Juanmobile's limited off-road capabilities were good enough to bring me to the begginning of the rough 4WD road leading to Blowdown Pass and the adjacent peaks and alpine lakes.
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.
This road leads to the old Silver Queen mine (an abandoned copper 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.
The slopes of Gott Peak
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.
Blowdown Pass and Gotcha Peak
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. Black bears and grizzlies are omnivores, and contrary to popular conceptions (and fear) of their carnivore status, a diet of roots, grubs and insects makes up the bulk of their nourishment.
Blowdown Lake and Gotcha Peak (Northwest Face)
In summer time, you can see trouts swimming on this lake. Blowdown lake is the most common base camp to explore the area for people staying overnight.
In the alpine tundra area, you can find hardier lichens, shrubs, and trees than can endure the constant cold, wind and snow, even in summer
I was getting closs to the pass. The pass marks the boundary to Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park, jointly managed by the British Columbia government and the Lytton Indian Band. For centuries the Stein Valley area has had special significance for native peoples as a traditional hunting and gathering grounds, and a place of spiritual retreat.
Reaching the pass at 2000 m (6560 ft)
I started my ascent towards Gotcha Peak. Side excursions from the pass can include a climb to Gott Peak (about 2 1/2 hours return to the pass) on the north side and Gotcha Peak on the south (about 3-4 hours return).
The old mining road crosses the pass and leads into the valley eventually becoming a trail at the Silver Queen mine turnoff. From the pass to the turnoff (5.4 km) is an easy descent past meadows of wildflowers.
The mining road, Gott Peak, Not Gott Peak and Blowdown Pass
The scramble to Gotcha Peak was fairly easy with the exception of one point where I was tempted to turn back but the desire to conquer the peak was stronger than my temporal fear.
From the top I have amazing views, including Gott Peak. The peak and the creek are 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.
Gott Peak, Not Gott Peak and Blowdown Pass
' 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.
Views going clockwise after Blowdown Pass
Views are superb: towering peaks on the horizons, their snow cover glistening in the sun as it melts, creating waterways that have carved myriad routes through the rugged terrain.
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Keep going clockwise
Above treeline, which occurs between 1620 m and 1890 m, the severe environmental conditions limit vegetation to a few specialized, stunted (>1m high) trees known as krummholz trees (German for bent wood). These include Whitebark Pine, Subalpine Fir, Englemann Spruce, and Mountain Hemlock. The slopes of Gott Peak offers an excellent example of these trees.
Keep going clockwise, the mining road on the right side
Some of these trees grow for hundreds of years and one branch may take decades to grow, so tread carefully in their presence. specially if scrambling towards Gott Peak.
1. 50:22'24.4"-122:12'02.6" Elev: 1606m Trailhead
2. 50:21'17.1"-W122:09'16.2" Elev: 2459m Gotcha Peak
Roundtrip length: 11.6 km (7.25 miles)
My time 5.5 hours
Elevation gain: 853 m (2798 ft)
Driving distance from Vancouver: 200 km (125 miles)