GEG 4001 Northern Field Research - Yukon and Alaska

Group photo on icefield

GEG 4001 Northern Field Research (6 units)

During this 3-week field research course (6 units) you will travel to the SW Yukon and Alaska to study snow processes, glaciers, rivers, lakes, permafrost and landslides. You will get a first-hand look at the Northern environment and learn field techniques from the icefields of the Yukon to the fjords of Alaska.

Dates: This course typically takes place in July but is offered on alternating years with GEG4000 and GEG4100. For more information contact

All students registered in one of our programs must take GEG/ENV 2918 as well as one of our national or international course, except for those who are registered in a minor. All students may, if they wish, take several national or international courses.

Kaskawulsh Glacier


Why there?

The course takes place in and around Kluane National Park, which contains the highest mountains in Canada. This dramatic landscape contains permafrost, glaciers, and dynamic mountain streams and lakes, all of which are easily accessible by foot, plane and car.

Snow pit


What will I do?

The first few days will be spent camping at the top of the Kaskawulsh Glacier, overlooking Mt. Logan, where you will undertake detailed measurements of snow processes and become familiar with mountain safety. The central part of the course will involve daytrips to measure stream flow, retrieve lake sediment cores, visit raised beaches and rock glaciers, and explore the geomorphology of the SW Yukon. The last few days are spent in the coastal environment of Alaska amongst temperate rainforest.

Surveying raised beaches


What will I learn?

This course will provide you with a broad overview of the physical environment of northern Canada and Alaska, and how it’s changing in a warming climate. You will learn how to process snow samples, measure glaciers, survey raised beaches, interpret lake sediment cores, and understand the factors that are controlling landscape development in this region on both short and long timescales.

Kitchen KLRS


Where will I stay?

The course is primarily based out of Kluane Lake Research Station (, located on the southern shores of the largest lake in the Yukon. Accommodation is in cabins and a professional cook provides tasty food for all meals. From KLRS we will take a ski plane to access the Kaskawulsh Glacier for the first few days of the course, where we will stay in tents at Icefield Discovery. The last few days involve a road trip to Alaska, where we stay in National Forest Service campgrounds.

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