Ascent of Mont du lac Minos on 2013-04-30

Climber: Gabriel C

Others in Party:JP Lavoie
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mont du lac Minos
    Elevation:3527 ft / 1075 m

Ascent Trip Report

This ascent was planned as Jean-Philippe was coming to Québec for a week. He contacted me and we agreed on meeting at my place to check out which summits we could do in the Laurentians. He showed up on Monday, and we looked over a few prospects I had outlined.

He had been to mont du petit lac à l'Épaule a few days prior and said there was still a lot of snow on the ground so we decided to stay closer to highway 175. Jean-Philippe could only go out during the mornings so the meeting was set at 06:00 at my place on Tuesday.

I woke up around 05:30, ate a quick breakfast and finished packing my things. We left at around 06:00, but 15 minutes in, I noticed I had forgotten my boots on my doormat and we had to turn back to get them. Aside from that, the way up to réserve faunique des Laurentides was quickly done and we reached lac Jacques-Cartier after an hour or so. We started looking for the side road that would be our trailhead and, when we reached it, were surprised to see it was clear of snow. We followed it for about 4 kilometers in and watched for our trail on the right.

We passed a trail on which we could see snowmobile trails, but kept going until we reached the second trailhead. We decided to leave the car there and go up from there. As we got out and got our things ready, I was happy to see the temperature was pleasant. We left the trailhead at 07:55 and started ascending right away.

The trail was easy to follow but it was badly regrown in places. The snow was hard to walk on as the spring corn was heavy, wet, and inconsistent. We took turns breaking trail as we chatted. Soon, we reached a plateau from where we could see mont du lac Minos' southern shoulder. We had to circle around it and Jean-Philippe wanted to go straight through the woods instead of taking the trail that would lead us on a detour.

I agreed and we found the seemingly easiest way through the slight col. Unfortunately, I didn't make it very far before the snow gave and I found my left leg stuck in mud and water from a stream flowing downhill. I Strongly advised we should follow the trail as it could be like that all the way. We returned on the trail and kept going until we reached the intersection with a wide jeep trail on which we could see old snowmobile tracks. This would make much better footing, and the ground was bare in many places. Our speed picked up from there, the trail was mostly level, and after a right bend in the trail, it wasn't long until we reached the point where we would have to bushwhack to the summit.

We dove in and started ascending right away. The vegetation was logging regrowth so it was quite arduous to navigate through the short spruce trees. The fact that the snow wasn't cohesive at all made things worse as we sank in pits and generally postholed our way up. This continued until we reached the summit plateau where the vegetation became sparser.

Looking for the high ground wasn't too complicated. The view of nearby trees showed we had reached the most likely canditate, but we scouted around radially until we settled on a high point. We then took some snacks out before heading back down. Backtracking in the bush wasn't pleasant, but much easier than on the way up. Then the hike on the jeep trail was easy.

When we reached the junction to our way in, I argued that it might be easier on the trail we were already following. Jean-Philippe wanted to follow our original already broken trail, so we settled on parting ways so I could explore the good trail and hike back along the road to the car.

At first, it wasn't much different from the higher parts of the trail, but soon it became wider and in sunny areas, the snow was partly molten and the ground bare. Snowmobiles seemed to visit this trail often as there was many tracks. I reached another junction and that connection seemed to be where most snowmobiles went. It became substantially easier to hike, and I eventually made it very close to the road that I could see across the valley. After a left bend in the trail, I stumbled upon a cabin. It was a very nicely built and maintained cabin, equipped with a large vehicle shed. Many tracks around showed it is regularly used throughout the winter.

I circled around and looked through the windows out of curiosity and then went on my way. It only took a few minutes before I reached the road and recognized the snowmobile trail we had seen on our way in but had dismissed as a false lead. It turns out it is the easier way to the summit. I removed my snowshoes and started hiking along the road. It was an uphill all the way to the car where I saw Jean-Philippe arrive moments before I did.

As we removed our gear and got ready to hit the road, we discussed the hike and then drove off towards the highway. We had no time for anything else so we settled on scouting the approach road and parking for mont Jean-Charles-Bonenfant. After finding the junctions, we drove south towards Québec, ending our day.

The trail starts on the right, in the snowy corridor.

The snow cover was soft and heavy spring corn, making the going somewhat arduous.

Bushwhacking wasn't particularly hard, but the snow was annoying.

On the way down, a good trail well used by snowmobiles through the winter was very easy to hike.

This hunter's camp on the easier trail has seen some use this winter.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:813 ft / 246 m
    Total Elevation Loss:813 ft / 246 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:531 ft / 161 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 341 ft / 104 m; Extra: 190 ft / 57m
    Loss on way in:190 ft / 57 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.6 km
    Route:Logging trails and bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Junction on Rte 163  3186 ft / 971 m
    Time:1 Hours 57 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:623 ft / 189 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 341 ft / 104 m; Extra: 282 ft / 85m
    Gain on way out:282 ft / 85 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4.1 km
    Route:Logging trails and bushwhack
    End Trailhead:Junction on Rte 163  3186 ft / 971 m
    Time:1 Hours 12 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Gabriel C
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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