FIELD REPORT

MONTCALM

ADVENTURERS: HEAVY COMPANY

Montcalm

ACTIVITIES

Summiting Montcalm, which exceeds 3000m, of the Pyrenees range. 

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Sunny with some clouds in altitude (between 1500 and 2200m approximately)

PACK

Mystery Ranch, Airsoft Couture and Fjallraven

Field Report: Montcalm PHOTO-6

PACK CONTENTS

Anthony Durand – Configeer 018

Hilleberg Soulo tent (advanced materials)
Nice frame compatible backpack made by Airsoft couture
Thermarest Neo-Trekker floor mat
eVent rain jacket made by Karrimor with reinforcements on shoulders and hips to carry
Mountaineering Lynx MF sleeping bag (very light and very hot)
a gas stove SOTO OD-1NP because the gas stove freezes in the mountains when it is too cold
2 battery pack for electrical equipment (lamp, GPS)
without compromise a Petzl Myo XP headlamp (big autonomy and high power)
A stanley flask to warm up at night 😉
Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters
Solid gloves to tinker without getting hurt
Winkler Knife
Trekking pole Black Diamond
2 Nalgene
Box of food

Field Report

DAY 1 – 0900h – Start – 1000m

Clément: We were all ready at the start of the hiking trail, everyone, along with their bags, are ready. All are confident. For my part, I am confident but rather stressed by this departure. I had done long hikes with a heavy load before but not at this level. I hoped everything was going to go well.

So we started the climb of Montcalm. We set off in the forest until about 1500m, so far everyone was fine.

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DAY 1 – 1300h – lunch break – Refuge du Pinet ~ 2100m

After a long morning of easy walking for most members of the group, though it was rather difficult for me (I was often breathless because of the altitude), we decided to have a meal break at the refuge du pinet.

After leaving the forest in the morning, we came through a lower vegetation area and the weather did not settle. We finished our morning literally in the clouds with a visibility of 20m at most.

We took the opportunity to drop our bags and sit around a good hiking meal. On the menu – sausage and cheese, only the good things! Now our morale was good! We also took this opportunity to share our backpacking experience each other, our friends didn’t know of Mystery Ranch, let alone the NICE Frame!

DAY 1 – 1400h – end of break – Refuge du Pinet ~ 2100m

We were satisfied. The objective of the afternoon was to establish our base for the night at Lake Montcalm. We had about 400m of vertical drop. We started, everyone had recovered their strength and this second part of the day went pretty well, although as with late in the morning I had trouble with my breath.

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On the second part, we were confronted with a “névé”, a roughly 50m wide block of snow that had not melted yet. We crossed the pile of snow (a rather scary passage, thinking about it).

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DAY 1 – 1800h – end of the day – Montcalm Lake ~ 2500m

We finally arrived at the point of the fall! After a long difficult day with 8 hours of walking and about 1500m of altitude, we arrived at the place where we will spend the night!

It was 10°C and the weather varied between mist and sun. We dropped our bags and we all smile, glad that we’ve finally arrived! We enjoyed the beautiful mountain lake and took some time to observe the nature around us. The panorama that was offered to us was well worth the efforts and pains we had suffered.

But we couldn’t rest too quickly, we had the camp to climb. We decided quickly on a locations for the tents and attacked the assembly. The two Nico’s slept in the tent of Nico V, Anthony slept in his tent, Hilleberg and Guillaume and I slept in his tent.

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With the camp ready all that was left to do was to eat! So we put ourselves at the table, hot meal on the menu for Nico L and I, for the others it was about the same as the afternoon.

We had a great evening telling funny stories (Anthony is a joker!) and chatting. We were the only 5 in the middle of the mountain, but I thought that was exactly what made the evening great. It was in those moments that we really enjoyed the life and the nature around.

At 8:30pm we went to bed to rest our bodies and our spirits. The next day was the final climb to the top and it looked good!

DAY 2 – 0630h – Sunrise – Montcalm Lake ~ 2500m

It was 6:30am when we woke up, the night was cool but not too much (no negative temperature despite it being forecast). Everyone slowly emerged from their cocoon, we had recovered pretty well.

We packed up our equipment, ate a little to gain strength – here we go again! The mountain does not wait. We departed around 9.00am. The sun rose as we approach the summit, it’s really beautiful! We could not have hoped for better.

DAY 2 – 1130h – Montcalm Peak – 3070m

After some hard physical effort, we were finally at the top! The goal of the hike was fulfilled, to reach the summit together. And it was well worth a photo, the view was a beautiful 360° – we were on an island in the middle of a sea of clouds, it was breathtaking. The whole team had a smile, glad to have arrived together!

We put down our bags, take lots of photos for the memories and then finally rest. We take a break for an hour and eat to get some strength, we will need it for the descent!

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DAY 2 – 1300h – Montcalm Peak – 3070m

It was time to come back down. We really enjoyed it and I found this last session was the least tiring. By the time we started our descent towards camp, we were better prepared and acclimatised than before. This first part went well for everyone except me. In the end I really hurt my legs and knees – my muscles just weren’t used to the movements.

We arrived at our refuge around 1500h, where we had a 30 minute rest, ate and hope the hardest part was over. The second part of the descent was really painful for me, the others were ahead of me a lot. We ended up arriving at the car park around 2000h, we changed, used the facilities and then decided to celebrate our success with a good pizza from a the restaurant!

Review of the hike:

It was really a great adventure, it was beautiful. This experience also allowed me to know where my limits were and also, thanks to the support of our team, to surpass myself and push my limits. It was a really rewarding experience. I can not wait to leave for the next big hike!

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