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


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Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 6, 2010 - 09:10pm PT
EK: "do you mean Serra Peaks or is there a Mt. Sierra in the Waddington Range?"

There are Serra peaks, five of them, more or less on the east side of the Tiedemann Glacier. I'm not sure what Serra stands for, but guess it's simply an abbreviation for 'serration' - which the peaks certainly are. Tricouni will know, if he's around. There is also a Sierra Peak, which is on the opposite side of the glacier, near Mt. Munday. It was first climbed by a Sierra Club group including Al Steck, in 1950.

The Canadian Alpine Journal on CD is still available, for $40.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 6, 2010 - 11:36pm PT
The next one up Mt Raliegh, could you please look around the summit cairn for an old Fire rock shoe? I'd give anything to see the look on Paul Berntsens face when I hand it to him!

I actually already looked once from a helicopter but no luck, and they wouldn't let me out to do a closer search.

greg - from the CAJ 1953: Southgate was a injun trade route connected with the Bishop river. A settlement of whites "flourished" in the 1890's with Timber liscences and logging happening in the lower valley, including use of a railway for hauling logs. In 1930 a guy named Farrow surveyed for a possible Railway line running up the Southgate to Chilko lake, for - get this - development of a Hydro Power project! cited is The Geographical Journal, Sept/Oct, 1945 " Search for Power in the BC Coast Range". There was 6 miles of logging road in 1952.

now how about that John Clarke tale?
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Mar 7, 2010 - 11:59am PT
Nice thread, all. Have to see K-2 now.

Mountain climber
Mar 7, 2010 - 12:51pm PT
Greg, the first time I was up there was in the summer of 1970 and they were still logging at least locally. By late summer 1971, when I spent an entire summer in the Raleigh area, climbing and mapping, the camp near the junction of the Bishop and Southgate Rivers was deserted. I remember Arnold Shives and I thrashed down Raleigh Creek to the camp late that summer it was deserted. But the road down to Bute Inlet was in great shape.

By 1976 the camp was gone but the main bridges across Icewall Creek and the Southgate were still in place. Road getting bushy, and the airstrip near Raleigh Creek mouth no longer fit to land fixed-wing on. I flew over the area not long ago. Hard to tell there ever was a camp and airstrip there.

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 7, 2010 - 02:20pm PT
Here's a juicy tidbit I just recieved via email from.....?

In answering the questions below I'd say No to first - just one of a few wolverine stories.
And yeah such neurotic ramblings could only come from a fish.

The message is:
Is this the story about wolverines? I thought Dave Fulton wrote it, but it comes from a compilation of hut journal entries and I don't think the author was identified.

July 29/86 (from a logbook in a hut in the Waddington range of BC)

