"We were on our own resources and we knew it. And that's what this business is all about."
October 14, 2008 5:52 PM   Subscribe

So you've finished hiking the Appalachian Trail, just came down from Mount Katahdin, and you're wondering what to do now. Well, there's always the International AT, which goes through the Chic-Choc Mountains on the Gaspé Peninsula before crossing over to Newfoundland. Then you'd have hiked the tallest mountains in Quebec, right? Wrong. 800 miles to the north, on the border of Quebec and Newfoundland, lie the Torngats.

The name "Torngat" comes from the local Inuit for "spirits". The tallest of them, Mount Caubvick/Mont d'Iberville, was first climbed in 1973 by a group of kayakers who paddled up the Labrador coast, trekked 40 miles inland looking for runnable streams, and finding none decided to climb some of the mountains. To protect (slightly) against the steepness of the climb, they belayed each other using towlines from the kayaks. Of their experience at the summit, one of the hikers, Christopher Goetze, had this to say:

"It was 5:00 P.M. when we got to the summit and the air was getting colder. We had nothing to eat and dinner was a long way off. Would bears have cleaned out our campsite while we were gone? ... Perhaps our boats were being destroyed this very minute by some arctic rodents. ... for the moment we put (these thoughts) out of our minds and leaned contentedly against the small cairn we had hastily built. To the east Bruce was a small red speck beyond the minarets. To the northeast we could see the ocean, covered with pack ice to the horizon. North of us were the calm shadowed waters of a large fiord 5,500 feet below us. To the west mountains became gentler, petering out to the ocean again beyond the horizon, while to the south we could follow the route we had walked through the interior rolling lowlands. It was a vast and beautiful land."

Other stories and some beautiful pictures are here. Peakbagger.com has some more information about Mount Caubvick.
posted by A dead Quaker (10 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
And yeah, the Antarctic mountain thread made me post this. I got paranoid that somebody else would be the first to get to tag a post with "torngats".
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:55 PM on October 14, 2008

It is my dream to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. I plan to do it when I am older, after my child is out of the house. Now I have another hike to plan after that one. Thank you for posting this!
posted by chihiro at 6:00 PM on October 14, 2008

Looks like a beautiful and rugged area. I'm a big fan of looking at mountains bottom up rather than top down, but I still like seeing other people's pictures and stories. Thanks for a great post.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 6:30 PM on October 14, 2008

Wait, so the question of whether or not you're allowed to carry a rifle into a park infested with polar bears depends on your ethnicity?
posted by 1adam12 at 6:41 PM on October 14, 2008

What a nice post. Thank you A dead Quaker.

The tiny bit of hiking I've done on the Appalachian trail has been wonderful.

Didn't know about the Torngats. huh, Didn't know the word glissading. Oooh, similar landscape to the Indo-Tibetan border in Spiti. Love those alpine meadows, that big space and flowers.

The Torngats look like great trekking. Who lives in that neck of the woods? Are those mountains mostly uninhabited?
posted by nickyskye at 7:16 PM on October 14, 2008

Come visit me in Banff some time and we'll talk, once you catch your breath.
posted by furtive at 8:38 PM on October 14, 2008

And I thought my 13 mile hike the other day made me tough. I've got some catching up to do. Right after I can walk again.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:39 PM on October 14, 2008

Wow, that is fantastic.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:14 PM on October 14, 2008

The Torngats look like great trekking. Who lives in that neck of the woods? Are those mountains mostly uninhabited?

As far as I can tell, no one does. There are Inuit on the coast, though.

Come visit me in Banff some time and we'll talk, once you catch your breath.

Heh, yeah. I haven't been to Banff but I did drive through Jasper a while back. Some of the most beautiful mountains I've ever seen.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:37 AM on October 15, 2008

Huh! How do you resupply on that trail?

On the AT and PCT, there are towns (or roads with easy access to towns) at least every 100 miles or so to resupply from.

Can the International AT be hiked unsupported?
posted by Laen at 10:34 AM on October 15, 2008

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