BUTE INLET trips & visits - what, where & when ?!


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 4, 2010 - 05:33pm PT
Our Very Own supertorpor BUTE INLET thread for climbers, skimountaineers, fishermen, boaters, treeplanters, and anybody else with stories and pictures.

The Mt Waddington South Side thread got hijacked by BUTE INTLET & I was hoping to split this off for it to find & grow it's own legs and let Mt Wadd south side get back to being itself.

Here is a fine 1:250 for the area : http://www.canmaps.com/topo/nts250/low/092k.htm

Friends of Bute Inlet ( in case you missed it at the other thread )

The fabulous trip I had in the area with Don Serl, David Harris ( Ghost ), Greg Foweraker ( gf ) , and his girlfriend at that time Nicky, spent a week in the Mt Superb / Sir Francis Drake area between the Orford & Southgate Rivers.

We were going to walk from the kelp beds. Trust me we were. We REALLY REALLY planned to do the 3500'+ vertical thrash to our bc YES WE REALLY meant to DO THAT but instead we flew in.


( yey.......... I was SO NOT looking fwd to that thrash :-D )

We had horrendous weather & flew into the only hole in the clouds that opened to show us the spot where we'd camp and, the coast range being what it is, the clouds closed back in & it peed on us for several more days.

I was down river from Don & David & spent my time sharing lies with the boys & bailing the tent all the while with my 2-cup cup.

I had it good tho' 'cos Nicky had got food poisoning from the TasteeFreeeze or some such chicken joint & spent her time in the rain outside of her & GF's tent barfing her guts out.


When the sun came out it was glorious. We climbed a bunch of peaks in the area - David in his spectacular red underwear - and sunned ourselves on the exposed rocks as our gear dried.......and Don put more little dots and dashes on his maps.

"Just like John Clarke does........" he said.

We hiked out did the downthrash to a logging camp at Ward Point where we had ordered a Beaver from Campbell River to fetch us. The gyppo op was closed for fire season but the caretaker - quite suprised to see a group of filthy mountaineers come into camp - shared his fine stew with us and allowed us to pollute the showers there too.

The flight out was the most hairball, anal-sphincter-constricting ride I ever had in any flying machine ( even more scary then bouncing the helicopter to get it off the ground in the Quatam River ) .

I think I've told this story in another thread but just to get a BUTE INLET thread up & running.




Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 5, 2010 - 02:49am PT
uhhhh.................bump? This made it to page 3 with my one pathetic lonely post ?


Mar 5, 2010 - 03:10am PT
Bute Inlet is such a beautiful area, close to towns on the east side of Vancouver Island and within quick striking distance of the lower mainland. Despite extensive and in some instances, poor logging practices, Bute inlet has a wealth of wilderness recreation opportunities, with prudent conservation measures to preserve fish habitats it could assume its rightful place as one of the crown jewels in BC. Please support efforts to ensure this area is preserved for current and future generations to enjoy.

Trad climber
Vancouver, BC
Mar 5, 2010 - 03:40am PT
bump for a beautiful BC location. Hoping to get out there this summer myself.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 5, 2010 - 11:59am PT
ok I'll bite.

around 83 or so myself and Rick Borsma dropped down from the Plummer hut heading for the south face of Tiedemann. enroute we strolled into the camp of what turned out to another Peter Peru Mega Media exshreeme shkiin extravaganza. Picture this. go to Dusty's Bar on any sunny apre ski afternoon. Round up a good cross section of the usual denizens - Swedish ski groupies, Racer dudes, Potheads, maybe a misplaced Toronto Banker. Load them into a couple of flights in Ron Banners flying volkswagen van on skiis and the stage is pretty much set!

Peter and select conspirators abandon the lot and head up to the Wad / Combatent col on skis. Thats right - middle of august, skinning the whole way. go figure. They get slaughtered by a violent storm and eventually retreat back to the lowlands with no particular exshtreeme skiing done. Meanwhile the swedish ski groupie, potheads, Banker and ski racers are scurrying around all over the Tiedemann trench trying to get vhf radio call out to cbc Vancouver so that the live coverage fly by of the exshtreeme shki epic can happen. they're having a grand ol time rolling rocks on each other, smokin weed, fiddling with the radio and stuff.

then they all fly away. Almost as wierd as K2.

Postscript: PC and crew did finally get it together and wound up producing a film of Eric Peyota (i think) launching off the NW peak, then drinking champagne and appies with Sylvan Saudan down at the Col

Ok i did my bit. Flavelle should tell the story of the wolverines raiding JH and MD's camp and Greg we're still waiting for the John Clarke tale on Bute

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Mar 5, 2010 - 03:32pm PT

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2010 - 03:36pm PT
I'm eagerly awaiting more for this thread, anyone......?

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Mar 5, 2010 - 04:18pm PT
that Stinging Needle is the sh#t....

