Laval St. Germain abandons Dempster bike adventure

He climbed Mount Everest and skied Iraq’s highest peak, but the Dempster highway stumped this hardy northern adventurer.
Laval St. Germain climbed Mount Everest and skied Iraq’s highest peak, but a bike trip on the Dempster highway in February was cut short when frostbite threatened his toes. (Courtesy Laval St. Germain)

A Calgary man has abandoned an effort to bike the Dempster Highway in February.

Laval St.Germain had planned to cycle from Dawson City, Yukon to Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.

  • Scroll down to watch Laval St. Germain describe his ordeal

Four days into his trip, about 100 kilometres short of Eagle Plains, his toes froze.

“It’s insidious,” he says. “It can sneak up on you because obviously once your extremities get to a certain temperature you can't feel them anymore, so there's no warning sign that you’re freezing.

“But my concern was my feet because you're not using your feet on a bike. Even though you're warm on a bike, your feet are basically sitting on the pedal doing nothing. They're basically a point of contact on a bike.”

St.Germain says he had to stop because if his big toe was frostbitten again on the trip, he would have lost the toe.

It’s not the first time St. Germain has experienced frostbite.

He lost three fingers on a previous adventure.

St.Germain, 42, is a pilot for Canadian North, and his adventures have taken him all over the world.

In 2010, he was the first Canadian to reach the summit of Everest without the aid of oxygen. Last year he climbed the tallest mountain in Iraq with a pair of skis on his back.  

St.Germain says, despite the difficulty, he'd like to try the Dempster ride again.