The 'Ice Bears' of the Yukon

Available between Sept. 12 to Oct. 13/2017 and Sept. 15 to Nov. 7/2018


11 nights / 12 days | Maximum participants: 4 | Price: CAD $16,900/person  +5% GST shared accommodation

The Ultimate Grizzly Bear Adventure At our Bear Cave Mountain Adventures camp you are offered much more than just bear sightings and observations. We create a genuine wildlife experience where you will be immersed in a very intimate co-existence with grizzly bears with your choice of two different seasons. The fall season features bears with immaculate fall pelts chasing and catching chum salmon as they arrive on the spawning grounds. The winter portion highlights the unique “Ice Bear” phenomena. Picture yourself face to face with an “Ice Bear” catching and devouring a salmon right in front of you then vigorously shaking to free itself of the “chandelier of ice” frozen to its pelt. When your helicopter “lifts off” for your grizzly bear adventure you are guaranteed absolute exclusivity. Your small group (maximum 4 guests) will have the entire camp and an immense sub-arctic wilderness area all to yourselves. You can anticipate a very personal experience in the finest grizzly bear habitat you can imagine.

  • Price for 11 nights / 12 days: CAD$ 16,900/person + 5% GST, shared accommodation at the camp (7 nights), single accommodation possible for the hotel nights in Whitehorse and Dawson City.

dates 2017 / please inquire about availability:

Sept 12 until Sept 23

Sept 19 until Sept 30

Sept 26 until Oct 06

Oct 02 until Oct 13

Oct 09 until Oct 20

Oct 16 until Oct 27

Oct 23 until Nov 03

availability 2018 / please inquire about availability:

Sept 15 until Sept 26

Sept 22 until Oct 03e

Sept 29 until Oct 10

Oct 06 until Oct 17

Oct 13 until Oct 24

Oct 20 until Oct 31

Oct 27 until Nov 07

Based on double occupancy. All prices quoted in CAD dollars

The camp is only open for a 6-week period each year from mid September to early November. Due to the great demand on for this trip and the small scale of the viewing location, (it can only accommodate 4guests at the time), we advise to book this trip a year or more in advance.

Photo tour price includes:

  • Airport transfers Whitehorse and Dawson
  • Scheduled flights return Whitehorse – Dawson City
  • Charted helicopter flights return Dawson City – Bear cave Mountain
  • Accommodation Whitehorse
  • Accommodation Dawson City
  • Accommodation, meals and beverages at the camp
  • Experienced bear viewing guide, wildlife photographer and bear encounter expert at lodge

What’s not included?

  • Meals and Beverages other then stated above
  • Travel insurance
  • Equipment insurance

Day 1

You will arrive in Whitehorse and be picked up at the airport and shuttled to your accommodation at the Best Western Gold Rush Inn. The  rest of this day and evening is your free time to explore the capital of the Yukon.

Day 2

Return with the hotel shuttle to the airport in the morning for your flight to Dawson City. Pickup and transfer to the Aurora Inn hotel in the town. The rest of the day is free to explore in the gold rush town of Dawson City, with a chance to visit some of its attractions.

Day 3

Transfer to the nearby helipad for the two-hour flight by chartered helicopter across the wilderness of Northern Yukon. Arrive at Bear Cave Mountain, where the steaming Fishing Branch River runs through dense forest. Settle in to your rustic cabin before heading out for your first sight of the area’s bears. Over the next six days you have ample opportunity to watch and photograph the bears of Bear Cave Mountain in this unique and remarkable setting, in the company of your knowledgeable and experienced guide.

Day 4 – 9

The Bear Cave Mountain project was conceived by naturalist and wildlife photographer Phil Tympany in partnership with the Vuntut First Nations people. In this pristine wilderness he has created the simple but comfortable lodge, where only five people are allowed at any one time – Phil and four guests. Accompanied by his ‘bear dog’ – a Norwegian elkhound called Smokey – Phil guides, organises, cooks, cleans and creates a truly remarkable experience.

In recognition that this is the bears’ territory, Phil lets them come as close as they want, and they set the agenda. They are often seen just outside the kitchen, sleeping next to the deck, or walking up the walkway into camp – and it is this mutual understanding between man and bear that makes Bear Cave Mountain such a special place.

Day 10

After a final morning in camp, you return to civilisation by helicopter. Overnight in Dawson City

Day 11

The morning is your free time in Dawson City. You then head to the airport for the flight south to Whitehorse. Overnight in Whitehorse.

