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Mount Caubvick, Newfoundland


Prominence: 1367 m, 4485 ft

Elevation: 1652 meters, 5420 feet


True Isolation: 791.43 km, 491.77 mi
SubpeaksMont D'Iberville (1652 m/5419 ft)
Minaret Ridge (1554 m/5100 ft)
Mount Caubvick-North Peak (1554 m/5100 ft)
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)58° 53' 16'' N; 63° 42' 35'' W
58.8878, -63.7098 (Dec Deg)
459088E 6527776N Zone 20 (UTM)
CountryCanada
State/ProvinceNewfoundland (Highest Point)
County/Second Level RegionDiv. 11 - Nunatsiavut (Highest Point)
Links

Search Engines - search the web for "Mount Caubvick":
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Other Web Sites
     Climbing Guide to Mount Caubvick/D'Iberville
     Torngat 1998 Expedition
     Papa Bear's Torngat's Page - Richard Garland

Lists that contain Mount Caubvick:
     Newfoundland and Labrador Census Division High Points (Rank #1)
     Eastern Canada Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Labrador Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Torngat Mountains 4000-foot Peaks (Rank #1)
     Most Prominent Peaks of Canadian Provinces (Rank #6)
     Canada Province/Territory High Points (Rank #6)
     Canada National Park High Points (Rank #14)
     Peaks with Most Page Views on Site (Rank #36)
     All Canada County/Census Division High Points (Rank #38)
     North America Range3 High Points (Rank #48)
     Combined USA-Canada-Mexico State/Province High Points (Rank #54)
     USA/Canada Range4 High Points (Rank #145)

Selected Guidebook(s) for this Peak:
       Not Won in a Day: Climbing Canada's Highpoints (Bennett)

Selected Trip Reports from this site:
     2004-08-07 by Greg Slayden (Unsuccessful) (GPS Track)
     2004-08-08 by Greg Slayden (GPS Track)
     2004-08-11 by Scott Cockrell

View ascents of peak by registered Peakbagger.com members.

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Mount Caubvick
     Elevation Ladder from Mount Caubvick
     Prominence Ladder from Mount Caubvick


Peak Information

Mount Caubvick is the highest peak in mainland Canada east of the Rockies. Although it has a relatively low elevation, it is a spectacular, massive peak that rises steeply from near sea level and features glaciers, steep cirques, and craggy ridges. Extremely remote and difficult to access, there is no easy way to the summit. It is clearly one of the premiere peaks of eastern North America.

The mass of Mount Caubvick is on the border between Quebec and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The official name of the peak in Quebec is Mont D'Iberville, but, technically, the highest point of the mountain lies about 30 feet/10 meters north of the border, entirely in Newfoundland. Normally, this would not be much of an issue--there are probably many other peaks in the world where the exact high spot is not precisely on the watershed that marks a border but no one cares--but in this case the name "D'Iberville" could be taken as offensive to those in Newfoundland (see history below). Therefore, strictly speaking, this is not a case of a single border peak having two names (e.g Matterhorn/Cervino), but rather a case of two separate peaks. D'Iberville is about a foot lower than Caubvick and has a prominence of essentially zero, making it really just a shoulder and not even a sub-peak. However, disregarding these technicalities, most people would consider this a case of one mountain with two names.

Climbing Notes

This peak is a serious undertaking, and the following notes are NOT intended as a comprehensive guide, but just a quick summary. You should do much more research before leaving on an expedition to Mount Cabuvick. Two recent fatalities high on the peak are testament to its perils.

Access to the peak can be difficult. Most parties either fly in chartered Twin-Otter aircraft from Kuujjuaq, Quebec to Koroc Ilaku near the head of the Koroc River and then set up basecamp to the southwest of the peak; or they get a boat from Nain, Labrador to Navchak Fiord and then hike up the McCormick River valley to a basecamp to the northeast of the peak. Both options can be expensive and/or time-consuming.

