Ascent of Mont Gosford on 2011-10-29

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Date:Saturday, October 29, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mont Gosford
    Elevation:3871 ft / 1179 m

Ascent Trip Report

A strenuous trail hike over 4 peaks ...... 12 km, 6H30 hours RT including all breaks/searching time.

Quebec has numerous Recreational Areas (called ZECS) throughout the Province put aside for the public's use for hunting, fishing and all other outdoor activities. Last night I arrived at ZEC Louise-Gosford, located in the L'Estrie Region of Mont Megantic, primarily to climb Mont Gosford and the near-by Boundary Peaks.
The entrance to this Area can be accessed by driving 3km west of Woburn on hwy 212 to a left turn (south) on Rang Tout De Joie, then 6km to the Entrance "Accueil" on the left. A good trail map put out by the Club Sentiers Frontaliers (5$) can be purchased here. I purchased 2 nights of primitive camping at 8$ per night plus 8$ daily fee is charged for the use of the trails during the stay. Today is the start of the Cross-Bow Hunting Season so they gave me a bright orange vest that must be worn when on the trails.
For my first night I decided to overnight at the Clearwater Camping site (17 km from the Entrance), this spot provides a very short 2km access to Mont Gosford.

I woke to a heavy frost as it was very cold last night but I was very toasty in my van. I left the TH at the Clearwater Camping westbound on the SF1, 2km to MONT GOSFORD, I took the left valley moderate trail to the summit ..... wooded with open views only to the south, you need to climb the observation platform for an outstanding 360 panorama. A "US&C.B. Survey" embedded in a loose rock (???) is to the right side of the platform stairs.

After a good visit I hiked eastbound on the moderate SF1 trail 1km to the heavily wooded summit of PETIT MONT GOSFORD, then back down to the Clearwater Camping TH, where I continued eastbound to the Boundary Swath, coming out at Boundary 443 (2.4km from Petit Gosford). The first part of this trail climb from Clearwater is in a very rough/rocky drainage like trench, in fact in sections it's a rutted ditch.

At the Swath I couldn't find any evidence of traffic westbound for WEST MONUMENT 443 PEAK, the woods (looking west) are very dense so I took a 280 Magnetic Compass Line and entered/bushwacked/fought my way (always looking for the easy way) to the HP area at about 400 meters. After stomping around-some I chose my spot where a good trail passed right by it, at a few large rocks. Pleased with my find I followed the trail southwest a short distance, turned around when it began to drop. Back to the HP and confident I had my spot I decided to follow the trail north ..... in a matter of minutes I came out at the SF1 trail I had just ascended, forgetting to take a GPS reading.
This is the recommended route for this Peak, this trail location is about 250 meters before the Boundary Swath. The start of the trail at SF1 is blocked off with branches, it's a good trail, unfortunately canopied-over with evergreen branches due to the lack of use (see the photo in Gabriel Couet's TR).
The Google Satellite Map clearly shows this trail, the dotted trail shown on the Goggle Topo Map however is not correct. I do agree with Gabriel Couet's TR where he writes ".......the topo map has a slight error ........" because the conditions on the ground appear not to match the Topo (although I must say that everything is so dense, I can't say for sure).
My RT (bushwack/trail) from Monument 443 in the Swath to HP took me 50 minutes.

From Monument 443 I went westbound on the swath a short distance (.5km) to where the swath drops off - only place for good views.
Once back to Monument 443 I continued/followed the SF1 Trail eastbound in the Swath, past 442 to 441 at about 2km. This part of the Swath is extremely rough and rocky with numerous vertical rock embankments and lots of ups and downs, the trail leaves the Swath for the woods, trying to find an easier way (on numerous occasions). The estimated distance of 2km took me 55 minutes. This section of trail is perhaps the roughest in all of the Northeast and shouldn't be underestimated. Both Monuments (442 and 441) are in a low area.
All of these 3 Monuments are of Cast iron, renewed in 1916 and all have recently installed 2" diameter "US&C.B.Survey, B+M" embedded in the concrete base close to the cast iron Monument.
As I climbed eastbound out of the low area of Monument 441 the summit area of BORDER MONUMENT 441 PEAK is about 200 meters east and is obvious ...... 15 meters inside the USA woods at a rock, my GPS read 45.29794, -70.81723.
As I checked the HP inside the woods a group of 4 backpackers came up westbound, headed for the Clearwater Refuge. We had a long chat on the trail conditions, and apparently the trails are the same all the way to Monument 438 at the Trou-du-Diable. I made them aware of PB and suggested they take a look-see. I returned the same way to 443, the RT taking me 2 1/2 hours.
I was back down to the Clearwater TH after a 6h30 hour day.

