By Gabrielle Gagné
Weekend at Mont des Morios. Here, we expect two possibilities: either the cool temperature will ensure that the summit is not very crowded, or the beauty of the place will ensure that the temperature does not change the number of tents pitched at the summit. No matter, this desire to sleep in the mountains is stronger than the desire for solitude.
As we are not doing the complete loop, we decide to leave late anyway. Your departure time will be chosen based on the route you decide to take. Mont des Morios offers a 25-kilometer loop that passes Mont Gros Castor, but it is possible to do the round trip only to the summit, totaling 11.5 kilometers. To get to the summit, you have two options: the expert climb, which is shorter but steeper, or the gentle climb, which is slightly longer. I had already done the expert climb without camping stock: some parts were done by holding on with ropes. I found it a bit extreme with our massive backpacks, so we took the gentler climb. This is also the side that we descended from, as it is not recommended to descend via the expert side.
The advantage of arriving early is to have the first choices for areas sheltered from the wind. Despite our late arrival, luck is on our side: there don't seem to be too many people. We find a flat place to camp which remains fairly exposed to the wind: it's a bit by choice, we want to enjoy the sunset and sunrise. Quickly, we put our things in the tent to prevent it from blowing away. We also place heavy, flat rocks on the tent stakes to keep everything secure. Then, all that remains is to take out the stove and start preparing a good supper, deserved after all this physical effort.
Despite being well prepared to face the cold (layering, changing clothes before sleeping to avoid humidity, sleeping to keep warm, etc.), we both froze during the night. Our hypothesis would be that the ultra-light ground mattress would be insufficient in this case: as the rock is very cold and the winds are strong at the summit, it would have been necessary to bring a light but inflatable mattress to put under a foam mattress or any other another way of adding a layer of air, which is an excellent insulator, between the ground and our own person. The other thing to plan for, especially if you're doing the long tour, is a water purification system. Several water points are accessible throughout the long loop.
After an incredible sunrise, we head back to the car, our heads full of beautiful images, ready for the next adventures.