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Mar 5, 2010 - 06:14pm PT

What I'd really like to see is Miss Tami to use her artistic talents and cunning wit to lampoon the taco via one of her toons.

If we don't have climbing content to post, at least we can be funny, har har.

Mar 5, 2010 - 07:46pm PT
bump. More pics please.

As a kid growing up on Vancouver Island, I used to play a tennis tournament every year in Powell River. Beautiful country. Wish I'd explored more around there.

em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Mar 5, 2010 - 09:17pm PT
<bump> for history of the early exploration of Bute Inlet and trail-blazing to reach Mt. Waddington. Those folks were hard core to the bone. A great read:

The Unknown Mountain
by Don & Phyllis Munday

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 6, 2010 - 02:18am PT
Here's another story. Back a while now, The Tiedemann glacier was the setting for the appallingly lousy movie K2. This was a great cash cow for many and the launch pad of a few careers, such as Chief. For myself it was also a bit surreal seeing what I had previously thought of as way out there transformed into a little insta city with all the trimmings. Lots of funny stuff went on, like Burnttoast scoring the leading lady, Perry performing endless al demiola scales, Mike Wies nearly falling from the summit of K2. All that was trivial compared to the party,

It was of course a drug and alcohol free camp. Somehow this fact escaped a few, notably Mike cokehead Bien (Taylor) who could often be found earnestly clutching the messhall furniture while doing his best jack nicolson in the Shining immitations. Anyway about half way into our stay and in the midst of a storm, something snapped with a spontaneous party erupting in the mess tent. all the previously hidden bottles came out and the music cranked right up. Blanchard was slam dancing with himself and the Baltis starting sampling the bar offerings. The "glacial pool" set became the hot tub full of floozies. Deano wound up passed out in a snowbank and surely would have died if not for Corby discovering and dragging him to safety. All the upper crust British producers, Directors and so on were no where to be seen (hiding) thank god. It all eclipsed in makeup and wardrobe with the balti porters trying on everything. Best yet ( something i'll never forget) is Lawrence Perry wearing chest waders over nothing else. The flaming gay wardrobe guy, undoubtably in love with lawrence from the very first, took one look and instantly dove both his hands down larry's pants, grabbed his jewels and started biting his nipples! Now i don't think anything is really too much for Lawrence but by the look of his eyes, this might have been close!!!

The storm cleared off next day and a few of us had to go helibomb a location on the steep flanks of Mt Sierra. after that i was supposed to do some doubling for Taylor. at the last minute and on location, I realized i'd forgotten one of my ice axes. Too late now! Seriously hungover, i spent the rest of the day skittering around on boilerplate ice with one dull tool, easily looking stressed for the camera. I think this is where i picked up a particular nickname i see no reason to mention here!

This was all in November, one of our finest months for experiencing the coast range. Incidentally, The range really is a good double for the Baltoro glacier, including the big granite towers and ridges. I recommend a visit for most anyone - but not in November!

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 6, 2010 - 04:54am PT
Not much I can add but a fine bump.
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Mar 6, 2010 - 07:52am PT
K2 was kind of a hoot, eh? But Brutus and I studied the film before we climbed Waddington in 2001; there are some good views of the area; as I recall in some of the K2 scenes you can recognize Rainy Knob etc. and kinda scope the Bravo Glacier route.

We flew in with Whitesaddle Air in Tatla Lake - Mike King and family - great folks; stayed at their place while waiting for the weather to clear -- as I recall they said the K2 filming paid for building the radio setup which allows climbers to communicate with Whitesaddle & get weather forecast or emergency contact. Which for our team of 2 was nice to have in the back pocket just in case.

Oh, and after reading The Unknown Mountain we did feel like wussies flying into the Tiedemann instead of doing it the hard way from the coast ... but wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Incredible area.

And as for the glacier hot tub . . .if you ask REAL nice I might show you the photo of Brutus buck-naked taking a sun-shower on the Tiedemann. Move over, Brad Pitt, you ain't got nothin' to show compared to a real climber dude.

a few of us had to go helibomb a location on the steep flanks of Mt Sierra
thanks for the great inside story -- do you mean Serra Peaks or is there a Mt. Sierra in the Waddington Range?

Trad climber
Mar 6, 2010 - 10:55am PT
Bump cause I don't know where Waddington is. Guess I'll need to go look at some maps. Any pics? Any scanned maps?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 6, 2010 - 11:11am PT

Check out the Mt. Waddington South Face thread and Squamish Climbers the 80's Photos thread here at ST

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 6, 2010 - 12:47pm PT
ok in the interest of bumping aand actually this is totally fun here's some more:

My Mom and Dad were part of an adventurous bunch of mountaineers out of Vancouver, all members of the ACC. Tami’s and Randy Atkinson’s Ma and Pa as well.
My parents cut their wedding cake with an ice axe – that’s how core they were. They were hardly inclined to go around saying things like “core” however.

