Mt. Erhart is the fourth highest mountain in the Torngat Mountains. A group of peaks on the Northern tip of Labrador. Erhart is 1539m high and is one of seven mountain that rise 1500m or more in the Torngats.. Erhart has two main ridges with the western ridge leading to the summit proper. Mt. Erhart is also known as Mt. Margaret Toth, named after the late wife of Ron Parker, one of three who were the first to summit this beautiful peak.
Mt. Erhart was first climbed in 1978 by Ray Chipeniuk, Ron Paker and Erik Sheer. The mountains SE face is a dramatic 450m sheer wall of hardened grey gneiss. Its often this that catches the eye from a distance as Erhart is frequently overshadowed by its higher neighbour Mt. Caubvick. Erhart is located just to the NW of Caubvick and offers some of the finest views available of Mt. Caubvick's sprawling mass and of Ice Blue Tarn.
The Torngats are named after the Inuit God of the wind and the name when translated means 'place of the wind devil'. The area is known for its notoriously harsh and even brutal storms. The window to visit is July and August before and after that the weather is far too dicey. The Torngats extend 300km north to south and 200km east to west.
There is NO road access into the park. Visitors arrive by Twin Otter or Float Planes or can take a 400km boat trip form the nearest village Nain.
Because of the mountains remoteness, the weather and other logistical difficulties most chose to visit the area with a tour operator. Most expedition like tours last from one to two weeks and can run from $1800-3000 per person. One such tour operator is www.explorenorth.com which one can visit for more information.
You can also explore the park on your own its simply important to plan, plan and plan like any trip into a remote area of the world. Flights can be arranged out of major eastern cities or from Newfoundland itself. All flights I believe stop in Nain irregardless whether one is taking a boat or plane up to Saglak Bay.
The Torngats are part of a 22000 square kilometer protected wilderness area that is in the process of becoming a National Park. The park is home to one of the largest herds of Caribou on earth (in excess of 300 000), golden and bald eagles, wolves, black bears, the occasional polar bear, peregrine falcons and the endangered Harlequin duck.
To get to the Torngats one must first fly out of Halifax, St. John's or Saint John up to the village of Nain where you will either take a float or Twin Otter plane or take a long boat ride up to Saglak Bay.
From Saglak Bay where the journey begins it is several days along the Steeker/Korak River Valley before you can see Erhart and Caubvick and gain entrance to the small unnamed valley it occupies. There are no established trails in the park most people pick their across streams and along the valley.
As previously mentioned the mountain straddles the border of Quebec and Labrador and is only a day trip out from the Steeker/Korok river Valley to climb it. The climb will be a long day and will in itself require 7-9 hours roundtrip. Most climbers ascend via the steep west ridge which is exposed for much of the upper section of the climb. Most climbs start from the mcCormick River Valley and ascend via Gneiss Brook to the north until they reach the lower slopes of Mr. Erhart's east ridge and summit. It is then a fairly esposed 750m scramble to gain access to the w. summit... though this can be made more simply if one simply goes straight to the west ridge and the summit proper.
All of the mountains in the Torngats are treeless, so the climbs are straightforward up and over rock... also most of the areas largest peaks are no more than a day trip away. So as long as you make allowances for bad weather and day trips to climb there should be little in the way of logistical difficulties.
The Torngats are one of Canada's most unsullied areas and natural beauty abounds so please respect the park and its flora and fauna. The mountains themselves are about 220km long and stretch at their widest around 100km along Labrador's northern tip.
At this time there are no permits required (as far as I know). Though in the near future it will be a National park and the fees are as follows: For Backcountry camping it is $8-10 Cdn per person per night and a seasonal pass for the year 2005 will run $63 Cdn with an increase of seven dollars (up to $70) planned for 2006.
There are no seasonal closures... simply put the only time people really go into the Torngats is from the end of June to the end of August. That is the two month window that Mother Nature provides for those who wish to see the beautiful valleys and mountains of the Torngats.
It is asked that you pack out what you pack in... encounters with bears have never been documented. The polar bears stick to the coastal regions and never venture into the valleys. Simply leave the animals alone and try not to trample any of the newly emerging flowers and plants underfoot.
To find out more info. about the Torngats (and outfitters) you can contact Newfoundland and Lbarador Tourism at 1 800 563 6353 or email them at [email protected]
When To Climb
The only time of the year that one can climb in the Torngats is from the end of June to the end of August... its as simple as that. Unless one is made of money and is prepared to risk their lives flying into the notorious storms of the region.
Camping is allowed, there are no official camping areas, though it is advised that one camp up on the mountain slopes to avoid the worst of the bugs.
The only fees are the ones already mentioned in the Red Tape and those have yet to be implemented. Though the costs involved in simply getting there are more than enough.
One thing to be careful of is the bugs... they come out in droves during the brief Ungavan summer. Experienced hikers stick to high ridges or the upper slopes to avoid the worst of the plague, it is also mentioned that you simply keep up a brisk and constant pace. Bug nets and a tent with zippers are also essential to ensure that this beautiful trip doesn't become a nightmare.
The best way to check the weather is to go to www.theweathernetwork.com, click on Canadian cities and then head to Labrador and Newfoundland. From there the cities are listed alphabetically and you can find the weather for the city of Nain... this is the closest you will most likely be able to get.