Once at a basecamp, the peak can be accessed by one of the three sharp, craggy, knife-edge ridges that intersect at its summit. (Technically, D'Iberville is at the ridge intersection, and Caubvick is just north on the Newfoundland Ridge). In good weather, the peak can be climbed easily by strong parties in one day from either basecamp. The vertical gain is about 3500-4000 feet.

The Minaret Ridge leads to the summit from the east, and although crowned with the gendarmes that give the ridge its name, offers the easiest route to the summit. Most confident climbers and scramblers do not need a rope for this route, which is mostly class 3 with some class 4 moves on relatively solid rock. Access to the start of the techncial section of the Minaret Ridge is easy scrambling on any of the several broad talus ridges to the northeast, east, and southeast that all lead to a pointy subpeak and then a broad "football field" at about 5100 feet. From there, the route suddenly becomes technical, and will take an hour (more if belaying) to reach the summit.

From the west, the Koroc Ridge is also approached on easy, wide talus fields to about 5100 feet before suddenly becoming a craggy knife-edge. The rock on the Koroc can be very loose and rotten, and there are a number of class 4 moves. The ridge features a 30-foot sheer step that needs to be rapelled on the ascent of the peak and then climbed (YDS 5.6 or so) on the descent--leaving the rappel rope in place allows for a top-rope belay on the return. Confident climbers will not need a rope except for the step, but the looseness of the rock demands caution and the inexperienced will want a belay for other sections.

The Newfoundland ridge to the north is the steepest ridge, and reportedly a challenging rock climb.

Weather in the Torngats is notoriously bad. Early August appears to be the best time of year for a climb, but snowstorms can hit at any time. You should be prepared to wait out several days of bad weather, since the high ridges of Caubvick are no place to be in a storm.

History

The following is a summary of the history of Mount Caubvick, and the controversy over its name. It also lists all ascents that I am familiar with, including all those I saw in the summit register in 2004.

 

