A Mont Baldy Climbing Bébé

Brendan Leonard had an excellent article on not bailing this week; he wrote of the importance of being there for your adventure partners. I also believe that opening up your itinerary to new places and faces is crucial and wish he could have included it in his golden rule.

mt baldy quebec climb
Arrache Dents (5.11a)

This weekend’s unforgettable adventure was powered by all of the above. I ended up in a small hatchback with new climbing partners not heading to Val David for a change — and I was pretty happy about it.

On tap for the day was Mount Baldy, possibly the closest climbing area to Montreal. It’s not for newbies. What it lacks in vertical, it makes up for in horizontal — the 25 meter cliff just stretches forever through some dense woods just far off enough from the highway to give it a remote feel.

mt baldy
Mont Baldy photo courtesy Ghislain Allard

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Chic Choc Dreams

For some of us the relationship between real life and skiing is dynamic, and at times can seem adversarial. Even with a green light from responsibility, once-a-season storms, plowed roads and solid gear, you still need some luck to have a legendary weekend.

Even if everything goes sideways you can still have tons of fun, it’s just a bit harder to pretend that you’re living Warren Miller’s sickest dream. Many of us won’t ever be called to “get in da chopper” and rip two-thousand vertical feet in thirty seconds.

Perhaps this is why the Chic Choc mountains are a sweet spot for me. Going there is a kind of lucid dreaming. The mountains are stunning, yet also reasonable to get up, and down for almost any fit, motivated skier. And while there are now helicopters and sleds to help you with the hard part, I like doing it on my own.

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Mont Alta Randonnée: Attitude and Altitude

In an age of international consolidation, mega-resorts, paid parking, expensive burgers, and an arms race for snow guns and fast lifts, Mont Alta stands apart.

mont alta randonnée

Years ago the lifts were plucked from its slopes. Now, what remains is a reborn ski area dedicated to uphill skiing and natural snow conditions.

Vail probably isn’t shaking in their Bogner’s yet. Mont Alta caps its season pass sales at 300, each priced at about $50, and you can’t buy a burger anywhere on premises. Not to mention that calling it 600 feet of vertical could be a bit generous.

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