Ascent of Peak 3350 E on 2020-07-23
|Others in Party:||Serge Massad|
----Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Thursday, July 23, 2020|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Airplane|
|Peak:||Peak 3350 E|
| Elevation:||3350 ft / 1021 m|
Ascent Trip ReportAt first, we were supposed to go in the Mealy mountains this summer but, thanks to Covid-19, Newfoundland-and-Labrador remained closed to interprovincial traffic when our trip dates approached. Jean-Philippe Lavoie had always proposed for a larger trip in the Uapishka (Groulx) massif and our group settled that it would be our replacement trip. Through Guy Boudreau, we got a bush pilot contact in Fermont and after looking at our target area, JP found a suitable lake from which we could build an itinerary that would bring us from the easternmost summits on the massif, then across Toulnustouc Canyon and back up on the central part of the massif to grab a few other peaks. From there we would either get the pilot to pick us up at a suitable lake or hike out using an old access road up to a comms tower near the canyon.
On July 22nd around 06:00, Serge picked me up at home after doing the same with Pierre. We drove towards Québec and coordinated with JP so that we met at the Tim Horton's in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré around 09:00. There, a couple people who had never met were introduced as we ate a quick breakfast. We then got back on the road further east. We stopped to eat in Forestville somewhere around noon and kept going towards Baie-Comeau where we filled the gas tanks up and bought some food for this evening's dinner. The drive up HWY 389 went well although we faced a lot of construction, especially in the area just north of Manic 5 where an entire 15km stretch was being redesigned and rerouted. In that area, we lost contact with JP's van but kept going until we reached km 365 just before the bridge over rivière Beaupin. We were supposed to leave some stuff for Guy Boudreau at his camp but it turned out in an almost hour long wait for the missing vehicle - during which Guy showed up to pick up the package that had yet to arrive - until they arrived, having had to change a tire after a puncture.
It was already late and past sunset but we were anxious about making our meeting with the float plane the next day. JP wasn't sure he could cross the forest road that leads to the peninsula on petit lac Manicouagan where the meeting was planned. The solution was for JP and Charles to drive all the way to Fermont, sleep there, get the tire changed first thing in the morning then drive back down to meet us. After this was settled, we parted ways and Serge drove north and engaged on the old access road to the abandoned Gagnon mine. We found a suitable spot to pitch the tent, ate quickly, then went to sleep.
We woke up around 06:00 and broke camp, heading southeast past the mine and towards the lake. The road wasn't too bad at first but there were a few washouts that would pose a little bit of trouble to a street car and I hoped it wouldn't delay the two others too much. We reached the well-maintained Hydro-Québec dam access road and soon went through camp Love on the Arcelormittal railway. A short 2km further, around 07:00, we reached the gravelly peninsula where a pickup truck was already parked. It turned out to be a Fermont resident on a fishing trip. I ate a spicy ramen bowl for breakfast as the guy was preparing for a day on the lake, and I watched him take off from a nice boat ramp and into the morning mist.
It was a beautiful blue sky day and the temperature rose to comfortable temperatures quickly. At the same time, the bugs started showing up so we setup the net I had brought. We all reorganized our packs and then settled in for a wait until our missing friends would show up, then our aerial ride. Sometime around 10:30, I suddenly heard an engine and spotted a small float plane over the horizon heading towards us. I was certain it was our ride which was quickly confirmed as it circled overhead and then landed nearby, heading for the southern shore on the point. We quickly gathered our stuff and greeted François, our pilot, who instructed us that he had spoken with JP who was on his way with a changed tire.
As the plane was a small 4-seater, we would do two trips, the first with Pierre, Serge, and me along with two packs. I volunteered to leave my pack behind which would arrive with the second trip. My companions climbed in the back and I was in front with the pilot. After reviewing our destination on the map, we lifted off and headed east. When we reached the plateau, it was a magnificent view but I really had to work to try and match the small lakes with my map. When we reached the waypoint on François' handheld GPS, we both spotted our planned landing lake and he circled the area to scout the waters. We went in from the north in a N-S arm, flying below the plateau's crest and then making a sharp right turn on the main stretch of water for the landing. We then spotted a few rocks on the shore where we could get off and slowly drifted over there.
Dropping the gear out, we gave our cash payment and watched as the plane left. When it was gone, I felt a little bit naked as I was in the middle of nowhere, 30km away from roads with nothing but the clothes on my back. We climbed uphill and tried to find a spot that would be a suitable base camp. It was only around 30 minutes before I heard an engine again and saw the plane lining up for landing. It was a nice relief when my pack emerged with Charles and JP. As we chatted, I learned that François is a neighbor to friends I have in Fermont, a nice surprise. He then left after refuelling from jerry cans, off to other jobs as he takes care of remote camps for private clients.
We were now ready to begin this unique trip on the eastern section of the Uapishka mountains. The bugs were now out in full force and the head nets were not a luxury. After setting up tents, we packed with our day-trip gear and started up the shallow valley to our north, towards the first main summit on our list.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1005 ft / 306 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||923 ft / 281 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||5 mi / 8 km|
| Quality:||8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Mud/Swamp|
| Gear Used:||Ski Poles, Tent Camp|
| Weather:||Hot, Breezy, Partly Cloudy|
| Gain on way in:||962 ft / 293 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 414 ft / 127 m; Extra: 548 ft / 167m|
| Loss on way in:||548 ft / 167 m|
| Distance:||4.2 mi / 6.8 km|
| Route:||Boreal cross-country|
| Start Trailhead:||Float plane drop 2936 ft / 894 m|
| Time:||2 Hours 48 Minutes|
| Loss on way out:||375 ft / 114 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 332 ft / 102 m; Extra: 43 ft / 13m|
| Gain on way out:||43 ft / 13 m|
| Distance:||0.7 mi / 1.2 km|
| Route:||Boreal cross-country|
| End Trailhead:||Low point to next summit 3018 ft / 919 m|
| Time:||22 Minutes|
|Ascent Part of Trip: Mont Groulx (Jul. 2020) (5 nights total away from roads)|
Complete Trip Sequence:
Total Trip Gain: 15158 ft / 4619 m Total Trip Loss: 16191 ft / 4935 m
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