The Mundays were pre war and these guys carried the torch after the war. One trip took them up the Southgate river to Mt Gilbert – unclimbed of course. Planning took at least a year including scoping from adjacent ranges and producing their own high quality maps from arial photos and whatever bearings they had. I think they had vibram soles and Viking nylon ropes by then, but tcu’s and crash pads had yet to be invented. It was important to be strong as a logger for all the load hauling, and tall for shoulder stands.

This particular trip took them about 2 weeks and as usual involved many days of relaying loads of spuds, cans and 15 lb sleeping bags strapped to Trapper Nelson packs through coastal valley bush and across creeks. Icewall creek alone took a couple of days of sacrificing more than a few trees until one finally stuck on the far bank and they could draw straws as to who would be first to get a line across for the rest. By day 6 they were 250 feet above sea level. Only ten grand to go!

After a while they get within striking distance of the summit and go for it. By 5 pm they crawl up onto the summit, only to see a nasty row of gendarmes leading to a slightly higher hump! And that’s it. Due to logistics of supply and schedule there’s no time for a second go so its snap some pics, a few dry, corny quips like “who put those there?” and its time to reverse the whole process, including another day of bridge building.

Back home there was no secretive coveting going on. All their efforts and planning was carefully documented and disseminated to the next bunch, freeing them up to look for the next happy summit.

A while back I had the awestruck pleasure of both looking across those same gendarmes to their high point and flying over the mighty Southgate valley. There’s little doubt about who the wussies are.

Postscript: Elfrida Pigou, one of the Southgate party, was lost along with 3 other ACC ‘ers from Vancouver under a wall of ice on the Bravo Glacier a few years later.
That must have been quite a blow to the small but tight community of climbers that existed back then.


Mar 6, 2010 - 12:59pm PT
Great story Bruce -hey do you know when they started to log the southgate -by the time I started flying up bute inlet in the late 80's it looked like they pretty much finished up there in the early 60's?

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2010 - 01:29pm PT
Bruce it's quite probable your mum was at my parent's wedding ( tho' I'd have to ask ) and that was sixty years ago this year on St Paddy's day.
Yeah, my folks are about to celebrate their "diamond" wedding anniversary.

Off topic? No, not really, because, as Bruce above said, the generation of our parents were the kids of the Mundays ( my mum was a girl scout leader in the late 50's - inspired by Phyl Munday. Mum also attended Alpine Club camp in the Freshfields in '49 - the last year Don Munday attended ACC camp. He passed away the following year much too young but he was gassed in WW 1 )

STill off topic for Bute Inlet ?


These are the unknown stories of the Coast Range of British Columbia and form part of a massive oral tradition of storytelling that was started with the first nations and now is continued by those of us who have climbed there. But for a few of these stories none are written but instead handed down from generation to generation and then they pop up here on an internet forum.

The anthropology of the Coast Range is a rich and diverse study & always was - again starting with the first nations and now extending into the mountaineering community. Sadly the lack of emphasis on celebrating this fabulous wealth of culture means greedy bastards can sway corrupt governments in order to line their pockets with more cash.

While that sounds alarmist, it's the world over isn't it ?

Lisa Baile is hard at work on a biography of John Clarke & I hope that book hits the ground running as a million bestseller & shows the Coast Range from the perspective of one of it's greatest adventurers and, towards the end of his life, it's advocates.

Another story to finish this post tho' not my own story :-D

My brother was headed with a group into the Tahumming Creek area to do the 'traverse' of the watershed. The Tahumming traverse was John Clarke's favorite; the magnificent horseshoe that takes about a week to hike heads through all the coast range's archetypes. If you do the hike in counter-clockwise direction you end at a gorgeous lake high on a shoulder - before doing the Coast Range Thrash back down towards the sea.

In scoring beta for the trip my brother asked the aforementioned Lisa for some information. She gave him the goods and then finished with " Oh, I forgot my swiss army knife at the campsite near the lake at the end there. Can you pick it up for me ? "

WHich is hilarious. Imagine finding a swiss army knife by a lake in the coast range.

He found it.

Packed it out & gave it back to her.

em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Mar 6, 2010 - 08:34pm PT
You can read more about Elfrida Pigou (lost with her team on Mt. Waddington), and other coast explorers, in the Alpine Club of Canada's DVD "Ever Upward" - 100 years of Canadian Alpine Journals 1907-2007"

100 ACC Journals are included in their entirety, in PDF format. I had the privilege of helping with production of the PDF files, and you can search by keyword across the collection. There are so many fascinating stories in those Journals, and a lot of very burly Canadian women climbers (for instance Dr. Cora Best.)

wishing I was in Canada right now.

PS the DVD went out to members when it was first produced in 2008. I think it may still be available through ACC club office. www.alpineclubofcanada.ca
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