On Top of Mount Caubvick

In Canada, south of Nunavut’s archipelago and east of the Rockies, there’s no point higher than Mount Caubvick, right here in Labrador.

Mount Caubvick is the highest and perhaps the most famous peak in the Torngat Mountains National Park, but it is not visited or photographed nearly as often as the spectacular slopes right on the coast or in the fjords.  In fact, while the mountain was certainly known to Inuit and Innu for many centuries, the first documented ascent was not made until 1973.

The first Canadians to reach the summit were Ray Chipeniuk, Ron Parker, and Erik Sheer in 1978.  They spent a month in Labrador on expedition, from August 4 to September 4, and Sheer took many photographs along the way—which is where the Labrador Institute Archive comes in.

Erik Sheer was tragically killed in a car accident less than a year after his climb, at the age of 21.  Afterwards his father, Frank Sheer, donated Erik’s slide collection to the Labrador Institute, where it remains today: 415 images in all.

Around 2001, Cy Bird of the Department of National Defence prepared digital transfers of the slides to use in orientation materials when welcoming staff to Labrador.  Below are a few of these very same transfers, with new captions based on Erik Sheer’s original notes.

All in all, the slide collection makes for a remarkable record of time spent on a remarkable mountain.

George Haye of Nain (centre) receives a cheque from Erik Sheer (at right).  George Haye and Paul Nochasak brought the expedition to its base camp by boat.
George Haye of Nain (centre) receives a cheque from Erik Sheer (at right). George Haye and Paul Nochasak brought the expedition to its base camp by boat.
The expedition team ascends the Minaret Ridge, on approach to the summit.
The expedition team ascends the Minaret Ridge, on approach to the summit.
Triumphant atop the mountain, with only the sky above them.
Triumphant atop the mountain, with only the sky above them.
This note was left with the log book placed atop the summit.
This note was left with the log book placed atop the summit.
The view from the summit, along the Southern Ridge.
The view from the summit, along the Southern Ridge.
Erik Sheer (foreground) on the Selamiut Horn, after summiting Mount Caubvick.
Erik Sheer (foreground) on the Selamiut Horn, after summiting Mount Caubvick.

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