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Ascent to White Hill-South Slope on 1997-07-27

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
Date:Sunday, July 27, 1997
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:White Hill - South Slope
    Location:Canada-Nova Scotia
    Elevation:487 m / 1600 ft
    Remaining Elevation:47 m / 155 ft (61% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

"FAILURES AND HARDSHIPS IS WHAT WE REMEMBER MOST" .....a failed attempt from the south.

Rose and are on a "Maritimes 1997" trip after the Highpoints of NB, PEI AND NS. Today's goal is White Hill, located in the Cape Breton Highlands National park, after having completed NB and PEI.

From our campsite at Indian Brook (east side of the Island just south of Ingonish) we drove (6hoo hours) our 1989 Dodge Caravan north on the Cabot Trail to Wreck Cove and the entrance to the Nova Scotia Power House, where we picked up a westbound gravel road ...... a not-too-friendly-chap I talked to at the Power House told me that it is a rough road even for a 4WD.
It wasn't long before I realised how extremely rough it really was as we proceeded west. It was all rocks and holes, we had to slowly/painfully zig-zag our way forward watching every foot of the road.
I could see as soon as we started out that Rose didn't like what she saw and wasn't at all happy. It wasn't long before I was proven right "You must be crazy, turn around damn it".
The problem that I have is that I don't listen when I'm fixed/passionate on a goal. I tried to reassure Rose that all was ok.
At about 20km we arrived at a T junction and took a right on the signed Highlands Road. The northbound road wasn't any better as it climbed to higher elevations, passing Snowshoe Lake on the right before arriving at a height-of-land at 11km and a parking at Cheticamp Reservoir (the road continues to the left of the reservoir) ....... this is the TH, a beautiful overlook of the reservoir with a great open scenic panorama. Cheticamp

The plan was to hike to the summit from here while Rose waited in the car, this of course wasn't to Rose's liking as she didn't feel safe. "I'm in the middle of no-where, what the fuck am I going to do if you don't come back, where can I go for help". I guaranteed her that all was ok she'd be safe here and I'll be back in 6 hours.

I left the TH with a day pack (9h30 hours), crossed the outlet channel and took anticlockwise-route around the reservoir's east shoreline, some wet/rough spots and a lot of driftwood, as I headed for the Warden's Cabin on the other (east) side of the reservoir (at about 1 o'clock from the TH). I had to cross a brook just before the Cabin.
My information told me that a trail headed northeast about 6km to a main trail juction (known as 4 corners). I couldn't find this trail so I went back to the brook and bushwacked/followed it a short distance up-stream (same direction as the trail) to the Park Boundary Line (a wide swath thru the woods - can't be missed). Took a left (northwest) and in less than 1km found the northeast trail.
I made a right and moved quickly up the trail, few wet spots but good. Lot of moose tracks/droppings, saw 2 of them.
At about 3km I could see the Highpoint to the North, so I started a bushwack straight for the summit, much too dense (solid evergreen) so I moved up the trail and tried again, after 1 hour and trying for the 3rd time further up trail with the same conditions I decided to abort .... I had to be back to Rose before the 6 hour estimate.

I backtracked to the TH and Rose, rushing as fast as possible. I arrived just past 15h00 hours, she shed a tear but was ok with me as we hugged.
The worst part of the day was leaving Rose alone. The drive should be done with a 4WD, we were very lucky not to have any car trouble
I will come back but look at a different route (from the north).

"IF I HAD TO LIVE MY LIFE AGAIN, I'D MAKE MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES, BUT SOONER".
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:30 m / 100 ft
    Distance:18 km / 11.2 mi
    Route:NE cross country/bushwack from cheticamp reservoir
    Trailhead: wreck cove(E side)/cheticamp reservoir  457 m / 1500 ft
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country



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