1916 A.P. Coleman climbs Cirque Mountain and caclulates its elevation at 5500 feet. It is assumed to be the highest peak in Labrador.
1971 New topographic surveys show that Cirque Mountain is 5144 feet high, and that two nearby peaks are higher: one to the north at 5232 feet, and one to the south, on the Quebec-Newfoundland border, at 5210 feet.
1971-08 The 5210-foot peak on the border, highest point in Quebec, is named "Mont D'Iberville" by the Quebec Toponym Commision. This name honors Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville (1661-1706), a French sailor, explorer, and military commander. Best known for establishing the French colony of Louisiana, he was also perhaps the most effective French naval hero of his time in the ongoing French-British conflict in Hudson Bay, Acadia, and Newfoundland. He successfully attacked English ships, settlements and forts in what is now Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and even Maine. Of course, this could be considered an unpopular name among some residents of those provinces, especially Newfoundland, which shares the peak with Quebec.
1973 Mont D'Iberville (thought to be 5210 feet and second highest in Labrador) is climbed for the first time by Christopher Goetze and Michael Adler, Americans who had kayaked north along the Labrador coast and then trekked overland. They climbed from the east, over broad talus ridges, finishing on the exposed, craggy Minaret Ridge. At the same time, Steve Loutrel and others in this team attempted the Koroc Ridge but turned back when it became technical. Goetze and Adler's ascent is notable for its snowy route conditions, impulsive nature, and relative lack of publicity. Goetze's write-up of the climb in the June 1974 Appalachia magazine does not even mention the peak's name or its importance. Goetze, a MIT geology professor, later dies tragically from brain cancer in 1978 at the age of 38.
1975 The 5252-foot peak, thought to be highest in Labrador, is climbed by Americans Michael and Virginia Adler, Steve and Elizabeth Loutrel, and Warren Hofstra from the Tallek Arm.
1977 The 5232-foot peak is climbed for the second time by Canadians Ray Chipeniuk and Ron Wilson. It is named Torngarsoak Mountain, after the chief Inuit spirit of the area. It is still thought to be the highest peak in Labrador.
1977 One of these Canadian climbers noticed an old map that showed Mont D'Iberville at 5320 feet, higher than Torngarsoak. He contacted the Canadian mapping officials, who carefully re-checked their photogrammetry readings and determined that their 1971 elevation was inaccurate. D'Iberville's summit pinnacle rose steeply on all sides, hiding its true height from the coarse resolution of their initial findings. Mont D'Iberville was shown to have an elevation perhaps as high as 5464 feet.
1978-08-14 Ray Chipeniuk, Ron Paker, and Eric Sheer make the second ascent of Mont D'Iberville, using the Minaret Ridge route pioneered by Goetze. Still upset at the divisive name Quebec had bestowed upon the peak, they notice that the unsurveyed watershed line that marks the Quebec-Newfoundland provincial border actually passes about 30 feet south of the highest point of the mountain, placing the peak's absolute summit entirely within Newfoundland. They christen this highest spot in Labrador "L1" (Labrador Peak #1).
1979-08-17 A Dartmouth College party is on the peak and attempts the Koroc Ridge.
1979-08-17 First ascent of the North Face of L1 by Brian Baxter, Marc Blais, and Paul LaPerriere.
1980-08-05 Eric Radak and Scott Lehman climb a route on the north face of L1, where they meet Lori Merwin and Lauren Murray on the Minaret Ridge, at the flat "football field" before the ridge gets technical. The Americans were part of a six-person kayak trip up the coast from Nain. My reading of their account is that they did not summit the peak, turning down instead of attempting the final Minaret Ridge traverse. They descended to the south, were forced to bivouac in darkness, and constructed a stone shelter under an overhanging rock that is still visible (grid reference 59476 25264).
1981 The Newfoundland Geographic Names Board officially names L1 "Mount Caubvick", after one of the Inuits who was taken to England in 1772 by George Cartwright. As with the naming of Torngarsoak, the name was chosen to honor the first inhabitants of Labrador.
1980-1982 The peak is climbed by two or three other parties (six total ascents prior to 1982 are noted), all via the Minaret Ridge.
1982-07-28 Ascent via the Minaret Ridge by Robert Rogerson, Hazen Russell, and Tim Kelliher, all of St. John's, Newfoundland. They are part of a glaciological research team, working on the Minaret Glacier. This project ran from 1981 to 1987, but I don't know how often people were actually there during that time.
1982-07-29 First ascent of the North Ridge of Mount Caubvick by Hazen Russell and Tim Kelliher. the day after their climb of the Minaret Ridge. At first they named the ridge Rogerson Ridge after their absent team member, but later called it the Newfoundland Ridge.
1982 to 1990 No summit register records for this period, but peak was likely climbed several times.
1987-07-26 Ascent of the peak by George Luste and Peter Schimek, as part of a conoe trip from south of Nain to the Koroc River, via the McCormick River valley. Their ascent is via the Minaret Ridge, approaching from the north.
1990-07-21 Cliff Holtz ("Captain Highpoints") and his wife climb the peak and do a square dance, as part of their ultimately unsuccessful quest to do all Canadian province high points (and dance on all of them, too). They leave behind the summit register bottle that is still in place (as of 2004). They propose renaming the peak "Mount Unity/Mont Unité" instead of the competing dual names.
1990-07 Ascent by Tom Melham of Washington, DC.
1990-08-04 Ascent by C. Mumford of Indiana and Steve Loutrel of Massachusetts. Loutrel was on the first ascent team of Torngarsoak Mounain in 1975, and notes that he attempted Caubvick by the west ridge in 1973, although little is know about this exploit. He and his wife took notable sailing expeditions up the Labrador coast in the 1970s.
1991-07Ascent by Paul LaPerriere, Jerry Kobalenko, and two others via the Minaret Ridge.
1998-07 The "Torngat 1998" expedition of Guy Bouchard, Luc Charbonneau, Tina-Sophie Lacasse, Sylvie Bernier and Pierre Dunnigan ascends the peak. They were surveying for the Quebec government.
1997-08-14 First ascent of the West Ridge (Koroc Ridge) by Jack Bennett, his son Tom Bennett, Tom's wife Hope Bennett, and Tony Daffern. Jack Bennett, in 1998, became the first person to climb all 13 Canadian province and territory high points.
1999-06-29 Ascent of the peak--party unknown.
2002-08-07 Acent by Frederic Dion, on a kayak expedition.
2003-08-05 Ascent by three Canadians from Quebec.
2003-08-06 Ascent by Stuart Mitchell of Calgary.
2003-08-11 Dan Pauzé and Susan Barnes climb to summit via the Koroc Ridge (second ascent of that route) in a severe storm, but both perish on the descent. Dan's body is later found on the Koroc Ridge, and Susan's body on a cliffy ledge below the "football field" just east of the craggy section of the Minaret Ridge. Susan probably made the first-ever traverse of the peak's high technical ridges in an attempt to get help. On this same date, Jim and Katherine Rickard turn back near the "football field" in severe weather after an attempt from the northeast.
2004-08-07 Parks-Canada mountain seach specialists Gord Irwin and Steve Blake, dropped off by helicopter at the "football field", climb to the summit via the Minaret Ridge and then traverse over to the Koroc Ridge. They are part of the search for Pauzé and Barnes, and they aid in the evacuation of Pauze's body during what is perhaps the second traverse of the upper technical sections of the peak.
2004-08-08 A record fifteen climbers summit the peak, all part of a privately-organized seach expedition that had been searching for Pauzé and Barnes. Mitch Sheldon, Sue Richman, and John Howie climbed from the south via the Minaret Ridge; Jim Rickard, Katherine Rickard, Luc Alary, Ward Hobert, Beth Schlicter, and Paul Morgan climbed from the northeast via the Minaret Ridge; and Billie Butterfield, Greg Slayden, Roland Hanel, Andrew Lavingne, François Senecal-Tremblay and Tom Potter climbed from the south via the Koroc Ridge and descended via the Minaret Ridge, perhaps the first full base-to-base traverse of the peak.
2004-08-11 Two more climbers from the private Pauzé-Barnes search expedition, Bill Salter and Scott Cockrell, climb the peak, along with Joel Cyr from a Canadian Koroc River expedition.