Day 12

Transfer to Whitehorse airport

  • Availability
    The camp is only open for a 6-week period each year from mid-September to end of October.
    Due to the great demand on for this trip and the small scale of the viewing location, (it can only accommodate 4 guests at the time), we advise to book this trip a year or more in advance.


  • Lodge / Base camp:
    The footprint of the camp is small and the infrastructure is compact. The lodge consists of four separate timber cabins.
    cabin 1: communal kitchen-dining room, large enough to comfortably hold a group of four people plus guide; it also has a heated shower room. / cabin 2 &3: with individual beds provide accommodation for four guests, and are fully equipped with mattresses, sheets, duvets and pillows. / cabin 4: houses the guide and a store of survival equipment, as well as a bear-proof cache for food.
    Toilet facilities consist of an outhouse with a long-drop toilet that is cleaned and limed daily; there is no running water other than the hot shower and hot water for washing dishes.


  • Grizzly Bear viewing:
    Your safety and the safety of the grizzly bears are of the utmost importance to us.Four designated viewing sites offer opportunities for visitors to watch the grizzlies go about their business catching and eating chum salmon. A rare opportunity to witness the behaviour of this amazing animal in its natural habitat up close and personal.


  • Your guide at Bear Cave Mountain:
    Phil Timpany is a highly trained, professional wilderness guide and has expert knowledge in grizzly bear behaviour. Due to Phil’s longstanding experience with grizzly bears, he has developed an intimate relationship with many of these animals over the past decades.Trip Information


  • Bear Facts

The unscathed land of Bear Cave Mountain is the substance of folklore. Isolated from roads and development, the area is a valuable, zen-like wilderness that provides distinctive opportunities to connect nature with the past. Here, grizzly bears and humans have long tread common pathways to share the bounty of the remarkable Fishing Branch River.

Thermal springs and porous karst beneath the mountain ensure the flow of warm, oxygenated river water year round. Here, the salmon eggs thrive, boosting the entire food chain.

“ When I see bears, wolves and wolverines eating salmon here in midwinter, it all relates to water quality – it’s what makes this little biological piece of work happen.”
— Phil Timpany

The chum salmon draw the grizzly bears to the Bear Cave Mountain area. To prepare for hibernation, these magnificent giants of the forest take advantage of the abundant food supply.

Every fall, in the shadow of craggy mountains, as many as 40 grizzly bears shamble along the river’s banks, foraging their limit of chum salmon that have traveled thousands of miles from the Bering Sea to spawn and die. The grizzly excels at fishing.

By mid-October, winter settles in at Bear Cave Mountain; the elements of an arriving winter transform the grizzlies into ‘ice bears.’

During November the frosty, satiated bears then amble up Bear Cave Mountain to den in its numerous caves and crevices. A protective layer of fat enables the bears to rest in their dens for the winter, but as they do not truly hibernate, they can be easily awakened.

Some of the females will be pregnant when entering a cave and may produce up to three tiny, blind and hairless offspring. These cubs travel with their mother for two to three years.

The grizzly bear’s fur ranges from a cream or silver color to almost black, as shown in our Bear Galleries. Light-colored tips over darker fur render the bears a grizzled look, hence the name, grizzly. A humpy shoulder and low-slung neck further distinguish these bears. Adults weigh between 250-600 pounds.

Fishing Branch bears live in an unscathed ecosystem with little impact from humans. The bears have become quite accustomed to visitors at Bear Cave Mountain. In nature’s world, grizzlies are at the top of the food chain and thus most have no natural fear of enemies, including humans. However, each bear is an individual, and some individuals are more cautious of new things than others.

“You always deal with individual bears; some bears never do become tolerant of people. One of the most critical things is that we never determine the distance we are from a bear. We let the bears decide the distance. The bears have such varied personalities, but all bears have the same nature. They’re intelligent and tolerant – they’re really not interested in getting into trouble with you.”
— Phil Timpany

The Vuntut Gwitchin people are strongly connected to Fishing Branch and Bear Cave Mountain. Ni’iinlii Njik is a sacred area with a long history of traditional use. Gwitchin elders remind us how the Fishing Branch watershed and tributaries are vital for the community and for the protection of fish and caribou. In the spring, the Porcupine caribou herd migrates through this area.

The indigenous people say, “We know the caribou like ourselves – we live with them – we take a few, watch them go through, and give them thanks. We speak for them.”

The unspoiled natural simplicity of Bear Cave Mountain truly showcases the ecological and cultural power of a place where nature and humans harmonize.

