Juanmobile's limited off-road capabilities were good enough to bring me to the begginning of the rough 4WD road leading to Blowdown Pass.
To reach the access road, about three kilometers past Duffy Lake you will see a mileage sign, this is the start of Blowdown Creek Road, which climbs up to the right.
Drive on the main road, and after the kilometer 10 sign, drive another 300 meters and you will see the sign "Branch 6". Park here and go right. If you have a decent 4WD, want to impress your friends or you are just plain lazy and don't mind the new scratches that probably will appear in your car, keep driving.
Gott Peak located on the boundary of the Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park has for centuries had a very special and spiritual meaning to the aboriginal people in this region, and has many unique pictographs and petroglyphs. The aboriginals and environmental groups were victorious in their effort to keep this area as an unlogged and unscarred wilderness.
The cold weather from the last days brought some snow and this was the reason why I wanted to do this hike before the end of summer.
The road leads to the old Silver Queen mine (an abandoned copper mine).
Then I arrived to the part of the road where you can go downhill towards Blowdown Lake. This is an excellent place for camping and it can be used as a base camp to alpine hikes around the area. On the side you can see the ridge leading to Gott Peak.
I keep following the old road and very soon I had views of Blowdown Lake. If you are planning to do camping, remember that this is bear country (grizzlies in the alpine, black in the valley) so you better hang your food.
At this point I was getting close to the pass. This place provides a good example of a transition zone between the coastal terrain and the interior. Here the alpine perimeter is at the 6,700-foot (2044-m) elevation, well below the benchmark of 7,382 feet (2250 m) in Pemberton and Whistler.
I saw hoary marmots getting ready for winter. Marmots are generally large ground squirrels, typically live in burrows, and hibernate there through the winter. Most marmots are highly social, and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed. Whistler is said to be named for these animals where a while ago were called "whistle pigs".
Hoary marmot (Marmota caligata)
The "hoary" in their name refers to the silver-grey fur on their shoulders and upper back; the remainder of the upper parts are mainly covered in reddish brown fur. The underparts are greyish. They have a white patch on the muzzle and black feet and lower legs.
Finally I reached the pass when a cold wind suddenly dropped the temperature.
One of the best gifts that I ever had was a special winter jacket given by my friend Ken. I am very sure he was aware that with this kind of activity you never know what will happen and that no matter how much you think you are prepared for something, it can all be up in the air in no time. Well Ken, today for the second time this year your jacket was a lifesaver.
Not Gott Peak
From the pass the road keeps going to Silver Queen Mine. The prospecting was mainly done by Urban Hicks (born April 20, 1881, died Jan. 31, 1972). Urban may have found what he thought was valuable ore, but it was so hard to take it out that the gains would hardly pay the bills.
I keep ascending towards the peak. Because of the snow, I couldn't follow the trail so I have to make one of my own.
Looking down to the pass and looking in front of me, I saw what I used to believe was Gotcha Peak just until two years ago. Now I know Gotcha Peak is the peak on the right, a possible scamble destination for next year (I hope so).
Then I made it to the summit. From there you can reach the Gott Peak walking on the ridge. The ridge was covered in snow and having in mind that this is a hike on scree I decided to finish my hike on the false summit.
Gott Peak - Southeast Slopes
The peak is named after Frank Gott, a Lillooet hunter, guide, rancher and prospector who managed to get into the 102nd Battalion to serve in World War I by dying his silver locks black. But despite his sharp shooting skills, he was sent back to Canada in 1917, as overage. Fifteen years later, he got into a feud with a game warden. When the warden tried to arrest him for possessing an untagged deer, Gott shot him in the back. The authorities eventually caught up with Gott and demanded his surrender.
"I am a soldier and I never surrender" Gott reportedly replied. He was wounded in the leg and later he died in a hospital in Lytton, it is said that his dead was more from advanced tuberculosis, exposure and lack of nourishment than from the leg wound. Wardens and police officers aside, the public was in fact rather fond of Gott. He was given a military funeral. And a mountain.
Back to Urban Hicks, he sold out his share of the Silver Queen mine in the late fifties to Rampart Mines, who years later sold to Dome changing hands a couple more times.
The road was extended to the mine site around 1973 but the mine was not more prosperous than when it was accessed solely by horse trail.
One of these days I will write how the Silver Queen Mine began its history.
1. Elev: 1612m N:50'22.408" W:122'12.048" Kilometer 10+300 Park here
2. Elev: 1985m N:50'21.801" W:122'09.968" 3+170 To Blowndown Lake
3. Elev: 2168m N:50'21.792" W:122'08.955" 4+940 Blowdown Pass
4. Elev: 2425m N:50'22.124" W:122'09.176" 5+770 Not Gott Peak
Roundtrip to viewpoint: 11.5 km (7.18 miles)
Allow 4.5 hours
Elevation gain : 810 m (2665 ft)
Driving distance from Vancouver: 200 km (125 miles)