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Ascent of Mont du lac Bellemare on 2018-03-10

Climber: Gabriel C

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, March 10, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Carpool
Peak:Mont du lac Bellemare
    Location:Canada-Québec
    Elevation:3327 ft / 1014 m

Ascent Trip Report

For this weekend, Sébastien had planned a hike on a summit I hadn’t done and I was glad to join the group. The goal was to climb mont du lac Hermine, one of the last easily accessible 1000m peaks during winter. Since this hike was planned for Sunday, I decided to go for another hike on Saturday, by myself.

I woke up around 06:45 and prepared my gear hastily. After a very frugal breakfast, I headed off north. The problem with my goal, mont du lac Bellemare, is that there is no suitable parking spot at the trailhead on HWY 175. The solution I chose was to park at the junction with RTE 16, at the northern tip of lac Jacques-Cartier, and hitch-hike 15km north to where a forest road heads towards the mountain. I got there around 08:15 and after crossing the road, it didn’t take too long to catch a lift. The tenth car or so stopped. The man was quite friendly and after a few minutes, he dropped me off a few hundred meters too far when I missed the junction.

I put my snowshoes on and hiked south on the shoulder, crossing to the median when I got closer to my trail. After crossing the southbound lanes, I saw there was a small plowed spot at the junction. It hadn’t been cleared in a while though and I couldn’t have parked there. Past that, I followed a very old snowmobile track. It was only faintly visible under about a foot of new fluffy snow. It wasn’t too hard breaking trail, and I was able to maintain a decent speed.

The forest road followed a valley that was almost flat; there was only a slight elevation gain. It was an uneventful leg all the way to a junction for a Native trapping camp on lac du Général-Tremblay’s shores. There was a very pretty sign on the corner there. I took that fork and went past the cabin down to the lake. Aiming for the first island’s tip, I started across. This heading would bring me to an inlet where I could rejoin some faint paths I had seen in aerial imagery.

There was a moderate wind blowing over the lake, but it wasn’t too cold. Still breaking trail, the speed wasn’t spectacular and it took a while to get across. On the other side, I followed some completely regrown paths for some time until I realized they all went nowhere. I changed course and headed north until I hit some more sparse forest. There wasn't a trail but it was a relatively sparse bushwhack. Reaching a clearing, I was able to aim for the slides I could see further up the mountain. There was some more bushwhacking to do until I was at the bottom of that slide. It was very steep, upwards of 40° in some places, and progressing uphill in the powder was slow. I had to switchback across the open slope and I didn't like it at all. At least the snow seemed consolidated enough.

Near the top, I decided to aim towards the summit and climb slightly traversing. I went through a denser patch of woods before going through a more open area. The slope soon became more gentle and I eventually reached the summit. It was obvious enough that I didn't have to wander around so I marked it in the GPS and started downhill. I was going much faster now, following my tracks, and I was soon at the top of the slide. As I plunge-stepped down, I did start two minor avalanches but they stopped after a few meters. The snowpack was just too stable. In any case, I reached the bottom and then had to bushwhack my way back to the lake.

Near where I had meandered uselessly coming off the lake, I decided to head straight for it instead of following my tracks. This was a god decision. The forest was sparse and it was an easy way all the way to the shore. There, I aimed for the tip of that northern island again. At one point I spotted my tracks on the right and headed for them. They were almost completely filled in and I was pretty much breaking trail again. The light snowfall combined with the wind had a significant effect here. Back at the camp, I removed my hardshell and ate some snacks before heading off. In the woods, the tracks were not as filled up so I was able to go a bit faster.

The way back to the road was quite boring and aside from an open area in which my tracks had been completely erased, it was an easy hike. At the road, I packed my poles and snowshoes on my pack and started hitchhiking. This time it took close to 15 minutes until someone stopped. It turned out to be outdoorsy people who were quite interested in what I was doing. They dropped me at the junction where I was parked, I packed everything up, and then left towards Québec.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1221 ft / 372 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1221 ft / 372 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.8 mi / 10.9 km
    Grade/Class:1-2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1011 ft / 308 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 801 ft / 245 m; Extra: 210 ft / 64m
    Loss on way in:210 ft / 64 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:Forest trails, bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Along HWY 175  2526 ft / 769 m
    Time:2 Hours 46 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1011 ft / 308 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 801 ft / 245 m; Extra: 210 ft / 64m
    Gain on way out:210 ft / 64 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 4.9 km
    Route:Forest trails, bushwhack
    End Trailhead:Junction of HWY 175 and forest road  2526 ft / 769 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Gabriel C
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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