By Jimmy Paquet-Cormier
As winter ends and the days are getting longer, it is now the best time to make longer expeditions in remote and forbidden areas.To take advantage of the spring conditions, we decided to seek a mountain with ski bowls facing south. Setting the departure time at 5 am, we headed for a 14 hours / 24 km expedition. At 9 am, we were on the top of our first bowl and were ready to drop in. Well, they were ready while I was setting my camera to immortalize the moment. As much as I enjoy taking pictures and filming my fellow companions, sometimes, in a backcountry environment, it is stressful to be lagging behind and to be the last one to drop in those narrow corridors. That day, we did 5 runs in 4 different bowls, and the sun was already down when we got out of the forest.
In the province of Quebec, a real treasure is kept secret. More than 7 hours away from metropolitan areas, the Chic-Chocs mountains offer the best terrain for backcountry expeditions on all of the Canadian east coast. As I get further from the city, creativity and excitement fill me. This time I have to make a 12 hours bus trip alone. Half asleep on my seat, I’m thinking : What will be the epic adventures this time? How could I film and photograph the authenticity of this scenic landscape? Is it already spring condition? Did we have winter this year?
When I travel to the Chic-Chocs area, I love to stay in Murdochville. It’s a strategic place to stay because beginner, intermediate or extreme backcountry expeditions can be done directly in «Murdoch» backyard. As shown in the video, you can skin, hike, sled and Catski in the mountains surrounding the town, or you can take your car to get to higher terrain in the Gaspesie National Park or in the Chic-Chocs reserve.
The small mining town of Murdochville was created to extract copper. When the mine operations ended in 1999, it left a huge scar in the mountains surrounding the village. During my last trip in Murdochville, we decided to explore the query and see how we could get some good shot of this unusual landscape. Since the entrance is forbidden, we had to be low profile and try not to get caught. The lines in the mine are steep and short but give impressive results. After exploring the mine twice, we spotted a bigger line located at the far end of the mining sector. To begin with, Charles decided to hike and jump the cliff at the bottom of the line. When he landed, his right ski crashed into a rock and made him stumble down. Maybe the rest of the line will have to wait for next winter!
I love backcountry expeditions because each time, while I climb, I have to dig deep in me to find the strength to keep on going. And it truly helps me to connect with myself. But no adventure would be the same without my friends. Even if I like remote places, my experiences are always enhanced by the people that I’m sharing them with. Lonely expedition looks great and I wish I would be strong enough to be alone for days or weeks. But the truth is, sharing the experiences with my friends and having their support is really important for me. Most of all, they make me want to challenge myself so that I can continue to evolve towards harder expeditions.