Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
Trip Planning Forum
Brant to Gotter portage
This one can change fairly drastically depending on the current water levels but, I haven't ever encountered anything that was extraordinary in the negative. The Brant side can get muddy in low water but, nothing like (at least in my experience) what the OP suggests.
Sometimes there isn't an actual landing at the base of the stairs on the Flying end when water levels are higher (see photo) but, the tradeoff is you can paddle further up Gotter and shorten the portage in those conditions.
Gotter side back to Brant.....only up to the top. I have the "top down to Brant" part on another video that is not loaded to youtube yet.
Gotter to Brant
Echoing what others have said here already - this one doesn’t stand out. That may be because the length and challenges of the rest of the portages from missing link, or round lake, around the loop to brant lake, are all a different variety of beasts on their own. All i remember is that one of the three that are between bat and brant has a couple of boulders close together that seem designed to make you catch your boot! I have done it three times and snagged my foot three times. You’d think familiarity would have at least protected me the third time. Anyone who has gone from west to east out of that loop may have a similar memory.
But on this route, to me the bear was the long portage into Tuscarora, simply on length alone if nothing else.
nctry: "If you think this portage is much above average, I’d rethink the whole canoeing thing. It’s a little above average on the rough scale. IMO... yes, on a hot day it could be hot, wet days it could be wet, some climbing and such. But #1 it is beautiful and it gets you to some awesome lakes and fishing. If I recall it was coming back from a previous fire. I’d love to see it now."
We went through there in July last summer. This one didn't stand out for us, but maybe just because we had already done the Frost River and had done the portage from Seagull to Paulson (loads of climbing) and then made our way from Paulson through three lakes that were all steep/rocky through Glee to Bingshick where we dealt with massive amounts of mud. Gotter to Brant was a cinch compared to the others. Though we did watch a poor family with way too much stuff struggle through. It's all relative.
I don't recall the portages from Brandt to Gillis being real difficult, most of them are on the steep (up and down), rocky side but not particularly long. The most annoying part of it all to me was that the trip consists of a lot of short paddles on small lakes, and a lot of load/unload/paddle a bit/load/unload.
I checked my notes and the last time I did it was 15 years ago when I was 51. I don't have any notes on its difficulty so I assume it was noteworthy at that time.
I'd agree with boonie. I did the Missing to Tuscarora portage on my way in about 5 years ago. I double portaged that long portage. Packing well and/or light was key to making that one less painful. I did Gotter to Brant on the way out (after passing through Gillis). You'll get a workout doing Flying to Greene on the way to Bat and eventually Gillis. The Brant to Gotter wasn't bad, it just seemed a bit longer than the stated portage length. I'd take sturdy footwear but you should be fine.
When you say you watched video I assume you saw the Tumblehome guys post on YouTube? They took a video from under the canoe of the whole thing. Didn't look like a disaster but just take your time and not one to have a pack on your front that's for sure
I'm with the others. I wouldn't put it in my top 20 toughest if I am rating portages head to head, but portaging is so circumstantial. I took that portage at 6:30 pm double packing after having fought a headwind solo from the parking lot so, yes, that portage felt tough that night. The next time I did it, the packs were lighter, there wasn't a headwind, and I took the portage at a much more reasonable time and it was much more forgettable. My point being, with any portage in the BW/Quetico or anywhere else for that matter, the difficulty is a small part to do with the portage itself and a big part to do with the circumstance (the person taking it, the weather before and during, the gear that is being carried, the time of day, where the portage falls in terms of the trip, and so on.)
If you think this portage is much above average, I’d rethink the whole canoeing thing. It’s a little above average on the rough scale. IMO... yes, on a hot day it could be hot, wet days it could be wet, some climbing and such. But #1 it is beautiful and it gets you to some awesome lakes and fishing. If I recall it was coming back from a previous fire. I’d love to see it now.
If your destination is Gillis, Brant is definitely much shorter and has less portaging. Missing Link to Tuscarora portage is not necessarily easy either. It does have fewer portages. The guy who rated Brant-Gotter an 8, rated Tuscarora-Missing Link a 7.
Portage conditions change during a season, from season to season, year to year, and perspectives are also changed by degree of experience.
Either way, pack light.
A1t2o: "Went from Round to Gillis on a loop 4 years ago and that was one of the roughest travel days I've ever done. The Brant entry point is rocky but the other portages on the route aren't much better. The new growth after the burn also makes it worse since you are pushing through the underbrush, branches snaging on rods and pushing the tip of the canoe off the trail. It gets hot too without tall trees blocking the sun.
That’s my new plan. In through Missing Link. I’m sitting in front of my maps right now drawing it out. Thanks to everyone who has responded.
Went from Round to Gillis on a loop 4 years ago and that was one of the roughest travel days I've ever done. The Brant entry point is rocky but the other portages on the route aren't much better. The new growth after the burn also makes it worse since you are pushing through the underbrush, branches snaging on rods and pushing the tip of the canoe off the trail. It gets hot too without tall trees blocking the sun.
It's not just the Brant Gotter portage. The whole area is rather rough. If I ever go back there again I'm going in through Missing Link instead. I'm glad I did it once, but there is no good reason to do it again.
pswith5: "The is man might have trouble with it now! But I did it about 8 years? ago with WAY too much gear and survived to later do the tuscaraura postage. I was 50 then? Tough but doable"
I did it in 2017. There's good landings, a decent path, a bit of steep section up and over, a couple of places to watch your step but definitely not a boulder field ankle buster trail. Seems a little longer than 88 rods.
I don't what your portage experience is, nor your plan, but if you find it really difficult, Flying to Green isn't going to be easier.
The is man might have trouble with it now! But I did it about 8 years? ago with WAY too much gear and survived to later do the tuscaraura postage. I was 50 then? Tough but doable
Did that one last May, it’s challenging, but I wouldn’t put it in my top 5 toughest portages.
Did it. Wouldn’t want to do it again but it’s not the worst, maybe 2nd worst I have done.
Yeah, I’d count it on the tougher side of average, but not awful. Some climbing and rocks, but I don’t recall a lot of mud when I went through last compared to others in the area.
Its not that bad. Rocky up, rocky down. Open and flat area on top.
I've heard the Brant to Gotter portage is a beast. I bought some NRS Boundary neoprene boots this year in case of heavy mud and I've watched a couple videos of the portage that look intimidating. Looks like some ankle-busting, Joe Theismann leg-snapping potential there. If anyone has any enlightenment or has had an epiphany after taking this route, it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!