After I cleaned up I drove out to the Entrance, chatted with Denis, the chap on duty, before driving to Chemin Morin primitive camping for the night.
On the way I saw 3 Hunters gutting a huge Stag hung from a tree, the guy doing the work was covered with blood from head to toe. Apparently the arrow of a Cross-Bow goes right through the animal. There is a lot of heavy work in Hunting, after shooting the animal one must gut-it/transport-out-the-meat. These guys were well equipped with a rope and winch system, long ladder, ATV, Truck and containers, they knew what they were doing.
When I drove out the next morning the Stag was still hung from the tree, the guys had slept in their truck and were just getting ready to cut it up. I took a photo.

The plan for the next morning was to tackle the 2 Gore Peaks, this was not to be ...... I woke up to a 4 inch blanket of snow, a beautiful winter wonderland but there was no way I was going to hike these rough trails with these conditions, much too dangerous besides getting completely wet from the tree covered snow.
The first thing I thought-of when I saw the snow was,
"Will I be able to drive out of here".
I didn't have winter tires on the van and the parks roads are rough and steep in sections. My fears would be proven right, I came to one hill were I couldn't make it up and I had to slip/slide back down.
"Holly s..., how am I going to get out of here". All sorts of scenarios went through my mind, and as I've said numerous of times, "Luck has been very good to me".
A 4x4 truck came down the hill and stopped to help me out. The "Trail Angel" knew the area, he didn't think I was very smart to be out here without snows. Just to one side of where we were parked was an old road signed "Ferme".
He told me, "Take this road, its in poor condition but you'll be OK, just watch out for one big hole, stay to it's left. It's flat all the way, they put this new bypass road up the hill a few years ago, because of the wet conditions of this old road. Don't worry you'll make it."
I thanked my "Trail Angel" and drove out, somewhat very apprehensive and without seeing the big hole, with no problems. I must be blessed.

I stopped at the Entrance to tell Denis that I wouldn't be staying for the 3rd night and to return the Orange Vest. He sold it to me for 5$, I think it will be a good addition to my Lime Green Vest that I have.
Once I got to hwy 212 I was very surprised to see the hwy completely bare ...... Quebec's municipalities are amazing when it comes to snow removal.
As I drove west the radio informed me of the huge snow storm in whole of the Northeast, as far south as Jersey. They had as much as a meter of snow in places, we were at its fringes, a number of people died because of this storm.
It's amazing what 60km makes ...... I lost the snow when I got to Sherbrooke, and as I drove further west and neared Montreal, I had full warm sun, farmers out in their fields with their "combines and trucks" harvesting corn. I didn't want to waste the day so I detoured to the L'Assomption CoHP.

This time I got home with a lot of stories for Rose, normally my reply is, "Not much to say, same old trails."

The Mont Gosford area is a rough place.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:621 ft / 189 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:621 ft / 189 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 2 km
    Route:SF1 wb from clearwater primitive camping
    Start Trailhead:clearwater primitive camping  3250 ft / 990 m
    Time:45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Route:SF1 eb to petit mont gosford
    End Trailhead:petit mont gosford  
    Time:18 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: gosford

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mont Gosford2011-10-29 a621 ft / 189 m
2Petit Mont Gosford2011-10-29 b159 ft / 48 m
3West Monument 443 Peak2011-10-29 c644 ft / 196 m
4Border Monument 441 Peak2011-10-29 d820 ft / 250 m
Total Trip Gain: 2244 ft / 683 m    Total Trip Loss: 810 ft / 247 m

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