  • Clothing recommended September 15th through October 1st Temperature range +15 to -10 Celsius

Light hiking boots to be worn in Yukon and in the helicopter on your way into camp

A down jacket

Cap or light fall/winter hat covering ears

Fleece under garments, fleece and or down layers

A heavy shirt or sweater over your layers worn under a wind resistant (gortex) shell jacket

Wind resistant gloves

Wind resistant (goretex) pants over fleece unders

Casual pants, fleece layers, light shoes or heavy slippers are fine for inside

  • Clothing recommended October 1st through November Temperature range +10 to -35 Celsius

Late fall, early winter boots to be worn in Yukon and in the helicopter on your way into camp

A down jacket (stuffable)

Heavily insulated hat covering ears

Fleece under garments, fleece and or down layers

A heavy shirt or sweater over your layers worn under the parka

Wind resistant gloves

Casual pants, fleece layers, light shoes or heavy slippers are fine for inside

Clothing provided on site

Bear Cave Mountain eco-Adventures provides Parka’s, winter boots, winter outer pants and mitts. These items will be supplied on site at Bear Cave Mountain and not in Dawson. We do this for our guests so they can eliminate packing all this extra bulk as part of their baggage and to cut down on the space it all takes in the helicopter flight from Dawson. We will require the following information all members of each group: height, weight, Parka or winter coat size & foot (boot) size.

For your time spent in Yukon traveling to and from Bear Cave Mountain you will have to dress accordingly in late fall/winter clothing and using the same garments you will be using at Bear Cave Mountain. The exception may be a pair of early winter boots and a winter jacket which could be a stuffable down jacket which is easy to pack and may even come in handy at Bear Cave Mountain.

Terms & Conditions for “Yukon Photo Tours” for “The Ice Bears of the Yukon” Bear viewing and Photography tours

Registration, Payment and Deposit:

The individual, company or travel agency responsible for the booking of an individual reservation must secure payment with a Visa or MasterCard at the time of booking. American Express Cards require a 2% surcharge of the booking costs.

The following is required at the time of booking:

First Payment: A non-refundable deposit of 20 percent of the total departure price will be paid to Yukon Photo Tours to confirm each booking.  If this deposit date is 150 days or less prior to the departure date this deposit payment will be 40 percent of the total departure price.

Second Payment: A second non-refundable deposit of 20 percent of the total departure price will be paid to Yukon Photo Tours 150 days prior to the departure date.

Third Payment: This third and final non-refundable payment of 60 percent of the total departure price will be paid to Yukon Photo Tours 90 days prior to the departure date.

• Registration and Waiver Forms
• Terms and Conditions Form

The trip price is based on per person sharing; single supplement is not available.

We strongly suggest that all of our participants consider the purchase of travel insurance for protection against cancelation penalties.

All Rates are in Canadian dollars and subject to 5% GST.

Cancellation and Refund Policy:

Yukon Photo Tours cannot be held responsible for delays caused by Acts of God, strikes, weather, aircraft delays or other causes beyond its reasonable control. Yukon Photo Tours will endeavour to provide all services as shown in the Photo Tour description, however all activities are subject to weather conditions and may be cancelled, postponed or changed at the sole discretion of Yukon Photo Tours or its guide or instructor. In case of force majeure such as flight cancellations or delays, travel disruptions, weather delays or a force beyond its control Yukon Photo Tours is not liable to refund any moneys paid.

Cancellations must be made by E-mail or regular mail only and has to be confirmed by Yukon Photo Tours in writing! Cancelations made by telephone will NOT be accepted.

Booking Request Form - Ice Bears of the Yukon

This is a reservation request and should not be considered as a reservation confirmation. We will be in touch with you as soon as possible to finalize your request. Or you may contact us by phone at +1-867-393-3780 or +1-867-335-3780
  • Number of Participants:

Yukon Photo Tours

All our Photo Tour itineraries have been crafted to not only advance your photographic skills by shooting diverse and breathtaking subjects, but also to share unique life-changing experiences. Yukon Photo Tours was started by Wolfgang Bublitz who is a fully licensed tour operator in the Yukon. We combine our passion for photography with our love for traveling and with it offer you photo tours to the best locations in the Yukon, Northern BC, the North West Territories and Alaska.

Yukon - Larger than Life

Yukon Photo Tours

Box 11028 | Whitehorse Y1A 6L6 | Yukon, Canada


Phone +1 867 393-3780