Palissades de Charlevoix: a destination mountain

Palissades de Charlevoix: destination montagne

SAINT-SIMEON — We had not yet donned our harnesses, and already the day was announced as a real adventure. The presentations have just been completed, Max, our guide, asked aloud. “We’re going to do the first part, then we’ll see how it looks over the top. I’ll bring a shovel and ice axe. We’ll see…”

More high is the suspension bridge 30 meters long, and dominates the landscape of the Palisades of Charlevoix. An impressive crossing installed at more than 200 meters above the 170, the route which connects Saint-Siméon to The Bay. The parking lot to the reception building, impossible to miss the installation of wood and steel cables. The white of the snow on the boards of the air-bridge portion substantially in this portion dizzying heights of the long and imposing wall of rock that dominates the decor.

But before you can get there and back down by a recall of 70 metres on a slab of smooth, a via ferrata of 950 meters to the borrow. A path rail in which a steel cable fixed to the rock wall allows athletes to remain attached at all times during their ascent.

It’s been 15 years since François-Guy Thivierge and her team have set up so this portion of the Palisades and bring customers. From scratch including the winter. Everything to offer a true “experience the mountains”, says the climber and businessman, was particular for his ascent of Everest in 2008.

Because if the was the via ferrata of the Fences to grow on the rock directly, in the winter the snow covers the course and totally change the atmosphere. Hard to imagine, when it progresses, a slab of rock air gave way to a snow field that supports our passage…

And the snow, there’s the Palisades! In spite of the repeated passages — 11 days in a row for our guide Maxime Longpré —, the cable is buried under the snow and it should be clear to cling to them during the progression.

“This is not obvious in the winter,” admits François-Guy Thivierge, who note, however, gain popularity for the via ferrata under the snow. Activity, unique in Quebec, and necessarily guided by, the output would have allowed about 300 adventurers to live out the great dizzy wired up here this winter. A way to experience the thrill and excitement of the steep slopes and snow-covered a mountain-climbing “without commitment too great,” says the mountaineer.

Apart from a small period during the spring thaw, the via ferrata is actually a four seasons in this mecca of mountain sports, base adventure in Charlevoix for the climbing school of Québec, the Ascensation.

Palissades de Charlevoix: destination montagne

The Sun, Jean-Sébastien Massicotte

We had barely started our approach from the walls, and already signs of instability in the snowpack were noted. Nothing very serious, but the small snow slides in the slope were on the radar of Max.

The accumulations of recent combined with the mild temperature of the day were perfect conditions for the walls are emptied of snow. Once on the course ferré, small avalanches allowed us to understand the importance of this phenomenon in the mountains.

At the end of the first third of the adventure, the arrival at the relay, the recall of forty meters, which could bring us back to the floor of the cows, the verdict of Max fell. “We will not go over the top. It is not worth to take risk to take photos…”

Disappointed just like us, the guide would have liked us to share a little more of his field of vertical play. Especially as the day was splendid. But as the Sun heated up the snow more and more, other small castings could only confirm that it was the right decision. The summit will be for the next time.


This adventure was made possible thanks to the collaboration of AventureX. Thank you!



True pole of adventures in the mountains, the site of the Palisades of Charlevoix is developed by François-Guy Thivierge since 2002. First pitch of the game for his school climbing the Ascensation, the site does not belong to him. But the businessman and mountain climber from Quebec has the rights of exploitation. A small gem that he wished to see them grow in beauty.

Ski adventure (read below), new route of via ferrata, the establishment of new climbing routes… no shortage of projects! The current hosting available (including a thirty-seater in formula youth hostel in the reception chalet; BBQ, spa and sauna included), François-Guy dreams of adding micro-cabins or mini-shelters in the mountains.

Added to this is the idea of a ready to camp out single for the summer: a collection of spacious tents domes The North Face. You know those big tents of base camp for groups of climbers to mount Everest? It is what it is all about. “But the beds super comfortable,” says the climber. “It’s going to be pretty special. People are going to love it!”



While the popularity of the ski adventure continues to gain ground, exploring to find the next petit paradis quebec the snow is going well. Last player left in the hand, the Palisades of Charlevoix. A huge potential, flushed and developed by a true enthusiast, Marc-André Houde.

Far from showing radin on his spots, Houde is not shy to share photos and videos on social networks. There is still much work to do, but the essence is there. What you need to make jealous! Snow in quantity, a difference in altitude of approximately 330 m in particular, for the mountain to Us, a wooded slope constant between the river and the peaks of Charlevoix, in the face of the Palisades. In short? Just wow!

“Marc-André came to see me in the spring with the idea that it was necessary to develop the ski to the Palisades,” sums up François-Guy Thivierge, the operator of the location and owner of the climbing school the Ascensation. “I’m not a pro in the backcountry, then I let him go.” Technician in forestry and follower of telemark, Marc-André Houde jumped on the opportunity. “This is our year, .5”, laughs the developer that explores, as soon as he can the slopes of the surrounding area.

By taking great lengths, the mountain to the Americans was housed in a small portion. Note here that each run can be won by the strength of the calves, far from the chair lifts and other mechanical means. And the goal is that it remains like that.

For the year 1 official, Marc-André hopes to continue its efforts and to be able to accommodate more skiers, which is a pleasure to serve as a guide when it is possible.

Palissades de Charlevoix: destination montagne

Directly from the cottage home of the Palisades, the approach for the skiing adventure in the mountains to the Americans (the summit in the background on the picture) is very pretty and leads to the destination after a walk of about 3.5 km.

The Sun, Jean-Sébastien Massicotte

Gradual is very nice, the trail that climbs to the summit of the mountain to the Americans is to discover. After a little more than three kilometres, of which the third edge of the Black river, the summit is reached, and rewarded by a spectacular view.

On one side of the river St. Lawrence, from the other the tops of snow-capped Charlevoix, and in front of, the wall of rock Palisades that unfolds to the full. Spectacular.

Remainder in to make even attention in the descent, because it is easy to do as we, and leave the developed area seeking virgin powder. The descent and the navigation become more difficult for skiers who are less familiar. Talk to my brave companion that is still in its infancy in ski mountain…

Great potential

Starting next year, the skiing will be even more important to the Palisades if we trust in François-Guy Thivierge. To do things right, the development of the site should continue in conjunction with the section skiing of the quebec Federation of mountain and climbing, he says.

“Everything is done around without the car travel. It was the accommodation. It is between Le Massif and Mont-Édouard… The potential is truly great!” enthuses the mountain, that dream obviously already to the return of winter.


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