Less then 5 hours east of Montreal or a short 2 hours from Quebec City, Kamouraska – situated on the south shore of the lower Saint Lawrence River in Quebec – is the place not to miss on any rock climbing visit to “La belle province.”
I was told this several times before I finally visited and witnessed Kamouraska’s beauty for the first time this summer. Unfortunately, our agenda allowed for only one day of climbing, but every minute was enjoyed! The spectacular beauty and incredible climbing made it an experience to be remembered.
After hiking slightly uphill for twenty minutes along a well traveled path, one quickly realizes why Kamouraska is one of Quebec’s most cherished climbing destinations. More than 100 routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.13 make climbing here enjoyable for those of all ability levels. A well bolted route on super friendly white huecos and pocketed granite and quart (orthoquartzite), allows sport climbers to join in the fun too!
“Kamou” is a unique climbing experience with unforgettable scenery visible from every climb. Beneath the white wall of rock that rises a kilometer into this sky, the vast expanse of green farmland stretches along the banks of the massive Saint Lawrence River where one can easily envision the days of the Coureurs des Bois – the independent French-Canadian woodsmen who traveled in the interior of North America, venturing into the thick forests to trade European items for furs from the native peoples, learning their trades and practices.
Kamouraska itself has been named one of the top twenty most beautiful villages in Quebec. Its quaint B&Bs, small motels, microbreweries, and seaside campgrounds make every penny spent on petrol seem worthwhile. The local beers and cheeses allow anyone to easily wash away any feelings of seasickness. Not only a climber’s paradise, Kamouraska is also a sea kayaker’s heaven. While paddling – and sometimes even from the shoreline – one can observe humpback & beluga whales, seals, and other marine life. In fact, an incredible 13 species of cetaceans have been seen in the Saint Lawrence during different parts of the year, ranging from the tiny harbour porpose, one of the smallest in the world, to the colossal blue whale, the largest animal on the planet.
When hunger sets in after a day of adventuring, one need only walk into town for some old world charm and a hearty meal of freshly caught salmon, sturgeon, or eel. Sample some smoked fish at the Lauzier fishmarket and swing by the Niemand Bakery for some bread and pastries. No visit is complete without a stop by a Casse-Croute to snack on a famous French Canadian Poutine!
Outdoor explorers should always come prepared for a swift change in the weather. One never knows what the Saint Lawrence will bring!