The summit pyramid of Mount Caubvick/D'Iberville, with the Koroc Ridge to the left and the Minaret Ridge to the right (2004-08-08).
Web Map LinksAcme Mapper   MyTopo   Gmap4   Toporama
Bing Maps   MSN/Encarta   Google Maps
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 1367 m/4485 ft
  Optimistic Prominence: 1367 m/4485 ft
  Line Parent: Divide Mountain
  Key Col: Riviere Serpent    285 m/935 ft
Isolation791.43 km/491.77 mi
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Peak 1678  (N)
Isolation Limit Point: 65° 59' 18'' N; 63° 54' 44'' W
    ILP Map Links:
Bing Maps   MSN/Encarta   Google Maps
RangesContinent: North America
Range2: North America Plains
Range3: Canadian Shield (Highest Point)
Range4: Torngat Mountains (Highest Point)
Range5: South Interior Torngats (Highest Point)
Range6: Selamiut Range (Highest Point)
Drainage BasinsMinor Streams of Eastern Canada
Atlantic Ocean
OwnershipLand: Torngat Mountains National Park (Highest Point)
Topo MapCirque Mountain 14 L/13 1:50,000
First Ascent1973
Michael Adler
Christopher Goetze
Google Maps Dynamic Map

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Other Photos


The Minaret Ridge is an exposed scramble to the summit of Mount Caubvick/D'Iberville (2004-08).

Billie Butterfield on the loose rock of the Koroc Ridge, a challenging scrambling route to the summit of Mount Caubvick (2004-08-08).



From the summit of Mount Caubvick, looking down to the notch in the Koroc Ridge. Climbers are visible on the rappel step (2004-08-08).



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