It's hard to say whether it was the garlic pancakes or our
philosophical differences with the snafflehounds, but for some reason
we were horribly disorganized. We did, however, notice a helicopter
land just below the summit towers.
Scott has a 100 metre rope of which he is very proud as there is
no knot when rappelling. So, after nine knotless rappels we were back
on good old snow firma. Also on the snow were two men, both
Vancouver stock brokers. Evidently they were the stock brokers
dropped by the helicopter we had seen earlier. We introduced ourselves,
got closing quotes from that dayís market, and prepared to leave.
They detained our departure by asking the small favour that we
save their lives. "Without you," they added, "the chances of our
survival are zero to none."
We thought of asking what kind of odds we might get on that
estimate, but instead eyed them quizzically for what seemed like days,
though it was only for 12 or 14 seconds.
Remembering, too, what our mothers had said about strangers,
especially strange stock brokers (and both our mothers had quite a few
experiences with those), we said: "Yes we will help you, only first you
must tell us what the f*** you are doing here and what is the unladen
airspeed of the African swallow."
The answer to the second question they knew immediately (even
though we didn't) and the answer to the first question was quite
involved. It turns out they were up on the mountain on a dare. Actually,
if you really want to know the whole story, the two of them had been at
a party and after copious fluid intake and much drinking, they had ended
up making a substantial bet (this is all true) that they, two absolute
non-mountaineers, could climb the Big Wadatorium within a month from the
day of the bet. They took a few rock climbing lessons and then planned
to be dropped high enough by helicopter that only the summit tower
would have to be climbed. Great plan, except to keep the weight down
in the machine, two trips were required, one for supplies and one for
them. Unfortunately the time lapse between these two trips was two
weeks and involved two different companies. Miscommunication was
no doubt responsible for their supplies arriving at the hut, while they
ended up stark naked, comparatively speaking, at over 12,000 feet on
the side of a sheer mountain.
We laughed non-stop at their foolishness until, in the excitement
of the hilarity, someone 'let one go' and then, giggling at our childish
obsession with this basic human function, we took off fast. Besides, it
was snowing cats and dogs and the occasional snafflehound, and we
were very afraid.
But luckily I had some Skoal and so could leave a trail of brown
spitulants should we have gotten lost and had to find our way back up
the mountain. Scott pointed out that this was very stupid.
Anyway, if you still care, it was a major epic getting the two city
slickers all the way down to Rainy Knob. And also, because of their
lack of equipment, we became fearful lest they lose their feet to
frostbite. But bizarre things do sometimes occur; in this case it being
their careful study of a survival book which strongly recommended
carrying another pair of dry socks by wearing them condom-fashion on
one's dink! We mutually raised our eyebrows as they changed and then
mutually wondered if this was perhaps an older survival book they read,
written before many women were in the mountains... or perhaps it was
written when chicks also had dinks! Thinking about this left us
confused and somewhat worried; as it is this kinky sort of baloney that
we so often hope to escape by coming to the mountains.
Finally we got the pair down to Rainy Knob. We piled into
Scottís bivy tent only minutes after I tested the sharpness of my ice
axe by poking a hole in that very same tent. Scott, by the way, offered to
remove my liver with his pocket knife.
Next morning we herded the brokers up the hill to the hut, just
like two cowboys riding the exchange. Once up there we immediately
dove into their food barrels and decided to have a party. Except inside
a barrel is no place for a party, so we came back out, went inside the hut
and threw a shindig that the snafflehounds will never forget. Imagine
feeding caviar to snafflehounds!
Anyway, we patched up our differences with the beasts,
promising never to call them Falaffelhounds again. The wolverine
dropped by late, after finishing off another food cache on the Radiant.
The stockbrokers got sleepy and rather boring. The moon came out and
the Coast Range was as beautiful an idea as anyone has ever had.

Mar 7, 2010 - 06:22pm PT
Thanks for the info and more to the point, thanks for your time back in 1986 when you spent part of an afternoon at your offices in the old sun tower walking Don and I through air photos of the W face of bute.


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 7, 2010 - 09:16pm PT
Bruce that's not the 'wolverine' story - as far as I know - but the 'stockbroker' story I alluded to I think in the Wadd thread.

Oy but wee're getting some kind of cross-pollination here, eh ?

The 'wolverine' story was when Mike D & John H were high on an attempt of Serra V ( ?stand corrected if wrong ) and they saw some climbers come into their camp....blahblahblah.........when they got down they realized camp had been ravaged by wolverines & , as John Clarke used to say, "....if wolverines get into your food stash they eat the cardboard and duct tape holdin' it together"

Okay maybe he said that about black bears.......

Anyway, John & Mike returned to camp to find NOTHING to eat & their stuff trashed. So they hiked to the hut ( and for those of you reading this thread who are unfamiliar with the area, a "hike" to the hut is a full on mountaineering experience + 4k or so altitude gain ) where they found A HUGE STASH o' stuff .........I think this was the year Croft/Flowermaker/Serl did the traverse ( 1985 ) and they DID NOT GET INTO THE FOOD - they waited for ( I don't recall how long )eating from those hideous bags of 'mystery remains' that fools tend to leave at huts . ( Good for starving climbers and rodents alike ) ....they waited for the fellows to get back to the camp & then they begged for food based on the story.

That.........I believe .... is the "wolverine story".
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 7, 2010 - 09:31pm PT
I'm going to highjack this thread for a moment

I'll just throw this out there. as good a place as any for now.

I Think a move should be made to nominate Alexandra Morten for a Governors General Award. There's no doubt she deserves one, of course Harper and co would try their best to block it. I know nothing about the proccess. Anyone? comments please.

