Ascent of Montagne Noire on 2018-05-13
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Sunday, May 13, 2018|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
| Elevation:||2910 ft / 886 m|
Ascent Trip ReportFrom lac Raquette's outlet where I ended up after descending from montagne Blanche, I needed to follow the national trail all the way to montagne Noire's summit. After hiking along for a few hundred meters, it became apparent that I would have a miserable time. The trail was in the shadow and still completely covered in snow. I postholed a lot and did not think I would make it all the way before I got fed up. I had spotted what looked like very good forest roads from the earlier summit and checked my map layers in the GPS to try and find an alternate route.
I could see indications that a road passed close by to the trail, about 100 meters southeast of my position. I decided to try it out as I wasn't expecting to summit if I didn't find snow-free ground anyway. I dove in and bushwhacked until I found a much regrown forest trail. It was easy to follow but still a good whack, even passing through a snowmelt-fed cascade that I was able to ford without getting too wet. The trail got progressively better until I emerged at a wide open area. I could see a good dirt road and headed over there, finding it covered in ATV and 4x4 tracks.
After a first wide left bend, the road climbed east. Footing was a mix of mud, rock slab, and loose and soft gravel, with a long straight stretch overrun by the flow of a stream. Regardless, I made good speed and the only hindrance was my thirst. I was quite parched and being surrounded by trickles and pools really kept the lack of potable water on my mind. I reached a tight right bend where the road followed the contours, heading south. The map showed roads all the way to the summit but it looked like they would meander quite a lot.
Indeed, going through what looked like old logging patches, I went through a series of bends before the road headed through a slight col and started climbing again, northeasterly. After another detour around a slight bump, the surface became very soft and waterlogged. Just past that, I followed the right spur when I reached a fork in the road. Very soon some snow appeared but there were recent ruts that made it quite firm. I was crossing what looked like logging from this winter and spring as it still smelled of chain oil and spruce.
The road hugged the contours and went through a series of tight bends, climbing and descending through dips in the terrain. When I reached a junction, I could see this road is part of a quad or snowmobile network. Following the left fork, I came in view of the observation tower at the summit and saw two guys resting on a rock. They looked as surprised as I was and we engaged in conversation. I asked where they had started from and realized they couldn't really tell me. It sounded like they started from the same parking as I did but I wasn't even sure they knew where east and west was.
They noticed I didn't carry anything and one of them offered some water. I gladly accepted and gulped down a few mouthfuls. I then left them to their rest and started back down from where I came. When I got into a good rhythm, I was able to phase out the mud and snow. At least it didn't last too long and I was back on gravel after a while. When the road switched from a southwesterly to a northwesterly general direction, I saw a vehicle round a bend and come towards me. It was a decked out off-road Nissan XTerra so I paused on the roadside and waved, planning to have a quick chat with the couple inside. They drove by without stopping though but smiled back.
I resumed my hike and covered the rest of the way on the road, reminding myself I really have to get my own XTerra back in condition to tackle this terrain. At the spot where I needed to bushwhack back to the trail, I took a slightly different path but generally followed the same regrown trail until I was as close as possible to the foot path. I crossed the same cascade on the way and got significantly wetter than on the way in. Back on the trail, I could see there were no footprints other than mine and guessed the two hikers at the summit had come from Saint-Donat on the east side.
Before I reached the lake outlet, I arrived at a junction indicating the trailhead. I decided to follow this path, expecting to shave some distance off the totals. There was more sunlight here and the snow was less annoying. After crossing the bridge over the same stream coming down from lac Raquette, it wasn't long until I was back at lac du Rocher, on the private road. The last kilometer was uneventful and, when I reached my car, I hurried to get on the road, looking for the first convenience store I could find, at the junction of chemin de Val-des-Lacs and HWY 329. After draining down almost a liter of gatorade, I took the road south back home, getting stuck in endless traffic trying to get through Montréal.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1578 ft / 480 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||1742 ft / 530 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||8.1 mi / 13 km|
| Quality:||6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground|
| Weather:||Pleasant, Calm, Clear|
| Gain on way in:||1286 ft / 391 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 1106 ft / 337 m; Extra: 180 ft / 54m|
| Loss on way in:||180 ft / 54 m|
| Distance:||3.5 mi / 5.6 km|
| Route:||Trail system, forest roads|
| Start Trailhead:||Lac Raquette outlet 1804 ft / 549 m|
| Time:||1 Hours 18 Minutes|
| Loss on way out:||1562 ft / 476 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 1270 ft / 387 m; Extra: 292 ft / 89m|
| Gain on way out:||292 ft / 89 m|
| Distance:||4.6 mi / 7.4 km|
| Route:||Trail system, forest roads|
| End Trailhead:||Inter-centres parking area 1640 ft / 499 m|
| Time:||1 Hours 25 Minutes|
|Ascent Part of Trip: Lac du Rocher (mai 2018) (0 nights total away from roads)|
Complete Trip Sequence:
Total Trip Gain: 3025 ft / 922 m Total Trip Loss: 3025 ft / 922 m
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Gabriel C
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