Ascent of Montagne Noire on 2010-11-19

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
Date:Friday, November 19, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Montagne Noire
    Elevation:2910 ft / 886 m

Ascent Trip Report

Sentier Inter-Centre wesbound from the TH on Chemin Regimbald at the south end of Lac Archaumbault (south of Saint-Donat) ...... 12.8km, 4 hour RT.

The Laurentian's "Montagne Noire" is second only in altitude to Mont Tremblant and is located west of Saint-Donat. It can be reached via the Sentier Inter-Centre.

This turned out to be a very interesting/educational climb, I would learn that the trail goes by the crash of the RCAF Liberator "Harry" (on the shoulder of the mountain, 1km east of the summit).
On October 19, 1943, the RCAF Liberator B24 Bomber nicknamed "Harry", returning to Canada with 24 personnel on leave during the Second World War, crashed in the mountains west of Saint-Donat.
A massive/extensive air search never found the wreckage until 32 months later when an RCAF plane spotted a wreckage matching the description of "Harry" on the east slopes of Montagne Noire. A search party found/identified the "Harry" wreckage on June 26, 1946.
The found remains were buried at the crash site until 1985 when the Canadian Government moved the remains to a mass grave at the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Saint-Donat. The local ATV club of Saint-Donat erected a memorial on the crash site in 2001.
Unfortunately the site was snow covered and I couldn't get to see the magnitude of this disaster, I must return. To this day this crash remains the single largest loss of RCAF personnel in one incident.

We came up from Montreal, traveling north on Hwy #15 to hwy #329 towards Saint-Donat. Prior to arriving at Saint-Donat, at the south end of Lac Archaumbault, we turned left on Chemin Regimbald and continued 1.4km to the large TH parking on the left. The Sentier Inter-Centre yellow blazed trail leaves the far left side of the parking, its posted/signed "Montagne Noire 6.4km", ignore the TH on the right side. This trail is part of Canada's National Trail
The first half of the trail is easy/good in a deciduous forest, however the last half in tall evergreen is rocky/muddy/wet and tough/slippery, you have to always look for the easier way. The trail is moderate for the most part. I started out with a dusting of snow, reached the summit with 3 centimeters. I put on my tied-on mini-crampons for the descent.

There is a very rough track that comes up to the summit from the west side, the summit has a large graded area and it offers good/partial views to the south and to the west. I was visited by a number of "Canadian Jays", following me around the summit and sitting within feets of me .... a large-whitish-grey/black birds shaped like a large robin .... truly beautiful. I've had the opportunity to be visited by this bird a number of times ... see the Mount Hancock, NH. data page for a photo of this outstanding bird.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1810 ft / 551 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1810 ft / 551 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8 mi / 12.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1710 ft / 521 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1610 ft / 490 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:sentier inter-centre wb from chemin regimbald
    Start Trailhead:south end lac archambault chemin regimbald  1300 ft / 396 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1710 ft / 521 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1610 ft / 490 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:sentier inter-centre eb to chemin regimbald
    End Trailhead:south end lac archambault chemin regimbald  1300 ft / 396 m

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