In case anyones wondering she has for some time now been almost singlehandedly standing up for our wild salmon stocks against the Big Salmon Farm industry primarily by methods of science and law. The case against the industry is clearly damning as has been demonstrated here as well as Chile, Scottland, Ireland, and Norway. Her history is nothing short of jaw dropping. We should all become informed on this issue. Remember the east coast cod?

I know there's better organizers out there (WCWC, Suzuki...) but I'm just fishing for ideas.

check out her Blog http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/

Show of hands please
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 7, 2010 - 09:41pm PT
tami - thats the one but Scott tells it well as it was he and clients up on Mt Tellot looking down at Mike and Johns camp wondering why they were lounging around on such a nice day. Occasionaly one of the "individuals" would get up and go get a drink at a melt water stream - then return for more gluttony. Mike and John were epicing up on Serra 5 unaware that they're beer was being drunk, food eaten and everything remaining pissed on! And then as you said....

Those wolverines knew a good thing and were said to come running at the sound of helicopters.
I wonder whatever happened to those jolly pranksters? are they still there?

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 7, 2010 - 10:32pm PT
Yes yes !!! That's it. EPIC !!!!!
And they didn't even get to climb SerraV before/after that chaos.

The wolverines peed on everything ?

( tee hee hee )

The horror, the horror.

Mountain climber
Mar 8, 2010 - 02:29am PT
Thanks for the info and more to the point, thanks for your time back in 1986 when you spent part of an afternoon at your offices in the old sun tower walking Don and I through air photos of the W face of bute.

Good memory! I'd forgotten that. But I do remember long afternoons with John Clarke looking at air photos and maps, some at the GSC and some at my place, where we had 1:50,000 maps covering the entire living room floor and climbing up the walls. Now, with GoogleEarth and on-line maps, most people don't bother with that, but air photos and paper maps are still a good way to plan.


Mar 8, 2010 - 03:54am PT
Late at night, Roger performs a self-bump...
Credit: mcreel

Mar 8, 2010 - 04:00am PT
Night shift sez get back on topic, Roger!

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Mar 8, 2010 - 09:14am PT
Thats it? No opinions out there?

Is it really true that when it comes to politics the good canadian credo of "Keep your head down and your nose clean" rules the day....?

Chief - I know you guys have internet in there.

And how about our fine American freinds? Surely some of you must know Yvon Chouinard, maybe even slay a few fish with him. What would Yvon say? Anybody?

Are we really going to be content with reminising on the good old days while our premier icon and canary in the gold mine continues its death spiral?

If I don't get a rise here I'm gonna go sulk.

Mar 8, 2010 - 10:24am PT
Allow me to second Mr Kay in the nomination!
Bruce -no good thread goes unlurked!
Hey in regard to the wolverine epic -i recall showing back up at the plumber hut with don and peter to be greeted by post wolverine ravaged mike and john. Per tamis' comments they had not touched our food-but they knew where every mustard tube and bagel was in every box! The ensuing party was quite smashing as i recall.

Mar 8, 2010 - 11:04am PT

I would also join Bruce and Greg in nominating Alexandra Morton for a Governors General award.
Alexandra is an amazing scientist and her research on the devestating affects of industrial fish farming on wild salmon is solid.
Some of her work is on wild salmon leaving Bute and swimming by toxic fish farms and picking up sea lice and worse. I had the pleasure of having dinner at her home in Simoom Sound on Gilford Island 20 years ago and she was a firecracker then.

Thanks for the Bute stories folks. Brings back crazy memories treeplanting up Scar, klattestine, Orford etc. back in the late 80's. Days when loggers were loggers and planters were... the enemy!
Seems silly now.


Mar 8, 2010 - 11:56am PT
Way to go starting this thread Tami!
Things were getting a bit muddled between my green energy rant and the Wadd S Face thread.
Just got back last night from a great but depressing trip to Bute with bmacd.
Flew in from CR on Discovery West's Cessna 172. Had to ditch beazely cause BM was packing so much video gear and night surveillance stuff (That's a another story in itself!) Spectacular flight into Homathko Camp where we were welcomed by Chuck and Sharon, two of the nicest people in the world. Chuck loaned us a pickup and we drove up the east side as far as we could and walked the final couple of ks to the Heakamie bridge. Worked our way back checking out a couple fishing spots on the way. Nada.
Had dinner with the fallers (starting a new heli logging cutblock above Southgate estuary) and watched Luongo imitate a sieve. AAAARRRGGGHHH.

