I didn't get to spend much time in the BC mountains this summer. Last time I went to Blowdown Pass in '09 the Stein burned. The fires and billowing cloud made for some dramatic photos. This last long weekend, now my fourth time there, Carley and I went to escape the smoke and smog that's engulfing so much of the province. Being a long weekend, we certainly weren't the only ones in the area.
We arrived Saturday afternoon and camped at Blowdown Lake. We weren't alone, but it was quiet and we had perfect access to the water. Carley just wanted to chill, which I later admired her for, and I wanted to take in some new views of the area. So at about 3pm off I went, following the old mine track over the pass and into Stein park. After a while I ascend to the low point in the long ridge system that connects Cottonwood Pk to Gott Pk and beyond. It's pretty easy rambling along the ridge and soon I've topped out on the first of the so called "3 Summits".
Cottonwood on the left. First of "3 Summits" on the right.
From the second peak the route up Cottonwood looks straight forward.
Some nice scenery from the col...
I reach Cottonwood about 2hr15min after leaving the lake, just after 5pm. I realized I forgot both my headlamp and my first aid kit at the lake, so my summit stay had to be short. Some views from the top...
I like this picture showing a lot of the route from Blowdown Pass. Gotcha, Notgott, and Silent Hub all visible.
As it's getting into the evening and my shadow is elongating, I retrace my steps. It's not much fun going back up and over the minor summits, but before long I've dropped onto the old mining track and am slogging uphill towards the pass. I try to hurry because I'm sure my wifey is wondering if I fell off a cliff. I drink my last water. But wait! Mmmm yummy! Mountain sorrel, or Oxyria digyna (I had to google that...), my favorite alpine snack!
Anyway, back at the pass I take a parting shot before dropping down to the lake for the night. Cottonwood in the middle.
Next day we are up at the crack of 9:30am and on the move by 11am. I wanted to head toward Notgott via Gotcha. Carley was game for all the boulder hopping, despite realizing she forgot her hiking boots 3 hrs into our drive the day before. She wore some oversized old tennis sneakers I had in the vehicle. What a trooper! We made it up Gotcha in good time and chatted with a Czech couple whose map said the small peak to the north of Gotcha was Gotcha. Well they headed over to it to make sure, and Carley and I had a snack and contemplated the route to Notgott.
We drop down off Gotcha (moderate scrambling) and look down on Kidney Lakes.
Up again and along the ridge between Gotcha and Notgott before dropping down again. Lots of beautiful lakes! The ridge up Notgott is straightforward.
We made the summit pretty easily... mostly just a grunt up talus slopes. Views were nice!
I continued along the ridge for better views of Cirque Lake, but they never came. Looking back at Carley on Notgott summit.
Lo and behold... sometimes the mountains bring strange occurrences... and sometimes strange people! We shared the summit for a time with some old BCMC acquaintances I'd done some trips with a few years ago. It was nice to say hello.
Most good things end, so off the top we go back down to the col. We decide to take the "other" way back by dropping down toward the colorful lakes and taking the big boulder bench west of Gotcha. That was a slog... and actually kinda sucked... Some nice places to relax though:
That was about an 8hr day for us. Back at the lake we had time for a swim before dinner. And I played with my camera before bed...
Next day the smoke rolled in from somewhere... judging by the wind, the south. So we lucked out in that regard.