BASE Instincts

Baffin Island’s become an unlikely mecca for some of the most extreme thrill-seekers and BASE jumpers on the planet. By Will Carnehan

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Photo: Krystle Wright

Staring into the snowy abyss from the edge of a 2,000-meter-high granite monolith, 100 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, time seems to stand still. Joined by a three-man film crew, Leo Houlding and his best friend Sean “Stanley” Leary have just spent the last 12 days hauling 650 pounds of climbing gear and camera equipment up the sheer Northwest face of Mount Asgard in Auyuittuq National Park, using nothing but their fingers and toes, and a sophisticated system of pulleys and ropes to keep them from plummeting to their death. The expedition has left the two climbers beaten up, exhausted and cold but now they are finally standing on top of the world with the Arctic sun beating down on their face. And in just a few minutes it will all be over.

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FeaturesBASE jumpingextreme sportsBaffin IslandArcticNunavutSam Ford FiordNatureNature travelOctoberNovember2014

A cold and deadly place

Three summers ago, a hiker vanished on the Yukon’s Donjek route. When authorities found his remains, Northerners kept searching for a deeper truth. By Eva Holland


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Photo: Shutterstock

The searchers did their grim work under a bright late-May sun. Spread out in a line, arm’s-length apart, they worked their way quadrant by quadrant across a grid laid out with flagging tape, eyes on the ground.

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Tell Us The Truth.

And win $1000!

When Sally Manning—a Northern enthusiast, outdoors adventurer and long-time friend of Up Here—first told us that she’d like to start an awards program to mark her deep, life-long passion for Canada’s North, we immediately agreed to help. With Sally’s background as a sportswriter, and the magazine’s mandate to provide a platform where the stories of this region could be told, it didn’t take long for an idea to arise.

As a publication of and from the North, Up Here does what it can to help support and promote the development of aboriginal journalism. And so: this year, we call for entries for the first annual Sally Manning Award for Aboriginal Creative Fiction and Non-Fiction. Aboriginal writers of all ages from all three territories, as well as Nunavik and Labrador, are eligible.

First prize is $1,000; 2nd is $500; 3rd is $250, thanks to the generosity of Sally. The winning entry will be published in the September 2014 issue of this magazine.

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It has to be a certain way

You can’t walk away from tanning your first hide without learning some of life’s most valuable lessons. By Mandee McDonald, Illustration by Monika Melnychuk

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Letting go

Watching the North’s most infamous killer go free. By Elizabeth McMillan, Illustration by Jonathan Wright

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Fresh eyes, new visions

For centuries, the North has borne the image of ruggedness and survival. Meet some of the next wave of artists repainting it with a modern brush, and giving the NWT and the Yukon a daring new look. Text by Samia Madwar, photography by Michael Ericsson and Angela Gzowski

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ArtsNWTYukonAngela GzowskiMichael EricssonNorthfeaturesSeptember2014

Part drastic, part fantastic

A speculative Arctic bestiary, wrought from science and overactive imaginations. Text by Tim Edwards, Illustrations by Beth Covvey

Before humans filled the air with toxins that trapped heat and began to melt the ice, the Arctic animal kingdom offered a relatively stable collection of documented beasts. But as climate change progresses, scientists have tallied a list of at least 34 hybrid Northern species that may result from the disappearance of Arctic Ocean ice in summers. Can you tell which of the following are the factually-based hypotheses/discoveries of these scientists, and which are the fever dreams of a foolish writer?*

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September2014shortsmythical beastsArcticnarlugagrolar

Between the lines

Tracing the controversial history and recent revival of Inuit facial tattoos. Photos by Angela Gzowski, Text by Ashleigh Gaul 

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State of the art

New artists, new disciplines, and shiny new buildings: there’s an exciting generational shift happening in the world of Inuit art. By Margo Pfeiff

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Pitseolak Qimirpik’s Young Man with MP3, courtesy WIllock & Sax Gallery

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Home away from everything: Get in touch with your rustic side at Little Atlin Lodge. By Katie Weaver

Photos by Manu Keggenhoff; exterior shot courtesy of Little Atlin Lodge

Pitch a tent, sleep on the ground, and commune with nature that way. Or wake up in a private cabin with a killer view of White Mountain over the Yukon’s Little Atlin Lake. For breakfast, there’s home-baked Zopf bread, courtesy of your Swiss hosts, Andri Kobler and Rahel Diener, who live in a lodge just out of sight. “There used to be other cabins down the road. They were basic,” Kobler says. “You had to bring your own sleeping bag.” That wouldn’t do for the pair, who in 1997 whipped up two guest cabins complete with full bathrooms, hot showers and sundecks. But it’s not all lounging and tanning: you’re steps away from the water for canoeing, boating and fishing, and the peak of White Mountain is only a two-hour hike away. Then it’s back to the deck for a barbecue dinner—your own freshly caught pike—followed by an unbeatable sunset. Littleatlinlodge.com

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Nerds of the North

Geek culture spreads to the Arctic. By Matthew Mallon

Illustration by Joren Cull

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Swarm out there

Summers are glorious, but for the bloodsuckers—it’s practically a Northern mantra. Things might get even worse: with climate change, biting flies are moving farther North, partly because it’s getting warmer, and partly because it’s raining more often in the summer, creating more soggy breeding grounds. So what are we up against? Let’s round up the usual suspects—and hero. By Samia Madwar, Illustrations by Tonia Cowan

The mad scientist: Blackfly

Secret weapon: After they slice into your skin, blackflies inject you with an anesthetic so you don’t feel the bite right away, then lap up the blood. They’ll also pump in an anticoagulant to keep the blood flowing.

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Handmade music

Whitehorse’s Headless Owl produces sounds you can see and touch. By Matthew Mallon

Growing up semi-alienated listening to punk (and his parents’ singer-songwriter albums) in Whitehorse taught Andrew Stratis three things: 1) music is a powerful, positive force; 2) record labels put out music; 3) vinyl is the best way to consume said music. “Punk rock was where I discovered record labels,” says Stratis now. “When I was younger and read about them and what they were up to, I’d be like, man, that would be really cool.”

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