The team of Len Vanderstar, Brian & Laura Friedrich
lucked out with a timely weather window to successfully
reach the summits of Mount d’Iberville and Mount
Caubvick on July 19, 2014 via the Koroc Ridge. From the
mountain top, icebergs could be seen floating in the Atlantic
ocean and the vast expanse of the Torngat Mountain Range
provided a splendid backdrop.
Given the excellent weather and dryness of the rock,
the team opted for a traverse descent of the Minaret Ridge.
Although the arete traverse is not considered technical,
a misstep or slip could be fatal if climbers were unroped.
The three member team roped up for most of the traverse,
ensuring a safe return, despite adding significant time
to the climb. All told, the climb/traverse amounted to
23 hours (base camp to base camp), inclusive of down time
on top of the mountain peaks and taking in the scenery,
from 4:30 a.m. July 19 to 4:00 a.m. July 20. The high
points of Quebec and Newfoundland/Labrador are truly a
destination of impressive landscape character in one of
the most remote places in Canada.
With continued exceptional weather post
climb, the party did a memorable 25 km return hike on July
21 from base camp to a high plateau affectionately named
Wave Plateau. Looking down on the Palmer River flowing into
the Tallek Arm of Nachvak Fiord was the best it could get
from a visual perspective. Most impressive was Brian’s
and Laura’s claim to fame in doing the hike in river
July 23 saw the crew commence their epic
165 km paddle down the Koroc River to Ungava Bay in the
Arctic Ocean, effectively paddling across the peninsula
over 9 days, inclusive of four half day paddles and two
exploratory days near the splendid Korluktok Falls. Brian
and Laura mastered the pack-rafts in a variety of rapids
and Len paddled an inflatable kayak; some rapids had to
be lined, others run and some portaged.
The Koroc River is one of the finest gems
of waterways in Canada, with true wilderness qualities and
crystal clear aqua-blue water sourced from the Canadian
Shield. The team took note of the many waterfalls that descend
into the Koroc River's glacial carved U-shaped valley, especially
after the timely rains that were needed to bring the water
levels up to optimum conditions.
Paddling into tree line was a sensory experience,
with the fragrance of larch and spruce satiating our nostrils.
Black bears, meadow voles and rough legged hawks were the
main fauna observed at distance and at close quarters. Despite
the efforts to spot caribou, unfortunately none were seen,
somewhat attributed to their summer range being elsewhere,
and the unprecedented decline of the George River and Torngat
caribou herds. Arctic char greeted the paddlers upon their
arrival at the class 5 set of rapids into Ungava Bay.
This trip was truly about the journey,
self-discovery and topped off with success of the objective.
Interaction with the local Inuit from Kangiqsualujjuaq (Very
Big Bay) was a wonderful experience, inclusive of eating
raw seal on the rocks!
The entire trip was pretty well within
the confines of Torngat Mountains National Park and Kuururjuaq
Park. It is definitely near the top of the list with Summits
of Canada expeditions.
Please note that travel within the Torngat
Mountains and Park Kuururjuaq must not be taken lightly,
and one should expect and be prepared for all weather conditions,
inclusive of high winds during storm events. And do not
complain about wind, or find yourself complaining about
mosquitoes on the tundra, and black flies in the forests.
They will be part of the experience on the journey. Overall,
the insects are not bad if one is prepared with bug dope
and/or netting. Of course some days are worse than others
depending on location, temperature, humidity and wind; more
often than not, bug nets were not required, other than around
camp in the morning and evening on occasion.