Ascent of Southern Ontario High Point on 2015-06-27

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, June 27, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Southern Ontario High Point
    Elevation:1896 ft / 577 m

Ascent Trip Report

This NIPISSING COHP and the high point of the ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK required three visits, all as per this one only TR (edited after each visit).
Algonquin Provincial Park established in 1893 is the oldest provincial park in Canada. It was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992. This huge/very-popular/natural-environment-class Park offers full facilities and activities including camping and a large network of trails. The Park's High Point is very remotely located.
VISIT #1 DATED 2012-08-15 .... failed attempt from south side.
VISIT #2 DATED 2014-07-07 .... failed attempt from north side.
VISIT #3 DATED 2015-06-27 .... successful from north side

VISIT #1 DATED 2012-08-15 ... failed attempt from south side (Hwy #60).

Rose and I came here armed with Derek Standen's TR ..... no better source of information.
I left the Portage TH, at hwy 60, Brewer Lake, following the directions in Derek Standen's TR. I got to the southeast-end of Little McCauley Lake, crossed the Creek at the Dam (Lake level very low) and looked for the continuation of the trail. I couldn't find the trail, so I went to the eastern shoreline of the Lake.
I went northerly on the shoreline for 3/4 of-the-way-around .... boulder hopping/boggy scrub bushes, really tough and slow going, finally deciding to abort. Besides the tough going I had no guarantee that I would meet-up with the trail at the other end. I backtracked to the TH.

Once back to the TH we decided to look for another approach. We drove the Opeongo Lake Road (leaves hwy 60 at KM46.4) for 2.6km north to a dirt road to Annie's Bay on the right. This road is unfortunately gated and signed "Off Limits to the Public", however there is no sign banning pedestrian traffic ..... a parking is provided to the left of the gate with pedestrian evidence around the gate.
The Topo Map shows tracks leaving Annie's Bay Road east bound to the COHP summit area .... I decided to check them out. I walked this Annie's Bay Road with no luck in finding my tracks, however I learned that Annie's Bay Road is an excellent "bikeable" smooth road.

Later in the day I looked up the Ranger at the Pog Lake Campground who confirmed that the road is excellent all the way to Annie's Bay (abt 15km) and beyond and (in answer to my question about the COHP) also a good driveable Logging Road heads south for the HP area about 3-4km before you get to Annie's Bay ...... this road is clearly shown on my Algonquin Park "canoeing and exploring" map, the Ranger said he drove this road last fall (?????), this is the same road that Derek walked from the south, I question the Ranger because Derek refers to this road as overgrown (????).
The one-way distance from Peongo Lake Road to the COHP via this route would be approx 19+km (?), most of which (according to the info) could be biked. Once here I'd follow Derek's route to the summit. This is probably the route that I'll try next time (I'll touch base with Derek before setting out).

We had time to spare in the afternoon so we took in Lookout Mountain, a short fine hike in a beautiful forest with great views, well worth the effort, see its TR. This small mountain deserves to be listed in PB so I added it as a provisional peak for Greg's approval.

We overnighted at the Pog Lake Campground.

VISIT #2 DATE 2014-07-07 ..... failed attempt via Annie's Bay Road.

I touched base with Derek before coming here for this second trip. The plan was to bike the Annie's Bay Road northeast 11km to the Logging Road and then hopefully the Logging Road southerly 7km to the COHP area ... however once I got to the park there was a change of plans .... I had to get back home but I had enough time to bike/check-out the Annie's Bay Road to the Logging Road.

The Annie's Bay Road is a good undulating dirt road only for the first half, it becomes worse with some grass and rough areas. It is easy/moderately graded and not difficult, it has a few rutted/washed-out areas and fallen trees across the road. There is little evidence of recent usage or maintenance. It is bikeable however.

I biked the 11km to the Logging Road (GPS 45.68562,-78.29897) only to be surprised and disappointed .... the road is heavily overgrown (waist/chest high shrubs and pine saplings) with 2 tracks. I walked the track for a hundred meters and all seems to be easy walking, hopefully it's the same all the way to the HP area. ????? The Ranger I talked-to definitely gave me wrong/poor information, he must have driven this road years ago .... this is not good.

I am not a strong cyclist so I had to walk numerous short sections, the going was very slow, I can probably walk the road just as fast. This overall approach route to the summit (from Peongo Lake Road), 37.4km RT will take a minimum of 8-9 hours. I will walk this route in my next visit.

VISIT #3 DATED 2015-06-27 ... successful visit from the north side, 37.4km, 8:10 hours total RT time including all breaks. The actual moving time was 7:10 hours.

I'm back alone for this third visit. I arrived at the Park yesterday, after dropping Rose off at my daughter's place in Ottawa. I went to the same Pog CG after revisiting Lookout Mountain for the 3rd time. On the way in I chatted with Ranger "Warren" at the east entrance, who told me that Annie's Bay Road is open to walkers but not bikes. He confirmed that the Logging Road hasn't been used for years and is badly overgrown ... this was good information unlike that on my first visit.

I got an early start. From Hwy #60, KM 46.4, I drove north on Opeongo Lake Road 2.6km to the TH at gated Annie's Bay Road on the right. I parked in the lot besides the road.

I left the TH at 7:00 hours and walked Annie's Bay Road northeast for 11km to the Logging Road on the right (45.68562,-78.29897) where I checked route and coordinates. I took the Logging Road southeast for at about 4km (45.67608,-78.26325) where it bends south, then in another 3km arrived at the start of my bushwhack (45.65244,-78.27317), the road here is heavily overgrown. Derek started his bushwhack 1km further south on this same road.
Half of this Logging Road is badly overgrown, the path however is not difficult to follow, numerous streams cross this road.

I bushwhacked a 132 degree compass line .7km (65M ascent, 25 minutes) directly to the HP, arriving at 11h15 hours. The hardwoods are fairly open with little underbrush, a few wet spots and some downfall. Rough/poor footing.

I checked out the wooded summit area and agree with Derek, the high ground is at the old foundations .... I chose my spot in the middle of the 4 foundations at 45.64870,-78.25735, no views here.
I descended back to the start of the whack in 15 minutes.

Once back to Annie's Bay Road I took a good 20 minute lunch break, putting on my rain jacket in order not to be eaten alive by the horse flies. The walk back to the TH was not without pain with every step (very sore ankles), arriving at 15h10 hours for 8:10 hour day. I gave a big shout-out "YES" when I saw the sign "Stop Ahead". I estimate my total breaks at 1 hour ... filling water bottles, checking route and coordinates, summit check and snack/lunch breaks.

I came out tired but feeling great with the accomplishment .... except for the somewhat sore legs and my very sore/hurting ankles.

My bug repellent controlled the mosquitoes but not the horse flies .... they were unbelievably bad, they buzzed around me the whole day ... took big bites. Is there such a product as "horse fly repellent" out there?

This route is probably best suited for strong cyclists and/or trail runners the likes of my amazing grandson Marcus and fellow Peakbaggers Dunham and Bernier.

I overnighted at same Pog Campground, called Rose. I would wake up the next morning feeling very good except for my very sore left ankle ..... I could hardly walk and things didn't look good for the Sudbury COHP.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:885 ft / 268 m
    Extra Gain:164 ft / 49 m
    Round-Trip Distance:23.2 mi / 37.4 km
    Route:annie's bay rd neb/logging rd seb/wack
    Trailhead:opeongo lake road  1339 ft / 408 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 25 Minutes

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