ChicChocs 2002
the "advanced" trip

Andre Zimmerman
Mike Leong
Vince Moreau
Sebastien Laberge
Nathan Deutsch

There were 2 MOC trips to the Chic Chocs during this year's reading week break. Ours was the so-called "advanced" trip. The basic plan was to get to Mt. Logan and yo-yo like crazy. Yes indeed we were advanced! All the touring, yoyoing, and meal preparation went very efficiently. We were even colour coordinated.

Saturday : Drove to St. Octave de l'Avenir. Along the way we stopped for pouitine at Ashton. This is the restaurant just outside Quebec city where poutine was apparently invented. Sorry, no pictures.

Sunday : Skied from St. Octave to Lac Thibault in record time, arriving at the cabin at 11:30am.  We had plenty of time to enjoy lunch in the cabin and then headed out to HolyFuck (Mt. Allen) for a couple of powder runs. We considered a third run, but decided to save some energy for the next day's tour.

Monday : Tour from Lac Thibault to the Mt. Logan peak. The cabin on top belongs to Telus. They operate some telecommuncations equipment up there. It used to be open to skiers just as a warming hut, but now it's equipped with bunks and available for rent through Destination Chic Chocs. Staying in this cabin on the windy peak for 5 nights turned out to be the most advanced part of the trip. The stench of gasoline greeted us as we enetered the hut. We identified that it was coming from the left of two locked doors. Andre and Seb managed to file through the lock with a leatherman.  The closet houses operating telecommunications equipment. Telus had decided to store a generator in there which was leaking. We moved it out to a shed and removed the spilled gasoline the best we could by soaking it up with snow. We covered the floor with a tarp and sealed the door with duct tape. The remaining smell was bearable but it certainly wasn't the best situation for spending 4 days. 

Tuesday : We went yo-yoing in some glades alongside a streeam gully sw of the peak. We took the  time to dig a snow pit at some point and confirmed that what we were skiing was okay. The top 20cm of dense powder did break off very easily though. This would have been a concern in a more serious terrain trap. We did 7 runs, finishing with a really sweet one down "Nathan's chute". If you're looking for a good line, just follow Nathan and then ski past him when he's getting ready. 

Wednesday :Rain, wind, whiteout. Table hockey, reading, sewing, and just sitting around were the activities of the day. One of the windows had a slight crack which we made much worse as we were scraping off frost. We patched it with duct tape but it was difficult to do a good job because of the moisture. The strong gusts of wind were constantly flexing the window in and out. We feared that we might have to ski out if it broke. Andre and Nathan boarded up the window from outside using some planks of wood and another tarp which were stored in the cabin. The window still flexed but managed to hold together. It was a bit scary going outside. Chunks of rime and ice were blowing off the antenna and roof.

Thursday : Cold and very windy. Visibility still wasn't good but it was the best so far since our arrival on Monday. We couldn't wait anymore to ski the famous Bol de Ouellet, which we had renamed to Bol de Toilette.  This was tricky. In some spots we broke through the rain crust. Other spots had enough new powder collected on top to stay above the crust. One section had avalanche debris from a steeper slope along the gully wall. Back at the cabin, the wind was still making things interesting. Hot coals from the wood stove were being sucked up and shot out the chimney. Toilet paper was floating back up in the outhouse.

Friday : Sunrise & sunshine! We decided to make this a touring day to take advantage of the clear weather. We got some great views and  scouted out some skiing possibilities for future trips. We did enjoy some descents through glades during the touring. It was on breakable crust which required a lot of energetic jump turning and then muscling through the broken crust.

Saturday : We skied from Mt. Logan back to Lac Thibault. The park snowmobile dude had informed us the previous day that one of the bridges along the ski trail was washed out. He reported that mid-week rain had washed out a number of bridges and the water level at one bridge had risen 6 feet. While we were pretty confident that we could get around the one on our route (we were the  advanced group, after all), we decided to stay on the wide snowmobile trail to take in more sunshine. We made good time again, arriving at Lac Thibault around noon and enjoyed another cheese melt lunch with help of the wood stove. There were only a couple of days during the whole trip that we did not have lunch inside. We were both advanced and lame, I suppose. AndreZ had left a green curry and rice for the last supper. We were all looking forward to it... but it was gone! We had been too lazy to leave a note on the bag, but there was other stuff like a fuel bottle which should have suggested that we were coming back. One of the other groups at the cabin  gave us two packages of Lipton Soupworks beef soup which AndreZ and Seb ate. The vegetarians NateDog, Vince, and Mike shared Seb's last package of Knorr cup a soup.
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Sunday : Skied out to St Octave, again making good time. We arrived back to snowless Montreal around 6pm. 

- Photos by Nathan Deutsch & Andre Zimmerman.