White mountains: better not to reach the summit than to get lost

SHERBROOKE – “All mountains have a dangerous potential and the White Mountains are no exception,” says Michel Caron, a hiker who often travels the White Mountains with his wife. For him, we must not be ashamed to start the descent without having seen the summit.
“I have nothing to prove to anyone to walk in winds of 100 MP / h,” he says. There is nothing fun in there. If people go there anyway, they will not see anything. If you go there to see something, you better go back again. The notion of not returning edge is very common. Very tall mountaineers died because of that. They had the kind of vertigo of “I am able to surrender”. “

“On the number of times I have been in the White Mountains, I can not count the number of times I’ve decided not to go to the top and say, ‘I’ll come back again,'” continues. -t it.

“When you get out of the tree line, it’s very different in the White Mountains than at Mount Ham or Mount Orford,” says Caron. In Lafayette, for some people, you have for another hour [climb to reach the summit]. You are in the wind and at the mercy of the elements. Quickly, you should have the reflex to return if you are ill equipped or if you are not sure. ”


In this kind of activity, there are often a series of mistakes, bad decisions. “There may be the wrong decision to go higher, the wrong decision not to look at the weather well before we go, we did not see that there was a cold front or strong winds. Mount Lafayette is subject to strong winds. It’s the sum of these small mistakes that will make sure that people will be badly taken “, explains the mountaineer.

For him, smart phones do not believe everything. “Navigational instruments are like false security. Before cell phones, people left with the essentials: a little more food, a little more water, warm clothes, all that is needed to survive in adverse conditions, “says Mr. Caron, who brings always a compass, a map and a thermos with hot liquid.

Michel Caron thinks it is necessary to anticipate the blows knowing that it is difficult to get help in the mountains. “There is no reason to take those risks. We have more resources on the Web to prepare for an outing. There is a lot of information on several sites. If we follow the weather all week before the trip, we have more luck if there is thick snow, for example. He said, recalling that the weather for the day is also quite accurate.

“They did what they had to do. ”
– Jean-Marie Croteau

The professional tour guide Jean-Marie Croteau reminds that the technical sheet of the mountain mentions such situations. “It is stated that, if the refuge, we do not see the ridge since it is cloudy, which was the case that day, we do not try to make the summit. There will be nothing to see at the top, “says Jean-Marie Croteau, who says he had a similar situation at Mount Lafayette in winter.

Mr. Croteau considers that this situation is “a good springboard for learning”.

“They did everything they had to do, they were well equipped and joined the rescue. They had no application on their cell phones, but I think they will take care of that. They were two, had good clothes, sheltered from the wind. They did what they had to do. It’s a good learning for all, “he thinks.

“It’s better to go back than to force nature,” says the experienced walker.

Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *