Mount Wrottesley from Potlatch 1027 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: BC, Canada.
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Default Mount Wrottesley from Potlatch 1027

This trip has been a long time coming for me. It was by looking for
information on Mount Wrottesley that I found clubtread. Bivouac didn't
have much info on it then, so I did a google search and it gave me
this thread as one of the first hits. This is the kind of thread that
grabs my interest. For some reason google doesn't rank this with any
visibility anymore.

Anyway, that was three years ago. This fall I contacted the director
of Camp Potlatch for the third year in a row. I figure fall is a good
time to do it since the camp isn't full of kids, but rain or something
seemed to hold me off until ski season when I'd lose interest.

I've entered a detailed description of the trail in the wiki. I
arrived at Porteau Cove sometime after 8:30 -- about the time I was
hoping to be at Camp Potlatch.

my transport; Tantalus and Woodfibre

Mount Wrottesley

By the time I was all geared up and on the water it was 9:30. It took
a little over an hour to paddle across. The outflow was blowing
pretty strong, but it was forecast to die down during the day. The
wind is focused in a narrow band in the middle of the channel; at
Porteau Cove you don't feel the brunt of it, and at the Defence
Islands it was calm.

Up the Sound; Wrottesley; Port Mellon; and Anvil Island with my signature tilt

After sorting out the kayak, changing, and talking with the caretaker,
it was close to 11:30 by the time I started hiking. The trail up the
Potlatch Valley is well used. It runs mostly on a very old logging
road. To cross Potlatch Creek I took my boots off.

A little after that, a trail junction:

indicates the trail that climbs up to the newer Potlatch logging road
at about 400m. This road comes from McNab Creek and looks to be in
good shape, so mountain-biking from there might be an option.

The west end of the ridge that is southwest of Brennan Lakes; This deer wouldn't get off the road. It took me a while to clue in that I should take a picture of her. When she was satisfied that she'd been immortalized, she moved onto the cutbank to let me pass.

Okay, the road is not all in good shape:

Up a spur road, up a cutblock, through open forest with orange markers easy to follow. A helicopter pad cut out of the old growth allows a view of Ellesmere:

Finally we reach the alpine, and swing in a big arc around the
headwaters of the creek that washed out the bridge so as to summit via
the south ridge. Why the trail didn't just continue directly up the
north side of that creek and give access to the east ridge, I don't
know. Here's a map:

the summit; towards Bowen

It took me five hours to reach the summit. On the way up, I saw the
ceiling descending over Mount Garibaldi. I took some pictures across
McNab Creek while I had the chance.

Looks like somebody's done a bit of logging in there.

On the summit, it was raining. The view to the north was already
pretty much gone.

I didn't stay on the summit long. I retraced my steps. By the time I
entered the forest I had put the headlamp on. Not long after that the
hike began to take on the flavour of an epic. The forest is one that
has no undergrowth; it is all brown beneath the canopy, so travel is
easy. The trail through here didn't have a discernable footbed, but it
didn't matter on the way up. But now the orange markers were
invisible. I just cruised down the hill in the general direction,
figuring I'd make contact with a marker, but I didn't. The critical
thing here is getting across to the north side of the creek. Now I
wasn't sure that I hadn't already descended too far. I decided to hike
back up the hill and then descend beside the creek, looking for the
crossing bench. Well the terrain beside the creek is of course
considerably more difficult, and it didn't take long to convince
myself that this was a really bad idea in the dark.

I actually resigned myself to making a bivy. This wouldn't've been a
problem, but I was worried that the folks at Camp Potlatch would push
a panic button if I wasn't out in the morning. Since it would be a
long night, I would at least get myself back on the trail so that I
could make a speedy exit in the morning. This meant hiking back up the
hill again; the slope narrows farther up, reducing the search
space. Fortunately I stumbled upon an orange marker before I got all
the way up there. I ended up following the trail out after all,
cautiously exploring from one marker to the next. By the light of the
headlamp, I realized that there was a faint visible footbed and so
progress wasn't that bad. There were a few markers that had me stymied
for a long time though. Once at the creek crossing, the trail was easy
to follow all the way back to the Camp. It took me seven hours to

The night was calm, and it was clear and moonlit by this time too. I
left a note for the caretaker, and had a good paddle back, less than
an hour. It was very late by the time I got to bed though.

mazeGirl likes this.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 06:29 PM
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Interest: Mountains,skiing,cooking,Conspiracies,reading
Posts: 1,280

Great Tr.A nice self-propelled trip.We always argue about what that one is when we drive up that way,thought it might have been Varley.Often viewed,seldom climbed.A neat little mountain,congrats.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 06:29 PM
Summit Master
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Simply a magnificant report and a real adventure. I hung on every word you wrote.

I remember being on part of that trail in my youth over forty years ago when I was a youngter at the camp and we hiked part way up it and then right in the creek going through some small canyons which were very intimadating at that age especially in the waist deep sections, until we had to turn back for dinner hour.
That was the extent of the trail back then and there was no logging roads at all coming from McNab Creek that far over back then.

To kyak over and hike to the summit and come back down in the dark crossing the inlet in the dark is a real adventure that will be cherished in your memory for the rest of your life.

I wish I was with you. Superb trip. [8D] [^]
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 06:38 PM
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Classic Shrubhugger style [8D].

Glad you made it out o.k. Never too worried though, you've got a good head on your shoulders and endless energy [^]
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 07:36 PM
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As Wally noted, you sure had an epic journey back. Good you were able to find that marker on your way back. I recall going back up a trail when it was getting dark, and was very difficult to follow markers back uphill even with a good flashlight.

Not an easy thing to do,, when the trail footbed has a layer of litter and leaves on it.

That summit area does provide a great view of the waters, must be superb on a clear day.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 07:44 PM
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That's a great sounding trip Ramsey and well told.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 08:32 PM
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Well done Ramsay - I love that report. You did it in great style, and I was almost ready to tease you about the unplanned bivouac till you pulled yourself out of it. Good job on a seldom climbed mountain.

So, Energizers or Duracells? Which is better? [}]
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 08:40 PM
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Cool T/R with motivation and desire
Bet you had a grin ,when you loaded the Kayak on the Van to go home
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-30-2007, 09:16 PM
High on the Mountain Top
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Very nice TR.[8D]
This's a very intersting area to visit and read about. We don't usually have much information on these destinations.
Thanks for your pictures.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 10-31-2007, 11:41 AM
Off the Beaten Path
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Well done. You do like those late night hikes, don't you?
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 10-31-2007, 12:03 PM
High on the Mountain Top
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Great trip, Ramsay!
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 10-31-2007, 12:05 PM
High on the Mountain Top
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Way to go, Ramsay. I know you've been after this one for a while. I love the encroaching gloom in the views of Howe Sound from the summit.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 10-31-2007, 03:11 PM
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Good job shrubhugger, parts of the road looked more like a logjam. I thoroughly enjoyed your report.
Happy trails,
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 10:17 PM
Headed for the Mountains
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Wow, this is an amazing journey. So close to our eyes and yet so far to our feet! I need to get myself one of those Kayaks.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2016, 09:05 PM
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Feb 2016
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Smile Tips and Advice?

Thinking about doing this with a friend as we both went to Potlatch when we were younger and have always been keen to summit Wrottesley. Just a few questions though: I know you did the trail at the end of October, but do you think it would be possible in spring? If so, when would you recommend? Mostly concerned about the height of the creek. Also, would you recommend the paddle out (and if so, how long was it)? Or just boat across? Anything you would recommend/do differently? Was there any technical climbing or was it all just hiking? How did you prepare/know where to go (maps, trails, or just caretakers directions)? And lastly (I know this is a ton of questions, sorry!), how was the trail once you past the gravel logging road that goes out to McNabb? Was it well marked, or should we flag it as we go? We already know that coming down after the summit is pretty difficult, but do you think flagging would be a waste of time?

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