Saturday dawned bluebird and we managed to hire the 500D for a spectacular spin some twenty ks up the Homathko to the mouth of Scar Creek. Rigged up the fly rod and flung a purple egg sucking leach pattern into the junction of the Scar and Homathko. BANG! Fish on! Three gorgeous, silvery specimens of salmo clarkii ranging from two to three and a half pounds in quick succession. Pop the hook, pet 'em on the head and let 'em go. NICE FISH! I thought to myself,"this is too easy". No more fish for the rest of the day.

We checked out the run down and abandoned old Scar Creek logging camp. I hadn't been there since I last worked there with Jan in '84. She's gone now as many of the people I worked with in that camp are. Some tough emotions and more than a few tears as I checked out our old run down trailer in the married quarters.

Got picked up by the bird as the sun was setting and flew back to the Homathko camp. Bruce got to ride up front with the door off. He liked that a lot.

Sunday am, raining, clag to the deck, no flying home in this weather.
We hung around the camp till the weather broke a bit and Andre could get in with the Cessna. Bruce wasn't too keen but I assured him that Andre had to fly this hop regularly and wasn't going to take stupid chances.

I had told him the story of flying out of Scar in late afternoon one December way back in JR's Beaver on wheels. Jan and I were in the back with three other passengers and the plane was loaded to the max. We had to follow the snags along the Homathko to Bute where things lifted a bit so we went for it hugging the west side of Bute at just over stall speed a couple hundred feet off the whitecaps. As we reached the end of Bute the sky fell in and we found ourselves flying with zero visibility in a plane with no instrument flying capacity. To make a long story short, the pilot called mayday and CFB Comox vectored us in on their radar. For the longest forty five minute of my life, Jan and I thought we were goners and clutched each others hands. We couldn't see a thing till there was asphalt under the tires at Comox. By the time we stopped rolling and powered the plane down, it was dark. We all went to the Arlington and got puking drunk.

Our flight out with Andre was a bit lumpy but we got back to CR safe and sound. Back to Nanaimo and home to Squamish.

Hoping to go back in June.
Will try to contribute some more stories.
Hats off to Bruce for coming along for the trip.



Trad climber
Beautiful, BC
Mar 8, 2010 - 11:58am PT
Tim, I was at Scar Creek day before yesterday. You did a fine job planting there Timmc. The entire Homathko is returning to it's natural state. The forests are recovering nicely.

Due to weight constraints on our flights I took only My Canon XH-A1 and no DSLR's. I shot 2 hours of video. About half of that from the helicopter and fixed wing.

Now I have rather large task of making a meaningful video about just how damaging the Plutonic power project will be. The 8 year construction period itself, will industrialize the watershed to the point where no wildlife will be able to survive. Cement plants, gravel pitts, dozens of bridges, 3 lane 50 year roads up the Homathko, Southgate and Orford as well as the giant transmission lines.

The noise the turbines will generate for the next hundred years near the bountiful areas like the Scar / Homathko confluence will drive away any Grizzlies which survived the human conflicts during the decade of construction building the 17 powerstations ....

When people see the project scope on video they will realize how stupid this scheme is.

I met Rob Wood and now have a copy of his historical Coast range mountaineering book. The Homathko Camp is a special place, which has been running off of it's own 70 kv run of the river power plant for nearly 15 years.

Perry thanks for the great trip !

I will try and post the few stills I do have soon.


Mar 8, 2010 - 12:43pm PT

Nice to hear about the regen up Scar Bruce. Some of the most grim planting on granite slabs ever!

Great that you and Perry (and others) are taking the time and spending the money to expose this large and potentially destructive damming project. It's no mom and pop run of river hydro wheel deal.

Lemme know if you guys need any old slides of the area-I have tons from the old FM2



Trad climber
Beautiful, BC
Mar 8, 2010 - 01:20pm PT
Fly casting the Homathko at Scar Creek.  Our grizzly defense in the fo...
Fly casting the Homathko at Scar Creek. Our grizzly defense in the foreground
Credit: bmacd
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