, and the day in which I was fortunate to complete this trail, there were only several others undertaking it also. There is only one road in view and no infrastructure, giving you a true sense of the fact that you are but a tiny human on an immense planet. The landscape here is so vast and enormous it is hard to comprehend without seeing it for yourself.

Ensure ample time in your day to get both up and down the mountain (although in the Yukon summer you'll find MORE than enough sunlight during the day!). The beginning of the trail sees you trekking through treeline, before eventually making your way to a clearing, providing stunning views of Kathleen Lake from above. Scramble your way up the loose rock, following the trail left by others. As you ascend you will reach an obvious amphitheatre, the "seat" of the King's Throne. This is a great spot for lunch or even to call your journey to its end (dependant on fitness), as the views are spectacular, however if you want to witness the landscape in all its glory (and you do), including the backside of the mountain which offers the best views of the trek, continue upwards. This is where the seriously difficult terrain greets you. As you get closer to the ridgeline you'll find that scrambling becomes your most prominent form of movement; take your time here and ensure you are being cautious on loose sections, an injury here could spell disaster.

You will note that the summit is the peak on the right of the amphitheatre and that the trail instead takes you toward the left side. Follow the Trail, do not try to make a shortcut here and climb the right ridge as the terrain is steeper and the rock looser, a recipe for injury or worse. After making your way on top of the ridge (a gruelling process), you'll find the trail flattens out to reach the summit. Enjoy your time reaching the summit as the views continue to improve with every step. The panoramic view from the top makes this trail my favourite; it is genuinely jaw-dropping.

I used a Sony 24-70mm lens for the summit shots and found this was the most versatile for my shooting purposes when trekking up and at the summit. Pack lightly for this journey, ensuring water is a priority as you are exposed to the sun for over 3 quarters of the trail. Pack suitable food for energy throughout, you'll be working hard. Hiking poles are recommended, especially for stability on the descent as you are sure to be tiresome. I hiked this in mid-summer, but it is known that in earlier months snow is still present on the trail; check conditions before you venture out.

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