Posted by Derek on Aug 28, 2009
Prelate Lake Peak
Height: 2152 feet / 656 m
GPS recorded height: 2158 feet / 658 m
Lat/Lon: N48 10.330/W90 22.027
Line Parent: Head Lake Peak East
Key Col: N48 15.771 W90 12.396 (1608ft / 490m)
Clean Prominence: 544ft / 166m
Date Summited: August 21, 2009
Prelate Lake Peak is a trailless peak in the hills west of Thunder Bay. It’s namesake lake is a popular lake for fishing located northwest of the summit. The peak is a short distance from route 588 and there is a trail for more than half of the distance to the summit.
From Thunder Bay, proceed west on Highway 11, and about 4 km before Kakabeka Falls, turn left onto 588 to Stanley. Follow 588 for 75 km through Stanley, Nolalu and Suomi, until reaching Addie Lake Road. There is ample parking on the shoulder of Addie Lake Road, at the intersection with 588.
Departing on foot, follow the snowmobile trail east for 300 meters, and take the trail that emerges on the right. Proceeding southeast, the trail becomes overgrown which is more pronounced once reaching the second fork. Following the left fork at N48 10.422 W90 22.923, the trail narrows to a single track which shortly emerges onto the shoreline of Sawmill Lake.
Follow the shoreline for as long as possible (100 meters), and when overgrowth forces you from the lake edge into the interior, follow a compass bearing east to bushwhack to the summit. The summit is broad and flat, but a moss covered rock appears to be the highest point.
There is free camping with basic amenities (outhouse) at the boat launches on Whitefish Lake, Iron Range Lake and Prelate Lake. There are general stores on route geared towards fishing, which is the main activity in the region. The one at Suomi has a pay phone and limited groceries.
0.0 km – Parking on Addie Lake Road
1.4 km – Trail ends on northwestern tip of Sawmill Lake
2.6 km – Summit of Prelate Lake
Since it was raining in the morning, I decided to wait until the afternoon to attempt to climb Prelate Lake Peak, which would only take me half the day. By the afternoon the weather forecast was correct; the sky cleared and the sun emerged. I made my way from Thunder Bay, following Highway 11 west, until turning southwest onto 588. Passing Suomi and the numerous fishing resorts, eventually the paved road gave way to a freshly graded gravel road.
I parked at the intersection of 588 and Addie Lake Road and followed a snowmobile trail southeast, initially paralleling 588 east, back the way I had come. Only 300 meters from Addie Lake Road however, a right fork emerged south, and I passed though a few ‘open’ areas with limited views to the north. The trail slowly degraded and became overgrown, especially after I passed an intersection and took the left fork towards Sawmill Lake. The trail became a single track and shortly Sawmill Lake emerged into view.
My efforts to keep to the northern shoreline was futile, after about 100 meters the growth along the shoreline forced me into the interior. Leaving the lake, the climb steepened with thick brush to push my way through and fallen trees to dodge and climb over. Once gaining the slope directly north of the lake, the land leveled out, however the thick brush made passage slow and methodical.
Vaguely following a compass bearing east, I stumbled out onto the summit area. It was difficult to find the highest point, as the summit was quite broad and flat. After circling the summit area, I eventually decided that a moss covered rock looked to stand out above the rest of the terrain. Despite my wandering during the bushwhack, I was able to reach the summit from the Addie Lake Road / 588 in just over an hour.
In my return trip back down, I learned that while bushwhacking, it is next to impossible to follow your route in, having to backtrack many times.